I happened to be in Paris when Armani Privé launched their first ever limited edition Les Éditions Couture perfume: La Femme Bleue. How I loved that one; iris, chocolate and smoky incense, it was just fabulous, and yet, with the price tag at 550€, out of reach. Those Éditions Couture still are, and when smelling this newest addition to the line Ombre & Lumière (Shadows & Light), how do you avoid comparing fragrance to price?
The blurb says; “It contrasts Iris Shadows, featuring warm ambery woods and powdery Iris, with lights of jasmine petals.”
This much is true it’s all about iris and jasmine. I felt the opening very green, like both the green aspects of the jasmine and of the iris hit it off together. Apparently it is jasmine sambac, which I believe since the jasmine keeps reminding me of tea- perhaps a cooled green jasmine tea and it never turns indolic. The iris in Ombre & Lumièreinstantly made me think of Iris Pallida, I guess its dryness and sophistication over a carrot-note or powdery iris is why I think it has to be Iris Pallida. Ombre & Lumière is never sweet (at least it isn’t on the blotter or on my sweet notes eating skin) and never turn into a powder puff, it is very slightly leathery as it manages to stays cool and elegant.
The composition is simple, focussing really only on those two notes, making each of them shine in what seems like various grey-green nuances. I really hardly notice other notes at all, and yet I know they are there, because otherwise this little chiaroscuro trick would not be possible. It’s clear that perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin has put a lot of effort into the balancing act, which is like a ballerina in arabesque. And so really nothing else is necessary, no real pyramid or other notes fighting for attention, just iris and jasmine going back and forth in pas de deux to let the other one have a bit of the light, while one withdraws for a moment to the shadows. However, Ombre & Lumièreis neither timid nor showy; it’s unspectacular in its aura, even if it has normal sillage. I would be tempted to say that it might not have heart (-notes) but it does have a pretty soul.
And now to the issue of cost; at such a price tag I must admit it’s a challenge for me to see the beauty beyond the price, an obstacle to smell the fragrance without preconceptions, to not constantly compare it to what you would have to pay for it- should there not be warning signs at the end of every description? In the end I tried to be fair to the fragrance, and write as I would with any other leaving it to those who read to decide, because in the end price is a highly individual thing and what it comes down to is; are you willing to pay that amount for perfume or not? Personally, I wouldn’t pay that amount of money for a fragrance no matter what it was, and Ombre & Lumière, although very pretty and skilled, will not be the perfume to make me change that. How about you, have you or would you pay that amount if it was something you really wanted?
Pics are mine.
I couldn’t find on-line reviews for Armani Privé Ombre & Lumière, I will update if I find some.