If I had a buck for every fragrance sample I’ve sniffed in the last six months that left a little something to be desired, I could buy myself one of those big fat bottles of non-export Serge Lutens at the Palais Royale. So it’s nice to get a set of samples and realize that, not only is there no dud in the bunch, but someone has been taking the Perfume Magic assignment seriously. Without further ado, it is my great pleasure to introduce Parfums DelRae.
Parfums DelRae was founded by DelRae Roth in 2000. If I’m understanding correctly, Michel Roudnitska, the son of perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, collaborated on all four scents in the Parfums Delrae line — Eau Illuminee, Amoureuse, Bois de Paradis, and Debut.
Here they are, in my order of preference:
Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradis citrus, French rose, cinnamon and blackberry, fig, spices, woods and amber.
This would have been my fourth choice on paper; it’s my first based on smell! I’m just wild for this thing, which goes against all expectations.
First of all, rose, cinnamon and fig is sooooooooooooooo not my idea of heaven. Second, Paradis also proves to be that Great Oxymoron: the Wearable Sandalwood. Perfume-wise, sandalwood (go ahead, shoot me) translates on me into Body Odor. I can’t think of too many fragrances I really like with a generous amount of sandalwood. It’s not only omnipresent in this one, it’s gorgeous, and Paradis is unmistakeably sexy. A stunner.
Parfums DelRae Eau Illuminee bergamot, basil, French lavender, wild aromatic herbs, vanilla, tonka beans, orris
This one is least like the other three, and probably most like something you’ve already smelled many times, although perhaps not quite so pleasantly as you smell it here. This is the Gold Medalist in the Quintessential Cologne category, with the bergamot, basil, lavender and herbs doing what they do best, against a warm vanilla base. Before you dismiss it as just another cologne, however, I can’t think of another unisexy-cologne-type fragrance (think green, sparkle, summer) that I’ve fallen quite this hard for. I would love to smell this on a man. Or a woman. Or my dog. Really, now that I think about it, everyone on the planet should wear this.
Parfums DelRae Amoureuse — tangerine, cardamom, tuberose, jasmine, ginger lily, cedar moss, sandalwood, honey.
I am not a big fan of Heady White Florals; in general I find them too cloying. In this one, however, the tangerine and cardamom give a little citrus buzz and some spice to blow the stink off, as my grandmother might say. This one I would definitely wear, although I swear it smells like linden to me. Linden haters (and you know who you are): consider yourselves warned.
Parfums DelRae Debut – Bergamot, Lime, Ylang ylang, fresh leaves, Lily of the Valley, Linden blossom, Cyclamen, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Musk
This is the most recent addition to the line and the one I was betting I would like best based on the reviews. Naturally, it ended up being the least successful for me. It is a lovely composition, not overly sweet, and it contains some of my favorite individual perfume notes. On me, it starts off in a glorious burst of lime, ylang and bergamot, but goes all wrong somehow after the first five minutes, with the green notes and the Lily of the Valley combining into a weird Axis of Evil sour/sweetness, something like old tea. I’m going to blame it on my skin and/or the “fresh leaves.” I still think it’s a winner, though, really — just not on me.