We´re on the countdown to Bangkok, and today´s my day to post, and I´m thinking you´re looking for something more edifying than “I´m still wearing Courtesan pretty much every day and loving it!” Am I right?
Okay, okay. I know what I´m supposed to be doing. I´m supposed to be blogging on something new, something different, something plucked from the tsunami. The release of new fragrances is seemingly endless; pretty soon we´ll be blogging 24/7 just to keep up with the flow. But we´ll never keep up, will we? With Tom Ford, Dior, Chanel and your uncle Bob releasing scents in groups now, it´s only a matter of time before we´re all buried in bottles of perfume. I can think of worse ways to go.
So, as I mentioned recently I wasn´t hot with desire when I saw the new Eclat de Jasmin (the sixth scent in the Armani Prive line) sitting on the counter at Saks. I walked by without a second glance. After all, I have Donna Karan’s Jasmine, Montale Jasmin Full and The Different Company´s Jasmin de Nuit, and, frankly, what more do I need? As far as I´m concerned, Armani´s unlikely to come close to the pinnacle he achieved with Bois d´Encens, although I like the other Prives to varying degrees, and I like Cuir Amethyste more than most folks. And Armani´s amping up the rate of releases to a frenetic level: nine fragrances in 2006 and 2007 alone, and we´ve still got half a year to go. You can´t help but feel the emphasis is not on quality.
But back I went to see what I´d missed. The notes according to the SA are: bergamot, citrus, jasmine, osmanthus, rose, patchouli, amber, vetiver. (Basenotes also lists plum).
Can I just mention that, for no good reason at all, I wanted to hate this? I´m bored with Giorgio and his nine fragrances and his Red Attitude Remix or whatever. Also on the two days I tried this it was in the upper 90s, and with jasmine that´s either great or instant migraine, depending.
Eclat does open with the bergamot/citrus twist, just a bit and short-lived, giving it a green freshness that I liked better than I thought I would. Eclat is quite strong, and it is mostly jasmine, whatever else those notes say, and if you´re going to look on it favorably you should probably keep this in mind. For the first ten minutes it is a gentler, sweeter jasmine-floral (probably the osmanthus/rose), then moves rapidly into a riper, richer, fairly indolic jasmine. The addition of patchouli and vetiver in the drydown give the jasmine a beautiful, unexpected twist – pushing jasmine´s natural dirtiness in a more masculine direction while muting its slightly-rotten-banana-smell. My sister-in-law, riding in the car with me, said it reminded her of when she lived next to horse stables in California and had jasmine blooming on a trellis outside her window (she teaches dressage, and she meant that essentially as a compliment.)
Do you need another jasmine, particularly at $185? Let´s compare it to the three I named above. Eclat is less green, more indolic and much more complex than Donna Karan´s Jasmine essence. It is creamier and less fruity than TDC´s Jasmin (my skin really amplifies TDC´s amber and jammy aspect). It starts off running neck and neck with Montale Jasmin Full in the skank department, with Jasmin Full being initially more in-your-face, and also a “truer” jasmine. But when the Eclat picks up steam and blooms on my skin it makes Jasmin Full seem sugary by comparison. The vetiver makes Eclat dirty the way DelRae Amoureuse is dirty, only Eclat is more sly about it.
After some consideration, I am shocked to report that Eclat de Jasmin may have nudged my beloved Montale out of first place in my heart. Eclat’s lasting power is extraordinary. Jasmin Full typically lasts the better part of a day on me, but Eclat was still going strong a full 24 hours later. Since Eclat’s drydown is the best part, I couldn’t have been more pleased. While it is predominantly jasmine, and thus a “feminine” fragrance, given its masculine elements, I think it would smell amazingly sexy on any man who thought he could get away with it. (Looking at you, Fracas-wearing dudes.) For women who like jasmine, Eclat’s unusual drydown should place it on your to-sample list.
Wearing Eclat de Jasmin, DK Jasmine, Jasmine Full and TDC Jasmine simultaneously is not for the faint of heart. But it was still fun.
By the way, the SA at Saks told me that, starting with this scent and going forward, Armani is making those gorgeous bottles refillable for the entire line. The regular bottle is $185 (Eclat has a pale pink stone, the white stone having been wasted on snoozefest Pierre de Lune), while the refills are $135.