Some time ago, I became interested in vanilla – shortly after hell froze over. I still tend to like my vanilla with a twist, and one of these days I’m going to pull myself together and do a post on oddball vanillas. In the meantime, I got busy and sampled Diptyque Eau Duelle, which has gotten raves both on the blogs and from a number of friends.
Diptyque was stocked at our niche frag boutique, Art With Flowers, when I was first getting into sniffage, and some of their scents are very strange (Vinaigre, anyone? Eau d’Elide?) I mourn the disappearance of the brand from shelves all over, chased off (like Rigaud) by cooler, niche-ier things. Notes for Duelle are bergamot, cardamom, pink pepper, elemi, juniper, saffron, calamus, frankincense, cypriol, black tea, vanilla, musk and amber.
Eau Duelle opens with a hearty blast of bergamot and a bizarrely sweet note that lasts about ten seconds and reminded me of Daphne Bugey’s obscure 7:15AM in Bali by Kenzo, and I should point out right here that nobody else has mentioned finding it especially sweet, so YMMV. It becomes more vanillic and smokier right away, and much more peppery after a few minutes, passing from Earl Grey tea to lapsang and then on to CdG’s coriander-rich 8 88. There’s a hint of tobacco, the vanilla moderates, and it never becomes anything like a gourmand scent.
As Victoria notes (yes, she’s back to blogging regularly! Hold onto your wallets!) Eau Duelle bears a bit of a resemblance to both L’Instant and Shalimar, the original oddball vanilla — there’s that combination of citrus/bergamot, that smoky facet, and vanilla, after the spices have faded.
I admit to being very much on the fence about this, and I am having trouble deciding why. It isn’t really vanillic enough to satisfy someone wanting a “vanilla” fragrance, in my opinion. But it doesn’t seem enough of anything else, either. Diptyques can resemble rough sketches, nice ideas that aren’t the most polished things out there, and that can be part of their quirky charm. But Eau Duelle feels unfinished to me, like they came up with half a perfume and abandoned the project. But, again, that’s just me. It’s gotten lots of love, so if any of these notes sound appealing, go for it.
source: private sample