Diptyque Eau Duelle

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

102 Comments
Geordan1244 December 2, 2010

I thought it was just me that didn't care too much for it! Most of what I get from it is pepper... I normally like pepper, but when I'm wanting vanilla, I'm really not wanting a blast of pepper like this. Glad my wallet could avoid this one... (you notice I put the blame on the wallet, and not myself).

FragrantWitch December 1, 2010

As a big, longtime, fan of Shalimar, all of this has made me curious to investigate both Duelle and Ode. I have to admits I had mentally written the Ode de Shalimar off, fearing a Belle d'Opium situation, but if it dries down to a smoky grey ( fab description and so, so helpful) I am on it. Duelle sounds like it might be a meh but for the citrus/vanilla combo I'll give it a shot. Thanks, March!

Gail S December 1, 2010

Eau Duelle was horrific on me, so you can add me to your little minority. Sickeningly sweet and reeeeeeaallllly long-lasting. Definitely a no-go.

Rappleyea December 1, 2010

Like Fi above, I'm a life long Guerlain lover so of course I like vanilla. My first vanilla-centric scent was their SDV, which I love especially for the boozy/tobacco aspects. I also manage to get quite a bit of rose - not your favorite note, I know. Your comment on the musk base with a half life of uranium was enough to make me run away *fast* from this Duelle. I loathe the new musk bases and they last forever anyway on my scent glue skin. I was sorely disappointed in Ode - all lemon Pledge followed by vanilla. It smelled to me like one of those - "If you like Shalimar, you'll love XXX" knock-off scents.

Victoria December 1, 2010

I love Diptyque in general, and I am really surprised by the direction they have taken lately. As much as I appreciated their older scents, they strike me as more atmospheric. Vetyverio and Eau Duelle are the ones I will wear with pleasure. Since I like vanilla only in small doses, Eau Duelle fits the bill perfectly. Have you tried Shalimar Ode de la Vanille? Several people on BdJ mentioned wanting it for their Christmas presents, so now I am curious about it.

Cheryl December 1, 2010

I have sampled this and I LOVE it...but not as a vanilla fragrance per se. I am thrilled about all its other qualities...it dry swirl of cardamon and spice...it's day time appropriate vibe..and it lasts. Please let's hear about oddball vanillas! THOSE sound fascinating...

Shelley December 1, 2010

I've only smelled this one once so far, but the "on the fence" / not quite vanilla part rings true with me. In fact, it is exactly what gives it the "try again" rating, because I tend to gak at scents that are too much vanilla. (Vintage Shalimar, while lovely in its way, screams VANILLA to me. It's like I went out wearing an oriental and fell into a bucket full my double strength vanilla extract. But then, that happens with OMG GUERLAIN (Just realized!)--Mitsouko ends up hollering PEACH most times I wear it. And now that I've fully established grounds for dismissal of what I think...I think that it is the "not quite a vanilla" part of it that will send me in search of a small decant. I remember a kind of see-saw between tobacco and vanilla, and that was--interesting. Fun for at least a few more playdates. I am not sure if there will be the need for more beyond that...but the jury is out.

Francesca December 1, 2010

Yay, a post about something I actually own. I still feel like such a noob. I really like Eau Duelle a lot (and send some of that liking to Oyedo and Eau Trois, too!) I went to the launch at the Diptyque shop, where they had all the ingredients laid out on a table to be sniffed individually, which was interesting. I wonder if the Opoponax resin contributes to the scent's longevity on skin? It also contains two synthetic vanillas (they had some vanilla beans to sniff, so maybe there's some natural vanilla, but I didn't ask) one was bourbon vanilla, a very vanilla-y boozy vanilla, and the other, I can't remember the name, made, I believe, by Firmenich, was extremely subtle and smelled to me like truffle oil. Perhaps another contributor to longevity on skin. I can see myself wearing this a lot on cold winter days. It's a good office scent.

bloody frida December 1, 2010

We both reviewed the same fragrance on the same day! One of my absolute favorites is Diptyque's L'Ombre Dans L'eau; this one, not so much.

donanicola December 1, 2010

I like this alot and particularly in the solid version (but then I'm a sucker for Diptyque packaging). I get the Shalimar connection (though PG's Felanilla is my go-to nearly Shalimar) but to me ED is very close to my HG vanilla, Le Labo Vanille 44. Smokey and non foody but still comforting. If I hadn't taken advantage of Le Labo making all city exclusives available last year for a limited time I'd have bought this.

Masha December 1, 2010

It's snowy/icy/darned cold here, and I'm enjoying my sample of ED, which, by weird coincidence, arrived in my mailbox today! It reminds me very much of PG's Cadjmere! I don't even know if Cadjmere is made anymore, but they could be twins. Since I really liked Cadjmere, I like ED, also.

Melissa December 1, 2010

I tried Eau Duelle a month or so ago and found it to be an odd combination of slightly transparent (the citrus?) and extremely long-lasting. It's very nicely executed, but for whatever reason, I wouldn't buy a bottle. I have difficulty with vanilla fragrances. The note is great as a base note, but when it's featured too prominently, I turn into a perfume Goldilocks. "This one's too cupcakey, this one's too thin, this one smells like cherry/vanilla pipe tobacco etc etc." The only recent vanilla scent that jumped right off the shelves and into my collection was Shalimar Ode a la Vanille. But Shalimar Ode is like an easier to wear Shalimar ("the oddball vanilla"). Which, in its vintage versions, I have loved for years.

gator grad December 1, 2010

Okay, I must be dull, because I like it. Simple, not overly sweet, somewhat smoky and somewhat green. It's a nice comforting scent. Perhaps not FBW, but certainly worth a decant. And it lasts forever on fabric. I haven't smelled the new Shalimar Ode a la Vanilla. Is it anything like that?

Robin December 1, 2010

Gotta add my grumble: some of their *old* scents were strange. Their new ones are mostly not enough of anything. And I grumble only because it was one of my favorite brands.

Sherri M. December 1, 2010

March, thank you for saving me from an impulse buy! I just opened the Luckyscent Diptyque promotion offer in the morning e-mail. I love vanilla, and was hoping this would be a rich vanilla with a touch of their "feu de bois" candle (I love that one!) mixed in, especially after hearing reviewers rave about its smoky, peppery quality. But alas, no smoke and only a touch of pepper on me. This baby's a citrus-y vanilla. I get the Shalimar opening similarity, but this is much more like L'Instant in the drydown. I'm not saying that in a disparaging way; I actually like L'Instant as mainstream perfumes go. It's just not what I expected from Diptyque (I loooooove their candles, esp. tubereuse and feu de bois). Thank you for reminding me again why I was also on the fence and I'm sure dh would chime in and thank you for saving his credit card! :-)

Fiordiligi December 1, 2010

Hi March. I'm a fan of vanilla (as a lifelong Guerlain lover) so I don't think this little Diptyque number does it at all. I spend far too much money on Diptyque candles (can't walk past the shop without buying more) but the perfumes have never really attracted me - pleasant, but that's all. Oh, and their graphics are terrific....

Mary December 1, 2010

Hmmmm-- I found some more vintage Shalimar over the weekend, which is so potent, rich and heady, I am not.quite.sure.it is legal to possess without a Rx. I do not need any other vanill perfume in my life. But now, I want to try Eau Duelle. You are powerful!:)>-:)>-

Musette December 1, 2010

they are a strange company with their hits and misses. Oyedo works well for me, as does Tam Dao (though I always feel like I should be spraying Tam Dao in the sauna...if I had a sauna, that is. Man..I could use a sauna right now, it's freeeezing.... ...pop! oh! sorry - where was I? but I never could quite get with the figgy goodness and Olene is Sweet Greeeeen. A little too sweet for me - but that one does feel finished. 6am meeting. I'm out! xo >-)

Erin T December 1, 2010

I felt the same about it, really. Didn't particularly float my boat, well-put-together, a little puzzling, but much less baffling than their last purported vetiver scent. Two un-related things, if you don't mind: first, a question. You read the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, correct? Are they too violent and/or steamy to buy for someone who is interested in vampire fiction, but is relatively devout? I don't know this person (it's Christmas hamper time through our friend's Catholic church), so I guess I'm trying to gauge how potentially offensive they might be. Second, I thought you might join me in mourning the fact that I got an email at 5:00 today telling me Patricia de Nicolai is in town and giving a free lecture (in French) at the Alliance Francaise a short distance away from me. Of course, I can't go, because I can't get the kids looked after with this notice. *sob* She is my fave....