I was sure – so very sure – that I would love Eau Duelle. It had everything going for it, including Diptyque and the notes listed. And yet I didn’t love it. I wasn’t going to bother with L’Artisan Coeur de Vétiver Sacré because it’s … vetiver, right? Then I found out it wasn’t really vetiver and my interest increased (while everyone else’s diminished. I’m anticipating lots of bottles up for swap).
In the meantime I was going to punt L’Artisan Traversée du Bosphore entirely, because I was sure I’d loathe it. Bertrand Duchaufour and I have a … murky relationship, as exemplified by Timbuktu and his Eau d’Italie oeuvre, although I loved Nuit de Tubéreuse. But a fragrance embracing the gaggingly sweet confection of Turkish delight, as Bosphore is supposed to? That dampened my ardor right quick. Notes are apple, pomegranate, tulip, iris, leather, saffron, Turkish delight accord (rose, lemon, pistachio), vanilla, musks.
I threw it into the order cart anyway. Then, one night, after I’d tried everything else … I glared at it awhile and then put some on.
Can we rewind for a second and shift our eyes up a few lines and look at that notes list again? Apple, pomegranate, Turkish delight accord, vanilla? Doesn’t that sound like instructions for a mulled alcoholic drink you’re going to be very sorry you consumed? I kept imagining those notes floating on top of the Duchaufour old-vase-water miasma, and the thought was not encouraging. But I like to suffer for my art, and now you are asking yourself, for the love of Pete, would you get to the point? Okay, I will.
The most striking thing initially is the transparency of the scent – anyone expecting a Serge-style riff on rahat loukoum is in for a surprise. How you manage to add light, heat and lift to those top notes is beyond me, but I guess that’s why BD’s the man, right? It’s sweet but not cloying, smooth but not dense, dry rather than powdery. I sat there for five minutes, nose glued to my wrist (no doubt with a look of shock on my face). The sweetness is joined to a slightly bitter leather note. And there it stays, transparently sweet and faintly bitter, rose against saffron, fruit against leather, until it fades slowly away a few hours later.
I tried it on against Cuir de Lancome, really the only thing I could think of that it reminds me of. Of course, side by side they seem far more different than similar. Cuir’s definitely more powdery – it smells like the inside of a ladies’ leather handbag with some expensive cosmetics. Bosphore’s a step in the gourmand direction without being “foody,” and fruit-ish without being fruit-y. Cuir is also one unified smell while Bosphore maintains two tracks – that bitter leather note versus the delicate sweetness of the apple-tobacco-loukoum. And it is delicate – diaphanous, one of those scents that seems to radiate from the skin rather than sit on top of it. Next to Bosphore, Cuir de Lancome is almost raucous.
I’ve already spoken with a few people who find it too tepid — too vague or doughy or evanescent. Me? I’m enchanted.
image of Turkish delight: loukoummania.com