Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Parfums Delrae Debut, in a Roundabout Way

The last few days here in Atlanta, Spring has been flirting with us, flexing its biceps, or hiking up its skirt and showing a little leg--depending on your metaphor of choice. Yesterday was positively sticky, and I decided I needed to wear something light but not too springy. Enter Annick Goutal's Mandragore. I've worn this and planned to write about it twice, and each time something goes awry. The first time I missed the opportunity because of holiday madness. Yesterday, things didn't work out for a couple of reasons. First--and this is going to sound crazy but I'll say it anyway--I find that certain types of lighter perfumes actually feel sticky when it's humid outside. I can't explain it, but it feels like they won't dry, like they just suck up the moisture in the atmosphere and amplify it. This is particularly true when the temperature is mild, in the 60s or 70s. It's as though there isn't enough heat to keep the moisture at bay, or for the perfume to simply melt away (not that I want that, either).

Anyhow, I went to work Tuesday wearing Mandragore and feeling sticky sticky. (Not a typo. I was double sticky.) Mandragore is pretty (And look at that butterfly flacon! We wants it!), and I'll give it proper time another day, because honestly, the second thing that happened yesterday knocked it right out of my mind. On my lunch break I went to the post office, which is right near Ulta, and I decided to run in and sniff a few things I missed the last time I was there: Valentino Rock n' Rose (must try for real), Bulgari Omnia Amytheste (need to sniff again), Pleasures Exotic (um, no), and Lancome Poeme (which Katie featured on her Top Ten Fragrances of Winter). Problem? I managed to spray Poeme all over my hand. I don't know if you've ever actually smelled Poeme, but if you have, then you know it isn't exactly light. One spritz of Poeme on my left hand, and it was as though Angelina Jolie had walked into a room of fairly attractive housewives. The Mandragore was completely eclipsed. I was a little miffed--until I went outside. No sticky! It occurred to me then that in certain types of humid weather, one needs a perfume with a little bit of body to it, something that can fight back against the damp air and take the edge off that little bit of chill accompanying it. Poeme was getting the job done, and now I know I must also give that one a proper test.

As for the roundabout: With my new lesson learned about a heavier fragrance to combat the heavier humidity, this morning I chose Parfums Delrae Debut. (I have a bad habit of referring to this house as "DelRae," as though it's my cousin Del Rae**, who lives in a trailer with momma and them down the road apiece.) Debut has notes of bergamot, lime, green leaves, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, vetiver, sandalwood and musk. Parfums Delrae is a San Francisco-based perfumery, so I know they are familiar with damp, slightly chilled air, and I trust them to create a scent to withstand such weather. Debut certainly does, opening to a bright lime-aid green at the top that deepens quickly into a luxurious floral. The main heart notes, lily of the valley and ylang-ylang, form a union that does not smell like but reminds me of roses, for it has that same splendid headiness. It is the deepest purple, velvet to the touch, but at the same time the most accurate representation of spring on the verge of summer. In the base, the sandalwood and musk dominate, and I appreciate this. I worried that the vetiver might pull the base back from its deeper heart, and that would feel like a cheat, like a concert where the opening act is better than the headliner. The floral notes linger like the promise of a loved one's return.

Tomorrow it should be cold (well, cooler) again, but I feel hooked on flowers. Even with the warm weather the last few days, I feel the winter doldrums more than ever. A return to amber and incense feels like a resignation instead of a comfort. I'm in fragrance limbo. Does anyone else feel this way? If so, what do you wear these days? Please share in the comments. I know I can't be alone!

*images from
**Not an actual cousin.