Friday, July 12, 2013

A Spicy and Comforting Vanilla that Defies Expectations: Diptyque's Eau Duelle

I think it's safe to say that I'm fairly picky where vanilla fragrances are concerned. Though beautiful, Serge Lutens Une Bois Vanille simply smells too one-dimensional on me and other celebrated vanilla scents by Comptoir Sud Pacifique are far too sweet for my taste. I love a good woody, spicy or incense inspired fragrance particularly when it leans toward unisex (though, if we're honest, all perfumes are unisex) and I believe I've found it in Diptyque's spicy Eau Duelle. 

Unlike many of my purchases, Eau Duelle wasn't born of a love affair with a scent or of any particular consideration. Diptyque's fragrances housed in their old, square packaging were available on HauteLook for a more than reasonable price and given my affinity for fragrance I simply couldn't say no to the opportunity that presented me. After a quick review of the perfumes available I settled on Eau Duelle. I hadn't smelled it in years, not since my memorable visit to Diptyque's flagship store on boulevard Saint Germain, and decided to live life on the edge. 


What's wonderful about Eau Duelle is it's aromatic complexity. Many vanilla fragrances fall flat on me: I'm often left with the impression that I've doused myself in vanilla extract that simply won't evolve or change against my skin's chemistry. Eau Duelle is different. Vanilla is present at all times, but rather than stepping to the forefront of one's sensory perception it anchors the many lovely spices that accompany it rendering them somewhat more gentle than they may be were they to stand alone. Against my skin the most notable of these spices are cardamom, juniper and pink pepper though saffron and bergamot are also playfully present surprising me as I turn my head or allow the fragrance to catch me unawares. After hours of wear Eau Duelle reveals the meaning behind its name and changes to become somewhat more substantial and resinous with a musky undertone. Here too, vanilla is ever present and ever evolving. 


I've been wearing Eau Duelle in July, and for me that means humid heat. In this kind of weather the perfume shines, it's spicy dryness keeping the sweet vanilla from feeling too cloying. I can only fathom how magical and comforting it will be on a cold day as the "pallor of a winter evening" closes in (thank you for that perfect description of a winter's afternoon Daphne DuMaurier). There is something so reassuring and warming about this spicy vanilla, like a giant oatmeal colored cashmere blanket next to a crackling fire.

As Volutes and Philosykos have already taught me, and Eau Duelle has reinforced there is something truly magical about Diptyque fragrances. I've yet to be disappointed and more to the point I often find myself surprised when I take the time to sit down and quietly reflect on the twists and turns of the brand's perfumes. Seemingly straightforward, I often find that my Diptyque perfumes are anything but in the most pleasant way possible. Apparently I am a card carrying member of the cult of Diptyque.

Have you tried Diptyque's Eau Duelle? What is your favorite Diptyque perfume?