Ladylike Perfumes. Perfume Review: Delrae Debut Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum
I talked about my favorite animalic musks and leathers, about my favorite sweet and tranquil gourmands, about my femme fatale scents. In view of my skanky tastes, it might or might not come as a surprise to you, but I have another favorite fragrance “category”, the one I call Ladylike Perfumes. It is easier to define a vamp than it is to define a lady. There is something indescribable and elusive about the latter. A scent has to have a certain seemingly passive composure, a certain delicate femininity, a certain slight aloofness about it for me to label it a ladylike fragrance. It has to smell “well-bred”, elegant, and, in its understated, refined way it has to be full of character. Dry, green chypres with not particularly dirty leather note are ladylike, white florals that don’t possess the come-hither kind of headiness are ladylike. The scents with prominent lily of the valley invariably seem ladylike to me. So do many aldehydic florals and many iris and violet scents. Many Diors (Miss Dior, Diorella, Diorissimo, Diorling) and even more Chanels (No 19, No 5, No 22, Cristalle, Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie and Gardenia) are ladylike. The list would also include Lancôme Climat, Madame Rochas, Hermes Caleche, Caron Violette Precieuse, Balmain Ivoire and Miss Balmain, Jacomo Silences, YSL Y, Patou Caline, Divine L’âme Sœur, Malone Fleur de la Foret, Antonia Flower’s Floret, the new S de Scherrer and the new Lanvin Rumeur (the original, gorgeously sensual Rumeur was anything but the lady, but I digress…).
Up there in the refined Mount Olympus of Ladylike Perfumes is Debut by Parfums Delrae. With notes of bergamot, lime, ylang-ylang, green leaves, lily of the valley, linden blossom, cyclamen, vetiver, sandalwood and musk, the scent is fresh, graceful and rather deceptively delicate. I would describe it as young, but this youthfulness is not of the kind with which many brands seem to think their consumers would identify. There is nothing pink, candy-like and cute about Debut. It smells to me like a scent Dior or Balmain would have released for their younger clientele in the days past. I call this scent Miss Delrae.
Debut was first released as an Eau de Toilette. Recently that formulation was discontinued and replaced with Eau de Parfum. I do not find them so dissimilar as to rue the demise of the EDT or to understand the need for the EDP. The main difference for me is the fact that while the breezy citrus top notes in Eau de Toilette last for quite some time finally giving way to the cool floral heart, Eau de Parfum seems to almost skip the citrus beginning going straight to the beautiful lily of the valley, whose coldness is balanced by the creamy ylang-ylang, and the airy, spring-like linden blossom. The latter is actually the most prominent note on my skin, in Eau de Parfum, and is very apparent even in the drydown, along with subtle musk and sandalwood. In Eau de Toilette, lily of the valley is a little louder and is accompanied by a green, grassy note. I feel that one really has to pay very close attention to smell these subtle differences. EDT and EDP last equally long on me and have the same amount and the same kind of subtle, but always present sillage. In short, both are exquisite.
Debut Eau de Toilette is still available at Aedes and Beautyhabit, $80.00 for 1.7oz. The latter already sell Debut Eau de Parfum, $125.00 for 1.7oz.
The first image, Dior Bar Suit from the New Look Collection, 1947, is from DesignMuseum.org. The second image is from ParfumsDelrae.com