The other day, I was talking with a friend about what a Proper Perfume is like. I came to the conclusion that it has to be abstract, i.e. to smell of no particular ingredient but rather to appear as an amalgamation of several, almost indistinguishable notes (classic Chanels are an example of how such abstraction is done); it has to interpret its inspiration in a non-literal, non-obvious manner (most of Etat Libre d'Orange scents are examples of how not to interpret an inspiration); it -and this is directly related to the first two requirements - has to be in fact a Perfume, not a Smell: I don't want to smell of actual rain, actual snow, actual rose... I want to smell of rain as interpreted through an abstract prism of perfumer's unconventional imagination. "Realistic", for me, is not a compliment for a fragrance. It can be entirely natural, but, to be a Proper Perfume, it still has to smell man-made, not found-in-nature. (Demeters and a lot of CB I Hates are smells. Genius in their realism, but smells. Old Guerlains and old Diors, Editions de Parfums and Annick Goutals are perfumes.)
Divine by Divine is a Proper Perfume. If you read that it consists of tuberose, coriander, peach, vanilla and moss, among other things, you will smell them. Otherwise, the fragrance will unfold as a beautiful harmony in which no voice can be heard and recognized better than others. It is a group effort and it is an abstraction. It is complex, but, as a perfectly tailored silk dress, it appears seamless and fits effortlessly. The progression from fruity-spicy top notes, to the creamy floral heart to the mossy, vanillic drydown is classic, and yet the perfume smells like no other. Because it is so buttery-smooth and accordant, it is very easy to wear, but it is not a casual scent. And it brings me to another important characteristic of a Proper Perfume... However mundane real life is and however few evenings in the Opéra, chic soirees and formal dinners an average life contains, a Proper Perfume has to be glamorous. Which Divine certainly is.
So what to wear to elegant Holiday parties? This! Impeccably refined, rich and, as such, slightly old-fashioned, Divine is a perfect companion on a dressy occasion.
Available at luckyscent.com and divine.fr, $120.00 for 50ml.
Image source, Ralph Lauren.