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Monday, July 28, 2008

Citruses that pack a punch: Parfums Delrae Eau Illuminee and Jo Malone Grapefruit

This has been a cruel, cruel summer and not just because of the heat. It forced me to turn at night to hardcore comfort scents like Habanita, Fahrenheit, Tabac Blond, Coromandel and L'Ombre Fauve. To cope with the days, noli me tangere kinds of scents are required, cool, collected, poker-faced, the ones that would put an icy sort of armor around me. I needed very cold, very dry citruses, kick-ass citruses that would help me "walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer." I found them in Delrae's Eau Illuminee and Jo Malone's Grapefruit.

Eau Illuminee was love born out of acute need for icy protection that I described above. Before this summer hit me like a ton of hot bricks, I actually found this sharp fragrance rather disagreeable. These days, I consider its blend of bergamot, basil and lavender to be my holy water. Very urbane, very sophisticated, very modern, Eau Illuminee is the most unlikely magical potion one can think of, but the fact remains that when I wear this chilly concoction, I feel protected, calm, confident and a little dangerous. I also want to note for the benefit of those who, like me, might have never given the scent enough time to develop on their skin, because they were put off by the aggressively fresh, uncompromisingly dry beginning, that the composition warms up somewhat, when the notes of tonka and vanilla appear in the base.

Jo Malone's Grapefruit is another recent addition to my fragrance wardrobe. It is brisk, dry and cold. A citrus with attitude. The latter manifests in the form of slight spiciness that compliments very well the resolutely non-sweet, punch-packing tanginess of grapefruits. The earthy vetiver in the base plants the fragrance's feet, so to say, firmly on the ground, making Grapefruit a no-nonsense ally during dramatic times. When I feel, like Kissinger, that there cannot be a crisis next week because my schedule is already full, I turn to Grapefruit.

Eau Illuminee can be found at, $135.00. Grapefruit is available at, $50.00-$95.00.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It baffles me that most of the perfume blogs only list 'Eau dHadrien' and/or Eau Sauvage as the only citruses worthy of consideration. Say what? Maybe female perfume enthusiasts aren't well versed with top tier EDC/citruses. I am a huge fan of citruses/EDCs and the following are highly recommended if you haven't tried them already:

Czech & Speake Neroli
Czech & Speake Citrus Paradisi
Creed Bois de Cedrat
Creed Citrus Bigarade
Creed Neroli Sauvage
Parfums de Nicolai Balle de Match
Guerlain Pamplelune
Nina Ricci Signoricci
Monsieur Balmain
Geo F. Trumper GFT
Geo F. Trumper Extract of West Indian Limes

All pack a punch, and are superb for summer wear.

12:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What a great list, thank you!

6:46 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I don't think I have tried these, and I am not a citrus girl, as you know. Still, eau illuminee sounds possible for me; I can't believe I'll love Grapefruit. MeB Green, etc. is one of my favorite scents along these lines (well, it's not predominantly citrus, but it does have citrus in it, I think, and it evokes the feelings in me that you are describing in any case). I have to say that I enjoyed the Chanel Cologne, too, though not enough to buy a huge bottle.

8:42 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Also--Sel de Vetiver, another non-citrus that creates for me the paradoxically cooling armor you describe.

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I for one am taking notes...

11:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info and the beautiful site!

As a user of more 'mainstream' scents (availability & funds are always an issue) may I put in a good word for Pure White Linen (Estee Lauder)?

Easy to find and affordable, I'm just about bathing in it this summer - it stands up to sweltering humidity with a crisp, grapefruity scent that dries down to a soft, clean floral base. Please consider it, so it doesn't get discontinued!

12:17 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

I really need to give the JM Grapefruit another try, the wretched weather here right now would be perfect. The heat is horrible.

5:26 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

I found Eau Illuminee disagreeable too...maybe I need to try it again in this weather?

5:38 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You always use the best (and sexiest) pictures. This one is especially perfect for your review. But I am sorry to hear the cruel summer continues... :(

Chanel No. 19 is my stiff upper lip fragrance...

7:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm quite fond of kamali's zagara myself... 'bout the best for capturing that cool however lost california orange grove scent... verges on the melancholy

7:47 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I adore M. Roudnitska, so have always lived in hope that one day I will resample Illuminee and be able to find its magic. Will definitely have to go and do my ritual resampling when I get back home - would be so ideal if I could fall for it while its still summer. Oh, and that statement of Kissinger's has always been one of my favorites.

8:25 PM EDT  
Blogger the oblitterati said...

Oooh, thanks for the citrus shout out! I'll keep an eye open for the Eau Illuminee. For the past week I was battling the heat with Tartine et Chocolat.

10:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree with you that it does not have to be citrus to create that armour. Sel is perfect!

6:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I see you in Illuminee.

6:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is a lovely scent indeed.

6:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is one grapefruit "solifruit" :-) that does not have a, um, strange undertone on me

6:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think if it is destined to work, this heat is the time for it

6:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Aw, thank you!

6:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Love melancholic scents

6:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I hope you are having wonderful time!

6:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love the name of that scent :-)

6:57 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Colombina, I am sorry to hear your schedule is still crisis-full. So much as to drive you to citrus scents! I don't like them, but ones I've tried recently that I actually like and yet that have a chilly, almost astringent air but with a protective whisp of incense are L'Artisan's Passage D'Enfer and Micallef's Black Sea (despite the spices)! I was disappointed that CdG's Incense-Kyoto was too much like a man's cologne for me. Best wishes Emma x

7:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina: I'm not familiar at all with Eau Illuminee, but I am a die-hard fan of JM Grapefruit. In fact, I am a fiend for all things grapefruit, and it was in a quest for grapefruit scents that I got into this perfume obsession almost two years ago. The vetiver in JM used to put me off a bit, but now I love it and there is nothing I can think of that is more BONE-DRY than this scent (however, weather here on the central California coast is rarely hot, humid, or oppressive). I've come to love JM's Lime Basil Mandarin almost as much if not more, and PdN Balle de Match is vying to be my ultimate grapefruit, but I think this review has made me decide that JM Grapefruit will probably be one of my next full bottle purchases. For what it's worth, I've been happy with CdG's new Grapefruit, but compared to JM it is so sweetened with neroli as to hardly seem like grapefruit at all.

3:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

thank you! Incense is always comforting.

9:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

it was very interesting to read about your adventures in grapefruits, thank you!

9:17 AM EDT  
Blogger komankova said...

i love guerlaind pamplelune. i was looking for a new fran´grance forever, and am SO happy i have stumbled upon it

10:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Isa said...

Hi Colombina!

Here where I live (Southeast coast of Spain), heat and humidity are almost unbearable. That's why I have found a valuable ally in L'Occitane's Verveine. It's incredibly refreshing and, even better, it lasts a lot on my skin. I would never have thought it, after reading a lot of reviews remarking its poor staying power.

I think I will have to buy it again, I wear it without moderation!

6:56 AM EDT  

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