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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We Love NY? I Love Angkor Wat!

By Marla

Olivia Giacobetti’s Vamp a NY, a new organic, all-natural perfume for Honore des Pres, is sadly mis-named. I suppose the HdP marketing team chose it to capitalize on what’s left of youth culture enthusiasm for the Twilight phenomenon. But this gorgeous creation conjures neither angst-ridden teen vampires nor urban dystopias. Instead, I find myself transported back in time to the 12th century Khmer Empire of Cambodia, and specifically, to the court dancers who performed their impossibly graceful ballets in royal palaces and temples.

Lush and tropical, Vamp officially opens on a rum accord, but there’s nothing at all boozy here to my nose. Instead, I get about 10 minutes of a shimmering sharpness, like bright shafts of sunlight on a lotus pond. The heart of Vamp is a stunning melange of equatorial flowers cut from the Emperor’s garden. Tuberose, ylang ylang, and perhaps some frangipani grace this bouquet. Natural vanilla, both orchid and pod, with the lovely green banana facet found in the actual plant, weaves like the court dancers’ hands in and out of the flowers. Later, hints of smoked spice (turmeric, perhaps paired with a tiny bit of massoia bark?) emerge through warm drafts of tolu and Peru balsams. This is the deep, deep south. This is the Equator.

The composite effect of Vamp is of sunlight, air, still dark waters, and shimmering heat. No vampire could survive in this radiant atmosphere. Longevity is excellent, especially considering that all-natural perfumes are notorious for their ephemerality. Sillage is good, neither too strong, nor cloying. And Vamp blooms beautifully in the summer heat.

I’m delighted with this new trend toward all-natural perfumes, and thrilled that some of the best noses in the business are creating in this genre. My only complaint is that it should have been named, “Apsara”.

Photos: French EFEO archeologist Charles Carpeaux in the ruins of Angkor, early 20th century, a Cambodian dancer at the Royal Palace, 1921, stone apsara.

Disclosure: I received a sample of Vamp through the Blog Grain de Musc. I have no financial ties to any entity connected with this perfume.

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Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Marla, I think the New York theme for the whole HdP collection was inspired by Olivia Giacobetti's move to New York, as was she. I haven't been to NY since pre-Giuliani times, but I agree this feels more tropical than urban!

2:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad she loves my country, and I hope she stays a long time, we'll all smell better as a result!

3:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Wow, now that sounds magnifique ! I definitely want a sniff.

4:51 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the chance today to try tuberose absolute for the first time. It's lovely stuff, quite different from fresh tuberose blossoms, and has that toasty aspect that OG has really played up to great effect in Vamp. Fun!

6:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Hi Marla! Interesting to read this after coming over from Perfume Posse. I totally agree with you on the tropical frangipani vibe--I was reminded of a very sweet Songes after the head notes blew over--but I wish I got what you got in the top. Like March, my mind says "rootbeer," a note I associate, in natural materials, with balsam.

8:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous March said...

My goodness, I want what you're having! I must be the sugar-amplifier of all time. Although I'm not the only one ... you know when other people are mentioning MDCI Peche and circus peanuts, I'm not alone! ;-)

BTW Angkor Wat is at the top of my interesting places. I took the girls in 2007, we stayed in Siem Reap, which was glorious. I even tried durian ice cream! I wish it weren't so far, I would go again in a heartbeat.

9:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, March!
I became interested in Angkor Wat when I translated the diaries of the archeologist in the picture, Charles Carpeaux, into English. Thoroughly fascinating, and I hope I can go someday (the translation's in the library at Siem Reap, but I couldn't go with it, sadly.)

10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haven't smelled it yet, but when i saw the word "vamp," i immediately thought of the word in terms of a femme fatale - or a movie siren from the '20s-'30s. does that fit the scent any better? i doubt they meant it in relation to a shoe part...


8:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Minette!
I guess I'm showing my GenX-ness, I immediately assumed Anne Rice/Twilight/Supernatural (Sam and Dean!) when I saw the word "Vamp"! So no, I really don't know what was meant by the title, but this is such a sunny, colorful, beautiful fragrance, I still hold it has the wrong name....

12:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Oh wow, this does not sound like a typical Giacobetti scent at all, but it does sound fantastic!

1:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose that it is imaginative and playful, which seems very OG to me. It seems to be more like when an artist moves from watercolors to acrylics, there is suddenly less delicacy but a lot more ZAP*(#! POW##! if you know what I mean!

5:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous CynthiaL said...

Totally concur! Love the scent, but New York would be the last connection I would make to such a tropical fragrance. I live in Asia part time, and it took me back to Ubud in Bali, where stalks of melam melam (tuberose) fragranced the air with their heady scent.
Wonderful writing, by the way. Your descriptive powers paint beautiful mental pictures!

9:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Oh! Oh! Now I WANT this one -- thank you so much for relocating it where it belongs. :)

11:40 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ducks and Cynthia,
Yes, it's definitely Asia-1, NYC-0 on this one! And Bali is right on, sounds fantastic, I've always wanted to visit. I love tuberose in the garden as well.

2:08 AM EDT  
Anonymous Claudia0219 said...

Well...i purchased both Vamp and I love les Carottes. I can say one thing, I love les Carottes smells beautiful when i first spray it on but turns into smelling like damp dirt on my i have been digging in the Garden for too i passed this one on to a friend that utterly adores it. On the other hand the Vamp is stunning...the best Honore fragrance i have smelled. I cannot stop sniffing my arm.

1:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice article! Thank you!

5:41 PM EDT  

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