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Friday, April 22, 2011

Esprit d'Oscar: In the Spirit of... Guerlain

By Marina

There are two Guerlain scents I love dearly and never want to be without, Apres L'Ondee and Quand Vient la Pluie. For the last couple of years, however, I felt out of tune with both. The former smells too pale, transparent and melancholy to me, the latter too intense, sweet and bright. You might be surprised to hear that I found a happy medium in the new Oscar de la Renta fragrance, Esprit d'Oscar. As Goldilocks would say, it's just right.

Esprit d'Oscar smells "like a Guerlain" to me, more particularly, like a close relative of the two scents mentioned above, with more body and color than Apres L'Ondee, less zaftig and honeyed than Quand Vient la Pluie. The perfume's tag line is "a modern take on the classic de la Renta scent", but in this case "a modern take" does not mean, "young", which became a four letter word for fragrance lovers, since it usually means, fruity, sparkly, generic and twee. Esprit is none of those. There is a certain olfactory "shimmer" to the scent, from the citrus notes, which also have a certain understated candied feel, and from orange blossom in the heart, but not so much as to make it truly "sparkly", which to me is as tiresome in fragrances as constant cheerfulness in people.

What makes Esprit d'Oscar so appealing to me, and what makes it "Guerlain-like", in my mind, is the generous dose of heliotrope. The note, together with tonka, provides a velvety, moderately plush backdrop for an elegant floral blend of jasmine and tuberose in the heart. Powderiness in a scent, when done right tends to lend perfumes a "classic" feel, or rather- a certain air of timelessness, agelessness, always-in-fashion-ness. This is the case with heliotrope in Esprit d'Oscar. Having said that, I wouldn't call this a heliotrope-centered fragrance at all. Like all "proper perfumes", it doesn't smells of any one particular ingredient, and is an abstract composition.

To sum up: love and hope you try it too. Available in "select department stores", $78.00-$98.00.



Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

I smelled Esprit d'Oscar via scent strip in a magazine, and was very pleasantly surprised. I feel confident enough about it to just go ahead and buy a bottle of it without testing the juice on my skin, it's really beautiful. I have an Oscar candle that I've been burning lately, and I can see how the two perfumes are related, and you summed it up well by stating that the modern update of the scent is not "young" in that icky fruity way, thankfully.

12:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Carrie Meredith
If it smells so well even on a scent strip, then it is truly impressive!

10:03 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is not a youthified take on the original Oscar? (raises eyebrows in interest) I smelled a vintage Oscar parfum recently and rather liked it.

I do love the smell of Apres l'Ondee, but I find that I don't wear it often - it is so moody and wistful.

10:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I must say I do not remember the original Oscar (need to go and find sample right now), but whatever they did to it to create this one, did not result in anything terribly "young" (what the industry thinks the young like, anyway)

10:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Wow, M., you are really picking the gems from the dross lately. How do you find this stuff?

I have some pretty strong association of teen angst with the original Oscar. Tried a bit of the vintage stuff again recently and was completely overwhelmed until I got to the rather delicious drydown. Can definitely imagine this version, though...

1:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This one is all over the May glossies. I hope it does well bcs it's so lovely but I have to wonder if it is commercial enough.

Teen angst :))

3:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I sniffed this in the Oscar store in Las Vegas a few weeks ago . I thought that it was lovely! Thanks for the great review of it M.

11:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

glad you liked it too

9:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Brian said...

This one was a total surprise to me, Marina. I love it. I've smelled the Guerlains but don't own them and have only vague memories of them so I didn't make the comparison. Esprit does seem like a classic. It reminded me of a Chanel somehow, that smooth floral with a slightly sunny, creamy disposition. A perfect go to scent. The original has much more emphasis on carnation I think, which gives it a much sharper edge. That's my memory anyway.

9:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can see a comparison to Chanel too, in a certain polished quality. A go to scent indeed!

10:11 AM EDT  

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