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Monday, November 05, 2012

Puredistance Opardu: Perfectly Pretty in Pastels

By Donna

Having tried and loved the three previous launches from Puredistance, I wondered what they would do next. The first two, Puredistance I and Antonia, were ethereal feminine florals, while M was a refined masculine that many women would be more than happy to borrow from their man. Opardu, created by Annie Buzantian, shares a style aesthetic with her Puredistance I in that it is a lovely abstract floral with pastel shadings, but Opardu has its own distinctive character. Like the first one, it also has a curiously retro feel to it. They just don’t make this style of floral anymore, which was what I also thought when I smelled Puredistance I, which reminded me of Chanel No. 5. Opardu occupies the same rarefied world of long-departed scents like Le Galion’s Cub and Suzanne Thierry’s Ondine, perfumes whose only purpose was to embody innocent, harmonious purity.

This fragrance is not scheduled for release until November 2012, but I received a preview sample. Others who have tried it mentioned its similarity to Jean Patou’s Vacances, but I did not detect that when I first tried it. However, upon further testing, I can see the resemblance, up to a point. Opardu is rather like all the soft, misty, powdery parts of the Patou scent (which just happens to be my all-time favorite perfume) featuring mimosa and/or heliotrope, lilac, jasmine and other florals, but with none of the exhilarating green sharpness of cut grass and galbanum that made Vacances so distinctive. The list of ingredients says it contains green notes, but they are just an echo in the background; there is an abstract tanginess in the opening, like a fruit I don’t recognize, but it soon gives way to the softer notes and they in turn are joined by a prominent modern musk in the base that is very similar to Puredistance I’s musky character.

The question of “musk” in modern perfumes can be tricky since real musk is no longer used, to the relief of those tiny hoofed animals from when it once came. It now applies to a broad range of synthetics that can smell very different depending on each individual’s ability to detect them, which is a genetic trait. Some musks can smell very strong to most people but others cannot smell them at all, since their large molecules cannot pass through some people’s olfactory systems. The musk in Opardu falls in the middle ground between the so-called “clean” or “laundry” musks, which I frequently dislike, and the ones that can clear a room with their funky power. (The former are unfortunately legion in number, and in the latter category, Parfumerie Generale’s Drama Nuui comes to mind. It is a gorgeous jasmine fragrance at first, but an incredibly huge musk note soon overwhelms everything else. Not everyone has this experience with it, but I certainly did.) Opardu’s musk is judged just right, a definite presence that lends a round, rich and almost fruity quality to the drydown but does not distract from everything else. There is also a creamy/woody note in the base that is almost like watercolor sandalwood, if you can imagine, that is very pleasing. I could wish that the opening florals lasted longer, especially the lilac, but of course it is their nature to be short-lived. The drydown actually lasts a surprisingly long time.

This is what is remarkable about Opardu; its unwavering structure never falls apart after the most fragile of the florals pass, and it is still clearly written on the skin even the next day, a translucent, almost gauzy wood decorated with the light sweetness of musk and heliotrope. In this way, it resembles Hermessence Vanille Galante, being of about the same volume and composed with a light touch. If it were piece of music is would be Beethoven’s Für Elise, a tender vignette whose charm is not only in it delicacy but in its continuous repetition of a singular theme. It is all softness with no discernible “bones” yet it is as persistent as one could want, although certainly not strong, just a steady-state waft of prettiness floating just above the skin. In Opardu’s world, everything is perfectly pristine and pastel, and nothing bad ever happens. If only real life could be so carefree.

In the U.S., the Puredistance line can be found at Luckyscent. In Europe it is available at a few select 
shops. I would recommend trying a sample first, since the fragrances are made only in parfum strength 
and are priced accordingly.

Opardu image courtesy of
Disclosure: I received my advance sample for testing from the Puredistance Company.


Blogger Tama said...

Nice review, Donna. I was intrigued by this as well, but ultimately a bit disappointed, as it went all soapy on me. Lovely refined French-milled fancy perfumed soap, to be sure, but soap nonetheless.

I have never smelled Puredistance I but love Antonia and M.

3:02 AM EST  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Lovely review - I am convinced that I must have musk-amplifying skin, for the musk in Opardu ratchets up too far in the laundry musk direction on my skin, which is categorically not the experience of most reviewers whose feedback I have read so far. Your tender vignette of this tender vignette of a perfume(!) is exactly what I hoped to smell, but the musk was sadly too prominent.

2:50 PM EST  
Blogger Sujaan said...

I was lucky enough to receive a sample of Opardu and your description was perfect, "In Opardu’s world, everything is perfectly pristine and pastel, and nothing bad ever happens. If only real life could be so carefree."
This is such a pretty fragrance that I just cannot spend the money on, but wow, PRETTY! I didn't think it was particularly sexy and I'm not sure a man would love it on a woman, but I do think it would make a lovely wedding scent, as long as she switched to something sexier after the reception!

10:23 AM EST  

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