These two were made as “his” (Vents Ardents) and “hers” (Nectars Des Iles) back in 2011.
Nectars Des Iles opens with heady, “perfume-y”, sweet orange, peach-laden osmanthus and frangipani. The tropical frangipani dominates, along with a very clean gardenia accord: there’s no mushroom or earthy accords here – just white, squeaky, creamy petals. It’s not a perfectly accurate gardenia, but it’s a fantastic interpretation. A hefty dose of white musk underneath is why I use the word “perfume-y” – it instantly throws itself off the skin in a soft layer, although the lactonics giving a surprisingly astringent/unsettling edge.
Now, Nectars Des Iles is not unsettling, but on my skin, it’s not the most comfortable – having said that, it would be dull if fragrance always was! – and I love this opening. If anything, it actually reminds me of a more floral, complex Crayon by Demeter – with a similar use of peach and “wax”. The wax smell is literally, smelling like wax crayons – a quality to white florals that often misses me but here it is out in full force.
The peach wax dominates, coloured with a wash of perfectly blended tropical florals and a touch of clean jasmine. It’s close to the skin at this point, the slight bitter butter of sandalwood coming in from underneath with a little greenery on the side. To me, it’s not fresh – neither does it smell like a natural bouquet – it’s an alien tropical floral that smells dated, and at times hyper-modern, almost like a Comme Des Garcons Gardenia. Do I like it? I really really do, but I couldn’t wear it. It’s strange because on paper, I should be all over this – and I adore the perfumer’s work with florals, but on my skin, this doesn’t work. However, I haven’t smelt a white floral like this – every difficult edge is smoothed out into something rounded, harmonious, and a little “bottom heavy” – perfect for those who struggle with the often overwhelming qualities of white florals. The white musk and sandalwood, sweetened only just, with a great vanilla – support the bitter/sweet fruity wax up top. The lactonics and the tropical pollen are a subtle sideline to my nose – and whilst I can’t wear it (unfortunately), it’s a fascinating little fragrance (and it would be a perfect, more mature replacement for my previous love Crayon by Demeter – which I can no longer wear either!). Recommended!
When I first smelt Vents Ardents, it literally took my breath away. Heavy, rich, red-coloured woods, stained with aged smoke and tobacco. The scent of tropical fruits (mango? sweet orange? pineapple? feijoa?), a lactonic quality reminiscent of coconut – but more the image of the dark shell than the soft white flesh and milk, it’s overwhelming! There’s sweet liquer - a heavy booze accord that is literally dizzying up top, with sweaty, salty facets all piled atop a subtle, but literal marine note (driftwood).
There’s a heavy dose of tonka bean, sweetening Vents Ardents to a point of tooth ache, and then the unrecognizable, exotic woods drag the fragrance down into a stale, bitter smoke – it’s a push and pull of sweetness and textures, my nose has no friggin’ idea what is going on. There’s a hint of floral powder, an almond-y heliotrope, at times completely overwhelmed by the heavier woods and remaining fruit punch, and at other’s almost dominating in a pitch and strength higher than I’ve ever smelt. There are drizzles of honey scattered throughout, gradually merging with the woods in an abstract Miel de Bois- style, completely different but equally as challenging.
Incase you’ve smelt it already, the listed wood is mahogany, I’ve never smelt the note so can’t be so specific, but underneath is a dry, dark oak – again, soaked in honey, liquor, tobacco smoke and the memory of overripe fruits. The marine accord underneath is not at all “watery”, instead: a concentrated drop of salt and rot…. At the very base, is white musk, more vanilla, a heavily balsamic amber accord and the multifaceted woods.
I can go on and on trying to describe in words what Vents Ardents smells like, but I find it near impossible without this write-up sounding like a mess. All I can say is, it is one of the most impressive fragrances I have smelt in a long time (since my beloved Chang Chang!), and without a doubt one of the best masculine’s I have smelt (although totally unisex and marketed so!). This fragrance is truly brilliant!
Envoyage Perfumes – Nectars Des Iles & Vents Ardents - 30ml EDP $70 each www.envoyageperfumes.com