Well I’ve been off the scene for a while but decided to return :P
Two fragrances I picked up very cheaply over the December Sales period were these two. Both of them I bought on yellow-label clearance at TK Maxx (TJ Maxx) – for £20 each… bargain! Nuit Etoilee was a blind buy – although I had read about it before, and Peoneve I had tried just once, but my heart at that point was set on Amaranthine and nothing could top it.
I had been craving a “cologne” recently, as a citrus fragrance was something totally lacking in my collection… for a small price, I knew Nuit Etoilee would fill the spot… and as for Peoneve? Well, come on… that kind of thing is totally “me”.
Peoneve’s sharp alcoholic blast gives in to a huge rose/peony bouquet (with a touch of green violet leaf)… in honesty – without the Peony being a big give in the title, I wouldn’t have clocked. To me, they smell very similar to certain varieties of roses, maybe a combination of a few… a little cleaner, a citrus acidity, a slightly sharp greenery and the occasional bit of honey… all aspects which can come from a great rose mix. But there we go, I will continue to refer to it as rose/peony!
As I said, this huge floral up top is squeaky clean, but don’t read that as soapy! It’s pink in colour (but not cotton candy or sweet) – in fact, it’s quite bitter, smelling as natural as it can get despite the high-pitched intensity of the initial blast. It is a concentrated pink rose scent, with a subtle hint of dew, and crushed green leaves, a bit of lemon and citrus notes up top, a cool geranium – pretty glorious. This is the kind of rose I fell in love with upon trying April Aromatic’s Rosenlust – a handful of roses that don’t smell like a perfume, but instead smell like the flowers themselves. It’s a gorgeous thing to smell of! Peoneve however is a little more “perfume-y”, although I definitely wouldn’t call it dated, despite how classical, prim and proper it is. Yes it sounds cliche coming form the house of Penhaligon’s, and I admit, that is generally NOT my sort of thing. With roses however? I can make an exception. I like how old-school dainty it feels.
Peoneve is pretty loud for the first couple of hours, retreating over time into something much more restrained but long-lasting. I’ve read over and over about a “sweaty vetiver” in the base. I get the vetiver, but it’s a subtle earthy accord to continue the feel of the flower>>earth structure, I don’t consider it sweaty, or skanky, or dirty in the least. In fact, it’s very quiet on my skin, vetiver needs to be screaming in my face for me to notice or pay attention to it (which is why I haven’t yet found MY vetiver – well, I have… Turtle Vetiver Front… but it’s no longer available, ARGH!). Still, the drydown is nice, it turns just a smidge musky, a hint of smoke, but keeps the freshness throughout. I find that the rose, with the sharp whatever-chemicals up top, and the vetiver – create an almost gasoline-type note in the drydown. It’s the petrol accord that I often find in roses, sometimes amplified by rose oxide (Keiko Mecheri’s Damascena being the prime example)… and I love that of course. The whole composition however does the same thing that Un Matin D’Orage by Annick Goutal does for me – keep me feeling fresh and floral all day, which is MY preferred version of a cologne. Who needs citrus and herbs?! Recommended.
Nuit Etoilee opens with sweet lemon, mint and pine all at once. The lemon isn’t bitter, or even acidic… it’s fresh, with a subtle creamy quality thankfully JUST steering it away from “cleaning-product lemon”. The mint is more subtle on my skin than I hear a lot of people say… again, it feels sweetened, like a candied peppermint. Overall? It smells like a cocktail up top, like a non-alcoholic citrus heavy mojito. Bad description I know, that drink would suck – but you get the idea… brown sugar and all.
The pine? Now I love the pine in this. The reason being – it’s not paired with a bucket load of incense to portray the tired “forest at night” smell… OK, Nuit Etoilee IS trying to portray the forest at night smell, but they get it pretty wrong. So yes, no incense here… instead the pine contrasts with the mint, to create a more mentholated, jammy smell. I love that sticky pine needle smell, at times – again, I find the note overused and tiresome, or maybe it just gets boring very quickly… still, here I don’t get that, because it’s thrown into a more “cologne” setting and it works.
Underneath all this is a tonka/vanilla kinda base. A sweet, slightly toasted smell, some say marshmallow? I say great imagination… or marketing? It’s the think sweetening everything from the start, but not in a sickly candied way… just the way that a good nutty-ish tonka does, you know? It’s soft however, with little through. It stays close to the skin, totally inoffensive and easy to wear – and you’re right, it sounds like a total snoozefest. BUT, it’s totally unlike anything I have in my collection, not something I’ll reach for a ton, but when the time is right I know it’ll be there and I’ve used it a fair bit already ;) Not every day my stomach can handle a powerhouse masterpiece, simplicity is needed sometimes. Do I recommend it? Nah not really, but it’s nice enough – and whilst £20 for 100ml is a steal, I wouldn’t pay any more for it.