Envoyage Perfumes – Debut de Carmel, Carmel de Ville

These two fragrances were blind buys in the Envoyage sale. I trust Shelley’s work enough to know that even if it’s not to my taste, it will at least be interesting. Thankfully, I fell for both of these on first sniff! Here’s why…

Debut de Carmel

Debut de Carmel opens with an almost lychee note… a watery, slightly green fruit that gains a little floral spice. It’s a near-mouthwatering, but more “refreshing” aquatic, tropical juice, that within minutes, transitions into a very clean, ivory soap with just a small touch of clove. Yep, the dominant soap accord was unexpected, and the transition is so rapid, and so literal, it was baffling the first time I tried this. I like soapy accords, but not when they’re bashed next to bitter floral greens (Antonia by Puredistance for example)… here, I could tolerate it… infact, I liked it, but hoped it wouldn’t stay this way until it end… thankfully it doesn’t :) instead, I find it quite a charming little phase of Debut.

Debut’s soap begins to turn creamy and a little sweeter as a vanilla, white musk, and a hyper-clean, subtle wash of apricot comes in. There’s a crisp lily of the valley and an abstract interpretation of white florals (gardenia) in here, with hints of soapy violet that reminds me of a non-aldehydic Stephen Jones by Comme Des Garcons, a love of mine. There is evening a fleeting smell of mineralic stone like in Stephen Jones. The dominating floral “feel” overall is Wisteria, another note I love. A slightly honeyed, powdery, purple floral that reminds me a little of lilac and heliotrope, but with a linden blossom feel… it’s like a combination of them all. A charming, very quaint, English smelling floral. Debut remains a squeaky clean, shiny, soapy floral with hints of soft fruits and musk – all atop an almost aquatic vanilla base. I can totally imagine that this doesn’t sound appealing, but I’m constantly drawn to it as something desperately easy to wear, and really comforting.

I love how Lucy over at IndiePerfumes said in her review: “how is it possible that the precise feeling of beginnings was captured in the form of a scent?  There is something anticipatory and active in how the notes hold together, a sense of curiosity and innocence.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Really lovely work.

Carmel De Ville

Carmel de Ville is a whole other story. It starts with tart, syrupy fruits, like a liqour. It’s spiked with sour edges of rhubarb, and yet sweetened with hints of brown sugar, fresh plums and peach/apricot. There are hints of powdery, honeyed florals (indolic jasmine?) – and the whole thing reminds me of an easier to wear… “prelude” to Chang Chang by Envoyage Perfumes… one of my favourites of her line. There is the same huge contrast of florals, tart fruit acetates that becomes totally holographic and impossible to pull apart, with an even greater dose of honey here. Where Chang Chang gets even more powerful with honey and cocoa, Carmel de Ville gets a little sweeter with a thin laquer of caramel, and a very urinous honey.

Now, the honey is what could be the thing that will make or break the fragrance for you. For me? It’s an absolute love. I adore things like Miel de Bois, Onda, (to a lesser extent) Absolue Pour Le Soir etc… Here though, that dry, slightly sour, animalic honey is enriched with all the jammy fruits and caramel that it becomes an abstract gourmand with an animalic edge. It’s fascinating to me, and something I feel hugely comforted in. It’s warm, human, filthy, but sweet and delicious at the same time. It’s become a bedtime staple for me :’) Much to my partner’s dismay… but there we go!

The honey is the dominant note in Carmel de Ville for me, along with the caramel, yet it remains holographic and multicoloured, never one-dimensional or predictable – a thing I adore about Shelley’s work. It settles into a sweetened patchouli/sandalwood much later on. If it sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll love it!
And as always I’m blown away by the gems in this line. Thrilled to have these :)

EnVoyage Perfumes – Carmel de Ville & Debut de Carmel – 15ml EDP – $40 http://www.envoyageperfumes.com

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13 thoughts on “Envoyage Perfumes – Debut de Carmel, Carmel de Ville

  1. poodle says:

    Carmel de Ville actually might be something I’d like I think. I prefer honey notes to things that are fecal any day. I haven’t really checked out this line yet. I guess I need to put it on my radar.

    • I really love it Poodle – definitely check out the line if you want to be inspired by perfumery again :) The perfumer is a hidden talent! Vents Ardents is one of my favourite masculines of all time, Durango comes close too – her use of honey in Chang Chang and Carmel de Ville is daring but beautifully done… yet everything smells brilliantly composed and not at all amateurish or jumbled like a few artisinal brands. Zelda has been getting all the hype (and deservedly so) so pick some samples careful if you get around to it :D xxx

      • poodle says:

        I do have a sample of Zelda. I need to try it again but I think you’re right, some of the others might be better for me to try. I like the price point too as well as the smaller size bottles. For a girl who loves to make blind buys that’s very tempting.

      • Definitely :) Did Zelda not work out for you then? I think it’s pretty outstanding, but so are many others in the lineup :) I blind bought these two as her taste just suits me perfectly

      • poodle says:

        When I tried it I immediately thought of an Avon face cream that my mom had when I was little. It was in an aqua colored jar and it was called Rich Moisture. There was a hand cream as well. I think Avon still has products with that name but I don’t know if they smell the same as they did back then. Zelda smelled like that to me, which isn’t bad but it was just a weird scent association thing I need to get past.

  2. Erica says:

    You’ve really been cranking out the reviews. Thank you! En Voyage is so fantastic, really glad you introduced me to Shelly’s work. She threw Lorelei and Targetes Femmes in my order and they are so pretty. This and Exotic Island are probably the safest lines (for me)to blind buy from.

    • Thanks Erica :) Ditto! I hear Exotic Island is working on a vetiver and an orchid… both sound AMAZING!
      I’m still desperate for a larger bottle of Magnolio de Verano, Waters of Aswan and maybe Flor Azteca D: money money money

  3. Dee says:

    Such great perfume in so simple package! it is more in quality than in appearance.

    • Definitely :D they are superior to SO many fragrance houses out there, yet the perfumer is so down to earth and relaxed about everything it makes it that much more exciting to me :) I think she’s amazing.

  4. Vanessa says:

    I love your description of Debut de Carmel and feel sure it is one I would enjoy. So I went rushing to my sample bag that came with Zelda to see if it was in there. It wasn’t, but I am now enjoying Lorelei instead, which is getting me in the mood for going to Germany next week. ;)

    • I think you would too Vanessa – it reminds me of Puredistance Antonia and I smushed together, simplified, and done how I like it! ;)
      I haven’t tried Lorelei I’ll look into it! Have fun in Germany lucky you!!

  5. Shelley says:

    Thank you so much for your lovely and insightful review Freddie, and to all for the kind comments.

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