Perles de Lalique (Pearls of Lalique) is the most recent women's perfume edition by the house of Lalique. It was released in May in Europe and will be introduced in the USA in September. This modern take on a chypre was composed by nose Nathalie Lorson of Firmenich. Ideas behind the perfume were both a desire to tip one's hat to the Roaring Twenties as well as herald a revival of the chypres in modern perfumery.
The flacon for the perfume is designed after the famous boîte à cactus created by founder and glass artist René Lalique (1860-1945.) The rectangular flacons for the edp are also inspired by it but in a more indirect fashion only keeping the opalescent white coloring dotted with onyx but still referring themselves to an art deco style...
The perfume notes are fresh notes and Bulgarian rose in the top, followed by iris and Bourbon pepper in the heart seguing into patchouli and musks. Perles de Lalique starts with a wonderful bracing fresh green opening anchored by a sensual fruity and fleshy Bulgarian rose with soft undertones of pepper. The Bourbon pepper (pink pepper) then becomes more pungent and green and smells a little to my nose like green olives in brine. Mind you, it is pleasant. The accord seems to move from fresh green pepper to a drier black pepper. In the heart, the perfume's atmosphere changes readily. From the high-pitched notes of the introduction it slowly and very progressively evolves into a creamy and subtle powdery heart.The iris enters as if folded into the creamy perfume. In fact, at this point you are reminded that the name of the perfume is based upon the idea that the scent is supposed to feel like the silken touch of a necklace of pearls on the skin. The fragrance then develops more and more low-pitched notes and becomes creamier and creamier suggesting a delicious vanilla and Tonka, the latter smelling almost of cacao thus creating a slightly more gourmand atmosphere. In the base notes, the patchouli is treated in a transparent manner making you think of a mauve aquarelle tint coloring the bouquet, probably due to the iris. The muscs smell subtle. Later, the patchouli becomes more pronounced and woodsy. The fragrance transforms itself into a skin scent with much more present muscs gently glowing with amber. It makes me think of a soft, white, powdery and muted Tocade at this point. The dry down is refined with a hint of sandalwood. I note that where you apply more moisturizer on the skin the perfume retains its chypre allure better.
After having experienced Perles de Lalique it looks to me that what Lalique is trying to achieve is a renewal of creativity in the family of chypres rather than just wishing for a return or more frequent introductions of chypres in the traditional manner in the market. This becomes clear when one realizes that despite the fact that chypre may not be the most popular family of perfumes where the general public is concerned, it nevertheless is well and alive. The upcoming Soir de Lune by Sisley promises to be interesting as their previous chypre creation, Eau du Soir already is, albeit in a more traditional, magnified classic vein than Perles.The popular market in France has recently come up with a Chypre hit, Un Jour Se Lève by Yves Rocher. I cannot but note that Perles de Lalique is not a conventional chypre as it evolves from a distinct, classic chypre impression to a soft, almost gourmand oriental. Somehow, still, the tartness we are used to see in a chypre lingers on for quite a while. After having just reviewed Chypre Rouge by Serge Lutens, I do see that there is a will emanating from certain perfumers to revisit chypres and give them a 21st century imprint. Perles de Lalique is less uncoventional than Chypre Rouge but it does take some liberties with the genre. However, it makes less of a break with the past because it mixes tradition with modernity.
The perfume smells very good and is very feminine. As one inhale the fragrance, it feels as if a rose's soft satiny petals were gently unfolding in the morning light, half-remembering and following the movement of a waltz heard playing at the ball the night before whose music escaped out of the window into the garden to reach the rose.
The perfume bottled in a crystal flacon retails for 390 Euros. The edp is 48 (50 ml) and 68 Euros (100 ml).
Photo is from Osmoz and is for the parfum concentration.