Yves Rocher is going to introduce Neonatura Breath - Souffle in the US market this spring of 2008 after they launched it last year in France. Described as evoking "...the radiantly heated sensuality of a warm breeze caressing the sand" and as showcasing a "sunny jasmine" we expected it to be a light summery jasmine with maybe an iodine edge to call to mind the backwash of the sea. Created by perfumer Delphine Lebeau from Givaudan, it appears in fact to be an economically priced mass-market version of a popular category of perfumes, the luscious tropical white floral blended with coconut, a warm-sand accord, and some citrus to add sparkle and fizz. Therefore we think it fits well in our Perfumista on a Shoestring column (much neglected) because it can effectively replace scents such as Ensoleille-Moi by André Gas, or Deseo by Jennifer Lopez or Origins Shedonism Exotic Floral Essence.....
Neonatura Breath - Souffle does a good job at offering a digest version of this group of perfumes (the upcoming Covet Pure Bloom, on paper at least, sounds like it wants to join the club). It does not seem to offer many unique nuances except from a sugar-cane accord and this is the reason why the term "block" describes this effect well as the perfume appears to be composed of familiar ready-made Lego parts.
Yesterday, we pointed to the fact that perfumers as professionals use "lazy accords" ones that have been already tested and done a thousand times. In this case, Neonatura Breath is a particularly pristine and amplified example of this practice as the whole perfume seems to be entirely composed of easily identifiable blocks: the sparkling citrus block, the creamy white tropical floral one, the crunchy green block, the mineral hot-sand block, the suntan oil one, and the little savory block that enlivens such perfumes. All these accords feel massively logical and block-like because they never waver from the goal of offering condensed, synthetized versions of their precursors. One does not feel any fluttering of the sensitivity of the perfumer nor any room for irrationality. Of course it required the skill of a perfumer to make all these removable parts work together and be in good proportion to each other, but otherwise it could have been computerized, it seems, so predictable and solidified are the main facets/meanings of the scent.
Briefly, Neonatura starts on a sparkling white tropical floral accord lying on a bed of coconut cream and suntan oil with some mineral nuances (sand) and citrusy accents. While the citrus "block" is rather subtle, the coconutty suntan accord comes through as rather heavy (think Hawaiian Tropic Oil) but overall dries down to an honest, effective version of this type of perfumes.
Images: Yves Rocher