Fleur Chérie is the latest perfume launch by L'Occitane en Provence. Its name in French, which one can translate as Beloved Bloom, is another of those cultural references that the Provençal company likes to make to the region of its origins, the Mediterranean. The beloved flower in question is orange blossom or neroli.
The displays are currently strewn with textile star-shaped white orange blossoms. Gray ribbons and white blotters are handy to try to catch the fancy of passers-by. The bottle itself is decorated with a spray of orange blossoms on one of its sides. A makeup collection accompanies the fragrance release.
The brand had released another orange blossom composition, Néroli in 2007, which is much more opulent and oriental and available at a different, higher price point.
Fragrance notes: neroli, blackcurrant bud, fresh notes / sambac jasmine, orange flower absolute, orange blossom water absolute, soft woods, patchouli, cedar, musk...
In Fleur Chérie, the headiness of orange blossom was preserved to a certain extent while the taste for clean scents was also paid due homage to. The blend is an exercise in inserting some Mediterranean excess into another kind of excess, the cleanliness trend. L'Occitane could have well gone all the way in the direction of a shampoo of a perfume, but the perfumer seems to have wanted to convey the duality of the flower which can be quite inebriating besides symbolizing purity and innocence. Far from always having been identified with babies' scents as it is today done in French culture or a soothing aroma in general, it was once upon a time codified as a dangerous scent due to its sensual aura.
Fleur Chérie opens on a rush of orange blossom on a background of slightly harsh, raspy white musks which in this case feel a bit vintage, almost aldehydic in their nostalgic, hard tonality evoking the 1950s. There is a rounding off of the scent, thanks to an amber note which feels white and transparent yet also thickish and syrupy but not overly so. The composition is sweetened with a touch of almondy marzipan reminding you of a similar idea as one found in L'Artisan Parfumeur Fleur d'Oranger 2007 but more accentuated here although not to the point of smelling like a pastry. Ambergris brings further depth to the fragrance which remains innocent yet heady with a hint of languorous abandonment.
The drydown interestinggly releases more of the green and enduringly fresh accents of the fragrance as if the blackcurrant bud mingling with cedar wood brought out better the verdant facet and the citrusy hints of the perfume, once the sweetness had receded a bit. The freshness factor was visibly carefully studied to be lasting.
Despite its sensual leanings, the composition in the end takes stock of the deodorized society and its need for invigorating aromas. It eschews any hint of seriously dangerous dirtiness and pays homage more to the popularity of toiletry scents than it bows ultimately to the innate desire to smolder of the orange blossom.
Fleur Chérie is a pleasant, clean but not too clean and drained-out-of-all-its-blood orange blossom scent. It can be seen as an easy choice for people who like casual, sexy-clean floral fragrances, a bit evocative of a bathroom and of a just-out-of-the-shower atmosphere albeit here mixed with a restrained measure of Mediterranean sensuality.