Dior launched their latest addition to their cruise collection called Escale à Parati (Port of Call in Paraty). This is the fourth stop in the journey after Escale à Portofino (2008), Escale à Pondichéry (2009), and Escale aux Marquises (2010). An Escale à Shanghaï was announced for 2011 but did not see the light of day.
Paraty itself is a picturesque 18th century colonial site which is indexed by UNESCO as pertaining to the Patrimoine Mondial de L'Humanité. Located on the Costa Verde of Brazil, the name of the perfume pays homage to a country which is extremely significant in economic terms for the fragrance industry and will become more so over the years...
The composition is signed by in-house perfumer François Demachy, although the scent is most probably the result of a studio effort which was supervised by a senior perfumer. The Eau de Toilette is offered as an hesperidic and woody perfume.
Notes include lemon, bitter orange, petit grain from Paraguay, Brazilian mint, cinnamon, Brazilian rosewood, red berries, Venezuelan tonka bean.
This fragrance review is short because it is easy to see where the inspiration came from in perfumery terms. It reveals the discrepancy which exists between the visual and verbal languages oriented towards the consumer - think escapism to an exotic locale - and the perfumery language of the nose who creates the composition - think noteworthy accords and commercial and creative successes.
Escale à Parati in fact takes an immense chapter out of Untitled by Martin Margiela composed by Daniela Andrier. It is more than a discreet homage, it is literally a chapter torn out of the book. Since a perfume is never as complex on its own as a 19th century Russian novel, the inspiration cannot be drowned in the noise of dramatic turns of events. Indeed, this core sensation found in Untitled of a green musk with aromatic and woody layers is all present here to the point of begging the question: why buy this rather than the original? If you have Untitled by Margiela, you do not need Escale à Parati.
Like an academic exercise demonstrating mastery of the classics, the opening notes suggest the old formulation of Vent Vert by Balmain.
Evidently, the concept of "green" was systematically explored in the packaging as well as the composition to reflect the dominant colors of the port of Paraty.
Apart from that genuine and minimal marketing effort, the rest of the work is derivative. Escale à Parati clearly hopes to piggy-back on the success of Untitled by Martin Margiela. Smell them side by side and you will see that it's hardly worth bothering turning your attention to the "new" perfume. This is, unfortunately, an all too mundane definition of the notion of "the scent of success".
Pictures: tourisme-bresil.com; Dior