Van Cleef & Arpels Féérie Spring Blossom (2013): Little Masterpiece Alert {Perfume Short (Review)}



There are several reasons for writing a review of a perfume. Among those you can invoke arguments like current affairs, trends knowledge, following the evolution of a house, or outing a dud. In this case, the reason for writing about Féérie Spring Blossom by Van Cleef & Arpels is very simple: it smells very good. We are not talking masterpiece of the imagination, but rather of reminiscences and daydreaming, as well as referring to this aesthetic and technical imperative which is not easy to achieve fully yet is laid out in its crystalline simplicity by veteran perfumers: a perfume deserving of its name MUST SMELL GOOD - how hard is that? It's hard. In the fullest sense of the expression, it is really hard an ideal to attain.

Féérie Spring Blossom is simply put a very good composition created by perfumer Antoine Maisondieu of Givaudan. If you hesitated a bit at the foregone conclusion that a cherry blossom perfume whose bottle features a Tinker Bell sculpture is definitly not for you, then you'd be missing out on a delicate floral composition replete with qualities, which gets better overtime as you live with it. Too bad it's a limited edition...

To the nose, it feels like Maisondieu did not care whether it was an ephemeral perfume or a permanent addition to a collection. He just worked conscienciously about making what the best of the French perfume industry can produce in terms of quality and the idea of perfume.

A cherry blossom accord is not novel; in fact it is fast becoming a recycled, even trite idea before it gets to the next iconicity stage of signalling emblematicity. What this composition benefits from however is its layering over a white floral accord of magnolia developed previously by perfumer Antoine Maisondieu, in particular in Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile.


Yoshinoyama, the most famous viewing point for sakura in Japan for centuries Via

The crispness of a range of notes like transparent cherry blossom, green apple, apple blossom gives way to a subtle, soft and discreetly lush white floral bouquet which remains fresh and crisp as a first day of blooming, overtime. While the composition gets warmed up slightly by vanillic tonka beans and fruity woods, it nevertheless remains very enveloppingly, never jarringly clean and fresh. This phenomenon appears best on skin; the so-called "silken musks" are a bit sharp in their olfactory range at first - not as translation of cheapness - but meld finally beautifully with the scent of your skin. One is also advised to get over the first impression of a blah cherry blossom perfume initially. The composition really comes together as a feat in enduring, level-headed and poetic diffusion of the scent of a cherry blossom orchard complete with nuances of petals, water, fruits, woods, greens and with the added, welcome cultural artifice of a creamy bouquet of magnolia but also a surprising touch of wild raspberry as the perfume still plays with your skin into the next day. The diffusion and lastingness are excellent, the "eau de toilette" label being here justified only for the paler range of nuances the scent unfolds.

It is certainly one of the very best cherry blossom perfumes you can hope to find on perfumery shelves at this point in time. One can muse that it would be interesting to see Frédéric Malle or Serge Lutens develop a highly creative and haute-parfumerie style of cherry blossom one day, but meanwhile, even if you can still expect to be surprised by an unconventional, complex and deconstructed cherry blossom scent in the future, this is a composition which is typical of the best of designer perfumery, yet not that commonly found: it is about understated originality and intuitive and technical mastery of the elements of perfumery. 

Fragrance Notes: cherry blossom, cranberries, pink peppercorn, lychee, magnolia, peony, wild, delicate raspberry, silken musks, tender tonka bean, sandalwood. 

Suggested retail price is 64,50€ for 50 ml.

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