L'Occitane Cerisier Rouge Eau Intense (2014) {New Perfume Review & Musings}


The newly launched Cerisier Rouge Eau Intense by l'Occitane en Provence smells at first like a fruity-floral version of a cherry tree. It has been made to feel denser and slightly more opaque than is usual for this genre of fragrances as the scent of cherry blossom or Sakura is usually sought out to express light, transparent, and aquatic textures. In this case, it is interesting to see how the perfume texture oscillates between transparency and something nearing opacity.

Officially, the house wanted the perfume to be both about the cherry flowers of spring and the cherry fruits of summer. The red or rouge color is meant to evoke the Luberon cherry orchards turning flaming red at sunset...


The fragrance opens on astringent and green nuances of cassis.There are sweet and gourmand nuances of Maraschino cherries, almond macaron thanks in part to Heliotropin, as well as a woody facet. A salty, animalic ambergris - which is not listed in the notes - gives an understated marine facet to the perfume as if olive trees by the sea had been carved by the winds and had kept the saltiness of the ocean in their bark. It seems the perfumer decided to play upon both modern, aqua and ancient, animalic maritime notes with the famed ambergris of sea voyages feeling quite evocative. 

As the composition develops further, it becomes interestingly even denser and deeper-smelling of thick fruit juice cooked with enough salt in it to make it feel addictive. In fact, it provokes in you a moutwatering reflex.The fragrance takes on more amplitude. The color becomes dark burgundy red. 

The almond and the heliotrope push the perfume in the direction of a full-bodied perfume. It is almost like wearing a bustle as when wearing a classic Guerlain perfume. Here you may find again perfumer Karine Dubreuil's ability to recreate old-school perfumery textures like she did with Vanille et Narcisse (Narcissus and Vanilla), which makes you think of a grand old Caron. This time, you are reminded more of a Guerlain in the depth conveyed by the almondy notes and the vanilla. 

You can try Cerisier Rouge Eau Intense for a more oriental textural twist on the springtime cherry blossom theme. It is a gently comforting perfume with some underlying slightly more complex elements like brisk greens and animalic warmth to create interest, and not solely a carefree attitude. In the base, there is an idea also of sweet, sugary and fruity woods à la Serge Lutens which gets unveiled overtime quite subtly. 

While these types of cherry perfumes are usually clean and a bit toiletry-like, Cerisier Rouge Eau Intense reveals much more than the eye meets in the complexity of a sillage which diffuses itself like an untiring pomander you are glad to be carrying with you in the city overcoming urban rubber, common miasmas and gray asphalt with more poetic and even exquisite puffs of fragrance. Somehow, the perfumer managed to create a fragrance which is a lovely and surprising perfumed companion to your daily voyages. Twice we wanted to ask someone what perfume they were wearing before realizing the scent came from Cerisier Rouge which turns out to be a shape-shifter with a cherry tree for pretext a bit like in those fairy tales where a tree opens to reveal a precious treasure trove. 

Notes: lemon, orange, cassis / wild lily of the valley, red cherry tree, raspberry / white musks, heliotrope, olive wood. 

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