Surprisingly, Erotique by Dita Von Teese opens on a rush of cedar wood which goes on amplifying itself...
Where you expected an indecent proposal filled with animalic or leathery innuendos, it is replaced here by an ode it seems at first to both the sensual and gourmand tonalities of a particular species of cedar wood, Virginian cedar wood - and a personal favorite showcased recently also in Cèdre et Oranger by l'Occitane en Provence.
The eau de parfum keeps that note long enough for you to wonder about two possibilities: 1) is it going to be a "soliwood"? 2) or is it going to be one of those slow-and-delayed, old-school perfumes made initially for people who once upon a time had a different perception of perfume and time?
As the cedar wood continues to exhale, you have time to comment that nowadays, top notes that make you see inside the perfume quickly and clearly are key to holding the attention of buyers, and perhaps even perfume connoisseurs. You seldom encounter suspenseful top notes which act like a mask, not letting you inside the perfume all too quickly.
Time has become a luxury item in perfumery. Few have the guts or leisure to create a perfume which reveals itself slowly, like an effeuillage - the nice, poetic word for strip-tease. Straight and to the point is the perfect structure for a modern perfume which claims to understand its times characterized by short-span attention.
Dita Von Teese however wears very long, above-the-elbow satin gloves; she also once called the Belle Epoque Houbigant Quelques Fleurs her signature scent - and her métier is precisely to shed her clothes artfully on stage prolonging the pleasure rather than taking shortcuts. You can therefore hope that something unexpected is going to take place for the patient spectator of the fragrance named Erotique evolving on skin.
Nothing dramatic ever takes place however. What happens is that the perfume seems to fine-tune and modulate the dominant note of Virginian cedar wood which becomes less dusty, fibrous, and wood-like and more honey-like, which just a crest of wood shavings. The Bulgarian rose is quite faint, with a hint of lipstick smell. The woodsy note espouses your skin more starting to smell like the smell of skin. The perfume then calls to mind the likes of Eau d'Hermès for its focused effect on the ingredient cumin to create a sense of sensual overload. Erotique is never as crudely indecent as Eau d'Hermès, nor in fact indecent at all, but it flirts with that idea. It teases rather than pounces on our animalic personalities. So despite the fact that the burlesque artist said that her latest perfume is daring,
"Erotique is an aphrodisiac accomplishment, an elixir of alchemy inspired by a time when perfume meant something different than it does now. With its heady melange of opposites, Erotique's poetic contrast of leather accords and burnt embers with rare voluptuous rose is not for the faint of heart; it is intoxicating, animalistic and carnal, potent weaponry for a Maestra of the erotic arts,"
You are left with a sensual enough scent whose only true note of daring is to start with a woody top note. It actually relies on the facets of Virginian cedar wood centrally enough to be called a single-note perfume. You can tell that there were budgetary constraints as the scent thins down instead of drying down. The original Dita Von Teese EDP (2011) is the better perfume. Indeed, you are left wondering how truly different Erotique would smell from the essential oil itself but you don't care enough at this point to go check. Erotique is conceptually speaking like a cross between a Comme des Garçons pean to the coolness of woods and a Roudnitska song of love to flesh-like sweaty spice, only toned down - and vanishing all too soon.
Notes: rose petals, pepper, coriander, Bulgarian rose essence,leather, musk, sandalwood, aromatic cedar and Gaiac wood.