Caudalie Parfum Divin (2014) {Perfume Short (Review)}


Parfum Divin (2014) is the latest fragrance addition to French beauty brand Caudalie library of fragrances which comprises Fleur de Vigne (2002), Thé des Vignes, Zeste de Vigne (2011) and Figue de Vigne (2013).

Composed by perfumer Jacques Cavallier who is meant to be the future in-house perfumer for Louis Vuitton, it is a slight departure from the rest of the range as it evokes a more Oriental and warmer feel compared with the fresh eaux range. Notes are listed as being pink peppercorn, rose, cedar wood, musk, and vanilla... 

The scent personality is pleasantly woody evoking a creamy rose on pencil shavings. It tends to be simplistic yet is complex enough. It is an option to consider if you think you'd enjoy a laid-back woody Oriental. Its aroma is said to be derived from the beauty product from the house, Huile Divine (2013), which we thought at the time was a bit over-fragranced for an oil meant to rest on your face skin. Today, however, it reminds us not of that oil but of another fragrance.

Where there is a bit of let-down, is in terms of the application and time that was devoted to finding a novel signature fragrance for Caudalie. The fact of the matter is that Parfum Divin significantly recalls a pre-existing perfume, namely Sonia Rykiel Woman (Not for Men) (2003). It is almost a dead-ringer for its violet-and-rose accord made more intriguing and deeper thanks to a dry and fruity accord of sweet dates sueded with leather. 

Why this copycatting? On the one hand, it is only stating the obvious by now that the fragrance industry encourages such practices from a money-making perspective with some businesses even specializing in it - albeit without sounding off any fanfare. Brands like Jeanne Arthes or ID Parfums professionally slip in copycats under new names and sometimes painfully awkward speech on creativity and perfumer's inspiration, especially when you are aware that the main effort was devoted to reproduction. On the other hand, you expected perfumer Jacques Cavallier to affix his signature on a more personal jus.

One can note that Sonia Rykiel Woman (Not for Men) was composed by perfumer Anne Flipo, who is also the author of the much more distinctive debut Caudalie perfume, Fleur de Vigne. Is this a gallant homage of Jacques Cavallier to Anne Flipo, like you offer a bouquet of thirteen roses interspersed with heather to express your admiration, according to the Victorian language of flowers? This is the story I prefer to imagine took place rather than to think that Cavallier highjacked an accord from his colleague's body of work, unbeknownst to her.  

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