I had to stick a thumb up after a couple of seconds into the development of last year's Déclaration L'Eau, in the abstract direction of perfumer Mathilde Laurent - kudos to reappropriating one of her most famed fragrance accords, now perfuming another fragrance house...
First things first. It is obvious that the flacon of the fragrance lets escape the olfactory signature of the original Déclaration created by Jean-Claude Ellena, with its mix of cool and creamy green spices - cardamom in particular - calling to mind a well-infused Chai drunk on the side of the road in India. What turns out to take place however soon as L'Eau version unfolds, is the fading into a bitter grapefruit note everyone familiar with the work of Laurent will have recognized: Pamplelune by Guerlain. The nose is going back to that memorable accord she created and which has been so well appreciated that it is now part of one of the few surviving Aqua Allegorias.
The "pink grapefruit" accord here is natural, a bit raw, a bit sulfurous, but now also a bit sweet - not as central a note as in Pamplelune but nevertheless a presence which defines the mix, overtly in the beginning, and in a more unseen-yet-felt fashion after that.
Soon, the composition reverts back to the creamy, milky and cool-spicy personality of the originator fragrance while continuing to hum with both dry and sweet grapefruit - like some semi-sweet Alsatian white wines can feel - having added that advertized watery facet which can come across as a bit ozonic and a bit metallic too.
But as in a dialogue which doesn't die, the characteristic grapefruit with a good amount of unedited Thiols continues to breathe out its elegant display of sulphur.
The milkiness of the original Déclaration has however become sweeter as the creamy cedarwood / tonka bean now brings its sweet almond milk facet rather than a straighforward milky tone. That sweet, slightly leathery and roasted tonka bean "leche" calls to mind Yves Saint Laurent Kouros Body by Annick Menardo, which uses Chinese cedarwood, and has an almondy facet.
Although Guerlain launched a masculine pillar fragrance last year, L'Homme Idéal, which is heavy on Tonka, the mind wanders closer to Body Kouros.
Tonka bean has become something of a reference note since 1 Million by Paco Rabanne demonstrated that it could be massively popular with men. At the same time, and once again, I think that it is treated here in a manner which goes further back in time. L'Homme Idéal, on the other hand, is certainly shadowing 1 Million by Paco Rabanne.
Déclaration L'Eau is an elegant, restrained and moderate sillage eau de toilette on skin, offering an understated edible quality. It has the capacity to awaken the scent of your skin. Personally, I think that while the eau de toilette does read subtly masculine, it is at the same time one of those "boyfriend fragrances" that a woman can borrow, like you can borrow a "boyfriend" coat, shirt, or pants. The cut was meant for a masculine shape a priori, but it is elegant and baggy enough that it allows for versatile use. Lovers of musky fragrances in general would appreciate it as the skin accord is very good, smelling almost of osmanthus and apricot-y skin.
If Mathilde Laurent added a drop or two of osmanthus, that would be consistent with the olfactory palette of Jean-Claude Ellena who has done two benchmark osmanthus compositions, Hermès Osmanthe Yunnan and The Different Company Osmanthus.
As the weather warms up, you might want to wear larger, looser clothes to let more air circulate near the body, just like you might enjoy a well cut dose of grapefruit, tonka, woods, freshness and musk suggestive of the space between skin and clothes, which lets out that scent of warm skin you get from puffs of air circulating in the interstices.
Fragrance notes: lemon, pink grapefruit, cedarwood, pink peppercorn, the original spicy accord.