A Review of Georges Stahl Parfums Elle d'Elissa Eau de Parfum
Peachy fragrances can be delightful - we know that since Mitsouko by Guerlain (1919) ensnared our senses with its Persicol molecule lit by a chypré chiaro-oscuro effect. When peach perfumes are spiked with a dose of oud while paying homage to the gourmand temple of perfumes that has been building up brick by brick since Angel by Thierry Mugler (1992), the result can be interesting...
The fact that Elle d'Elissa was composed by perfumer Randa Hammami of Symrise, who together with artistic director of Guerlain Sylvaine Delacourte brought two of the earliest Middle-East-inspired oud compositions forming a new wave, Oud Sensuel and Garden Sensuel - out the same year in 2007 as Elle d'Elissa - for the local Western audience shows some kind of discreet turning point. It reportedly took 10 months to develop this fragrance, which is not very long although it would really depends on how busy your calendar is. But we can see that 2007 was the year that Hammami worked on early Mid-East-inspired oud adaptations which were felt to be very new and groundbreaking material at the time.
On the journalistic and tabloid fronts, Elle d'Elissa was promoted as the first celebrity fragrance for a Middle-Eastern star, Lebanese singer Elissa, as developed by a Western company, Georges Stahl Parfums.
As a composition, the eau de parfum is a fruity-floral oriental chypre with Oriental olfactive accents borrowed both from the figurative tradition - vanilla, amber, musk - and the literal tradition - oud. There is here an East-meets-West construct which meshes the fruity chypre lineage of Mitsouko - with its golden peach - with the oud oils and warm, pillowy Oriental arabesques dreamt up by French perfumers.
Elissa via Facebook
Imagine a ripe, even overripe, sliced up yellow peach drizzled with vanilla-scented cream while medicinal oud accents escape from the bowl of sweet indulgence. There are tarter nuances of fruits, like strawberry - and ethyl maltol too. Classically, Pêche Melba is prepared with a coulis of raspberry. The nail-polish nuances of aldehydes bring a sense of dressed-up urban style.
Peach Melba via Wikimedias
You have guessed it by now, this is a disguised Pêche Melba, the dessert created by Escoffier at the end of the 19th century.
The closet Peach Melba has been made to smell more animalic, muskier. It all blends harmoniously into one of those va-va-voom, atomic-era bombshell perfumes seemingly designed for very feminine busty pinups with tiny waists, except it's cooled down by new, more austere and medicinal accents of oud. At the same time, the fruity-floral gourmand accents bring a sense of gentleness and childlike, almost, innocence.
One must not forget also that this perfume was devised in a context where people were thinking quite a bit about so-called "neo-chypres" when oakmoss became a problem to include in traditional doses in the bases of chypres and was being replaced often with clarified patchouli because at the same time, the audience's tastes were drifting away from heavy bases.
Elle d'Elissa is a delightful, very feminine reworking of Mitsouko by Guerlain and the Oriental imagination at the same time. Its mix of desserty notes and bandaid accents is seductive. It has a good presence. It is very pleasurable to wear. It could have had a more complex finale like a really thought-out base. But instead, like a round and rich Pêche Melba floating on a slightly incensey cloud of oud, it stops being a Peach Melba all of a sudden leaving only a trace of vanilla with some minute nuances of fragrant, exotic spirituality.
Fragrance notes: Apple, Peach, Mandarin / Bulgarian rose, Egyptian jasmine absolute, Orange blossom / Amber, Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla.