Belle by Disney x Worth Paris interprets the cinematic rose of Beauty and the Beast by Disney as a rose-cedarwood accord on a bed of oiled bonbons. This could end up being a 140 character review on Twitter as not much seems to be happening after that opening scene, to reprise a movie phrase. Slowly but surely however the perfume lets the pear note breathe more at leisure, even inserting a powdery green nuance...
The "oily" sensation turns out to revolve around a gourmand pear note, which smells after a while more and more like a Poire Belle Hélène dessert, except that the melted chocolate has been replaced by a fruity currant jam on two scoops of vanilla ice-cream. The Turkish rose emerges slowly but surely too after some more time.
The composition by perfumer Honorine Blanc of Firmenich has genuinely taken into account the thematic of the passing of time marked in the movie by the rose petals falling one by one, as the story's action gets closer to a repetition of a Christian doomsday for the people inhabiting the sleeping castle and the cursed prince, now a repugnant, hurt and terrifying beast.
In the film by Disney, the camera pans to the red rose under a glass dome each time that the spectator needs to be reminded, but also made anxious of course, about the slow and ineluctable progression of a time which bears tragedy. A prophecy however has let the door open to the arrival of a redemptive figure and feeling - and Belle is a feminine Christic figure whose capacity for self-sacrifice and altruistic love, but also Platonic love is tested all along the film. The end we all know, yet each time, it is worthwhile to examine the characters' motivations in depth and with a renewed perspective. Such are fairy tales, the pop songs of our moral upbringing.
In perfumery, the rose is celebrated as the Queen of Flowers. Its rich and multivariegated nuances make it a precious material to work with. Its symbolism is feminine and a bit dolorist as the sign of the Virgin Mary and mother of Jesus, as well as due to its thorns. The composition therefore had to be about a rose, which has been made accessible thanks to a fruity-floral style and the illusory lushness of a standard white floral molecule, which translates as smelling "oily", often.
Where the fragrance tries to be less commercial is in its effort to showcase a delayed, chronological thematic which attempts to impart the feeling that time plays a role in the story, just as much as Belle or the Beast. The development is therefore slow and deliberate. Belle the perfume is not what you would call a storied fragrance, nor a dramatic one. It is an honest attempt at offering some perfume magic to the target audience, think "family audience", while working with economical means. The scent is reasonably pretty but almost in an "almost-pretty" way rather than in a frankly obvious one, at first. It seems to be a bit watered down for a while. Overtime on skin, and again, very slowly, the rose becomes very pretty, as if transfigured by love (and the natural muskiness of ambrette seeds). The packaging is fun with its novelty angle of looking like a hollowed-out, floral book. Can be offered to teens but also adults looking for a light, delicate and easy-to-wear floral scent.
Top Notes: Green Pear, Grapefruit, Italian Bergamot, Redcurrant
Heart Notes: Pink pepper SFE, Bulgarian Rose, Pivoine Blanche, Rose Centifolia NP, Muguet
Base Notes: Ambrette Seeds, Sleek Woods