September 2, 2010
On the television show “Newhart” there were three characters who would appear for a short time in every episode. Only one of the characters spoke and he would say, “I’m Larry and that’s my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl”. I’m always reminded of that line when there are multiple simultaneous releases from a fragrance line. Usually there is a standout among the set released and the others are often Darryls.
Sylvie Chantecaille has released some nice fragrances for her Chantecaille fragrance line. Frangipane and Jasmine were my favorites of the first five fragrances released under the Chantecaille label. Jasmine was the last release back in 2003 and the fragrances had not recently been widely available. That has all changed as Chantecaille has returned with three new fragrances. Senior Editor Ida Meister, Patty of Perfume Posse, and I agree the best of these three is Kalimantan; the figurative Larry. The Darryls are the other two fragrances Vetyver and Petales. Even though Vetyver or Petales aren’t as flamboyant as Kalimantan they do have pleasures and after I spent some time with them felt like they should try and get out of Larry’s shadow.
As you can see one other thing that has changed with the new Chantecaille fragrances are the etched glass bottles with the crystal tops. Vetyver is a match for the elegance of the bottle. Very often vetiver has an edgy quality to it but not Vetyver. The way the vetiver is made less edgy is to surround it with warm notes. The top layer is bergamot, citron, and nutmeg with the nutmeg and its sweetly spicy character heralding the arrival of a grassy dry vetiver in the heart. The base uses musk and sandalwood to close Vetyver out with creamy woody muskiness which accentuates the woody character of vetiver without turning it edgy. Vetyver is a good vetiver-centric fragrance and for those who like their vetiver a little muted, Vetyver is probably just what you’re looking for.
If I told you the floral notes in Petales were gardenia, jasmine, and tuberose it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a very intense white floral explosion. To Chantecaille’s credit they instead use the gardenia as the central note and allow the jasmine and tuberose to support it. Right from the top the gardenia accord arrives with sweetness and the hint of green the best gardenia accords have. For the first few minutes Petales feels like a fresh cut bud of gardenia. Then the jasmine and tuberose arrive and they add different shades of floral sweetness and add complexity without needless intensity. The remainder of Petales is woody mix of balsam, cedar, and sandalwood. It is the cleaner woody notes of balsam and cedar that close Petales out and they echo the clean lines that it started with through the gardenia. Petales is going to be a nice floral fragrance for the fall.
Both Vetyver and Petales have average longevity and average sillage.
As it was with Larry, Darryl, and Darryl it was Larry who did all the talking. For these three new fragrances from Chantecaille, Kalimantan is very likely going to be the one that gets talked about most. Don’t let that keep you from trying the other two because sometimes it’s the quiet one that holds the most appeal.
Disclosure: This review was based on samples received with purchase of Kalimantan from Neiman-Marcus.
-Mark Behnke, Senior Editor