July 21, 2016
Odalisque, Adrien Henri Tanoux, 1920
“Make me a perfume that smells like love” Christian Dior famously demanded. While many fragrances are named for desires of the heart, Amoureuse from Parfums DelRae is one of the very few to evoke its sensual aspects, so how can a perfume whose name implies love have received so little of late? Parfum DelRae’s Amoureuse was created in 2002 by the artistic creative director DelRae Roth (whose fragrances are inspired by her travels to Paris and her home in San Francisco) in collaboration with Michel Roudnitska in 2002. In addition to the thousands of niche perfumes on the market since it launched, Amoureuse has often been eclipsed by its sumptuous sibling, Bois de Paradis, which came out the same year along with Debut. Bois de Paradis is indeed lovely in its floral opulence. But just wait till you meet little sis – she is all grown up, all that and a bag of chips.
Nigella Lawson Cover Interview 2010 redonline.uk
Amoureuse is Mad Men’s Joan Holloway, a languorous odalisque on a bed of silken pillows, the Nigella Lawson of perfumes: voluptuous, luscious and unapologetically female. With its take-no-prisoners sexuality, this is no ingénue’s perfume.
Christina Henricks as Joan Holloway of Mad Men
It is all woman and as sexy as a direct gaze.
Apollinaris M Vasnetsov’s In the shade of linden trees Demyanovo 1907
Amoureuse was created after M. Roudnitska and DelRae Roth walked through San Francisco’s boxwood-lined streets in summertime. “I thought for years that the scent of these trees, combined with the feeling of sunshine and the fresh marine air, would make such a beautiful perfume,” says Roth. “It is the scent that really inspired me to create Parfums DelRae. Amoureuse captures this feeling of contentment and happiness.” The Tahitian lily note was a nod to Roudnitska’s time spent living in the south Pacific.
Monica Belluci, photo by Fabrizio Ferri
Embodying its different French meanings — a female lover, amorous, in love – Amoureuse is a languid brew as sultry as an invitation to dance under a hot night sky. It opens with a sweet, citric tang of tangerine juice and a liquid cascade of honey – the richest, deepest, wildflower honey. The juice and indolic honey drip over fleshy white flowers – jasmine chiefly, followed by tuberose — lying on a mossy base. Cardamom then begins to curl like an exotic tendril around the lush honey and the sweet piquancy of the fruit. A little later, a gingery lily surfaces and sandpapery sandalwood cuts through the dense bouquet.
Christina Hendricks Covers ‘Flare’ May 2013
Despite the heart of white flowers, Amoureuse is anything but virginal. But there is a very French restraint in the composition that keeps Amoureuse from veering into the vulgarity of some of the big 80s bombshells. The bed of tuberose, lily and jasmine balance the opulent opening notes. The jasmine is floral and fresh rather than feral, the tuberose slightly green, creamy but not buttery. Lily, which joins a bit later, is more subtle and adds a hint of soapiness. In its utter femaleness and the boldness of its architecture, Amoureuse echoes the great retro beauties such as Femme, created by Edmond Roudnitska, Michel Roudnitska’s father. But it is very much its own woman and smells like absolutely nothing else.
Jeanne Moreau in Les Amants, Louis Malle, 1958
Summer is when Amoureuse rises to its zenith. In the heat, it blooms like a nectarous flower. For me, its languid loveliness conjures images of Jeanne Moreau kissing her lover as they float in a rowboat in Malle’s Les Amants, as Fréhel’s La Java Bleue plays distantly and locusts buzz lazily.
Wear this not to be seduced but when the invitation is yours.
Les Amoureux de Vence Marc Chagall, 1957
“She will never close her eyes
And she does not let me sleep
And her dreams in the bright day
Make the suns evaporate
And me laugh cry and laugh
Speak when I have nothing to say” -- Paul Eluard, “Amoureuse,” translated by Samuel Beckett
Notes: Tangerine, cardamom, French tuberose, French jasmine, Tahitian ginger lily, cedar, moss, sandalwood, honey. Sillage is exceptional and the perfume lasts all day.
Disclosure: Sample from my own bottle of Amoureuse. Opinions are my own.
Lauryn Beer, Sr Contributor
Thanks to the generosity of Parfums DelRae, we have a 50 ml bottle of Amoureuse ($150) for a registered reader in the US. To be eligible please leave a comment with what appeals to you about Amoureuse based on Lauryn’s review, and if you have a favorite Parfums DelRae perfume. Draw closes 7/24/2016.
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