08 May 2012
( 5/5 )
Séville à l'Aube (Dawn in Seville) is Artisan Parfumeur's latest release - due out in the summer - and is a limited edition, though the company are staying tight-lipped on how many bottles they are going to produce.
It has a somewhat unusual provenance for a perfume, as it's the fruit of a collaboration between Artisan's resident perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and the perfume blogger Denyse Beaulieu, who writes under the name Grain de Musc.
Beaulieu once recounted to Duchaufour her memory of a particular night she spent with a young Spanish lover in the town of Seville during Holy Week. The scent of orange blossom from the trees mingled with the lavender-cologne-soaked sweat of the crowds, the incense from the churches and the smell of burned-out beeswax candles. He remarked that it sounded like a good idea for a perfume, and so the two began work together.
Séville à l'Aube is the result of that two-year collaboration and the notes are orange blossom, petitgrain, petitgrain citronnier, beeswax absolute, Somalian incense, lavender absolute and benzoin.
As usual with perfume tests, I took this one down to the local pool with me and tried it on both men and women. Everyone liked it, though some could smell incense in the top notes, and some only orange blossom. There is enough petitgrain oil to leaven the sweetness for men, and the lavender sends it in the direction of a fougere, so I feel that this perfume could be worn by both sexes. It is extremely true to its ingredients.
On me, I detect no lavender at all, but get strong orange-blossom notes, the sharp greeness of petitgrain (both orange and lemon, so here it differs from Serge Lutens' Mandarine Mandarin) and then deepening and sweetening beeswax notes. On my friend E, it is all incense. On my friend K, it smells, as she put it, like 'pink fur'. On my friend N, it switches between neroli and incense, back and forth so that it smells different each time she puts her wrist to her nose.
It starts out bright but after some 20 minutes morphs into a very sexy perfume, but still far fresher than Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger (formerly my favourite orange blossom), and the neroli note has real staying power of at least six hours. I would suggest wariness from anyone who doesn't like the smell of honey, though.
I originally gave this 4.5 stars, docking half a star just for the shape of the new Artisan bottle, which I really dislike compared with the old one. But at November 2012 I upped it to 5 stars because I now think this really is the sexiest perfume I've ever used in my life. My bottle of Fleurs d'Oranger lies unworn in the drawer, and Séville à l'Aube has become my go-to orange blossom. In fact, I've just bought another bottle as I can't bear to think of ever being without it.
Séville à l'Aube is priced at 105 euros for 100ml, while stocks last.