I have a complicated relationship with L’Artisan Parfumeur Séville à L’aube that I’ll try not to bore you with but I feel it’s worth mentioning. I read “The Perfume Lover” a memoir by Denyse Beaulieu, the woman behind the blog Grain de Musc. I’m not reviewing the book, but the book is about the creation of this perfume. And being a memoir, it’s also about Denyse, her love of perfume and yes, her lovers.
My relationship with Séville à L’aube is complicated by the fact that I read the book before sampling the fragrance. The proto-perfume was described in detail. The inspiration was described in detail. L’Artisan Parfumeur’s website says:
Séville à l’Aube is the passionate story of a romance during the Holy Week, in the most captivating city of Andalusia. Told by a writer to master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, it awakened his senses and lead to the creation of this stunning soliflore, a sublime orange blossom, alive with contrasts.”
Before sampling, I already had an idea of what I thought this perfume “should” smell like. My expectations weren’t just high, but they were *my* expectations. I had created this perfume in my mind based on the description. When I tried this perfume in the summer of 2012 on a hot day in NYC, I was disappointed. It smelled like an even sweeter version of By Kilian Sweet Redemption. All I got was vanilla orange cream pop with Saturday morning cartoon breakfast cereal. It was cloying and sweet. And I was mad. This was not *my* Séville à L’aube.
In the fall of 2012, a friend of mine urged me to try this perfume again. “But, it’s so you!”, he said. And he nicely made me a generous decant which I tried on a cool, damp October day. During this wear, I picked up on the lavender and acrid incenses with a sweet orange blossom. During this wear, I realized that this is good. It smelled excellent on me. My friend was right.
The story becomes more complicated. During a move, the decant broke (just a few days after I received it). It saturated a Navajo chinle rug. It seems that the most potent/strongest perfumes are always the ones to break or leak! My tiny space was suffocating me with Séville à L’aube. To be fair, it wasn’t this perfume. Any perfume would have bothered me, but this made me not want to sample it again for a very long time.
Well, in 2014, I’ve decided to give this limited edition orange blossom another try.
Séville à L’aube opens with a spicy fruitiness from pink pepper and a lavender that reminds me of a pink variety of lavender. Séville à L’aube is sweet and acrid. And then it wears like a vanilla orange
cream pop custard with a sharp lavender. The fragrance has bitter orange leaves that add a greenness but for the most part, this perfume is sweet. The heart is overflowing with indolic white florals paired with a balsamic yet sweet vanilla. The dry-down is a smoky incense powder, mostly benzoin, with a waxy vanilla.
Here’s the deal, I like my orange blossoms sweet. I always think of orange blossom as a “gourmand” note. I tend to prefer them as sweet as they can get. I know that this perfume is too sweet for many people, but I like my orange blossoms (and lavender) with vanilla.
I don’t think Séville à L’aube is “perfect”. The version-in-my-head had more vetiver (channeling Molinard Habanita) and my version had a drier vanilla. But, this isn’t my version; I’m being picky and unreasonable. The final version is a very Duchaufour-ish perfume that is rich and sweet yet acrid. If I didn’t have my personal expectations, I wouldn’t even be mentioning this! This is one of the issues with launching a perfume with such an intimate book.
Notes listed include lavender, pink pepper, lemon tree leaves, orange blossom, jasmine, magnolia, beeswax, incense, Benzoin Siam and Luiseiri lavender. Launch date 2012. PERFUMER – Bertrand Duchaufour
Give Séville à L’aube a try if you like sweet orange blossoms or want a “complex” vanilla. Or if you like perfumes like By Kilian Sweet Redemption, Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur de Male, Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and/or Mugler Mirror Mirror Collection Dis Moi. I think this one is unisex but I guess because of the sweetness it could lean more feminine.
Projection and longevity are above average. This is a beast. One spray is more than enough.
Victoria’s FInal EauPINION – A really sweet orange blossom and vanilla with sharp lavender. I do think it’s a sexy perfume because I associate white flowers with “sexy”. And vanilla is a note that always gets me compliments, so the two together have to equal something sexy, right?
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