The Unicorn Spell is one of the three debut fragrances from LesNEZ, a new niche perfume brand founded by René Schifferle. The scents were developed in collaboration with perfumer Isabelle Doyen, best known for her work with Annick Goutal. LesNEZ is one of those lines that doesn't like to disclose fragrance notes (I hate that!) so we'll have to lead off with Isabelle Doyen's description of The Unicorn Spell:
If by dawn still linger on your skin mixed scents of leaves, frost and violet blooms, and that relentless yearning for stellar sights, you will know that, at night, you felt the milky breath of a unicorn.
Short of an avalanche of fascinating launches from niche perfumeries between now and the end of the year — how likely is that? — LesNEZ, along with Le Labo, will easily make my list of the best fragrance news of 2006. All three of their fragrances are interesting and beautifully done; of the three, The Unicorn Spell seems to be the early favorite on the blogs and fragrance boards, and it is easy to see why.
The Unicorn Spell starts off with, as advertised, frosty violet: it is cold, mildly green, and has a rooty-earthy, iris-like undertone. The coolness lasts well into the heart, which is rather like smelling the more conventionally pretty Annick Goutal La Violette through a faint haze of Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist; it has a kind of vaporish quality that nicely fits in with the ad copy. The dry down adds pale woods and a bit of something like tea; I would not have noticed it myself but Victoria of Bois de Jasmin quite rightly pointed out to me that there is a definite affinity with Annick Goutal Duel in the later stages (see her review of The Unicorn Spell here).
It is a very appealing fragrance, and combines the best qualities of a niche scent (it doesn't smell like it has been through a focus group) and a mainstream offering (it is pretty, even charming, and perfectly accessible). Highly recommended, and I look forward with great interest to whatever LesNEZ comes up with next.
The Unicorn Spell is an Eau de Parfum, and is around $70 for 50 ml at the LesNez website.