The David Yurman brand, "arguably the cash cow of American jewelry retailing", according to Women's Wear Daily (5/2/2005), is launching their first perfume this month. The eponymous fragrance is geared towards the luxury market (no surprise there) and will be in fairly tight distribution, at least at the beginning.
I'll start with the bottle. It's that very rare thing, a fragrance bottle that looks even better in person than it does in pictures. It's gorgeous. I'm not in love with the cap — caps never look better in person, do they? — but the faceted gold "flask" floating inside the outer crystal bottle is really lovely. It looks expensive, and of course, it is.
On to the juice. David Yurman and his wife, Sybil, apparently knew what they were after for their debut scent:
“I didn’t want vanilla,” says Sybil adamantly. “I didn’t want food smells.”
“Yeah, no strawberry, please,” seconds her husband [...] “I didn’t want it to be just a light, happy moment. I wanted much more complexity.” (via wmagazine)
I'm all for no strawberry, and hey, I'll cast my vote for complexity too. The couple also "didn't want the fragrance to be defined by any one note" (Women's Wear Daily, 3/28/2008). The result, a floral chypre by perfumer Harry Fremont (the notes: mandarin, fresh green petals, cassis, peony, water lily, natural rose otto, patchouli, exotic woods and soft musk), meets that standard, in fact, it's almost pointless to describe the experience of wearing it, blow by blow, and even more pointless than usual to list the notes. It's a very well-blended scent, and unless you pay close attention, none of those notes stand out for long. For the most part they don't smell like their "live" counterparts anyway.
Chandler Burr described the opening perfectly in his Scent Notes column: "a powerful, gold, floral department-store luxury perfume, with the subtlety and style of a Jackie Collins novel". Yep, that's spot on. It doesn't smell like you've purchased something valuable, like the share of Grasse's bounty that you get inside every bottle of Jean Patou Joy, it just smells like you've spent lots of money, and while you're at it, you'd like everybody else in your immediate vicinity to know. I found it extremely annoying for the first 30 or 40 minutes or so.
After that it calms quite nicely; the dry down is darkish but very, very clean, like most modern chypres. It's a pleasant woody-musky thing, sweet and "vaguely floral" in the early stages, but drier and woodier the longer it is on skin. It doesn't really smell like Estee Lauder's Sensuous, but it eventually has that same "fluid woods sweetened for women" sort of feel; happily for my wallet, I prefer the Sensuous (and Sensuous doesn't make me crazy for the better part of an hour).
Based solely on the (long-lived) top notes, I predict that David Yurman will be something of a "love it or hate it" scent. For those of you who think you might love it, you'll be happy to hear that Burr is dead right on another point: this stuff lasts forever. Seriously. You'll have to scrub to remove it 12 hours later. For my part, a "David Yurman Extreme", minus the top notes but with a deeper, darker base, would be a cool thing to have, but I can live without this one. Still, props to the Yurmans for not doing that "light, happy moment" strawberry scent; we've plenty of those already.
David Yurman Eau de Parfum will be available in 50 ($120) or 75 ml ($165) and in matching body cream. It can be pre-ordered now from Neiman Marcus (they are currently giving a ship date of 8/4, and are offering a "free vial of David Yurman Eau de Parfum with any David Yurman fragrance purchase") or directly from David Yurman. The David Yurman boutiques have testers available now; I'm not sure if they're at Neiman Marcus yet but please comment if you know.