I've read so many magazine articles about the building blocks of the classic wardrobe. Usually the list includes a white, button-up blouse, a trench coat, a string of pearls, and a little black dress. Except for the little black dress, my dream basic wardrobe looks a lot different: try for starters 10 cotton sundresses from the 1950s, four 1940s suits, enough vintage cocktail dresses to last a few seasons in Monte Carlo, and an armload of dressing gowns. But I do believe in a basic wardrobe of fragrances. A type of fragrance I think everyone should have is a warm, spicy, slightly gourmand scent. If you haven't yet filled this hole in your perfume collection, you might want to try Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté.
Warm, spicy orientals are perfect when it's cold out and you want a scent that will stand up to the season's thick sweaters and woolen skirts. They blend well with roaring fireplaces, counteract the damp, musty smell of the bus on a rainy morning, and bloom on skin coddled by coats. Some orientals, like Chopard Casmir, are heavily gourmand and call for a light hand and a big personality. Others, like the brand new Natori, are more light and feminine. Minuit Enchanté takes a middle course.
Minuit Enchanté has top notes of juniper, mace, ginger, clove buds, and pimento berry; a heart of tuberose, rose absolue, jasmine absolue, and peach nectar; and a dry down of pure vanilla absolue, musks, labdanum oil, benzoin resin, amber, myrrh, exotic guaiacwood, cedarwood, sandalwood, and agarwood accord.
Minuit Enchanté kicks off with the scent of orange and cardamom with a pinch of clove, soon plumped with tuberose and jasmine. The agarwood accord (aka oud) arrives as a medicinal buzz, softened a little by sandalwood, but not the whammy of sandalwood 10 Corso Como uses to offset its oud. Just when I think the oud has tossed the fragrance off balance, a layer of vanilla floats in. Despite all its vanilla and bakery spices, Minuit Enchanté still smells more like perfume than like a box of cookies.
The whole effect of Minuit Enchanté is of a midweight, elegant, delicious veil of fragrance. If Estée Lauder Cinnabar or Yves Saint Laurent Opium feel as warm and heavy as a duvet with a velvet cover, Minuit Enchanté is more of a burnt velvet shawl tossed over a charmeuse gown. It has presence, but it doesn't overwhelm. Also, because of the cardamom and oud, Minuit Enchanté comes off as more modern than some of the 1980s oriental blockbusters.
Minuit Enchanté lasts a good long time on skin, too. Spray some at noon, and your midnight could still end up enchanted, no problem. On that note, I noticed that the fragrance is distinctly different when it's sprayed versus dabbed. The scent, in Parfum strength, comes in a bottle with a sprayer that delivers a very fine mist. Minuit Enchanté is softer and better blended when it's sprayed. But the scent has its charms dabbed, too. Dabbed, Minuit Enchanté is thicker, more potent, and the agarwood accord and vanilla stand out even more.