I recently complained about fragrances like Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One that disappoint me when they rely so heavily on predictable gimmicks of celebrity, sex appeal, and the status of a designer label (often to the neglect of the perfume itself). Companies like Crazylibellule and the Poppies, on the other hand, delight me when they present their fragrances with some light-hearted and allusive story-telling, an interest in the connection between scent and memory, and the reminder that you can wear fragrance just to please yourself.
The Les Bâtons de Parfum collection from Crazylibelulle is positioned (and priced) as a higher-end range, and its three scents are thematically linked with three times of the day. The Bâtons are twice the size of Crazylibellule's core collections, the Crazysticks (10 grams, rather than 5 grams), and they’re packaged in nicely weighted metal tubes that close with a satisfying clicking sound, like high-end lipsticks. Their perfume solids are very slightly pearlized, to leave the faintest trace of shimmer on the skin. The scents themselves are intended to be a little more luxurious — the olfactory versions of satin pajamas or cocktail dresses, rather than the more casual and whimsical “outfits” of the Crazysticks. Appropriately, they smell more like “classic” perfumes than most of the CrazySticks do.
De Bon Matin (“Early in the morning”) is a fruity-floral scent with a composition of black currant, apricot, mandarin, cyclamen, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, sandalwood, amber, cedar, musk, and vanilla. When I read that list, I expected (and feared) a knock-off of Dior J’Adore. Fortunately, De Bon Matin has a gentler, warmer feeling than J’Adore, which has always seemed somewhat strident to me. It’s like a wearable Bellini cocktail, with a few orange blossoms on the side and a base of sunny amber. It’s a cheerful scent, and it’s the most youthful of the Batons; I’d also predict it as the best-seller of the trio.
Après-Midi en Douce (“On a quiet afternoon”) is a delicate, sweet floral, and (naturally) it’s my favorite Bâton. Its notes of neroli, violet, leaves, freesia, hazelnut, heliotrope, and honey evoke not just any afternoon, but a spring afternoon. Après-Midi en Douce opens with an amazingly lifelike recreation of freesia that unfolds to reveal a soft blend of dewy orange blossom and heliotrope (without the almond-doughy aspect that heliotrope sometimes has). I’d recommend it to someone who already loves L’Artisan Parfumeur Drôle de Rose or Tokyo Milk Waltz, since it fits that unofficial category of innocent-feeling, honeyed florals.
Ensemble ce Soir (“Together tonight”) is designed as an elegant and sophisticated fragrance for evening wear, constructed around blackcurrant, apricot, ivy leaves, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, and musk. Once the berry-ish topnote quickly disperses, it’s an aldehydic floral with a powdery-musky jasmine heart, and it reminds me of some other fragrance, or a few fragrances — Caron Infini, maybe, or reformulated Coty L'Aimant. It's the longest-wearing fragrance of the Bâtons, yet it’s somehow the least interesting one to me. I don't dislike it, but it feels retro in a 1980s way, which doesn't quite fit my personality these days.
Since they’re solid perfumes, the Bâtons are portable (and suitable for air travel!), and their alcohol-free fragrances wear close to the skin. The act of uncapping a Bâton, then stroking it onto your wrists and neck, does indeed feel indulgent and calming at the same time. This is a busy time of year, when most of us could probably use a reflective moment to ourselves; if one of the Bâtons suits your tastes, it would be a perfect holiday gift to yourself.
Crazylibellule and the Poppies Les Bâtons de Parfum are $49 each for a 10 gr solid. For buying information, see the listing for Crazylibellule and the Poppies under Perfume Houses.
Note: image of Morning Awakening by Eva Gonzalès (1876) via Wikipedia Commons.