One of L'Occitane's limited edition products for the holidays is Délice des Fleurs, a scent inspired by the traditional Provençal confectionary of candied flowers; it is "a gourmand floral fragrance with a powdery vanilla base and aromas of May Rose and Violet leaf absolutes." I do love candied violets, and anything edible made from rose petals, so I immediately put Délice des Fleurs on my must-try list.
Délice des Fleurs does indeed smell as though it were "inspired by delicate roses and violets draped in sugar." It leads with its violet note, which is sweet but not chalky; the violet is followed by a sugared rose heart, then vanilla (with a heliotrope-like creaminess) and soft white musk. The violet-rose-vanilla combination is smoothly blended. Despite its concept and its notes, Délice des Fleurs is surprisingly gentle, and can even be applied somewhat generously. On me, it avoids turning cloyingly sweet, and it doesn't send off overwhelming waves of sillage. It has solid staying power for an Eau de Toilette. It's simple, but nicely rounded and textured, just like its frosted-glass bottle.
If you loathe powdery-sweet floral fragrances, you probably won't be interested in this one, but if you're a fan of that mini-genre, you should give it a try. Just for fun, I tried wearing Délice des Fleurs on one arm and my longtime rose-and-violet love Frédéric Malle Lipstick Rose on the other, for a side-by-side comparison. Délice des Fleurs lacks Lipstick Rose's aldehydic, berry-tinged opening, its musty-sweet face powder aspect, and its almost-naughty vetiver note. In other words, it's not as complex or flirtatious, but it's cozier and easier to wear, not to mention easier on the wallet. I've been applying it at home in the evening, just as I might slip into a lambswool sweater or a pretty pastel robe.
I haven't purchased a full bottle of any L'Occitane fragrance in a while, although I'm loyal to the company's shea butter hand creams, lightweight body gels (especially in summer), and "Bonne Mère" Marseille soaps. I've previously tried Cherry Blossom and Rose 4 Reines and Pivoine Flora, and they all seemed thin and bland to me. However, Délice des Fleurs easily caught my fancy. I tried it first at a L'Occitane boutique in New York, then sampled it a few days later at the L'Occitane shop in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station and enjoyed its scent on my train ride home, then returned to the boutique in New York to purchase it the next day. I think Kevin recently had a similar experience with Immortelle de Corse, so L'Occitane must be doing something right these days.
Extra: If you'd like to know more about the floral confiserie that inspired Délice des Fleurs, you can see violets and roses being picked and crystallized in the first three minutes of this six-minute video (narrated in French).
L'Occitane Delice des Fleurs is available as Eau de Toilette (75 ml for $42), and solid perfume ($10); a matching shower gel, body lotion, and hand cream, plus a pair of rose and violet lip balms, are also available. For purchasing information, see the listing for L'Occitane under Perfume Houses.