Longtime fans of French niche line Parfums de Nicolaï know she generally does a new Eau Fraîche most summers, and some of you may remember her two mango entries: Eau Exotique (2005) and Eau Turquoise (2008). I think most people preferred Turquoise, but I preferred Exotique, and that is the one I own. In a reversal of the usual trajectory with older perfumes, the top notes have improved with age but the base has gone a bit off. If it was still for sale, I'd replace it in a heartbeat — it had all the sparkle that's missing from most modern summer limited editions, which tend to smell fresh but flat.
L’Eau Corail, the latest in the series, returns to the subject of mango.1 Just as I'd hoped, the opening is beautifully sparkling, with mango, blackcurrant, plenty of citrus, and a quick flash of what smells like peach or apricot although neither are listed in the notes (other notes: petitgrain, orange, peppermint, jasmine, rose, osmanthus, cardamom, mate, sandalwood, cedar, musk and amber). I noticed the peppermint more on some wearings than others, but regardless, it provides a 'cooling' herbal bite in the early stages. After about 20 minutes or so, L'Eau Corail reminds me of Turquoise more than Exotique: it's soft, mildly fruity (now definitely apricot-ish) and mildy spicy, but without the huge juicy mango that dominated Exotique through most of its skin-life. There are sheer florals and a pale woody base. It isn't as overtly musky as Exotique (or the brand's Eau d'Été2), but it's musky, and something about the later dry down strikes me as just ever-so-slightly more masculine than some of the other unisex outings from Parfums de Nicolaï.
Verdict: Corail is a sophisticated, nicely-done fruity scent for summer, if you need one. I personally don't love it as much as I'd hoped, and now I'm both missing Exotique and wishing I'd bought a bottle of L’Eau à la Folie (peach!) before that one disappeared. All the same, Corail is probably a must-try for any fans of Eau Turquoise who have already drained their bottles, and it's worth a shot for anyone who appreciates the brand.
Have a favorite summer scent from Parfums de Nicolaï, or a favorite mango perfume? Do tell!
Parfums de Nicolaï L’Eau Corail is exclusive to the brand's website and Paris boutique. It is sold in 30 (€36) and 100 (€108) ml.
1. I should note that mango is not even mentioned in the brand description, so I am not meaning to imply that Corail is intended as a "mango fragrance"; you can see the brand description here.
2. Apropos of nothing, my bottle of Eau d'Été has aged far better than my bottle of Eau Exotique. The cinnamon has deepened dramatically — it now smells sort of like a summery cinnamon musk. I am moving it towards the front of the cabinet.