Diptyque's new Eau des Sens is meant to be a spicy orange blossom, and promises "the scent of the orange tree in its entirety, from the white petals of the orange blossom to the dark green leaves to the juicy, bitter Seville orange hanging off the branches" — I presume half of you are ready to sign up, and the other half have already moved on to the next article. That's as it should be, because Eau des Sens is pretty much what it says it is, no more, no less.
Be warned, first of all, that Eau de Sens is sheer-ish, as is (mostly) the Diptyque style as of late. In the video I posted yesterday, perfumer Olivier Pescheux said that the best way to discover Eau de Sens is to "spray it generously", and I'll concur. I generally lean towards the lighter end of fragrance application: it's not unusual for me to be wearing a tiny little dab of something, and it's rare that I'd wear more than one or two sprays of anything. My sample vial of Eau des Sens is dab, not spray, and I pretty much bathed my arm in it so that I could review it, the tiny little dab I'd started off with having floated right off into the ether.
Applied generously, it's quite compelling: a juicy citrus opening, followed by a pale orange blossom, on the dry / bitter side, not soapy in the least,1 summery and fresh and a bit green, with just a little tingle of a spicy undertone from the juniper berry (enough to call up a nice summer gin cocktail every so often, especially early on, but not so much as to make you feel you're wearing gin) and angelica (quite noticeable for a few minutes, then mild) and petitgrain (likewise, mild). The base is woody musk, also pale. There is supposedly patchouli, but it's surely a modern fraction — you won't hardly notice it to speak of.2 The focus stays on the orange blossom straight through to the end: it doesn't turn candied or powdered or anything else. It's completely unisex, and while you wouldn't expect a sheer orange blossom to last all day, the lasting power seems reasonable enough.
Verdict: Nice, and very much worth a try for orange blossom fans. It would also make a perfect entry-level orange blossom (as would The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom). If you're a serious orange blossom fan, the sort that already has several in your collection, you might find it perhaps a tad too basic for your needs — I personally found it a joy to wear, but my wallet stayed quite safely in my purse, thank you. For comparison, it's not as spicy as Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Eau Pour Le Jeune Homme (or even as Diptyque's own L'Eau de Tarocco), it doesn't have the sparkle of Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Colonia (or those limited edition, beautifully packaged L'Artisan harvest orange blossoms that I found too expensive, complained about, and only stay awake regretting once in a blue moon), it's not as rich (or dusky / mysterious) as L'Artisan Séville à l’Aube.3
Diptyque Eau des Sens is sold in 50 ($90) or 100 ($125) ml Eau de Toilette. There is also a bar soap ($26), but as of yet, no rollerball or solid (perhaps they are to follow). For buying information, see the listing for Diptyque under Perfume Houses.
1. Although I've noticed that other people often seem to find fragrances soapier than I do. So your mileage, as always, may vary.
2. I say that so frequently that I should just stop saying it, right? Probably nobody really expects patchouli in a fragrance to smell like real patchouli anymore.
3. And if you're still searching for your perfect orange blossom, do see the review for Séville à l’Aube — it includes a poll on readers' favorite orange blossom scents.