During the days I wrote this post: there were snow flurries and the temperature in Seattle went into the 20s (Fahrenheit); we set the clocks back an hour — the loooooong dark days crept up on me; I picked my last two roses of the year (images at the top of the post); and lots of our delicate plants, including a huge tree fern, were rolled into the garage for the freezing nights, starting a cycle of In, Out, In, Out that will go on till March or April. (Protecting the plants is worth it when summer arrives and the garden is full of scents you normally don't encounter in the Pacific Northwest.)
'Tis the time for a supine, and warming, fragrance to wear as I dream of milder weather and start the list of plants I'll grow next year. Diptyque Eau Lente is a perfect perfume to enjoy as I peruse fat and heavy garden design books and seed catalogs, and re-read my favorite books that celebrate summer.
Eau Lente was released over 30 years ago; I've included the old bottle design below since I'll have a few comments on reformulation. At present, Eau Lente is only available at Diptyque boutiques or via online orders. After visiting the Diptyque boutique in San Francisco in September I realized it's a good thing Diptyque ignored Seattle; between the perfumes and soaps and candles and diffusers I'd be a regular cu$tomer. (Visiting Nordstrom's "Diptyque shelves" is NOT the same.)
The comforting (plush and sweet) scent of opopanax opens Eau Lente: vanillic, musky, resin-y with hints of myrrh. Opopanax (in any quantity) is rare in today's fragrances, perhaps due to current perfume styles and trends or as a result of IFRA restrictions. (I didn't know I needed opopanax toothpaste till I read about IFRA regulations on ingestion of opopanax.) Still, the dose of opopanax in Eau Lente is satisfactory. Opopanax is one of my favorite fragrance ingredients: in winter it reminds me of summer and in summer it reminds me of winter (the part where you're in a cozy room, relaxing by a fireplace that's full of burning, snapping logs). As Eau Lente goes into its mid-development, woody cinnamon and zingy ginger join the opopanax. For a short while, the scent of Eau Lente reminded me of an old-fashioned gingerbread, sticky with treacle and FULL of hot ginger powder. Eau Lente's extreme dry down adds some muskiness to the remaining opopanax. As I wear Eau Lente, a lovely warmth and calm envelops me; and I can use all the calm I can muster these days.
My first bottle of Eau Lente was in Diptyque's original square-ish bottle and it was denser/thicker in character than today's sheerer version. But, "new" Eau Lente smells like "old" Eau Lente — at a lower wattage. If you never got the chance to smell original Eau Lente but did wear the gorgeous Comptoir Sud Pacifique Opoponax, you'll know what you're missing.
Another way to experience opopanax is with Diptyque's Opopanax candle and room spray; they're great. Each has the beautiful, resinous, "antique" scent of silky soft opopanax at (it seems) higher concentration than Eau Lente.
Opopanax fans: please comment and share your favorite opopanax-rich perfumes.
Diptyque Eau Lente Eau de Toilette is $130 for 100 ml; the Opopanax candle is $64 and the Opopanax room spray (another boutique exclusive) is €48 for 150 ml. For buying information, see the listing for Diptyque under Perfume Houses.