As I strolled in downtown Seattle at Christmastime, the cold, moist air was scented with pungent whiffs of "fragrance" — a fragrance I would buy if it came in a bottle. No, I wasn't smelling snickerdoodles baking in ovens, espresso, chocolate or evergreen trees; all around me floated the scents of thousands of sweet box flowers, horse sweat and...yes...horse merde. A mounted police officer's horse relieved herself right next to the blossoming plants and created a superb floral musk bomb. (Parfum d'Empire: get on the case!) While relishing this "street accord" I thought to myself: "How many people would enjoy this scent as much as I do?" Maybe you have to come from horse-loving, plant-loving Virginia? Or England? Or just notice the floral notes in horse manure and the fecal facets of certain flowers?
Chanel house perfumer Oliver Polge developed Paris-Deauville and it opens with a tart, basil-orange scent that's quickly joined by more greens (I'm imagining thick, juicy, young leaves). Surprisingly, Paris-Deauville's citrus note (listed as 'mandarin') is robust and it's joined by lots of "moss," liquor-y "pink"/feminine roses and sweet jasmine blossoms (no indoles here; this jasmine has been de-musked). The overall character of this perfume is more Paris-Séville than Paris-Deauville, but no matter the inspiration it's a charming and happy and summery fragrance; if a perfume could chuckle, Paris-Deauville would. While there's nothing wild or strange to smell on the Paris-Deauville voyage, it's a fun, relaxing trip...all 175 Kms.
I choose a new summer citrus, or two, or three, each year. Paris-Deauville almost made it onto the Summer 2019 citrus list, but many wearings made me rethink my initial reaction. I'm more of a Patti Smith traveler, and Paris-Deauville made me feel like Lee Radziwill instead. Not a good thing. Paris-Deauville feels ladylike on me (maybe it's the mossy element?)
Infusion Mandarine ignores mandarin's juice and oily peel in favor of the fruit's pith; the perfume smells opaque. Infusion Mandarine is an introverted, bitter take on mandarin (it smells, at first, like a mandarin-flavored aspirin would taste). Infusion Mandarine's orange blossoms, arranged on a tiny piece of honeycomb, are infantile and smell 'faded' from their arrival (they play peek-a-boo then disappear). In Infusion Mandarine's base, neroli appears; it's juicy and sweet and bolstered by white musk. Infusion Mandarine's base is its most assertive (and diffusive) phase. I've gotten many compliments as I've worn it.
Infusion Mandarine is downright shy next to Paris-Deauville (and remember: Paris-Deauville chuckles, it isn't lusty); though I drenched my right arm with Infusion Mandarine, a few sprays of Paris-Deauville on my left arm obliterated the Prada.
The winner of this small-scale Mandarin Smackdown, you may have guessed, is Paris-Deauville.
Infusion Mandarine: you didn't convince me I finally needed to buy my first Prada fragrance.
And please, someone create a Stable Flowers perfume!
Chanel Paris-Deauville is $130 for 125 ml Eau de Toilette and also comes in body lotion and hair and body shower gel. Prada Infusion Mandarine is $160 for 100 ml Eau de Parfum.