I’ve noticed recently that several of my all-time favorite perfumes fall into a similar category as Parfums Divine L’Inspiratrice. This category consists of fragrances which have a classical oriental structure but might initially seem boring, ordinary and definitely not groundbreaking. Let me digress for a moment to say that I am so tired of the “groundbreaking” label. Groundbreaking is used in a manner that suggests anything which isn’t groundbreaking is derivative and not especially good. I don’t care whether a fragrance is groundbreaking or not, I only care whether it smells amazing. In fact, only about 2-3 of my very favorite fragrances would fit the “groundbreaking” label.
In any event, this seems a sort of defensive way to begin a review of Divine L’Inspiratrice, and perhaps I shouldn’t have begun in this manner because there are no defenses necessary in admitting just how much I love this gem from Parfums Divine.
L’Inspiratrice was created by Richard Ibanez and introduced six years ago in 2006. A quick categorization of L’Inspiratrice would be that it’s a rose-patchouli-aldehyde scent but that would be almost a useless description of it. When I think of rose-patchouli fragrances I imagine L’Artisan Voleur de Rose, Gucci L’Arte di Gucci, Teo Cabanel Oha, Frederic Malle Une Rose, Bond No. 9 West Side and so many others. L’Inspiratrice isn’t nearly as rosy nor as earthy as most of the well-known perfumes in the rose-patchouli category. Rose IS present and patchouli IS also present, especially at the start, but these two elements are not the only or most prominent members of the cast. The most crucial part of understanding and enjoying L’Inspiratrice is to really wear it. Spray L’Inspiratrice liberally on yourself, give it a good sniff, then come back and sniff it again in an hour. The dry down of L’Inspiratrice is heaven.
Angela over at Now Smell This made an interesting observation about Divine L’Inspiratrice. Angela suggests that there really isn’t a base to L’Inspiratrice. It’s as if the fragrance is exceedingly diffuse, hanging about me in a veil, without a grounding base. This is something I love about the way L’Inspiratrice wears, it is the absolute definition of a veil-like scent; it’s all airy sillage, not dense, but wonderfully diffuse. Not having a hefty base doesn’t mean it won’t stick around. In fact, L’Inspiratrice sticks around at least 6 hours on me and the dry down is the best part.
L’Inspiratrice begins as a rose-patchouli scent but, as I’ve already mentioned, it isn’t especially rosy or heavy on earthy patchouli. The rose is done with a light hand and it’s a warm, sweet rose. The patchouli is also done with a light hand and this isn’t a heavy, earthy patchouli but instead an effervescent airy patchouli. The heart of the fragrance builds into a sweeter floral-patchouli, that is recognizably a patchouli note but one I would think even patchouli-haters might enjoy. The dry down becomes a soft musky tonka vanilla. This is one of those fragrances where it seems downright silly trying to dissect its various notes because it is above all an abstract perfume and one which is more amazing than its list of notes could ever suggest.
Divine L’Inspiratrice is classic, refined, airy, diffuse and an outstanding patchouli creation.
Official notes list: Rose, ylang-ylang, vanilla, tonka bean, vetiver, patchouli