Monday, March 16, 2009

Gobin-Daudé Sève Exquise and Sous le Buis

Please welcome, SaraD. This is Sara’s first perfume review for I Smell Therefore I Am.

If an obsessed perfumista researches 'green' fragrances, one is bound to come across the mythical Gobin-Daudés; in particular Sève Exquise, the exquisite sap. In my mind this was on par with Jean Patou's legendary Vacances, the fairy queen of green florals. I wasn't prepared for the reality of actually sniffing it, though.

Victoire Gobin-Daudé created a range of incredible, natural ingredient based perfumes that all too quickly were discontinued due to financial and marketing problems. We can only hope and pray that she will someday return them to us, as they stand out amongst the niche crowd in sheer quality and beauty. Parfums Gobin-Daudé has recently been rumored to perhaps make a comeback, so I'm watching that space keenly. I kept accidentally wanting to read the perfume's name as 'Goblin' so I've come to call these the goblins!

With the notes of orris, poplar bud, liatrix and vetiver, Sève Exquise promises to be green, intense and fresh. Orris root is metallic, dry and sweet and not the carrot we expect from the iris, and in Canada/USA, balsam poplar bud is usually taken from the new shoots of cottonwood trees in spring as a liniment folk remedy for headaches, joints and muscle pain used according to American Indian healing. The scent of raw essential oil of poplar bud is sweet like Spring wine, a fresh green candy that is familiar, medicinal and yet heady. Liatrix is a green, vanillic fern note. And of course vetiver is dry and rooty, unmistakable. I do not know if the poplar bud used in this was European or North American, though I am willing to bet there is little difference in the intense green sweetness of the new buds. However, there is no description based on these notes that could have prepared me for the experience of actually smelling this famous Sap.

In real time, my comments were as follows
TOP: Delicate. This is the first word that springs to mind. It's not the power trip I expected. Delicate, green, pretty and fresh, definitely juicy leafy green delicate ferns in a cool forest. Yes, and the sap! Cool trickle of clear, thick sap droplet, dripping down a tree's bark or stem of bracken. I really do feel surrounded by the woods. I've sat in woods in the Scottish highlands, surrounded by ferns and rannoch, bracken, so this smell places me right back there instantly. So nice not to have "moss", as this is like a chypre of ferns rather than spongy dankness. Now I know why everyone loves this so much! Truly a work of art. I've never smelled anything like this before.
MIDDLE: Intoxication. Translucent green fairy juice. Love, Love, Love. It may be so diaphanous that some noses get underwhelmed? I find it subtle with nuances that are breathtaking and enchanting – entrancing! The way it moves, develops – it gives me visions. If asked to choose between this and Vacances, I can't. This is a fantasy experience. I'm completely enthralled. I may cry. It actually feels like smelling a river or slow-moving current of air that pulls me with it to my surprise and I'm caught in it, and start to drown. Smells like a living dream, brought to life from those places glimpsed in sleep where palaces and true love exists to silently sing and pierce the heart. Hmm, it also stops time and makes the mind slow down to follow along at the pace it sets, perhaps the purity of the ingredients she used? Definitely high-grade stuff, here. It’s no wonder she went out of business – marketing something this expensive had to be difficult to balance against the marketing costs and getting others to see that it was worth EVERY and any effort to get it out.
DRYDOWN: I've never smelled anything like this in my life. Unique beyond words. I'm its slave. The use of vetiver was utter genius. I can't say that enough. So green and clean, I do feel this is the yang to Vacances' yin – where that is floral, this is not, so they are a perfect harmony. I don't feel the need to compare them anymore, as they each complete their own side of the green dream. Yeah, like… the fairy king and the fairy queen. Makes me want to make music, though, this perfume does. Inspiring to the max.
But the words 'Holy Grail' are definitely going through my head.

Seve Exquise is supernatural.

Lasting power: not bad, actually. Not as lasting as Vacances, but I don't mind either; Seve Exquise is a drug and should only be used when it is required.

Next up:
Gobin-Daude Sous le Buis (Under the Boxwood Notes: galbanum, lavender, clary sage, orange flowers
TOP: cold woodsy love, intensely familiar somehow – the galbanum is like a subliminal message in this, not screaming its presence but hypnotizing behind the opening notes, like bass. The clary sage; lavender is bursting out, taking it over. I love clary sage, and this is very well-blended. God, this woman is a genius. What she does with lavender is simply breathtaking; she uses it as a proper blender rather than as a main note – she lets it work its magic on the other notes yet it remains visible. Amazing
MIDDLE: ohh so warm now, the softest sweetest green and flowers ever, like a herbal flower warmed in sunlight. The flower sibling to Seve Exquise's fern green. One of the prettiest things ever. Smells soft almost like a cat's fur after it's come inside from brushing against flowers in the field. So comforting that I can honestly believe this is medicine! An aromatherapy blend and not just a perfume. It is clean, and true, and very inviting. Like a soft, beloved bed. I'm glad to be wearing it with the Seve Exquise on my skin, as it soothes me during the heartache of beauty that is the Sap.
DRYDOWN: This may be very underrated. Perhaps even dismissed. It is too natural and beautiful to be heard, so overlooked. I can see why some might not like it, as it doesn't have the extremes, harshness or depth that some people may recognize from most mainstream frags, but I love it for its smooth warmth. The lasting power is hamstrung by the use of natural ingredients. This is not one I can hoard; I'll have to wear it until it is gone, it's so comforting and beautiful. I believe at that point I'll have to make a little natural blend of my own using the listed notes, just to make myself feel better.

Seve Exquise truly is the goblin king to the Vacances fairy queen. Where Vacances is all flowers and green, trailing down into goldenwood musk like Lothlorien, the Sap is a force of nature, elemental and wild, taking matters into its own hand and using that power most gently. Sous le Buis is the balm for the healing heart. One needs to be in the right place in oneself to experience these, I believe; it's too personal for one to spritz Seve all over and then hit the clubs/opera/movies/dinner-date. It would be all too easy to dismiss these as fleeting or failing to provide the vanilla/fruit/sugar rush of mainstream fragrances.

In my opinion, the two 'goblins' I have are creative masterpieces that deserve to be kept in glass bubbles like butterflies and literary dreams.

I'll continue to dream what the other three Victoire created are like, and wish for them with every dandelion puff I find.

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