One of the perfumes I have been very much looking forward to (read: lusting after like a geeky fan boy) since I heard about its impending launch towards the end of 2013 is ‘La Tentation de Nina‘ by Nina Ricci. “Why?” I hear you ask, well the answer is simple: this is a perfume inspired by a special macaron made by Ladurée. I love macarons (although I’d take an Ispahan over these little treats any day), I love Ladurée and I love perfume – a match made in heaven, I feel.
Created by Olivier Cresp (Nina Ricci’s Nina with Jacques Cavallier and Mugler’s Angel with Yves de Chiris) in partnership with Ladurée’s Head Pastry Chef Vincent Lemains – La Tentation de Nina is a perfume evocative of the most trendy meringue-based confection in the world. The brand bill this partnership and creation as a “playful mirroring of the sense” where a perfume and macaron take inspiration from each other, coming together to create “the ultimate temptation.” But does it live up to expectations? Well the short answer to that question is ‘sort of’…
Heart: Raspberry, Almond, Lemon and Bulgarian Rose Absolute
Base: Bourbon Vanilla, White Musk and Sandalwood
How Does it Smell?
La Tentation de Nina’s (simply referred to as ‘La Tentation’ hereafter) opening is an impressive melange of sweet, biting bergamot and tart/jammy raspberry. It displays what I would call ‘a good use of fruit’ meaning that it is, unlike so many fruity scents, clear, crisp and mouthwatering with a touch of something ever-so-slightly nutty lurking in the background. It really is quite beautiful and at the beginning La Tentation is certainly reminiscent of the tasty little morsel from which it takes inspiration.
After wearing La Tentation for a few minutes I was scrabbling for my wallet in a frenzied attempt to make a purchase. Protests from my partner were met with pleas of “but it’s just so fresh and tart – you don’t understand” and “it’s an important gourmand – you know how much I like Ladurée”. Of course my cries were parried by a stern enough look to dissuade me from making an impulse purchase – and thankfully so, as after that lovely opening, La Tentation doesn’t quite deliver.
The heart (and base for that matter) is all about delicate rose notes and a ton of white musk. As with the opening, there is a good degree of almond lurking the background to ensure that things are suitably macaron-esque. I’m sure you’re think that this sounds pretty apt given that this is a macaron fragrance (the crisp almond shells and all that), but the truth is that it doesn’t really evoke the delicious aspect of the confection, instead feeling like a literal interpretation of the ingredients rather than the sum of their parts.
I’m in two minds about La Tentation. One half of me thinks that it’s a very nicely done fruity gourmand that displays a refreshing transparency that really sets it apart from the syrupy-sweet atrocities it will be sharing the department store shelves with. The other half however, can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed by the fact that it doesn’t quite capture the delicious spirit of the macaron as accurately as one would hope.
The whole thing needed to be a lot rosier and more like Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille, but maintaing that lovely freshness (not that I’m asking for much) to hit the nail on the head perfectly – unfortunately it all falls apart after that rather remarkable opening. That said, those in the market for a fresher take on the world of gourmand fragrances should give this one a sniff because it thankfully doesn’t fall in to the trap of ending on a base of stewed fruit and boring vanilla. It is ‘nicely done’ after all.
Nina Ricci’s La Tentation de Nina is available in a limited edition 50ml Eau de Toilette for £40.
Sample via Escentual (I write for Escentual as their Fragrance Expert and am therefore affiliated with them – my views however, are my own.) Notes via Escentual. Image 1 via amsterdam-ftv.blog-com. Image 2 via blog.modizy.com. Quotes via ninaricci.com.