Do you ever get the impression that you’re going to love a perfume before you’ve even tried it? It’s an odd feeling. You read all of the reviews online, study the marketing bumf and ogle pictures of the bottle, whilst all the time feeding your inner perfume demon who is quietly whispering how “they wants it, they needs it”. Only when one actually gets their hands on the precious is the demon satisfied. Lalique’s latest feminine fragrance, ‘Living Lalique‘ was one such case of demonic perfume lust. All it took was one scan of the press release and I was hooked – I knew I needed it in my life.
Living Lalique, like all-things Lalique, looks to the past for its inspirations (see the Noir Premier Collection for further evidence). The fragrance takes cues from the flight of the swallow, Lalique’s house emblem, whilst the bottle is inspired by the ‘Carnette Fleur’, a bottle designed by founder, René Lalique in 1911, not to mention the fact that the ad campaign focuses on an art deco window inspired by the brands aesthetics. It’s definitely a Lalique affair and one has to feel positive about the brand’s love and respect for their heritage.
The fragrance itself is penned by Richard Ibanez of Robertet (Andrea Maack Coal & Divine L’Inspiratrice) and is described as being a “soaring fragrance” that “follows the Lalique woman from metropolis to metropolis and from emotion to emotion”. To evoke the spirit of the Lalique lifestyle, the brand and Ibanez have chosen to focus on perfumery’s richest and most divine ingredient – orris butter (iris). The result is a sumptuous, pillowy fragrance that, through subtlety and a paired-back warmth, evokes beauty with every fibre of its orris-soaked being.
“A moment of emotion. A flight of swallows. A window opening into a world of timeless luxury. The quintessence of the Lalique lifestyle is expressed in a new perfume, Living Lalique. A bold fragrance, reflecting the urban, contemporary, active life of the Lalique woman. A dream-like fragrance, sculpted from materials as luminous as crystal. A soaring fragrance, inspired by the elegant swallow, Lalique has chosen as its emblem.”
Top: Bergamot, Black Pepper and Nutmeg
Heart: Iris Butter, Tonka Bean and Vanilla
Base: Vetyver, Sandalwood and Cashmeran
How Does it Smell?
Living Lalique opens like a delicate breeze drifting slowly through silk curtains. It has a sleepy languor to it that is comforting and soft. Bergamot, which has always felt dewy and powdery to my nose, adds freshness via a silky tea vibe that is bright without being particularly bubbly or lively, with the main theme of the fragrance being a feathery softness that is remarkably subtle. The pepper promised in the notes doesn’t really stand out, and it’s fair to say that the star, right from the outset, is the doughy and finely-milled tones of an auburn iris.
The iris at the heart of Living Lalique is grey and buttery, and ever so delicately soft. It has both a sweetness and a nuttiness to it that makes for an interesting contrast, especially as the fragrance shifts into warmer, vanilla-filled territory. Things become distinctly more creamy and suede-like as the heart intensifies, with the sweetness and nuttiness of vanilla taking centre stage. The texture is so fabulous in this fragrance – it’s neither too buttery nor too powdery, reaching a perfect equilibrium between both feels, creating its very own pattern.
As things progress towards the base one notices a more masculine edge peeking through this masterful essay in texture. Vetiver adds a sharpness that cuts through Living Lalique’s plushness and intensifies the naturally earthy facets of the iris coeur. It’s at this point that the fragrant gives a friendly nod to Dior’s masterpiece Dior Homme, but where there is a small similarity, the Lalique definitely comes across as softer than the Dior, which is quite a triumph. In the far dry down, Living Lalique merges the doughy quality of iris with the chewy and fluffy notes of sandalwood and cashmeran. The end result is a blend that feels perfectly smooth, almost savoury and masterfully shaded in muted tones of beige and brown.
Living Lalique is a truly beautiful fragrance, mainly because it is so understated. Iris is a tricky note to do well, with many iris fragrances ending up as pale or thin interpretations that are far from respectful of the real thing. Living Lalique doesn’t shout, nor does it strike with any sense of weirdness and it certainly doesn’t challenge, but that’s not really the point with this fragrance. No, the purpose here is to present orris butter, arguably the most beautiful of perfume ingredients, as a multi-faceted olfactory experience that conjures up the idea of a luxurious life well-lived. I’m absolutely smitten, just as I, and my inner perfume demon thought I would be.
Living Lalique launches nationwide on 05 April 2015 and will be available in 50ml (£69) and 100ml (£97) Eau de Parfum, with matching body products also available.
An Extrait version or Living Lalique containing an “even richer measure of orris butter” will also available in two editions; Crystal Edition (£1000/120ml) and Crystal Edition with Gold Leaf (£9500/120ml). The Crystal Edition with Gold Leaf can be seen in the image above.
Sample, images, notes and quotes via Lalique.