Upon hearing about this new scent at Now Smell This recently, I had this to say: DelRae Does Rose? I am SO THERE. The description of the scent as “capturing the ultimate beauty of the rose as you find in nature – deep, luscious, fresh and completely intoxicating. So stunning that when you first smell it, it is ‘love at first sight.'” (Description from the Parfums DelRae website.) It was composed by Yann Vasnier in conjunction with DelRae Roth and released in June 2010.
I still haven’t tried all of the DelRae offerings. Of those I’ve tried, I liked one, Amoureuse, very very much, and the other two, Bois de Paradis and Emotionelle, were just hideous on me. I’d still like to try Mythique and Debut, but Eau Illuminee does not appeal to me based on its notes.
Coup de Foudre, by contrast, did appeal to me, very much, based on its notes. From the DelRae website: Baie Rose, Bergamot, Italian Lemon ‘sfumatrice’, Pink Grapefruit, Rose de Mai France Orpur, Purple Peony, Egyptian Jasmine absolute, Magnolia Orpur, Geranium Bourbon, Tonka Venezuela, Vetyver, White Moss, Velvet Musks. (For those of you with a bee in your bonnet about pink pepper, cringe again: “baie rose” is pink pepper. Ha ha. And I think “sfumatrice” means something like “vanishing,” in Italian, but I don’t really get what that means in terms of lemon. Lemon doesn’t last anyway.) So when a bottle split became available, I got my hot little hands on it right away.
The name Coup de Foudre – which means, literally, “stroke of lightning” in French and has the colloquial meaning of “love at first sight” – recalled to me a passage from The Godfather, by Mario Puzo, where Michael Corleone, sitting in a Sicilian citrus grove with two shepherds who are also part of the Sicilian mafia, sees a young woman running and playing with other girls of her age, and falls headlong, instantaneously, in love with her. All his senses are stirred and he feels like “his body had sprung away from him out of himself.” The shepherds are amused, but they quickly explain that he’s been “hit by the thunderbolt.” He’s fallen in love, and it cannot be hidden. Nor is it something shameful; in fact, one of the shepherds claims that some men pray for it to happen to them.
And just like that, Michael Corleone has fallen in love with Apollonia, daughter of the local cafe’ owner, at first sight, hit by the thunderbolt – the coup de foudre. He pursues Apollonia through the traditional channels, chaperoned by the elderly women of her family, and marries her within weeks.
So Coup de Foudre had a lot to live up to, with that name and with Parfums’ DelRae’s description of it as “the superlative, modern rose perfume.” Sadly, it falls short. Mind you, it’s beautiful. It’s very beautiful, and it does indeed carry the exquisite freshness of a live rose as no other rose scent I’ve ever smelled has ever done. This is genius. My complaint is that it is far too quiet, and far too fleeting.
DelRae scents have borne the reputation of being good, but often too loud. However, Coup de Foudre is not loud at all. It is pleasantly diffusive in the early stages – the citrus is rather warm and spicy, and the opening has a sort of tart, jammy-fruity feeling that I like very much. Almost immediately the rose comes up, and it’s a little powdery at first but settles into an aspect that evokes the “nose in a rose” experience. It’s gorgeous, and I mean really gorgeous. I do smell quite a lot of peony, and it’s not the NEON SCREAMING PINK SYNTHETIC MESS that you often get in mainstream peony fragrances – it’s a fresh sweetness that blends very well with the rose. I can’t tease out the jasmine or magnolia, but that may be because I’m concentrating on this rose-peony blend that charms me so much.
Suddenly, though, this wonderful fresh-rose scent fades. One minute, you’re thinking happy thoughts of your grandmother’s roses and your Sarah Bernhardt peonies, and the next, you’re wondering where it went. Somewhere around hour 1.5, CdF shrinks down to the skin and won’t radiate off. I can still smell it if I hoover my skin, but there’s almost no sillage at all. The drydown – which is lovely and classical, with tonka, moss and musk – stays right next to the skin. The development as a whole is pretty and coherent, but after an hour and a half, even if I follow the “spray until wet, multiple-spray in the same place,” technique, it is a skin scent, only perceptible to those who are embracing me. The fragrance lasts about three hours on my skin, or perhaps three and a half if I spray until wet, with the last two hours being so close to the skin that I might not be wearing fragrance at all.
I would probably not be so disappointed in Coup de Foudre if I hadn’t read such glowing descriptions. If you’re going to describe a fragrance as the ultimate fresh-rose scent – well, for heaven’s sake, DelRae, follow through. CdF is very much a fresh-rose scent, but to me “ultimate” means that the scent would last a little longer than an episode of ER. I don’t know why I feel unwilling to forgive CdF its poor longevity, when I’ll do that for something ethereal like Apres l’Ondee. But I am unwilling to do so. The other thing that bothers me about it is that the name is far too extravagant for such a sweetly pretty fragrance. There’s no thunderbolt here, no immediate and overpowering infatuation – Coup de Foudre isn’t present enough for that.
I begin to wonder if this first release of bottles was not macerated long enough. Surely Parfums DelRae wouldn’t intentionally release something so shy and retiring? I continue to be puzzled.
Top image of Coup de Foudre from the DelRae website. Lower image is “Rosa fresca aulentissima” from Qi Bo at flickr.