Perfume Review: Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre

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.

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18 thoughts on “Perfume Review: Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre”

  1. Thanks for the review. I love amoureuse too! and Debut. Jammy notes? Sounds like Bois De paridise which is jammy too. Wonder why it doesn’t have the longevity that the DelRae perfumes are known for. I’m going to read more of your perfume posts.

    1. Hi, Elizabeth – glad you stopped by! Amoureuse is so lovely. Bois de Paradis, although it has a lot of notes that I generally get on well with (rose, berry, amber, woods) was simply and truly horrid on my skin although beautiful on other people – and no, Coup de Foudre is not much like BdP. The rose is not that deep winey kind that goes so well with woods, it’s very fresh without that Fake Bathroom-Fresh thing that we should all fear when we hear the word “fresh” from the fragrance PR people… no, it’s fresh like fresh flowers.

  2. It’s really frustrating when you find something you like very much and then the lasting power is actually not lasting.
    I also don’t like Emotionelle but both Mythique and Eau Illuminee surprised me – I like them a lot.
    Not Debut though. I have a small decant forgotten somewhere. I would be happy to send it over if you are interested. 🙂

    1. Ines – yes, totally annoying on the lasting power. It’s funny how I don’t mind Apres l’Ondee being so fleeting; I think it’s because Al’O’s sillage stays the same (quite low) throughout, and doesn’t do that I’M HEREnowI’mnot thing that so frustrates me with CdF.

      Emotionelle was very… garbagey on me. Bleah. Debut? Send me an email at my gmail account, and let’s talk… I just sent my first international fume-sample package last week, and I’m willing to dare it now.

  3. Oh how disappointing. I feel for you.

    Do you mind a slight off-topic discussion? Have you tried any of Sonoma Scent Studio rose fragrances (Musc, Velvet and Vintage)? Rose fragrances haven’t been my thing in the past but I like to explore new things, and I am so intrigued by the SSS aesthetic that I might give them a try, as samples initially. I notice that Robin on NST like Vintage Rose.

    1. Hi, Anne –

      A LOT of people love Vintage Rose, and on paper it sounds like just my thing. It isn’t. I’ve tried it four times now, and each time I’ve been forced to scrub it off before it could make me vomit. Twenty-two minutes was the longest I lasted with it.

      What’s doing that, I don’t know. The feeling is the same as I get from most Estee Lauder fragrances – just *something* unidentifiable that nauseates me. I’ve tried and tried ELs – they’re ubiquitous here in the US, and generally have a reputation for being well-made and good value. One of my aunts wears Beyond Paradise, and another wears Knowing, and they both smell wonderful – but something about the ELs doesn’t settle well on my skin.

      Velvet Rose I like very much but have to make a commitment to, as it is a BIG ARMFUL OF RED ROSES on my skin and lasts forever. Big sillage, too. My husband likes it; I should wear it more often.

      I have not tried Rose Musc, although I probably should. I like some of the other SSS fragrances very much: Champagne de Bois reminds me a great deal of Bois des Iles, Sienna Musk is a less-sweet version of Organza Indecence, and I did have a real coup-de-foudre/thunderbolt experience with Tabac Aurea.

      1. Wonderful! Thanks for the info, that’s most helpful. I’m thinking that when I can afford it I’ll put in a big sample order with SSS, and have a good play and a good think. Based on what I have smelled so far, I perceive that Laurie’s fragrances are full of character, but if that character does not love you – it’s a disaster. (I’m over the moon with her Jour Ensolleile.)

        It’s a pity for you about the Lauders. It’s great to have a fragrance line in your life that is inexpensive and accessible. I like several Lauders, but they please me rather than intrigue me. Sensuous is a scrubber. I’d rather wear vinegar.

      2. Laurie’s Velvet Rose is my go-to rose soliflore. I grow scented roses, so I love the big-armful-of-damask effect (although it’s not so big on me as it seems to be on our hostess!) and I’m a sucker for a realistic evocation of rose. On me it’s low-sillage (a must with my hypersensitive husband) at least as a dab, but my skin doesn’t hold top notes very long.

        On the other hand, Rose Musc does not work on me, and Vintage Rose is a distant second to Velvet.

        Speaking of one deal-breaking note–with me it’s heliotrope, so SSS Lieu de Reves is a scrubber, and even To Dream, about which many have been raving, is all screaming heliotrope on me.

      3. Hi, Myrt! So you’re a Velvet Rose person? That one is very good. I found that I just was not wearing my small bottle, so I kept about 4ml for myself and sent the rest to a friend. I’ll still have enough Velvet Rose for those times when I really want ROSES. It is huuuuuge on me.

        Yes, I think there is a goodly amount of heliotrope in those other two – I don’t mind that note, as long as it isn’t that powdery cherry cough syrup of death that seems to pop up in some heliotrope fragrances. Or Play-Doh. Bleargh.

  4. Lovely review, Mals. 🙂

    Of course, as a general non-screamer (Nahema, I’m wagging my finger at you and your neon-ness), I remain intrigued. Generally, the del Raes, even when I like them, are the kind that involves me keeping my arm at, well, an arm’s distance.

    And, like the commas in that sentence, that’s usually too much work. 😉

    So, I’ll keep an eye out for an opportunity to experience this particular Coup. Meantime, thanks for the pleasant read.

    1. Glad you enjoyed, SS. It was difficult to write – I had such mixed feelings about the thing. I LOVE it for an hour, and then it just ticks me off by leaving. I feel so… unsatisfied. (That sounds vaguely dirty.)

      Have you ever read The Godfather? Most people have only seen the movies, but you’re a reader, so I ask.

  5. So interesting Mals. I have yet to try this but your honest review makes me feel that there is plenty of time.

    I love roses in perfume but I realized I only care for them in a perfume that captures it while playing with others, not just by themselves.

    It has to have depth and other strong notes to woo me for another whiff.

    I have my soft spots for quiet sillage fragrances and the like but mostly I want to smell them on me and wafting around me, not in a offensive way but enough for me to know it’s there without hunting for it.

    You got me seriously wanting to try the Amoureuse though.

    Take care,
    T

    1. T – oh, Amoureuse is definitely worth it. I need a decant of that one, my sample’s all gone. (Sigh.)

      Now, I don’t mind a nice rose soliflore – I don’t have to have other players in the scent. Having said that, though, some of my very favoritest rose scents have other notes in focus, too. L’Arte di Gucci is a stunning rose chypre (with some animalic notes in the base); Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete is a lightly sweet apple-rose; Parfum Sacre and Lyric Woman are both gorgeous rose-woods-incense fragrances. (I’ve gone into a lot of detail on rose things in my Bouquet of Roses post, if you want a list of rose scents.)

      I know what you mean about sillage – I don’t really like big sillage, but I like to be able to smell myself without trying to vacuum my wrist up through my nose…

  6. I testet Coup de Foudre for the first time yesterday, and it was quite disappointing. In the beginning it reminded me of fabric softener or shampoo, and I prefer my roses a little darker and edgier. It’s very pretty however, and the drydown is beautiful. But in the end I found it boring and a bit too clean. I wish it was more gutsy and with more sillage, like the other DelRae scents. But it lasted forever on my skin, I could still smell the tiny drop this morning.

    You should try Mythique, it’s amazing. A warm, delicate, fruity iris scent that can be worn anytime, anywhere. Like a perfect pair of jeans, or a perfect summer dress. I’m craving a bottle.

    1. Mythique is on my to-test list… people do seem to find it very comfortable.

      Sounds like you got more presence on your skin from CdF than I did – I was really annoyed at how quickly it disappeared. And yes, gutsier would have made it much more worthwhile for me.

  7. Hi Mals! I really enjoyed your review, esp. the part from Godfather! How true and well written. I got to test this just the other day. It IS very pretty, but it only lasted for about 1 hour on my skin, and it seemed to morph many times in that one hour. First it was just a blast of the AG Rose Absolu which others have mentioned, and that is a GOOD thing. Next it was a watered down verion of PdN’s Rose Pivoine, which is a much better version of this same style super PRETTY pink peony roses and a dash of fruit. Then, very briefly, it was as if Cartier’s So Pretty came barging in the room – I think at a moment when the rose began to take a good shape and yield to the light moss. Then, just as I am busting out the credit card and beginning to pursuade myself I need *another* rose fragrance, it got all sour and disappeared. Poor sad thing. Is there a beautiful way to say that in Italian? Maybe lightening in this case is to imply brevity rather than passion – just a flash of exquisitely beautiful sunny roses. I highly recommend anyone disappointed in CdF to try the PdN Rose Pivoine. It is much better, lasts for many hours, comparitively richer, and a lot less expensive!

    1. Hi, Ann – so late on replies, I’m sorry…

      I might have to check out Rose Pivoine. And the AG Rose Absolu. I was so disappointed in the longevity of this!

      (Meanwhile, I have this 10ml decant of CdF which I am using up. Maybe I should offer it for swap?)

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