I did say I wouldn’t get a new perfume during the pandemic so as not to have it forever remind me of this wretched time. So I did get one.
While we are, in principle, free to roam the continent as it stands now, I’m still not feeling taking the train to Paris for a day trip so that I could buy the Celine perfume I have been ogling since the opening of their impossibly fabulous haute perfumerie-shop on Rue Saint-Honoré. After a careful consideration I decided I might as well order the thing online, given that I had already tested it earlier, and because of the uncertainty of any future travel.
The Celine perfume collection currently has nine unisex scents to choose from, I read somewhere that more choice is coming up soon. My favourite and the one I bought is Eau de Californie, which, according to the website, is a mixture of bergamot, white orris butter, Palo Santo accord, tree moss and patchouli. Seems like a moorish salad at a quick glance (before you rush to google what the hell “orris butter” is, orris is the roots of iris, the flower. Why it is referred to as such, don’t ask me. It’s a French label and they can be pretentious like that.)
Eau de Californie is a very refined perfume. Much less in your face than some of the favourites by Byredo and Le Labo I usually wear (the kind of deals that have baristas and insurance clerks interrupt me and ask what perfume I’m wearing.) The said orris butter is apparently the ingredient that gives the otherwise very earthen mix a powdery essence. I was testing the perfumes in the shop last autumn, and several of them do actually have iris is some form (usually the root), and the perfumes are therefore if not similar, distinctly of same family at least.
The perfume does not last very long on the skin – I would say a couple of hours, and after the initial smell of burnt wood it soon softens to powdery iris. It does linger on the skin, though, but more as a skin scent than perfume (if that makes any sense). Hedi Slimane, who’s had the artistic overview of the development of the perfumes as well as the distinct bottle, is said to wear Eau de Californie himself, and describes it “J’ai créé un parfum acoustique, solaire, une utopia psychédélique en hommage à la Californie” (where he lived for over 10 years).
Not usually a fan of iris-y scents (I had an intense affair with Aqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile some years ago, which might have contributed to my iris-fatigue), I do like the way it rounds off things in Eau de Californie.
As I unwrapped my order, Celine had been kind enough to include a sample with the bottle so that I could confirm my choice before opening the actual perfume bottle, after which it could no longer be exchanged.
The bottle itself is a stunning Art Deco-inspired deal that weighs a ton and looks great everywhere I place it.
(There was another sample of Parade that came with my purchase, and I really quite like it as well.)