Fragrance brands have cottoned up to the fact that jaded travellers who have to sail through the Symplegades to travel by air are searching for a little escapism: anything really to make them get it through the tiresome waiting for their luggage to get checked, their passports to be scrutinized and their persons getting grind exceedingly small...
To alleviate those symptoms and to make an honest buck in the process, companies have invented the concept of Travel Exclusive: fragrances that are only available when you travel, at the duty-free shops in big airports. The trend had been noticed even two years before, in 2006 and re-affirmed in 2007: travel makes for serious inspiration behind fragrances.
The most notorious travel exclusive is of course the excellent Vetiver pour Elle by Guerlain, mysteriously restricted to French duty-free shops and arguably a very good feminine rendition of their iconic masculine with added floral notes.
But others have not been left behind: this year Lancôme launched Cyclades (named after the Greek complex in the Aegean sea), after Benghal (the name echoing the homonymous region in India) and Tropiques (a more general name evoking the tropics) in their "La Collection Voyage" (Travel Collection). Others include the unfortunately named JetLag by Azzaro (a fresh aromatic) and Lights of Champs Elysées by Guerlain (a gentle woodsy scent). Lauder has also played that game with Emerald Dream in 2007.
This year Lauder launched Bali Dream, an Indonesian-inspired travel retail exclusive for women in March. Bali has also been behind the weirdly named 7:15am in Bali by Kenzo, so there is something there...
"Follow tropical breezes to a flower-filled world. A place where Mood Orchids, Honeysuckle, Indonesian Jasmine and Pago Pago Coconut lead the way to a tropical paradise. Welcome to Bali dream".According to Lauder, the top notes feature a profusion of Bali’s most prized flowers, moon orchids, along with magnolia and ginger. The heart is comprised of Chinese cassia, Indonesian jasmine, pepper, ylang ylang, gardenia, muguet and apple, on a background of woods and vanilla.
Although the impression that the notes would give would be a soft floral with a tropical tune to it and it is officially presented as a floriental, Bali Dream starts with an unmistakable fruity overture of none other than a mix of cantaloupe with indeterminate peach: apparently cantaloupe is the fruit of choice of late, as it appears in the latest Hermès Un Jardin après la Mousson as well. I admit that the mentioned apple did not register at all in my mind (at least not a real apple instead of the ersatz in shampoos) and leafing through Osmoz I see that it is not mentioned at all, which is rather telling.
Luckily the coconut is not emitting the evil fumes of a plug-in air freshener or the "dangling pine" pong of dilapidated taxis in 3rd world countries. It's pleasant and not loud, with a smooth ambiance about it and a very subtle, freshly spicy accent that might be due to ginger and pepper. The orchid accord with a vanillic backdrop is powdery, soft, velvety and indeed the protagonist of the composition, lasting well, trying to remind me for a brief second of the orgiastic abundance of the Singapore gardens.
The whole however doesn't really live up to the expectations of an exclusive that should have anyone booking a flight just to shop at the duty-free. Visit Bali for its magnificent humid landscape and exotic culture, but don't imagine for a second that this fragrance is its true embodiment.
Carolyn Murphy incarnates the face of the fragrance dressed in lilac-tinged chiffons to reflect the gentility of tones of the bottle.
The bottle of Bali Dream itself with its pretty matelassé recalls last year's Emerald Dream (a floral woody musk), which was -predictably- done in cool green.
Eau De Parfum Spray/Travel Exclusive in 50ml/1.7oz available at all Lauder travel retail counters at $85
There is also a 2 x 50ml duo set. The fragrances in the duo are individually packaged, making them ideal for gift-giving. Lauder has also created a Dream Destinations coffret. This features four miniature (4 x 4ml) edp sprays: two of Emerald Dream and two of Bali Dream. There is also a corresponding makeup palette.
Bottles of Bali Dream have already circulated on Ebay.
Notes (per Osmoz):
Top: ginger, orchid leaves, moon orchid
Heart: pepper, ylang ylang, cassia, jasmine, gardenia, tagete, plum, tuberose
Base: cedar, vanilla, coconut, Haitian vetiver, temple wood.
We will be offering a sample to a lucky reader, so please mention if you're interested in the comments.
Pic of Balinese dancers courtesy of BALIwww.com on Flickr. Bottle pic via Ebay.