Smelling the newest Divine creation on my wrists, the unisex Murano-like in its translucence Eau Divine, puts me in the mood for the upcoming vacations which can't come soon enough as far as I am concerned. The niche house of Divine was founded in the elegant Edwardian resort of Dinard, on the north coast of Brittany, France, by perfumer Yvon Mouchel: imagine a brand that issues whatever they want, whenever they want, without following a marketing plan nor frantically paced releases one after the other, all sold in a tiny shop off the beaten track! The essence of niche. Slowly but surely word of mouth made his first creation, Divine by Divine, a mini-cult that had discerning women worldwide searching for it and ordering directly from them. But what made parfums Divine so sought after, aside from the ~well...~divine name? It's hard to put into words: There is an old Hollywood glamour, entrancing and at the same time a little decadent, emanating from them ~ these are potent, old-school perfume-y fragrances with often a characteristic aldehydic thread spun through them which would have both Norma Desmond pleased and Daisy from The Great Gatsby feel at ease. This dichotomy is at the heart of Divine creations: dark yet piquant, airy or deep, sexy and contemporaneously refined, they fuse contrasting elements into a delicate pirouette that no matter how hard to perform, it appears seamless.
Eau Divine is the 9th instalment in this tale but it effortlessly breaks loose into more casual arpeggios, without betraying the tune. "Crystalline, the first notes emerge : from the top, Eau Divine combines the green coolness of Italian citrus with the sparkle of spices: star anise, rose hip, ginger and nutmeg. The heart of the pyramid is more tender. Orange flower and sweet violet prolong the pure energy of the first moments for a while but then delicately induce the subtle opening of deep notes. White amber, hot musk and labdanum only then reveal their lingering and generous sensuality".
I always felt that the word of Jean Claude Ellena, "generous" while describing the cologne style prevalent in the Mediterranean countries, is superbly fitting to evoke the giving, pleasurable nature of this genre: There is a feeling of sentir bien dans sa peau (feeling good in one's skin) which such compositions instantly bring out, making me envision holidays at some seaside resort at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, white terry robes and turban-style towel on hair, diva sunglasses on minus the "bling", while eating a hearty breakfast with freshly squeezed citrus juice and grated ginger served on lots of ice, lounging by the pool where fetching cabana boys are furtively assisting in their tight Speedos. Yet there is a cerebral element about it all too (a little incensy depth and the coolness of violet leaves plus an aldehydic overlay), like London-based detective-fiction writer Samantha Morton (played by the divine Charlotte Rampling in Ozon's Swimming Pool) overcoming her writer's block at her editor's retreat at Southern France; or people-watching gorgeous triad Alain Delon, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin torn between love and crime in La Piscine (1969).
Surprisingly for this kind of fragrance the lasting power of Eau Divine is excellent: put on in the evening after my bath, there were still remnants on my skin by the next morning!
Prices start at 50 euros for 30ml up to 145 euros for 200ml in various styles: splash, spray or refillable spray. There is also a different presentation for men or women despite the unisex character of the juice itself.
The Divine line includes 4 fragrances for women: the original Divine by Divine (floral animalic with a peachy heart and vintage feel), L'être Aimé Femme (aldehydic floral with a core of immortelle), L'inspiratrice (dark rose with patchouli), L'infante (green sweet white floral), L'âme soeur (aldehydic floral, powdery); and 3 fragrances for men: L'Homme de Coeur (aromatic woody with iris), L'être Aimé Homme (an ode to immortelle, aromatic herbs and exotic woods) and L'Homme Sage (spicy woody with saffron). Eau Divine is their first offering intended for both men and women.
Apart from their Dinard original boutique (and another two in Saint Malo and Caen, France) there is also one in Paris: DIVINE 3 rue Scribe 75009 Paris+33 1 40 06 03 14. Parfums Divine are now sold in London, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Roma, Warsaw, New York, Los Angeles and Vancouver. You can see details at their official site or order directly (they ship worldwide)
For our readers I have 5 Eau Divine samples to give away to try it out. Leave a comment stating your interest.
In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent the samples by parfums Divine
Charlotte Rampling pic via us.movies1.yumg.com. Clip of La Pascine (1969)originally uploaded by 1985nicole on Youtube.