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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Divine Eau Divine: exclusive fragrance preview & review

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
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69 comments:

  1. AH !
    The Swimming Pool ! One of our favorite films ;)

    This actually sounds like something I'd enjoy; to date, I've admired Divines, but preferred their 'masculines'.

    May I join in ?

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  2. Oh, put my name in the hat, please Helg! I so admire the Divine line...though like, Chaya, I often find myself wearing the masculines more often (or requisitioning men around me to do so).

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  3. I have never tried anything from this line, but it had me at "orange blossom and sweet violet." Please enter me in the draw.

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  4. I've never tried anything from Divine, but so far as perfumes go, I'm the compleat existentialist - I'll try anything once, and some things twice! ;-)

    Orange blossom, violet and - sigh! - labdanum - it sounds - divine!

    Please enter me for the draw!

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  5. Your vision of lounging by the pool in sunglasses and a white terry robe is nearly the same mental picture I had when I first tried Bulgari's green tea scent--though for some reason the lady by the pool was a 40-something mom trying to talk on her cellphone and yell at her screaming kids at the same time. Not sure where that came from. (Now I'm 40-something with a screaming kid, though I've never lounged by a pool in a spa robe.) Would love to try the samples and see what they evoke for me!

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  6. Fiordiligi15:56

    A beautiful review, dearest, thank you. I love the Divine line - it has that classic, old-fashioned French depth that I love so much in my perfumes.

    I'm not normally one for anything light as in "Eau de..." but I would love to be included in the draw, if that is OK please.

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  7. Please add me to the drawing. This is a line I have been to meaning to try out but never seem to get around to it.

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  8. Anonymous16:37

    Please enter me in the draw - this sounds delicious. OT - I finally tried Messe de Minuit (ordered a sample after reading your review), and found it to be lovely enough that I'm considering a full bottle purchase. But was disappointed in getting no cool crypt notes - perhaps because I was sampling on a hot and humid summer day?

    Karen M

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  9. This is why I love your site! Ok, so there's a lot of giveaways, but there's always a wealth of information as well (sometimes I wonder how some things manage to pass me by - never having before heard of them). That's why it would be lovely to enter the draw. :)

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  10. Thank you very much for this post, which is the first I read on Divine that makes me eager to try these fragrances; hence, I would love to lay my paws on a sample of L'Eau, for a start... ♥

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  11. Thanks for the review! Btw where in Vancouver? My first bet would be The Perfume Shoppe but I don't remember seeing it at the store (so by deducement Holt Renfrew would be my next bet)...

    So glad your trip is coming soon! Mine is about a month away and it's almost crunch time for me again. What can I say...I can't imagine your workload! (I almost started writing an article for you yesterday because I thought of a good opening--but I was reminded of all the deadlines...yikes!)

    Anyhow, please add me to the draw. Have a great day!

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  12. Had just heard about the release, and appreciate hearing your thoughts about this. I have not whiffed any Divine offerings ( heh ;) ), but this sounds like it has potential to be a very happy landing for me. Would love it if you added my name to your hat.

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  13. PEGGY18:10

    Hello Helg. It is described wonderful. I am curius of how it smells. Has some of my favourites notes. Although I have never tryed anything from this house, I wonder if it is the classic casual meditteranean smell that is so difficult to find. If I ever try it will tell you what I think.
    Hope you are having great summer!

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  14. Dear Helg, please include me in the drawing, too. Eau Divine sounds divine, and what better way is there to comfort a homesick Mediterranean soul trapped in the Midwest US.
    Thanks!

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  15. PEGGY18:40

    Forgot to tell you to add me to the draw please. Thank you very much!

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  16. Nina Z.18:59

    What can I say? You've done it again--I'm very interested!

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  17. Elizabeth19:20

    Once again, please count me in! And thanks for another thoughtful and well written review.

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  18. gautami19:51

    Dear E, I like this line, especially L'inspiratrice. I sampled some at their rue Scribe store last fall before which I did not know about them and was quite impressed!
    Please enter my name to the hat!

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  19. This sounds interesting. Please enter me in the draw.

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  20. I have not had the pleasure of sampling any of the Divine creations, your review makes me think they are just my sort of thing.

    I would love to try a sample of Eau Divine. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.

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  21. Tara C21:18

    I love the Divine scents - own 5 of them myself. Please do include me in the drawing, thank you!

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  22. Malena21:31

    Dear E.,

    When I saw the pic I immediately thought of Swimming Pool - & right I was :-D
    I really like the movie (I like F.Ozon movies in general, he´s a great director) as well as La Piscine which I watched several times. For a while it was on TV here every other month & I never got bored by the adorable Romy Schneider & the not so adorable Alain Delon. (He broke Romys heart, that can´t be forgiven!)

    The Divine scents are a class of their own, something that´s hard to achieve given the 100s of niche releases every year. All their scents are classy, elegant & have a slightly vintage feeling to them.
    Your mention of Norma Desmond & Daisy was spot on, I, too, think of women of bygone eras when I smell them. They´d suit a flapper as well as a femme fatale.
    Being neither, I wear several, though. Namely Divine, L´Inspiratrice & L´Homme Sage & I´m also smitten by L´Etre Aimé (femme) & L´Ame Soeur.
    L´Ame Soeur might be my next purchase when I´ll visit the boutique in Paris.
    L´Inspiratrice with its rose petals dipped into chocolate loaden patchouly might be my favourite, though it´s really hard to choose one above the other.

    I´ve to admit, when I read the name Eau Divine, images of a dreadful "Eau de Cologne" came to my mind. Being German I still suffer from having to smell too much 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser As I might have already told you, it´s extremely unpopular over here. When somebody tells you your perfume smells like 4711, that surely isn´t a compliment ;-D
    But when I read the notes I was somewhat relieved.
    Please enter me in the drawing, I´d love to smell it.

    BTW: Thank you for your email :-) I´ll respond asap!

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  23. I like L'Inspiratrice.

    I'd love to try it.

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  24. Anonymous04:38

    ...you got to love their grassroots non-marketing approach! so refreshing and important today!
    ...but why do they add vanilla notes to each of the female scents?
    seems only the masculine compositions and the wonderfully presented DIVINE would work for me....
    vive la difference!
    ...now you've got me yearning for those fantastic vacations in Brittany! again!
    ;-)
    co

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  25. Would love to try this!

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  26. Alexandra11:50

    Vintage feel...I like that. Divine sounds like my cup of tea (animalic, vintage) and also L`inspiratrice, dark rose and patchouli...Is it anything like Voleur de Roses or L`Arte de Gucci?Please include me in a draw.

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  27. Hello H !
    I finally fell in love with L'Ame Soeur , it took a few sessions . I am a pushover for aldehydes...
    Please include me in the draw , I also adore labdanum .

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  28. As a lover of vintage fragrance, I would like very much to experience this one. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  29. Anonymous14:09

    Dear E,

    Please enter me in the draw. I would love to try this.

    Natalia

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  30. I,

    :-) I knew you'd love that film!
    Of course I am including you, this is light-hearted and cooly elegant.
    Hope you're very very well and everything is as you wish it to be :-)

    Hugs!

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  31. Alyssa,

    of course you're in, honey! Having the men around wearing something good is priceless, isn't it? :-)
    Keep up the good job!

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  32. Tarleisio,

    you're in, best of luck! And good policy I might add :p-)

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  33. Elfriede,

    LOL, isn't that something though!
    Hope you win one of them, there are good chances of it.

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  34. Dearest D,

    hope you're having some fun and the day is going well. Thanks for your lovely mail as well, will respond shortly.

    Of course you're included!!

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  35. Jen,

    so many lines, so little time and skin space, eh? Good luck!

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  36. Karen,

    aww, I am honoured you tried it, it's indeed a schizo scent. It only becomes cold in the cooler weather and in already damp atmosphere (I hope this doesn't involve relocating, LOL)

    Good luck!

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  37. Ines,

    thank you my dear for saying so, much appreciated. You're in and I hope you win!

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  38. Laurinha,

    thanks, you flatter me. The new one is a lovely, elegant and casual scent, I am sure it will please. You're in!

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  39. A,

    I think they mean boutiques, and I am not sure whether they mean HR. (perhaps mail them?)
    And I OWE you something!! Good god, I had almost forgotten! *mental note to do it shortly*

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  40. Anonymous17:10

    I already love the eponymous Divine and need to try the rest! Please do put my name in the hat.
    -- Gretchen

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  41. Gretchen,

    you're in! I too love the eponymous Divine :-)

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  42. Scentself/S,

    darling, hope this is your introduction to the line then!

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  43. Peggy,

    how are you? Thanks for stopping by :-)

    I know they're generous with samples, but I do hope you win one here! It's quite good and as you say casual chic club-Med style ;-)

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  44. CofD,

    hope it brings you a Mediterranean blue dream in the Midwest, best of luck!

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  45. Nina,

    thanks honey for being so kind. Good luck!

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  46. Elizabeth,

    thanks darling, hope you win!

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  47. Gautami,

    they're quite good and surprisingly unsung, aren't they? It's even better you got to try them at their boutique, it often sheds a light on how a brand sees themselves.
    Good luck for this one!

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  48. Kp,

    it is very nice, good luck!

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  49. Tara,

    I sincerely hope they prove to be your thing. You're in!

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  50. Dear C,

    you're quite perceptive, but then I believe we share the cinematic mania ;-)
    Looooove Romy Schneider, she's full of emotion in everything she does.

    Wow you have quite the collection of Divines!! And LOL on the 4711, I know. Some things can be good devoid of the associations, but the associations so often are everything. No, this one isn't as citrusy simple and "old style", it's quite modern but elegant.

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  51. Karin,

    best of luck! L'inspiratrice is so good :-)

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  52. Anon/co

    exactly, I love it when there is no hard sell. It's off-putting when there is pressure or intricate tales that correspond to...nothing whatsoever.
    I don't know about the vanilla. Could it be that it's considered a universal pleaser? *scratches head*
    At any rate, this one is pleasantly vanilla-free, smell-wise.

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  53. Alex,

    my recollection of L'inspiratrice is a dark rose with a chocolate-y feel patchouli, quite mysterious. I think LAdG is less dark, more chypre and VdR is earthier and dewier, if that helps.
    You're in!

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  54. Carol,

    hello darling, how are you? I have neglected my correspondence (and the lovely thing I owe you to write up on!! Will do it, promise).

    Labdanum is such a special ingredient. Good luck with the draw!

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  55. Queen, cupcake,

    the line is nicely vintage feeling, this one is more contemporary, although nothing like a run-of-the-mill sugary fluff. Hope you win!

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  56. Natalia,

    how could I not? Good luck, hope you win!

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  57. I'm a day late and a dollar short, as usual, but your review is so very enticing that I would love to be entered in the drawing -- thank you!

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  58. Anonymous03:31

    ..."Vanilla as a universal pleaser" ....how well and pc said!
    yes! is it supposed to make women weak in their knees/hearts and make men feel "homey"?
    ...seems I better read up on the psychological/subconscious aspects of this "spice" ;-)
    ...
    Romy Schneider is so cool! timeless beauty!

    thanks!!!!
    co

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  59. PUT ME IN THE DRAWING PLEASE
    BARBARA

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  60. Natalie,

    you're perfectly in time, don't worry. Thanks for the compliment and... you're in!

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  61. Anon/co

    glad my comment provided mirth :-)
    Well, it's supposed to act in such a way, but who can be 100% sure, right? But it's generally well-received I hear.

    Ah...Romy, I have some things to picture Romy in and they're kept in store for later... :-)

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  62. Barbara,

    of course I am. Good luck!!

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  63. Anonymous04:30

    Please include me as well. Green coolness and star anise work for me!
    And that Ricci Ricci bottle IS gorgeous!
    Thanks,
    Laura M

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  64. Laura M,

    just in time and thanks!

    I agree this NR bottle is very alluring, the curvaceous shape, the deeply saturated colour, the bow...

    Good luck!

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  65. PhinClio04:12

    L'Homme Sage has long been high up on my to-buy list. I keep waiting for the euro to take a spectacular tumble against the dollar before ordering it from Divine's website!

    If it's not too late, please enter me in the Eau Divine sample drawing!

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  66. You're in! Good luck!

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  67. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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