Heliotrope is at once deep, soft and mysterious, a note traversing the rainbow from the yellow of vanilla pods and almond, to the light blue and green of anise right to newly mown hay. Kiss Me Tender by Parisian niche brand Patricia de Nicolaï feels like being submerged in a warm bathtub on a cool evening, the translucence of water clouded by the full range of the delicate, powdered notes of heliotrope.
The almondy facets in Kiss Me Tender bolstered by vanilla overlap into the gourmand oriental fragrance group; tempered, good-mannered sweet, a touch of white pastry confectionary like marzipan accented with spicy bites that are just this side of edgy. The hay facet is clearly discernible, over abstract solar notes (salicylates) of ylang ylang and non-indolic jasmine, floating on a watery pong, the two woven in the ethereal way of Hermès Vanille Galante.
More delicate and subtle with skin-soft musky notes than livilier interpretations of the note (such as the latest versions of Guerlain's Apres L'Ondée which are eclipsing the violet in lieu of heliotropin) Kiss Me Tender comes closer to the feel of being wrapped by goose down in L'Eau d'Hiver (F.Malle) or the lighter interpetations of Shalimar and Habit Rouge; after all it shares the flou, hazy base of opoponax resin with the latter two. The deviant, fresh and slightly green, minty-anisic top note takes Kiss Me Tender on a different track than the usually opressive routes of other gourmand or floriental fragrances built on almond and gives it a unisex aspect that men might enjoy too. (The trick of coupling anise with vanilla for lightening the latter is working for Jo Malone in Vanilla & Anise as well.)
For its elegance and versatility, Kiss Me Tender is a must-try for those who always sought for a discreet daytime heliotrope fragrance but probably a bit too pastel for those who like their floral orientals hard-core and khol-eyed.
Notes for Patricia de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender:
vanilla, aniseed, almond, heliotrope, fresh cut hay
Kiss Me Tender is available in 30ml/1oz for 39 euros or 100ml/3.4oz for 99 euros of Eau de Parfum available on the official Patricia de Nicolaï site and select stockists.