Friday, September 7, 2012

Puredistance Opardu: fragrance review & draw

I am doubtful as to whether an elegant yet lush floral with woody undertones is really reminiscent of the opulence of the 1920s and 1930s. Historically, I know these were years when florals were given the sheen of aldehydes, transposing them from worlds of flower beds into vistas of abstraction (Je Reviens by Worth, Chanel no.5, Bois des Iles), and big profuse chypres, often with decadent fruity notes (see the pineapple in Colony by Patou, the peach-skin in Mitsouko by Guerlain et al) or leathery scented accents (Cuir de Russie by Chanel, Scandal by Lanvin for instance), reigned supreme. In that sense Opardu, the latest fragrance by Puredistance, is rather incongruent, but it is delightful all the same in its own genre, much like all the fragrances in the line have proven so far: from the smooth bravado of M by Puredistance to the nostalgic femininity of Antonia, the compact line is well thought of, evidenced by the lack of continuous releases heaping up like an avalanche on us -much like it happens with some other niche lines that shall remain unnamed.

No, Puredistance makes an effort and as soon as the first transparent drops of the new elixir, Opardu, landed on my skin I knew that this was another quality fragrance from them. My only complaint? For a parfum concentration, it seems weaker, less lasting than the others. But don't let that stop you from trying for yourself.

The inspiration
The word 'OPARDU' is a creation of the owner and creative director of Puredistance: Jan Ewoud Vos. "When he came up with the word OPARDU he felt that this word had always been there, in a mysterious way... evocative and strangely familiar" the official story goes. I can't say it means anything specific to me, yet it does evoke leopards, bringing to mind Visconti's glorious and utterly romantic Il Gattopardo in mind.

"It took more than a year to further work out OPARDU. Central to the 'feeling' of OPARDU have been the expressive paintings of Kees van Dongen, in particular one of his illustrations for the book 'PARFUMS' by Paul Valéry, published in 1945 in a limited edition of 1000. (Jan Ewoud Vos is the owner of book no. 429)." [according to this info]

 The bouquet in the middle below is an illustration of Kees van Dongen

The perfumer

When Jan Ewoud Vos showed this illustration of Kees Van Dongen - a rich and lush bouquet of flowers - to Annie Buzantian, the famous Master Perfumer from New York, she instantly fell in love with it. The first word that came to her mind was 'Opulence'. She also felt this nostalgic feeling for the early years of the previous century; the golden age of perfumery. And then her work began. As a starting point Annie used a reinterpretation of a classic carnation she had already created which was safely stored in one of her 'secret' drawers.

How it Smells 

To my nose the dominating sensation is not of a classic carnation (those tended to be clove-spicy affairs, like in Caron's Poivre & Coup de Fouet), but rather of lilacs; pollen-dusted and with nectarous facets that mingle with a smidgen of green, transparent gardenia impression and a hint of powder and cedarwood. These lilacs are divested of their more melancholy, rained-upon ambience that En Passant by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti for Frederic Malle's perfume line has turned into a cult. That was a passing impression of walking under an umbrella in the early spring just catching a whiff of white lilacs in the distance from some stone and cement-walled garden afar. Here, in Opardu, the purple lilac is trembling under the morning sun and the white flower notes (not especially indolic, but not sanitized either) provide a tinge of honeyed sweetness. The wink of a bit of spice could be said to evoke a carnation interpretation, though I'm mostly struck by the inclusion of the non mentioned powdery soft and woody-earthy garland of ionones (rendering a violet note) and what I could liken to a hawthorn/mimosa note with a little muskiness. If you have always admired Vacances by Patou (1936) but have been frustrated by its rarity (now that even the 1980s reissue is discontinued for so long), Opardu can provide a good substitute.
This delicate bouquet in Opardu makes for a very feminine and subtle composition that is graceful rather than opulent and restrained in very good taste. I would have loved it to be a bit more maxed out for the opulent effect and for greater tenacity, but that's just me.

Notes for Opardu by Puredistance:
Main notes in Opardu as announced in time of writing are: carnation, tuberose absolute, jasmine absolute and gardenia with a background evoking the gentleness of romance through soft powdery notes. (All notes will be officially revealed in the first week of November, when I will update).

OPARDU will be available in a 17.5 ml. Perfume Spray and a 60 ml. Perfume Flacon as pure Perfume Extrait (32%) only, in November 2012. Available at select carriers.

A sample of the as yet unreleased Opardu parfum will be given to a lucky reader who comments on this post. Draw is open internationally till Sunday midnight. Draw is now closed, thank you!

 Music: Φεύγω (i.e.I'm leaving...all those years I'm leaving) by Greek songwriter Orpheas Pieridis, adapted here & sung by Dionyssis Savvopoulos.

In the interests of full disclosure I was sent a sample for consideration.


  1. Opardu sounds delightful, I'd love the opportunity to smell it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. TBD,

    it is rather like a very very beautiful lady with violet-tinged eyes which you can't help but admire and feel a little in awe of.
    You're in and good luck!

  3. Watching the ever decreasing level in my bottle of Vacances I've wondered how I would ever replace it. Your review of Opardu is giving me hope.

  4. K,

    they share a similar sensibility, so watch out for this one, it's good. ;-)

  5. Right up my alley! Thanks for the chance to smell this

  6. Anonymous15:04

    I am really looking forward to trying this fragrance. Thank you for the review.


  7. This sounds beautiful. I haven't had a chance to try any of the PureDistance scents, but I've heard great things about M.

  8. Cyn,

    you're welcome, good luck!

  9. Anon,

    you're in, thanks for commenting!

  10. Karen,

    M is a very tough act to follow as it's simply gorgeous! The rest are also very good though and worth trying, even if you don't end up the winner in this draw (though I hope you will!)

  11. As I haven't tried the Purdistance line so far maybe his draw will be a good place to start. Although Opardu sounds rather too delicate and elegant for my taste,I'm still curious about it. Thank you for the draw, Elena!

  12. The notes sound feminine, powdery, a bit retro. Please enter me into the Draw. Thank you.

  13. Fiordiligi15:27

    Hello! I am fortunate enough to have already sniffed it and it is indeed a worthy addition to this beautiful line. The perfumes just epitomise class, to my mind (and nose).

    No need to add me to the draw, thank you.

    Hope all is well xx

  14. Larimar15:38

    This sounds wonderful and intriguing! Vacances you say? So, in extrait concentration (Opardu) I'm even more interested. Thanks for a nice review and accurate historical context (1930s)!

  15. Maureen16:11

    I think you make this fragrance sound beautiful. I am rather new to this perfume(obesession) hobby.
    I have not tried too many niche fragances, but I do know I like pretty and feminine more than weird and masculine. I love classy and Chanel had been my favorite line for most of my life. Maybe if I win this it will be a new lifelong love. Thanks for the draw.

  16. Ana,

    it is a good place to start. Hope you win!

  17. Ursula,

    it is indeed so and yet very wearable too. You're in, best of luck!

  18. D,

    hello darling!!

    You brought the definitive descriptor: class. Indeed, the Puredistance fragrances are absolutely classy, all of them. It's very heartening to see this dedication to a high level of good taste. :-)
    I liked Opardu a lot and wish it lasted longer or was a bit stronger on me. Perhaps it might be best enjoyed in cooler weather? (everything vaporizes so quickly in the warmer months here) Need to try that.

    BTW, got something in the mail and need to properly thank you!! :-)
    (Have sent off your own little surprise too)

  19. Larimar,

    this is the closest in mood (and historically contextualized) fragrance I could think of, so yes. It's a bit softer and a less green than Vacances, nevertheless.

  20. Maureen,

    welcome down the rabbit hole! It's an engrossing occupation, I can tell you.

    I hope you win and get to know this one, as it is indeed very classy. It's feminine, soft, with a graceful projection on skin and a very fetching floral bouquet. I think you'd like it!

  21. MariaA17:01

    Mmmm does sound delightful indeed,would love to give it a try. I am a sucker for white flowers!

  22. Maria,

    careful: this is NOT a white flower fragrance!! It's mostly lilac and with a soft fuzzy hum in the background (violet, hawthorn, musky woods)

    That said, you're of course included in the draw and hope you win! :-)

  23. Anonymous17:46

    That's quite a write-up, especially under "How it Smells": I can't imagine anyone who is interested in perfume who won't want to enter this draw!

    Please count me in too.

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  24. You said the magic word; 'Vacances', I have a mini and have so far been searching in vain for a bottle. I also love both I and Antonia, and would love to be in the draw. Thank you very much for the very evocative review.

  25. Oooh, lilac, you say? I'm interested. I haven't tried anything from the PureDistance line yet, and this sounds like a lovely place to start.

  26. Helg, your review is spot on. While Opardu is very pretty, it is way too sheer to fit the description of "opulence." I put my sample in a spray vial, hoping it would have more oomph, but it's still quite translucent. I can't say that I love it the way I love the other three scents in the line, but you're right about the lilac note -- those who crave a tender and realistic lilac note will definitely find it here.

  27. This sounds lovely, and I really love the Puredistance scents! As a matter of fact my SOTD is Puredistance I.

  28. Isayah01:10

    As Visconti's movie is one of my favorite classics, I guess this strangely named fragrance might become one of my favorite perfumes!

  29. Oooh, this sounds wonderful. Thanks for the draw.

  30. Too beautiful for words ... I adore the florals chosen.

  31. Anonymous04:07

    I'd love to see if I too could perceive that "purple lilac trembling under the morning sun" that you discerned.

    Thanks for the draw opportunity.

    -- Lindaloo

  32. I would love to try Opardu, thank you for the review:)

  33. ariane09:32

    Inspired article,the 'nostalgic femininity of Antonia',this is why I love it so much,thanks for warning us about it being weaker,for that price it shouldn't be-and thanks for the draw,November is too far away!

  34. Scottie09:43

    This sounds right up my alley- I would love to try it! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  35. solanace10:09

    Thank's for the draw! Must try this line, it sounds like the real thing. I loved the smell of lilacs when I lived in Paris. They just won't grow here! Can't believe I haven't ordered a sample of En Passant so far.

  36. Andrea10:28

    This perfume sounds fascinating! I am excited that I may have the opportunity to try it through your kind and generous giveaway. Thank you and I hope that the person who will treasure and enjoy it the most will win!

  37. Merlin10:58

    Lilac is a note I haven't yet explored - but would love to start! So far I have some familiarity with jasmine, rose, with lily, with iris and violet. Perhaps also with mimosa (from Cinema) and maybe magnolia and carnation...

  38. This sounds so delicate and pretty. I've not tried anything from this line so I would love to do so. Thank you for the draw!

  39. I would love to try this! Sounds lovely. :)

  40. All you had to say was Vacances substitute. It sounds incredibly delightful. Thank you so very much for this opportunity!

  41. I am going to look up puredistance to see who carries it in Phoenix. I am new to perfume and love what I have to date: all three spadaro fragrances, anima dulce by arquiste and pink by nanadbury. this scent is very different from what I have and I would be delighted to try it.

  42. mariablogrom15:48

    The sad truth is that I have never tried Puredistance though I had several ocassions to do so. I have the strange prejudice that they are lady like in a conservative way, which shouldn't be bad, it's just not my taste. But I would love to try, finally

  43. Sounds delightful! I'm intrigued as to what role the gardenia note plays as that's a notoriously difficult one to incorporate into a scent in it's true to nature form.Thanks for the draw!

  44. Antonia is one of my favorites. I would love a chance to try Opardu.


  45. Ariadne17:44

    You had me with the ballgown pic!

  46. I've never tried any of the Puredistances. This sounds lovely and classic, thank you for the draw.

  47. Liane22:40

    This sounds dreamy and so lovely. You had me at delicate and elegant, I love this style of perfumes in general, they're so romantic.
    Hope to try a Puredistance perfume, haven't had the chance yet.

  48. Sounds gorgeous - I would love to smell it. I agree with you, it's not "correct" vintage, but wood underlying florals always "feels" vintage, doesn't it? I'm trying to think of what vintage perfume your description reminds me of. So many of the older perfumes are more herbal, or there's gourmandish Shalimar...

  49. would love to try this! thanks for the lovely review.

  50. Anonymous05:39

    I have been eagerly awaiting this one because of the vintage sensation of it.

    Thank you for the draw!


  51. M is gorgeous. It sounds like Opardu could top even that.

  52. I would love to be able to try it
    thanks for the draw

  53. Anonymous11:30

    I would love to bury my nose in Opardu, especially since I have not yet had the the opportunity to smell anything in the Puredistnce line. Please put me in the draw, and thanks for an amazing perfume blog! I use it often as an encyclopedia.

  54. brie14:18

    I love lilac....Ineke's After My own Heart comes to mind! Would love a chance to win this draw!

  55. Zazie15:09

    The fragrance sounds striking: the rich floral bouquet, slightly spicy, and complemented by white flowers, the powdery, violet- tinged woody base- everything pushes the right buttons! Can't wait to try it, though I fear the brand is nit distributed where I live - must check it out. Thank you for the draw!

  56. Kandice15:55

    I'm just starting to explore niche fragrances, and this one sounds beautiful. Thanks for giving us a chance to try Opardu!

  57. After wearing Muguet for so many years, I was looking for something new and special, a simple floral. I read about the impossible to obtain Vacances.
    OPARDU may just be it. As they say these day, "Champagne problems."
    Thank you for your lovely blog and for the chance to win.

  58. Miss Heliotrope02:20

    Is it too late? Time zones are such shocking things...

    Making up words is fun, but not for everyone - one could put so many meanings into this one.

  59. Anna,

    thanks :-)
    You're in, of course!

  60. Asali,

    you're most welcome. Vacances is a very scarce fragrance and it's such a pity. This is what most closely reminds me of, if I had to give a comparable simile. Hope it works for you!

  61. Dionne,

    yup, a lovely lilac indeed. I'm surprised they don't mention it in the line-up of the notes they have given (so far), it's the first impression one gets smelling it.

  62. Suzanne,

    thanks darling for corroborating. I felt a little bad at not being able to be totally head over heels with it, as it's such a pretty thing: but I wish it were more concentrated, more "dense". It would be really great for lilac lovers, as this is such a difficult note to capture well!

  63. Eva,

    ah, good choice!! :-)

  64. Isayah,

    glad to see our cinematic tastes converge. What a sweeping spectacle (and a great analysis of the times) that movie is, eh? Then again, what did Visconti do that wasn't lacework? :-)

    Hope you win!

  65. LCT,

    it's very pretty if a bit sheer. You're in!

  66. mazie,

    they do make a very fetching bouquet, it's feminine and elegant, very pretty.

  67. L,

    I hope you win and find out for yourself!
    The lilac note is a very good one here; very realistic and well-made (no hint of functional products or air care at all)

  68. ginamused,

    you're most welcome and good luck!

  69. ariane,

    yeah, isn't it a bummer when you like something enough to invest in it to only find it doesn't project as much as you'd enjoy? I might be anosmic to some component, though I suppose the florals and the rest should be more pronounced anyway.
    Antonia is a beaut!

  70. Scottie,

    good luck, you're welcome!

  71. Solanace,

    the lilac note here is much truer than in En Passant, where it's just a "a passing impression" of passing rained upon lilacs.
    I suppose it all has to do with what lilacs and circumstances exactly are associated with your pleasant memories. :-)

  72. Andrea,

    you're welcome, I do hope the one who wins will treasure it, it's not easy to come by a perfume bottle of these (so $$)

  73. Merlin,

    then this is a good place to start.
    This, En Passant, Ineke After my Own Heart and Tocadilly (Rochas) are good places to find a good rendition of lilac (different in each). Highland of Rochester is probably the truest though it's a single lilac and nothing more.

  74. CC,

    it's the most delicate and pretty in the whole line. It's an easy place to start and the rest are very classy and worthwhile to try!

  75. Deanna,

    thanks, it is rather lovely indeed. Hope you win!

  76. Lovethescents,

    I did, didn't I...well, it's not exactly a dupe, of course, but it's close enough to Vacances (less green) to appeal to those who like Vacances but haven't been able to find any more to tide them over. ;-)

  77. Dani,

    you could always consult the official site and let them direct you.
    Your little collection sounds fetching already!

  78. Mariablogrom,

    do try the scents: the feminine ones are all a bit "conservative" indeed (they rely within the perimeters of classiness and traditional femininity), but M should be your thing: aimed at men, grabbed by discerning women (I love it myself!)

  79. RVB,

    the gardenia is a very subtle hint of greenery and fresh white floral; it's not really a white flower fragrance.

    For a true perceptible as such gardenia with some potency, you can do no wrong with YR Pur Desir de Gardenia, EL Private Collection Tuberose & Gardenia and Velvet Gardenia by Tom Ford (unfortunately the 1st and 3rd have been discontinued, but you could find some stock lying around still).

  80. janet,

    I think you'd like Opardu then. Good luck!

  81. Ariadne,

    it's a beautiful pic and a beautiful dance sequence... *sigh*
    Thanks for commenting!

  82. Susan,

    it's a pretty one, very lovely. You're in!

  83. Liane,

    it is rather like that, so good chances of liking it. Thanks for entering the draw.

  84. Unseencenser,

    I'd say it most reminds me of the mood of Vacances of Patou and a few of his other woody florals from that period in mood, if not notes (Normandie with its soapy floral heart and woody base)

  85. Vanity,

    you're most welcome and thanks for commenting. Good luck!

  86. Taffy,

    you're welcome, hope you win!

  87. magnus,

    hmmm, I wouldn't go that far. M is in a class of its own. But Opardu is a very pretty and classy specimen all right.

  88. Irina,

    you're welcome, best of luck!

  89. Ann-Sofie,

    thank you for the most sweet compliment, that's very nice of you to say so. :-)
    I hope you win the draw!

  90. Brie,

    yeah, that's one of the better lilacs out there, the Ineke. I think this one is a good one too, if a bit too sheer for what I picture as my perfect lilac. Very pretty, so hope you find out for yourself.

  91. Zazie,

    if it were ambled a bit it would be perfect. I wish they'd do a concentrated version; that I'd pay good money to own.
    You're in!

  92. Kandice,

    it's a good place to start. I hope this exploration will prove pleasant and feel free to drop me any question any time! :-)
    Welcome onboard.

  93. Judith,

    I hope it makes the cut and wins you over. It's so pretty.
    You're very sweet to comment on the blog and many thanks for reading!

  94. C,

    don't worry, you're included! I know time zones are confusing sometimes.

    I was really thrown out by the name (signified nothing aromatic or romantic to my mind) as well as the ad "copy" (this didn't prove to be opulent, again to my mind), but the smell is a different thing: it's lovely and pretty, one must appreciate it for its own merit. ;-)


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