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.
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
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.
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.