Ethereal splendor - Dorin Paris
Dear readers, one of the most fascinating thing about French perfume, is their deep rooted heritage, the art of perfume making and the perfumer behind, its influence over grooming and fashion, and at certain extent, shaping up the taste and lifestyle of certain social class hierarchy. A quest of finding some exceptional-yet-not-frequently-mention perfume houses that embodies not merely the olfactory beauty, but also the history of the bygone royal splendor, elegance and style, in particular, the French royal court history, has been something that I am keen on. I have an eye on the exquisite fragrance by the historic French perfume house, Dorin Paris, for quite some time, their understated and majestic elegance has been appealing to me which I always yearn to own a bottle of their fragrance, the chance just came when I finally able to afford and get myself a bottle as my birthday treat this year, and I was pretty exciting to unveil this olfactory mystery which I have been fantasied for a long time.
The history of Maison Dorin can trace back as early as the late eighteenth century, which is the time when French King Louis XVI (and Queen Marie-Antoinette) was in the reign of France, the then-Maison (before the house officially named “Dorin Paris”) was appointed as the purveyor of their qualitative grooming products, included powders, make-up and of course, perfume, to the Royal Court of Versailles until the French Revolution. Maison Dorin became the formal name of the house in 1819 after the partnership with the French businessman, Mr. Jean-Marie Dorin, the then-maison’s owner, their fragrance has become a sensation, and even went beyond the French soil as far as to America; and they once established their own perfumery boutique in the heart of Paris. Their signature fragrance ‘Un Air de Paris Montaniser’ embodied the essence of the house, with its unique powdery accord, the distinctive scent is the result of the sumptuous blend of Iris, mandarin and white peach, which once became the iconic perfume of the house; by the way, they are one of the French perfume maison to create grooming products for men in France back in 1920s!
Business is like fashion, sometimes it goes up and down as different epoch passes, so as the house of Dorin which it has undergone the downturn and eventually faded out from the perfume scene, not only until the house was being resurrected in 1998 by Bashar and Imane Nasri, which enables us to re-see the former glory and olfactory beauty of the fragrance by Maison Dorin.
Tracing back the house’s legendary powdery elegance and French court style, the best perfume to start with is their iconic ‘Un air de Paris’ Eau de parfum, this floral woody fragrance was launched back in 1886, it opens with Galbanum, Tangerine and White Peach, then the powdery accord becomes apparent thanks to the gentle and sublime floral notes from Iris, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine and Ylang-Ylang, as the floral notes subside, the scent left with a soft and ethereal sillage, mingles with the base notes from Musk and Sandalwood, which gives a backbone to this fragrance that makes it lingers on one’s skin beautifully, a scent that takes one back to the heyday of the fashionable and glamorous French court back in the time of Queen Marie-Antoinette, in the French Rococo decorated interior salon being enchanted by the splendor of the most delightful soiree that threw by the queen. While I possibly believe that the formulation has been modified after centuries later, I still think that this fragrance did capture the olfactory beauty of the French Rococo elegance back then, and it’s relatively suitable for some sublime evening soiree and occasions such as wedding banquet and gala dinner.
One of my favorite pick from the house, is their ‘Pétales de Camélia’ Extrait de parfum from the “Eaux Poudrées” collection, it inherited the essential ethereal and powdery house style, yet, giving it a more contemporary appeal, this pleasant greenery floral crispiness and the historic French royal flair is relatively impressive and soothing! It opens with the light-hearted fruity notes such as Blackcurrant, Pineapple and Tangerine, then the bright floral notes from Camellia, Lily of the Valley, Orange blossom and Jasmine start to emerge, the floral notes are pretty energetic and neutral, not overly feminine, which works for those with old-money style, preppy dressed gentleman in my opinion; the base note formed by Heliotrope, Musk and Patchouli, which gives this fragrance the solidity and depth in a sophisticated way, it’s a day time fragrance for those who dressed in a summer dapper outfit, enjoying an outdoor tea party or high society past time, under the bright summer sky with the backdrop of an 18th century chateau (or grand mansion) and the “Le Nôtre” style garden, a sophisticated and welcoming fragrance which gives a gentle embrace to someone without any physical touch, it’s a fragrance of understated elegance, polished and dignified, a hint of imperial (or princely) flair from the past, but it certain speaks in a contemporary language that relevant to the current fashion and quiet luxury lifestyle.
If Prince Herny of ‘Red, White and Royal Blue’ is about to choose his fragrance for his visit in Paris, I possibly believe he will have an eye on this fragrance too! What do you think, your royal highness?