I generally associate vanilla fragrances with creamy, gourmand notes. The idea of a rich vanilla conquers up images of delicious, decadent desserts and cosy evenings snuggling in front of a roaring fire. To me, vanilla is warmth and comfort. Which offers an explanation as to why my affection for Diptyque’s Eau Duelle wasn’t immediate! After reading dozens of raving reviews, I ordered a 100ml bottle of this niche fragrance with huge expectations of an extraordinary vanilla fragrance that would steal my heart. To be fair, it has secured a place amongst my favourites (having recently sold almost 50 ‘tried but unloved’ fragrances, this one still occupies a valuable spot on my vanity) but it took a few wearing’s to achieve this honour.
Eau Duelle by niche perfumer Diptyque, is an Oriental Spicy fragrance for both women and men. Launched in 2010, the creator of this fragrance is Fabrice Pellegrin. The fragrance notes are given as cardamom, elemi resin, olibanum, bergamot, pink pepper, juniper, saffron, black tea, musk, ambergris and bourbon vanilla.
Once again, my issue with Eau Duelle was one of expectation. Where I was expecting a sweet, creamy, edible experience, the actual result was a dry, smoky, cardamom fragrance much more reminiscent of a cool, summer, masculine scent. The incense, resins and spices change the vanilla from a dessert to an atmosphere! Described as a ‘green vanilla’, Eau Duelle is also rich with fresh juniper and pepper. It feels very free, energising and lively.
I read that the ‘Duelle’ (duality) of this fragrance is the contrast of Frankincense and Vanilla symbolising the cool and warm or light and dark. Not sure where the ‘frankincense’ was incorporated from as it’s not a listed note, but , I can see where this suggestion could be very apt. Even though this vanilla is the complete opposite to what I expect from vanilla fragrances in general, it is still very notable as ‘vanilla’ serving a very different purpose if that makes any sense?… just as salt boosts the caramel flavour in salted caramel, the vanilla undertones in this scent boost the cool, resinous spiciness of this fragrance.
Sitting proudly amongst my other ‘chosen’ fragrances, Eau Duelle is really something special. It stands apart due to its unexpected nature and sometimes you just crave something different. Wearing this today, for the third day in a row now, it is still showing the coveted ‘comforting’ qualities which I seek from vanilla fragrances but with a freshness and energy the others sometimes lack. The name ‘Duelle’ certainly fits the bill!