Eau de Sisley 1: This should be evoking a “sunkissed summer dress, brimming with the mystery of a summer garden.", but thanks to the darker character of the aromatic, bitter, evergreen scent of juniper berries, 1 has the most masculine opening of the three. The opening is most evocative of the perfect gentleman’s fresh cologne (think Eau Sauvage, which it resembles in the opening, not in terms of scent but of character). Once the dark, sophisticated bitterness of the top notes flies off, 1’s masculinity gives way to a completely unisex composition. The sun shines through almost blindingly with delicious notes of citrus fruits. Sweet juicy lemons form the golden yellow canvas that is accented with the sexy warmth of grapefruit and the sparkling aroma of lime and tangerine. The lemon scent becomes tarter as time goes by, but the scent itself becomes ever calmer and smoother. The main impression changes from sunny yellow to a field of green. In fact, the scent becomes greener and greener with the passing of time. The slightly astringent feel of green tea blends seamlessly with a green accord that smells like freshly cut young grass with all its lovely milky, deep aspects and hay simultaneously. There is a slight floralcy, a delicate sweet scent of jasmine but it remains subtle enough to be a mere suggestion, mostly functioning as a lovely sweet impression. The drydown is a smoother, less floral and rather muskier interpretation of the lovely green accord.
Eau de Sisley 2: The most romantic of the trio, 2 begins with a subtle, creamy and slightly soapy aldehydic floral cord of bergamot and honeysuckle. In fact, the opening is truly reminiscent of Yves Rocher’s Chevrefeuille, albeit far more intense and infinitesimally chicer in character. While 1 is spring and summer in fields of green with no urban constructions in sight, Eau de Sisley 2 is a wonderful demonstration of spring city-chic. Spring, a season in which clothes can be airy and sensually light, but still allows for longer sleeves and tailoring, unlike the more unforgiving summer season. The spicy yet smooth hints of cardamom lend to this air of sophistication and the honeysuckle underscores the romanticism of the scent. The heart is unabashedly floral, with fruity hints. Water lily and cyclamen aldehyde with its fresh, cucumber-lily of the valley green scent lend a watery, aqueous overtone to the heart notes, over the subtler undertone of dewy rose. The overall feel is slightly sharp and bracing, while there is a smoother, creamy undercurrent very evocative of expensive moisturizing cosmetics. The transition from the aqueous floral notes to the woody base notes is eased by lovely vetiver which combined with slightly smoky cedar make the drydown darker. In all honesty, this is my least favorite of the three, even though it is still beautiful. The problem is that I keep hankering after the magnificent opening with its chic honeysuckle romanticism, so I tend to resist the sharp turn it takes as time goes by. I am generally not a fan of watery notes (although there are few exceptions), but this is not the problem in the case of 2, since they are subtle and fitting. My problem is the fruity sharpness in the blend. I would have been in love had it retained its 70’s floral romanticism. However, restrained application will serve lovers of floral-aldehydic perfumes well: if you allow the creaminess of this scent to shine through, you’ll have a refined winner in your hands.
Eau de Sisley 3: My absolute favorite of the three! Oh, this is beautiful! I did not get a basil note in 2 where it is actually listed as an official note, but I get a huge blast of basil in 3. Rustling the leaves of the bushy basil releases a most fragrant, slightly camphoraceous aroma in the air, with extremely subtle hints of licorice and clove. This fabulous experience is magnificently replicated in the opening of 3, joined with spices and sparkling bergamot. While 1 and 2 both manage to successfully impart the sense of a sunny day, 3 is to me the slightly cooler summer dusk, that particular window in the long days of summer when the sun is setting but the sky is still white instead of flooded with colors of orange and mauve. Osmanthus lovers rejoice, because this is a particularly lovely, uniquely soft rendition as offered in the heart notes. The fruity aspects of the blossom are wonderfully complemented by smoooooth, creamy apricot and peach. The fruitiness of the scent is gently hugged by the milky green scent of crushed fig leaves, possibly the most genius addition of a note in this scent as it projects it to perfection. Surprisingly (I don’t know if it is just me, but this is strange), I get more lemony accents with the passing of time, instead of indentifying them in the opening. The drydown retains traces of the lemony freshness still in fact, but rounds them up with the sweetness of vanilla and a glorious musk scent that is rendered earthy with hints of vetiver. Absolutely perfect.
Chypre lovers looking for a summer scent will love Eau de Sisley 1, while lovers of Patricia de Nicolai’s Eau Turquoise and Vie de Château will love Eau de Sisley 3. I'd classify both 1 and 3 as unisex, eaux fraîches type of scents, while 2 is decidedly feminine.
In terms of longevity and intensity, 2 is not only the most intense but also the most long-lasting – no need for reapplication here. It is followed by 3, which albeit not as intense, develops beautifully and has the perfect projection (in my opinion) for a summer scent. 1 tends to stay closer to the skin and will need reapplication often throughout the day. Considering its dazzling freshness, I don’t necessarily consider this a shortcoming: its scent dictates it should be worn as a fresh, cooling cologne as need arises during hot weather. The bottles however ARE expensive, so that makes it rather uneconomical, if not downright off-putting.
Lastly, I'd like to close this post with a smile, a thank you to Sisley, for paying homage to their chypre roots and remaining green in a decidedly pink, fruity-floral world.