Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Feerie by Van Cleef & Arpels : Perfume Review

Feerie (pronounced “FAYrie” and meaning Fairy in Flemish as well as Fairyhood in French) is Van Cleef & Arpels’ newest fragrance. The flacon’s marvelous design echoes the theme of their Midsummer Night’s Dream jewelry collection, which even though too archetypically girly for my tastes, is so breathtakingly beautiful it makes your heart break a little just looking at it. Now, even though I am not a girly jewelry type of girl, anything whimsical, fanciful, capricious and extraordinary in the perfume bottle department catches my eye and attracts me in the same manner a magpie is attracted to anything that glimmers. When I saw pictures of this bottle I couldn’t help but feel compelled to buy it. Surely this looks like something that one just has to own? If this isn’t a perfume bottle meant to sit on a dresser, then what is? Well, call me finicky, but unfortunately the bottle doesn’t quite live up to expectations ‘in the flesh’. Don’t get me wrong; it is beautiful, just not as stunning as the pictures originally led me to think. Whatever could be my problem with it, you ask? I am afraid it is the faceted blue glass part of the flacon that I find disappointing. In the pictures it appears to be delicate enough to allow light to permeate through, allowing one to gaze upon the perfume within as though it were a starlit blue lagoon over which Titania, Queen of Fairies was ever present. In reality, it is a thick, hefty, almost opaque and rather dull-colored blue hand grenade that does nothing to excite the imagination. And if I’m allowed to complain just a little bit more, I’ll just have to say that I really wanted Van Cleef & Arpels to pull a Lolita Lempicka on us and let us spray through the fairy, instead of making her just a cap. Well all right. It’s still rather pretty, I guess.

I am just as surprised at rather liking the juice within as I am at not falling in love with the bottle. The opening is briefly gentle and light – a tiny bit of buttery iris, a smidgen of green freshness and slightly sugary violet leaves. After the subtle, pretty intro, the intensity suddenly picks up: the aroma of dark cassis berres, appropriately and quite realistically sweet and sour fills the air. At first their edible aroma is briefly touched by sparkling citrus fruit, subsequently is it rounded beautifully with a certain nutty flavor and when that too (all too soon!) disappears the fragrance settles into its longest stage: berries strewn over dusty yet effusive rose. At once sweet and dry, this interplay should normally hold my interest, but unfortunately I find the intense rose scent very, very disagreeable and I cannot detect the promised jasmine at all. A great disappointment, since I found the first ten minutes of Feerie’s development extremely promising. The drydown is simple, gently floral in an abstract way, greenish and quite delicate, with hints of musk. For my tastes it lacks warmth and depth and I have to say that this is the most generic and insipid stage of a quite well done perfume, which is a shame. All in all I found the top and middle of the development quite interesting; they resemble, as Abigail astutely pointed out Creed’s Love in Black “minus the edginess”.

Images: Folie des Pres Fairy Clip, Envole Bracelet, Feerie bottle and Feerie Timepiece images, all


Ines said...

Hey Divina
a great review as always. :)
I tried it the other day hoping I might like it enough to buy myself a new autumn perfume, but unfortunately, it is, in a word, too cold for me.
Btw, I love the way you can describe a perfume since I usually end up with quite a short opinion of what I think of it. :)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Divina- I have seen this bottle in articles and ads and thought it looked stunning... sounds like I probably wouldn't like the scent too much but am willing to try it... thanks for the review!

Unknown said...

The Midsummer's jewelry collection really is dreamy, ironically I had not desire to try the actual Feerie juice; the notes just did not interest me.

ScentScelf said...

HI, Divina,

I had a similar experience. I tried the juice and saw the bottle just a couple of weeks ago, and in sum, I was pleasantly surprised by both.

In general, I'm not drawn to girlie or kitsch, either in scent or design. In photos, the bottle threatened to be too cute, and in early blog comments, some said the top was too cheap. Perhaps because I expected so little, when I actually saw the bottle, it was heftier than I imagined, and the top was not plastic-y as I feared. So, I couldn't dismiss the package, and had to admit, I kind of liked it. (I'm sure it benefitted from the fact that I was prepared to hate it.)

Having no idea what to expect from the perfume, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find a gently complex cleanish green and floral, hints of something else. I was so ready to not pay attention I actually missed some of the opening. I agree, though...on me, once the first act was over, the scent was largely gone. Would have liked it better without the touch of sweet, but still.

So I don't know if it's "all that" in terms of FB/full price, but I daresay its a safe whimsical gift for those who have budgets to allow something like this to just be a "nicely," and not a wardrobe essential.

I do so appreciate being able to read your impression of discovered/captured so much more than I.

Divina said...

Dearest Ines, I totally understand what you mean about Feerie being 'too cold'. It is what mostly bothered me about its drydown, I kept wishing there were some warmer notes there to add depth and warmth. The first time I tried it I thought some woody vanilla would improve the situation, but then I realized I was wrong, it wouldn't fit with the green aspect of the drydown.

Divina said...

Daily, you never know, it might work for you. In general I think it is well made enough and innofensive enough to prove to be quite a crowdpleaser, but of course its rather prohibitive price (for a dep. store scent) will probably hold it back a little. I think this would have been the sort of 'perfect girly present' sort of scent if its price was a little more average.

Divina said...

Oh Jen, I am a compulsive 'trier', lol! If it's new, it has to be sprayed at least once :P (Well, unless it is a celebrity fume of course... :P ... Or a sport brand.. No time for Puma or Adidas heheh)

Divina said...

Scentself, what a great comment to read, so interesting to read about your experience. So it seems that the heftiness of the bottle was a positive thing for you :) As for the cap, I had read that it was a bit cheap as well, but I find it not so. The cap is really well done in my opinion. And I had a similar 'not expecting too much' experience, albeit my own had to do with the juice: Due to the fruity notes, I expected this to be cheap and synthetic smelling, but to my surprise the cassis is very realistic and not at all synthetic smelling. Credit goes to Van Cleef & Arpels I guess for choosing for more expensive ingredients - what a pleasant surprise. I also think there must be something about my chemistry ... or even more unbelievable would be that the juice differs a bit...? But what I am trying to say is, a lot of people have found it very sweet and to me the sweetness is not at all overwhelming or cloying, nor even so obvious. Isn't that strange? It seems that I am alone in this perception of the juice however and I don't know how to explain it. For me when we are talking about really sweet perfumes I generallly have other ideas in mind... (Sweet fruity - Sacre Bleu, Sweet Floral - Amarige, Sweet Woody - Samsara etc...)

ScentScelf said...

Divina, exactly! It is a not-cloying sweet, there kind of like...well, like the violas in an orchestra. Not singing out like the upper strings or flutes, or trying to alter your heart pattern like the basses, but there, both holding the background and also, in some ways, part of the top. And I am a person whose skin tends to turn leathers sweet.

No, not synthetic smelling, either...I think that was part of what surprised me, too...was ready for all around cheap, and found that nowhere.