Francesca Dell’Oro Envoutant review first appeared on the CaFleureBon site
“You see, Casaubon, even the Pendulum is a false prophet. You look at it, you think it’s the only fixed point in the cosmos, but if you detach it from the ceiling of the Conservatoire and hang it in a brothel, it works just the same. Wherever you put it, Foucault’s Pendulum swings from a motionless point while the earth rotates beneath it. Every point of the universe is a fixed point: all you have to do is hang the Pendulum from it.” Foucault’s Pendulum -Umberto Eco
We all have our “nexus”, that one place we periodically return to, only to see how much WE have changed. My pendulum has been firmly placed, for more years than I care to count, on the ceiling of a deserted casino, on the windy shores of the Black Sea.
First, let me tell you a little bit about Constanta – with its historical roots reaching back in time as far as the VII century BC, a beautiful city by the sea, where every rock and every grain of sand hides layer after layer of forgotten history. I’ve been in love with it all my life, ever since my first visit there – when something *clicked. I remember, being 5 years old, and telling my grandmother that I felt like a radio antenna. Even after all these years, I can’t find a better way of putting into words.
The heart of the city – the Casino- was first built in 1880, and had a long a troubled history: attacked and bombed by German troops in World War 1, renovated then ravaged again in World War II, transformed into a wartime hospital, then taken over by the Communist government, then finally abandoned.
The luxury of the Casino and the mirage of gambling attracted rich people from all over the world, who came to the famed parties held in the Casino. The Romanian writer Petre Vulcan wrote about his impressions of the Casino, during its interwar heydays:
“At first sight, we were attracted by the party pavilion, whose mammoth feet rise from the waves, with a wrapped porch pushed over the sea. From the interior music sprang, and cheerful couples dance Boston; from outside the lanterns hanging towards the sea dance enchantingly, under which noble ladies and lords converse intimately, vanishing into the sea of people before them, as in ‘A Thousand and One Nights’.”
Envoutant (translates as enchanting) seems to be built after an art nouveau olfactive print, with an unexpected middle eastern influence. With an intricate and sinuous construction, resting on the natural curves of flower stems, with striking colorful whiplash lines of sharp spices, and abrupt valleys of oud and vanilla, the perfume is both reassuring and startling at the same time.
The first wave that brakes on my skin is sharp and spicy – aromatic davana and high-pitched coriander, small pointy silver spikes that sizzle abruptly and retract. I awake to the shore, surrounded by lavish sweet and sandy oud, with saffron and rose giving it a Middle Eastern “deja-vu/ deja dremt” feel. I slowly climb the stairs to the palace, surrounded by the halo of creamy pastel Osmanthus and jasmine, giving the air around me smoothness and roundness. I enter the hallways, where I can still smell the ghost of the sea, slowly seeping into the stone walls, insidiously digging clusters of thin green vetiver veins that run through the building.
The intimate, familiar-sweet-mold-like aroma of patchouli breathes new vegetal green life under the rich arabesque of the tapestry, laden with heavy, golden ornaments in which amber candles burn, overflowing with hot wax. The path unwinds further up, in mirrored halls, reflections revealing secret entrances to hidden rooms, filled with promises of ghostly musky delights and warm sensual vanilla whispers.
Source of awe and sadness, as it’s on the verge of collapse, a mixture of beauty, ruin and faded memories of past glory and glamour, the Casino smells of ambery dust, salty mold, cold ghosts of the sea, wet wood, splendor, and decadence. Francesca Dell’Oro Envoutant (enchanting) smells like I’m there, on the doorsteps, in the only fixed point of my universe. And I thank her for that.
Envoutant was launched in 2015 and the nose is Karine Vinchon (of Robertet).
The notes are:
Top Notes: Saffron, Davana, Coriander
Also try: Boadicea Intense