Eau Illuminee by Delrae - One is initially treated to a gust of freshness from the invigorating melange of bittersweet bergamot and basil, with its lemony and slightly spicy greenness. Percolating a bit, this clean blend transitions to the waiting middle. Here, the minty clean aroma of lavender commingles with various herbs, and infuses the opening brew. Green and camphoraceous rosemary, earthy and verdant geranium as well as sharp lemon verbena work their wiles with this spic and span heart, while a tad of vanilla bobs about. Transitioning to the awaiting base, tonka bean encases the herbal concoction, and imparts its vanillic, freshly-mown lawn character and interplays with enabling, violet-like orris. A delicately laundered drydown ensues. This somewhat elegant composition leans heavily to the masculine side; and, although it can be considered an all-season scent, it will bloom in the spring and summer. A well-crafted fragrance with quality ingredients, it has good projection and longevity.
These Parfums Delrae fragrances all seem larger than life to me. They are somehow more imposing than the ordinary run of niche fragrances. Impressive and sophisticated, Eau Illuminée opens with a rather aromatic top. Normally I would think of aromatics as belonging to a more casual genre, but these aromatics manage to come across as elegant. I think it’s the particular proportion (and high quality) of bergamot and French lavender that creates such a feeling of sophistication. The heart accords move to an aggressive green herbal accord that manages to feel elegant in spite of the rather raw starkness of the herbs. This time I think it’s the combination of bergamot and vanilla that keeps the fragrance from slipping into casualness. The drydown is subtle but it develops an intriguingly modern “distance”: a soft, aromatic presence that I can’t account for with the listed tonka, vanilla, and orris. This is a rather unusual fragrance because it is pretty much absent of typical floral, spices, and wood notes, and yet it is complete and fulfilling. I don’t totally love this, but I can’t help but admire it’s elegance, naturalness, and creativity. Remarkable fragrance that performs beautifully and is very wearable.
It's interesting that men so far are predominating in these critiques. This is a unisex fragrance that does, in some ways, strike me as more M than F, particularly at the strong, sour beginning. My husband loves it on me, but it's a bit challenging in its heavy greenness. I don't know green fragrances well, so this may be naive, but what I think distinguishes EI is the way it combines heavy opulence with cold, tangy greenness. It reminds me of the thick mercury coating on an antique mirror, or looking into a faceted emerald. To my nose it is a little too formal to smell entirely natural, although the herbal freshness is paradoxically quite intense. I think this is the Delrae that was inspired by San Francisco's box hedges? It doesn't smell a bit cat-pissy, but it does suggest something of trimmed boxwood's structured verdancy. A perfume I have to own, though may not often wear.
Fresh, cleaning, summer scent, I think. Green and light. Citrus and herbs. Feels like gourmet cooking without the meats but it's smells wonderful! Sometimes you don't need a lot of fullness to a fragrance and just need something to get you through the day. With something with vanilla in it and one who can detect vanilla in almost anything, there isn't much but it's there and not as cloying as most fragrances that use it. Beautiful.
Beautifully and subtly green and herbal on a base of powder and vanilla. This is perfect for a warm spring day. I'd call this a shared scent, though Delrae lists all their scents as feminine. I find it intriguing for its hay-like quality, even though there is only the coumarin note of tonka bean to account for that. The blending of the herbal notes seems to reinforce the dryish hay note remarkably well and very artfully. I especially appreciate the dry quality of the herbals in this. It isn't very lush at all, just slightly sweet and barely lavender-floral, which is really more herbal than flowery anyway.