This immediately smacks of vanilla gourmand. The vanilla is subtle and delicious. The juniper is subdued and the saffron and Calamus adds a slight spicy brown bag paper smell (in a good way) with the black tea and amber warming it up. Definitely both men and women can use this. The notes I mentioned are very subtle. The vanilla is dominant but very subtle and elegant. This is the way vanilla should be done. Not heavy and not overly sweet.
I like Eau Duelle (EDP version) for many reasons, but perhaps the best reason is because this is a perfume with clear intentions – it sets out to be an equal dance between two opposing elements (cold, spicy incense, and warm, clear vanilla), and in this, it succeeds effortlessly. “Eau Duelle” means Water of Duality, but to non-French speakers, the name could be suggestive of a duel, an old-fashioned fight to the death between two forces. Either way, the name conveys the direction perfectly. Everything about Eau Duelle clicks into place in a brisk, no-nonsense fashion. The opening is cold and aromatic, fairly fizzing with the sting of pink pepper and juniper berries. Hiding behind the aromatic spices and black tea is a warm, robust, but utterly unsweetened vanilla – this note pops its head out shyly at first, but then it becomes a dance of equals, the aromatics, black tea, and the incense dominating one moment, the vanilla the next. The two elements never merge, instead they develop along separate tracks, but wrap around each other at various points of the journey.
It’s worth pointing something out about the incense and the vanilla here. First, the incense here is not the smoking resins type of incense, but the cold, waxy, almost herbal/aromatic spiced air left behind in a church after incense has been burned but long since extinguished. This type of note is in fitting with the cold, open air feel of Eau Duelle in general. The vanilla is cold and clear, sharpened by a slight evergreen edge. The texture is something to behold – there is a starchy, papery feel to the vanilla in Eau Duelle that makes one think of opened books. The whole thing feels light, but not insubstantial. It is a cool-headed, intellectual vanilla fragrance rather than a sweet, foody one, and it’s all the better for it. I think this has the potential to become an all-occasions type of vanilla, and it is one that I am seriously considering buying.
Yes, Eau Duelle is a sinister vanillic aromatic-liquid-transparent rendition in a vague La Maison de La Vanille's style (but in here decidedly more rare, green, complex and fluidy- almost translucent though in a shadowy way). I agree with the excellent purplebird7's review, the elements Diptyque stressed to create this fluidy "illusion" (airy but first of all liquid) are cardamom (overall), than aromatic juniper, spicy tea and probably liquid incense. Black pepper, enigmatic saffron and calamus provide darker herbal dustiness and elusive mystery in a way the aroma could appear indecipherable and almost mystic. Totally endorsed.
A clean, fresh vanilla done in the transparent style of Diptyque. Vanilla is a difficult scent to make transparent, too. It requires skill to open up its dense, sweetness. Diptyque accomplishes this with the beautiful snap of fresh juniper, woody pepper, and airy frankincense. The combination commands you to inhale deeply. It smells like a gin and tonic with a dollop of vanilla extract. Sillage is tricky: it comes and goes, it's not creamy and filling like vanilla, but clear and wafting like wet, crushed pine needles. Looking for a different take on vanilla? This is it. Unique and fascinating.
I perceive carnation and vanilla very strongly, perhaps too much. The vanilla note makes this parfume a bit too creamy and gourmand. Put I like the drydown when spices have finally space to grow.