When I went to Italy to work as a teaching assistant on my gap year, I discovered just how far I could stretch a Lira. The only white wine of drinkable quality I could find within my measly budget was Orvieto Classico, which was roughly the equivalent of €2 back then. Thin, slightly metallic, but oddly quaffable, I found I could live with it.
Now, even though I am no longer a poor student, I wouldn’t be without it. My brother, who is an insufferable wine snob, loves to pick up a bottle of Orvieto Classico from my fridge, run his finger down it with disdain, and mutter, “Jesus, I can’t believe you’re still drinking this shite.”
It’s NOT shite. I am fiercely fond of it.
It’s not a memorable wine, true. But drinking Orvieto Classico is comforting in its familiarity. Pleasant background noise for when you don’t want anything too taxing. Like putting your car into cruise control on a long stretch of straight road.
Like Orvieto Classico, Volutes EDT by Diptyque is not particularly memorable or brilliant, but it sure goes down easy. Like a handful of other perfumes that I don’t think of as masterpieces but still find utterly, almost mind-numbingly pleasant and therefore very wearable – Spiritueuse Double Vanille, Bois d’Armenie, and more recently, Feve Delicieuse, for example – I manage to race through massive quantities of it. It was after my bath a few nights ago that I reached for my bottle of Volutes EDT and realized there was only about 5mls left in the bottle. I had drained 45mls of it in less than six weeks.
Laugh all you like – but in perfumista terms, that practically puts Volutes in the same category as a functional grooming product like a body spray or a liquid hand soap. How did it come to this?
Well, Volutes is mindlessly pretty. It requires absolutely no intellectual input on my part. With a wardrobe stuffed with challenging, amazing, difficult, tempestuous perfumes, Volutes stands out not because it “stands out” but rather because it doesn’t. It’s the battered leather jacket in your wardrobe that you just can’t bear to part with, and reach for over your fancier coats even though it’s falling to pieces. Love isn’t rational. It may not even be love – it may be simply a reflex.
I was thoroughly unimpressed the first time I tried Volutes – a pale, powdered honey and iris thing with a lingering whiff of blond cigarette rolling tobacco. I got nothing of the promised drama of the published notes, such as saffron, hay, and immortelle – hell, it wasn’t even smoky. I always go into a perfume named for or inspired by smoking with an expectation of, you know, smoke. But when I stopped looking for the sturm und drang in Volutes, I found myself appreciating it for its blurred prettiness.
Now when I wear Volutes, I pick up more notes: a cool, starchy iris, warm honey, blond tobacco, a hint of rubbery leather from the saffron (only at the start), and some nebulous resins in the base. These notes all smell quite blurred and perfumey to me, in the same way that baby powder smells like rose, chamomile, and heliotrope all swirled together but never distinctly of themselves.
Volutes sits on the skin like a creamy balm at first, but as time goes on, dries to a texture like fine, powdered sugar. This is not a sweet scent, however. The iris exerts its influence here from top to bottom, reflected in that cold, vegetal starchiness. The tobacco, although not smoky, adds body to the iris and makes it slightly more “of this earth” than irises tend to be.
It is not exotic, but it is even-tempered. I wear buckets of it, carelessly sprayed around my person until it drips, like honey, from the tips of my fingers. I let it run in rivers down to my belly button. No matter how much I spray, Volutes remains this utterly pleasant, low key piece of background music to my day. It’s a fragrance on cruise control.
And you know what, I wear Volutes far more than I do my more artistically-accomplished perfumes. Maybe it’s true what my brother says and I am just a total Pleb. But sometimes, like with Orvieto Classico, you just have to go with what’s familiar and cozy because sometimes it would just kill you not to.
This entire fragrance worked really well on my skin. I'm not a gourmand lover, but on me the sweetness turned to richness, the wonderful opopanax and iris powders to warmth, the spice and subtle tobacco, to depth and earth. It was strong on start-up, but smelled delicious. The florals didn't really stand out - they were fairly submerged in the spices and honey notes, which made Volutes all the better for me as I love a good submerged floral. That was common in classic chypres. Around midnote it started getting lighter and turned smooth and creamy. The spices seemed to meld into this creaminess, so it became soft and spicy. The dry down, my favorite part, lingered a long time. I woke up the next morning smelling a beautiful powdered light spiciness on my skin. Some fragrances, unaccountably, just don't hang together and work on our skin. Some, unaccountably, do. Volutes became even more than its promise on me.
15th April, 2015 (last edited: 28th April, 2015)
Well, I’m afraid here is where I must part ways with many of my fellow reviewers. I decided to try this (my sample was the EDT version) because I love fragrances with a heavy tobacco accord, and Volutes by Diptyque had received such high accolades from various sites. This is one of those rare instances where about 3-4 hours in I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to go wash (no, SCRUB) it off. And even then, it lingered as a strong skin scent with a little projection, and actually was decently pleasant at that point (but still girly).
First, it was incredibly strong out of the bottle, and to my nose was overwhelmingly sweet (intense honey, and not a good honey like it was just whipped up by a bee but a funky honey) supported on a super-sweet floral smell (that I presume was the iris, though it didn’t smell like any iris I’ve ever smelled). Having had some experience with not liking something straightaway then later loving it, I decided to be patient. Eventually there was a hint (a MILD hint) of saffron; I never got hay or immortelle. Then there was the honey, again, and a kind of sweet resinous scent (presumably the myrrh). I’m envious of those who get a strong delicious tobacco out of this, because it just does not show up on my skin to my nose.
I have to admit I’m fairly new to all this and have no idea what some of the notes should smell like (pink pepper? Styrax? Opoponax?) outside of simply reading about the scents. Regardless, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t smell good on my skin, what they are supposed to smell like is irrelevant to me.
On my skin, this is way too perfumey, cloying and very feminine, with an intensely strong honey scent, and only am I occasionally mercifully blessed with a whiff of tobacco, only to be consumed again by honey. This did not present well on my skin top, middle or base, and is definitely not for me. But, I think it’s probably a quality fragrance for the right person, and thus my neutral rating rather than a thumbs down.
This has major sillage with strong projection, and while I washed it off after several hours I suspect this probably lasts a long time. Now about 2 hours after washing it off, I can still smell it on my wrist held about 6” from my nose. I’m guessing getting 8+ hours out of this would not be unthinkable. I went and sniffed my car and can still smell it in there, and it’s been several hours since I was in it.
I definitely would not consider this unisex or masculine; on me, it’s very feminine all the way. One friend asked me why I was wearing a woman’s perfume, and a stranger I encountered in a store (right before I rushed home to wash it off) gave me a look and I laughed and said “yeah, the cologne, right?” He said if his girlfriend was wearing this, he’d ask her to not do that again, and I asked him if he thought this was masculine enough to be unisex and he said definitely not. I concur with this stranger.
I can see how this would work really well for some people (women), and think it would probably be quite lovely on a woman out for an evening. I definitely would not want to be up close and intimate with a man and smell this coming off his neck or chest! Another reminder to self to always try before I buy!
As always, your results may vary!
Diptyque at its best.
For the EDT.
This is a delicious combination of iris, honey, hay and tobacco, so well mixed that it's not cloying nor too sweet. On the contrary, Volutes is an elegant gourmandish scent, totally unisex. The egyptian tobacco note is one of the best tobacco notes I've ever smelled, deep and realistic.
Longevity is really good being an edt, I get +8 hours.
A total winner and a great Winter scent.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Whatever happened to the Diptyque that gave us Virgilio, Eau Lente, and L’Autre? (The last too weird even for me.) The more recent offerings, like 34 Boulevard St. Germain, Eau de Lavande, and Geraniun Odorata, have been either pastiches (the former,) or polite, competently put-together, but exceptionally “safe” compositions (the latter two) that have none of the bold originality of the firm’s earlier work. Volutes is another in this pleasant, mild-mannered, but uncharismatic mold.
The scent opens on a gentle honeyed iris and saffron accord, soon underpinned by some vanillic amber and opopanax. If I inhale deeply, I can just perceive some very demure tobacco hiding behind the sweet resins and iris. The entire composition feels bland, characterless, and yet naggingly familiar. After long wear, I recognize Volutes as a sort of very watered down, pallid reflection of Nicolaï’s iconic New York, prettified with iris, and with all of the spices that lend New York its texture turned down to the setting that reads “innocuous.” Innocuous indeed, but that’s not enough to make me want to wear it.
03rd October, 2014 (last edited: 06th October, 2014)
Based on the pyramid I expected more..Myrrh-pepper-saffron just to name a few that are undetectable.. I just sprayed it 5 times an hour or so ago and get only slight hints of iris and tobacco.. I thought this would be a standout from Diptyque but I was wrong.. Luckily I got is as a free sample and did not spend cash on this.. Now I must try my sample of Tam Dao..