I learned about En Voyage Perfumes in the early 2012, when I read about Shelley Waddington’s creations in several publications on CaFleureBon. The descriptions sounded appealing, Shelley looked ingenious and affable, but my resources were limited and I couldn’t even afford ordering samples, considering their shipping would have been more than twice their price…
However, a year later, a friend of mine had a friend of hers coming back from the USA, and she offered me to be the shipping person for whatever I want. Being modest in my wishes, I ordered a pile of samples from North American natural perfumery brands, and four En Voyage vials arrived to acquaint me with some of the most unusual (and pretty) scents I had ever tried!
I was already convinced that a fragrance can be so strikingly extraordinary that it can both shock and lure me. My first impressions were of a small fisherman’s bay with algae overgrowth, AND my Granny’s basement with its drying and fermenting fruits, coal dust, dirty wet corners. Durango was intended to represent a cool desert evening. I have never been to any desert, but the intentions for a high cold humidity are extremely real. Its pungency reminds me of moldy patchouli behavior, but the patchouli note is usually dry, whereas this one is more watery than a melon!!! I feel like I am translating most of the ingredients to something I am well aware of, because I haven’t got the slightest idea how cactus flower, creosote leaves or desert woods smell! They surely mingle into a unique fragrance, that settles into a comforting musky blend with subdued mineral tones after the initial sweeping waves of lurid performance! From the day I sensed it, Durango is my wet desert meteorite!
If anything can grant me hope for the spring, while the winter is raging outside, that should be a cheery and tender floral fragrance like Lorelei. If anything ties it to the legend of the siren it is named after, that should be its bewitching power. I am not particularly fond of lilac profusion in perfume, but I adore its natural smell. I cannot take my nose off my wrist dabbed sparingly with Shelley’s Lorelei! It puts a spell on my hippocampus, and triggers a blissful smile! Far from being mono-scent, though, it starts off refreshing, cool, sappy and slightly bitter like the stalks of bulbous spring flowers. No sooner than ten minutes and the flowers bloom festively – mainly lilac, indeed, but I can discern daffodil and hyacinth nuances, as well. The pyramid adds wisteria – wisteria is mysteria to me 😛 ! I have smelled it, but its scent is a bit faint and trivial to my nose, not quite distinctive. That way I do not find it in Lorelei. Maybe it contributes to the overall tender and ephemeral feeling! It all ends in clean soft musk reminding me of rubber baby bath toys. Funny how a natural perfume can bring out artificial associations, but bath toys are not only rubber and plastic, but also soap bubbles, water spray, baby lotion and fresh pure skin. And that’s Lorelei, too!
Pour me a shot of your finest! A coffee…No, a whiskey…Leave it, I’ll take a coffee…Aaaaaahhhhh, can I have both, please? Oh, yes, I can!!! L’Hombre is the warmth of the coffee and whiskey in one perfect composition. This fragrance is tailored for men, but I can spend my money on it anteriorly to a pile of typically feminine scents! It lingers gently on my skin for hours, and develops delightfully into serene associations. L’Hombre is the solace of the autumnal forest with the fading leaves and the gloomy conifers. Its woodiness is a bit damp, a pinch spicy, sparsely earthy and camphorous, with a touch of pipe tobacco and cobbled paths…
I was stunned by this perfume from first sniff! Each time I dab even a tiny trace of this perfume on my wrist, I am overwhelmed, in the good sense, by the palpable scent of peach jam. Whole slices of perfectly ripe, succulent, epitome-of-summer peaches, preserved in sugar. Ambrosia! Then it hits me with the exotic milky tenderness of white flowers. They may not be in the pyramid of the fragrance, but the ones in there smell like madonna lilies. Vanillic, ambery and woody hues add to the divine blend. A sweet, liqueurish, creamy, admirable and skillful fragrance. Living up to its name, Vents Ardents is intense and passionate, but so neatly balanced, that not a single ingredient juts out to distort the perception.
Can you tell which fragrance is my favorite? I enjoy each out of these four splendid examples of natural perfumery for different reasons, but if I have to choose, I’d have a bottle of L’Hombre. It is safe to wear in any environment and in any mood with its appeasing effect, like an embrace and a heartwarming confession from a loved one!
Nose: Shelley Waddington for EnVoyage perfumes – Durango, Lorelei, L’Hombre and Vents Ardents
Photos: personal archive; envoyageperfumes.com; www.meteorite-recon.com; riscosnopano.wordpress.com; cupofsugarpinchofsalt.com