Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lagniappe Oaks, finally

As all my sniffy friends know, I am a hopeless slut for the hopelesly old-fashioned scents of Bourbon French and Hové. Maybe it's just a reaction to having lived through the horrible excesses of the 80s (Giorgio, anyone?), or maybe I am unconsciously channeling my grandmother, but when I get a whiff of the sweet, feminine perfumes of New Orleans I feel an instant mood lift. I have a completely uncharacteristic desire to sip cocktails and talk to people. I feel pretty, dammit. Well, prettier anyway.

I never really explored the perfumes of Lagniappe Oaks, which was located outside New Orleans, mostly because I still don't have everything I'd like from The Royal Street stores, and it seemed unwise to put myself in the way of more temptation. But the devil won't be denied, apparently, because when I clicked over to Bourbon French's site last month there was the news that it will now be the home of Lagniappe Oaks. The LO collections can be ordered from the BF page with one-stop impulse purchase convenience. Naturally, I caved and bought samplers of each of the 3 LO collections. I have to do my bit to head off the recession, you know.

I'll say a word about all three collections over the next few days, but I'll start with the Renaissance Florals, which are all soliflores of the classic type--which is to say, blended scents in which a single floral predominates, not the more modern soliflore which is focused on mimicking the true scent of a flower.

Sweet Olive: A restrained osmanthus in which the apricot element is very pronounced, especialy in the opening. A softer, gentler version of tea olive than either Bourbon French's or Hové's. Sweeter, without the oddly alluring (to me) floral hysteria of the other two. Would be perfect for those times when you're craving tea olive but don't really want to feel like Blanche DuBois.

Les Fleur Magnolia: Again, a soft take on the flower. The lemony pine element of magnolia is minimized in favor of the fresh green notes that lurk beneath them in the living blossom. Something about this scent reminds me of the sporty modern Vent Vert.

Cameo Rose: If the odd metallic wang of many modern rose soliflores annoys you, then this one might be to your liking. It's a mellow rose over a base of powder and what I'd call a very faint hint of caramel. The website says "baby powder and spice," which suggests some icky concoction of vanilla and other foody notes, but in fact the powder note is perfectly adult, and any spice in there is lost on me. I usually like my roses fresher, with a faint hint of green, as in Hové's Rose Celeste, but this would make a nice rose for a different mood.

Wisteria & Lace: Wisteria, like bayberry, is a scent that is promised more often than it is delivered. People just seem to slap the name on anything that even vaguely suggests the real fragrance, and on plenty of things that don't. Sadly, I find that's the case here. What this smells like to me is that "fresh cotton" scent that has been popping up the last few years in home fragrance products. I seem to recall that B&BW had a line in cotton something-or-other that was pretty popular. Anyway, as that scent entity goes, this one's not bad. If they made a dryer sheet in Wisteria & Lace I'd buy it, but it's not my idea of perfume. Or my grandmother's.

These scents don't evolve much. Once the alcohol dries down, you've arrived at your destination. They're all pretty light, but last quite well on me. If you're the cutting edge type, then none of them will interest you in the least. If, like me, you often get a jones for something that gives pleasure and makes no demands, they are worth checking out--especially if Bourbon French keeps the current prices, which are fabulously low. The packaging, with velvet bags for full bottles and other pretty touches, is also nice. Hope they keep that, too.

Image from Bourbon French Parfums


Perfumeshrine said...

Thanks for the detailed presentation and the lovely reviews.

I have been searching for a pure, true wisteria scent for a long time: it's as you say ~they just put the name there reagrdless! Love the spiciness of certain flowers like this one.

BitterGrace said...

I love wisteria, too, and it's so frustrating that there's no true version of it out there. Crabtree & Evelyn made a scent called "Wisteria" which wasn't really true to the flower, but nevertheless very nice. I suspect it's gone the way of all the old C & E scents.

Mary said...

Lovely reviews, Gracie, thank you. The Sweet Olive has piqued my interest....

BitterGrace said...

If you like any of the Hove or Bourbon French perfumes, Mary, it would definitely be worth trying some of the LO line. They're simpler creations, but still very nice, very evocative of New Orleans.