Saturday, November 19, 2016

Parfums Dusita: La Douceur De Siam & Le Sillage Blanc

Parfums Dusita is the culmination of the creative efforts of Pissara Umavijani to introduce French inspired perfumes with a Siamese inspiration. Pissara debuted her collection in spring of 2016 and the three perfumes:  Issara, Melodie De l'Amour, and Oudh Infini all have been lauded as among the best of 2016. Ms. Umavijani was hailed as a young perfumer with an old soul and one to watch. Her latest two perfumes, La Douceur De Siam and Le Sillage Blanc, have been garnering great reviews as well, although they will  not be formally introduced for sale until early 2017.

Today's Thailand is a busy bustling place and Bangkok is a chic business hub of Asia. For centuries, however, Thailand was known as Siam and the name only changed in the WWII era. To me personally Siamese references harken back to the traditions and romance of a long ago time when Thailand was a more isolated and insular place, full of exotic secrets,  hidden beauty, and pageantry. Pissara's creations are inspired by the poems of her late father Montri Umavijani, esteemed poet of Thailand; but where his palette was the melody of words, Parfums Dusita speaks through the language of scented memories and fragrant idealized settings.

La Douceur De Siam

I chose the photo above with water not because there are any aquatic notes in La Douceur De Siam; there are not. Having been in and around Asia for the last fifteen years or so, the reality is there is always water nearby, be it a river or the ocean and it very much influences the mood of the place . La Douceur De Siam reminds me of that landscape with its fluid airy languidness and the tropical lushness of air heavy with humidity.

La Douceur de Siam opens with a creamy frangipani note. The different colored frangipani each have their own aroma and the note in this perfume definitely reminds me of the soft yellow or white petaled frangipani, not the exuberant pinks. The photo is me with my sister in law in Thailand. She took small cuttings from frangipani trees from my yard in Singapore several years ago, stuck them in the ground, and when I went to visit five years later they were all big gorgeous blooming trees. I love the frangipani for their tropical smell, which although lush are always sweet and creamy.

Rose de Mai is also present. In most of my instances wearing the perfume the rose was quietly beautiful in the background, but taking a back seat to the yellow flowers. However just one time the rose took center stage and told the frangipani, champaca and ylang ylang to take a hike and for that one day she decided to be a beautiful rose perfume. That is what I love about top class ingredients. They turn a perfume into a living elixir that can react differently on skin, opening up new facets with each wear.

Champaca enters the picture with floral and woody notes. Ylang ylang bolsters the yellow flower appeal with its creamy musky florals. Violet leaf adds a green-tinged herbaceous accord. The perfume doesn't become green, it's just a whisper. Eventually the floral notes fade and sandalwood becomes dominant. Even later notes of amber, cloves and vanilla join the sandalwood in the final breath of the perfumes wear. These notes are subtle and quiet.

I couldn't help getting a mental image when wearing this perfume. Picture yourself in a narrow long boat on the river Chao Phraya in Bangkok. Your trip begins near the markets and you glide silently past the floating boats laden with fragrant flowers. As you slip away from the city you glide past small communities that have settled along the river banks. You smell the scent of wet green vegetation with its pleasant funkiness. As the sun lowers the river narrows and the trees along the shore line close in, blocking out the light. The woody comforting scent of trees surrounds the boat. The scent dims at dusk to a light amber woodiness with a tinge of vanilla.

If you are wondering what the difference is between La Douceur de Siam and Melodie de  l'Amour, other than the white flower/yellow flower distinction, here is my take. Melodie De l'Amour is a beautiful bouquet of white flowers and explores the individual white flowers that make up the bouquet. La Douceur de Siam starts with yellow flowers but then evolves to a more quiet and mysterious place.

Le Sillage Blanc

This perfume was actually created as an ode to "a Mediterranean idylle" and as a nod to one of Ms. Umavijani's favorite scents, vintage Bandit by Robert Piguet. I'm stubbornly sticking to my Thai theme though, and using this photo of gorgeous greens, watery vegetation, and a leathery elephant to illustrate this modern green leather chypre scent.

Le Sillage Blanc is the yang to La Douceur de Siam's yin. It opens with a rush of neroli from the bitter orange tree. It is galbanum that makes Chanel No. 19 sing in a sharp key and it does similar service in Le Sillage Blanc, taking away any slight sweetness that might be found in the neroli and giving it a bitter green twist.  There is the same vegetal feel that lightly flitted through Le Douceur. It's a shape shifter going from moody and mysterious to a bright hue of green . Artemesia has a sharp, bitter, pungent smell and it helps make this essence a thoughtful and even slightly challenging wear in the best way.

Before we go any further I must mention tobacco. The tobacco note is just as big a player in Le Sillage Blanc as are the green and bitter notes. The tobacco note in perfume, depending on what it is paired with, can be boozy, fruity, or sweet with caramel type notes. This tobacco note captures the more green aspect of the plant and to me has a ganja like smell. There is a leather feel to this perfume. It serves to rough it up a bit and heighten the earthiness. It is subtle and well blended. Finally the patchouli brings even more earthiness and expands on the slightly mossy note presented here. Ambrette seed is also in the dry down and it can present as nutty or with undertones of tobacco, clary sage, or cognac. All these notes conjoin to present an overall feel of bitter greens, herbal accents, and earthiness.

When I first interviewed Pissara to write the review on Issara she sent me a link to a work which inspired her greatly in the years prior to starting her own perfume brand: Freedom From the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti. She stated that the book inspired her to discover her life's passion and to expore the meaning of happiness. I have always been curious with young achievers, what motivates them and gives them courage to pursue their dreams? I don't know that this particular passage from the work was Pissara's inspiration but it certainly describes how she has gone after fulfilling her creative passion.

"But when you have thrown it off, and have this energy in which there is no fear at all--no fear of making a mistake, no fear of doing right or wrong, then is not that energy itself the mutation? But when there is this energy that comes from throwing off every form of fear, that energy itself produces the radical inward revolution. So you are left with yourself.....and you are already free to discover."

Ms. Umavijani has in one short year garnered a lot of respect and buzz for her brand and her perfume creations. Any of us who have had conversations with her will attest to what a kind and generous soul she is. It is a pleasure to see her fragrances getting so much love from the perfume world and these two newest scents will only add to the acclaim.

Edit: I have a set of the three original Dusita perfumes to give away. So there can be three winners instead of one, I am going to break up the set. In comments below, let me know if you prefer to win the Melodie De l'Amour, Issara, or Oud Infini. Press here to link to the post of my last giveaway, which will show you what the perfumes look like and links to my reviews. The contest will end next Friday, Nov. 25, 9 pm Central Time. Oh, and it's not a requirement, but I'd appreciate you either subscribing to my blog or liking the facebook page of The Fragrant Journey if you feel so led. Thank you and good luck! 

Top photo Harpers Bazaar. Middle Photo my own. Elephant photo from  Perfume samples provided by Parfums Dusita.


Adrian R said...

Thank you for the lovely reviews. Parfums Dusita are so original and glorious. I am thrilled to see they have made their way over to the United States. I would love to win Melodie De l'Amour. Thank you.

richpot said...

Thank you for the gorgeous review. Melodie de l'Amour.

Cynthia said...

Thank you both, but Richpot, I drew you as the winner of Melodie d'Amour. Please contact me with details.