Sunday, May 2, 2021

Parfums Dusita Cavatina: An Ode To Springtime!


Happy May Day! I have a confession. I have never smelled an actual fresh picked lily-of-the-valley. Like lilacs, they just don't thrive in hot Texas summers. I love lily-of-the-valley, or muguet, scent but my point of reference is the grande dame Diorissimo, and prior to that when I was too young to frequent Dior counters, a coveted bottle of Coty Muguet des Bois. 

Pissara Umivijani, founder of Parfums Dusita, just this past week introduced Cavatina, a perfume she has been working on for two years. It is in part based on the memory of someone dear to her who wore Diorissimo, but she has put her own unique and modern spin on the fragrance. Others who know a lot more about lily-of-the-valley than I do have written excellent pieces on this new creation. The only thing I can add to the conversation is my impression of Cavatina and the feelings and emotions it stirs in me.  The initial burst of scent brings a feeling of happiness and light-hearted energy.  Cavatina transports me to the joyfulness of childhood summers, and the innocence and happiness these memories evoke.

I love spring in Texas. Right now we are getting rain, some cool days mixed with the warm, and the first flush of nature's beauty, before everything starts baking in the sun and the only flowers that can survive are periwinkles and geraniums. The photo I took up top are flowers that spring up around my house and that will disappear once the days get hotter. There are roses, a wild honeysuckle that blooms in the woods behind my fence and dips over into my yard, a white spikey flower that popped up this year like a weed but smells divine. These notes are not all necessarily in Cavatina, but they replicate the feeling I get when I wear this perfume. It smells like this short time of year when my yard is delicately scented with sweet white flowers and honeyed florals. Just like La Douceur de Siam evoked memories of the many years I lived in Asia, Cavatina makes me feel footloose and fancy free. We've had rain most of the time I've been testing this, but I can't wait to wear it on a warm day for I feel it will really bloom. 

Artwork by Pissara Umivijani from her website.

Pissara spent two years blending her own lily-of-the-valley accord, and just as I found magic in her teakwood home-brewed base used in Moonlight In Chiangmai, I find that same magic here. My memories of wearing Diorissimo, which I do like but don't currently own, are that it features the beautiful lily-of-the-valley  note, which sings like a soprano  holding a high note but inevitably it eventually gently fades away. I remember it as almost a soliflore perfume, albeit a beautiful one. But from the first moment I spray Cavatina on my skin I can feel it shape shifting, whirling about like a live thing. I do smell what I understand to be the scent of lily-of-the-valley, but there is so much more.

If I was an artist, like Pissara, I would illustrate this review by first drawing myself applying the perfume. Wavy lines rising upward would indicate the perfume drifting around me, then thought bubbles would pop up of the memories and emotions the smell invoked. Chasing golden fireflies in the dusk; sweetening our tea with honeysuckle stamens; playing hide and seek, concealed under the gracefully draping branches of a delicately scented abelia bush; churning homemade ice cream and the fragrance of the vanilla when the top finally came off. All these little remembrances lay a patchwork of memories imprinted with the fragrances and golden moments that color our past. 

Pissara always uses a poem from the work of her poet father, Montri Umivijani, on each new perfume as both an inspiration as well as a tribute to her father. I can identify with this poem chosen for Cavatina maybe more than any that she has selected thus far, as it truly does describe the feeling wearing this perfume imparts. 
They sweeten by the warmth of the sun,like the human heart by loving kindness. -- Montri Umivijani

Pissara draws a lot of inspiration from vintage perfumes but always manages to put her own unique imprint on the scent. Cavatina is no exception. It seems this project is close to her heart, and if you go here to her website there is a video that explains the creative process. I really like the way she describes the notes that make up Cavatina, but for those who like lists, here they are.

Top Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Litsea Cubeba, Paraguayan Petitgrain, Exclusive Muguet Accord

Heart Notes:  Ylang-Ylang, Tuberose, Jasmine Grandiflorum, Tea Rose Accord

Base Notes: Heliotrope, Siamese Wood, Madagascar Vanilla

On my skin the perfume opens up like a ray of sunlight, a burst of happiness, uncontained and bright! If you love white flowers this will be heaven for you. The brightness of the citrus notes and  the muguet accord last for some time. After many hours wear I still smell the white flowers, but now they are quiet and laying on a bed of soft vanilla woods. Cavatina is the eleventh scent in the Dusita collection and adds a beautiful floral to the mix.

Here are two more reviews of Cavatina: 

Despina Veneti gives the definitive review of muguet scents and Cavatina here.

The Black Narcissus, otherwise known as Neil Chapman, always finds the perfect words to define any scent. Read it here. 

Top photo is my own. The other photo is from the Parfums Dusita website. I was provided with a sample by the perfumer. All opinions are my own.



Undina said...

I'm curious to try this perfume - first, because I liked several perfumes from the line (and felt respect towards several more) and second, because I'm interested to see what the perfumer did with that note.

While I like the scent of lily-of-the-valley, I have an issue with it in perfumery: since it's impossible to capture a real flower scent, it can be either an artificial aroma or a composition of other natural materials. I'm not prepared to pay luxury prices for a soliflore made from artificial ingredients, and two attempts of the recreation - by Andy Tauer and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz - were just awful for my nose (I'm not talking about them not smelling as real LotV, that would have been OK, but in general those two didn't smell good, in my opinion/to my nose). I'm convinced that it is impossible to recreate believable LotV using natural ingredients.

So, if Cavatina uses LotV in a supportive role, no matter how the accord was achieved, I will be fine with it. I'd love a spring bouquet with a touch of LotV, but I don't need another artificial soliflore.

Cynthia said...

I am not an expert on LOV, although I do smell it in Cavatina. Some reviewers saw it as a straight up LOV scent, but as I wrote, I got several other white flower smells. I found it a bit more straightforward and less complex than some of the Dusita scents, but in her interviews she indicated that this was the plan. I love white flowers and find them very "happy" scents, so I really like it. If you are not a white flower fan, I doubt you will enjoy it so much.