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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Following Up: The Daphne Perfume Comparison

So my random musings on trying to capture the scent of daphne have inspired me to see what I can find. And, judging by the Google searches we've been getting for daphne perfume, I'm not alone.

Thus, in the interest of science, I went out and bought three different daphne perfumes to try them out. I then sat outside with our daphne bush and sniffed and compared. (My methods are super-scientific, in case you can't tell!)

For the sake of clarity, our daphne is the Daphne odora "Aureomarginata", or variegated winter daphne. I'm going in holding this as my standard of daphne; however, because there are so many different types and breeds of daphne, your perception of daphne (and the perfumers' perception!) may be different than mine.

- On my left inner elbow, I sprayed Laboissiere Daphne Eau de Toilette. I went and visited Jacqueline Perfumes in Union Square -- what an amazing place! Beautiful vintage perfume bottles, and lots of fragrances that I've seen sighed over in the blogs. The sales associate was very kind and very French, so much so that I felt it necessary to finish the transaction with a "Merci", as if I were in Paris again.

Laboissiere's Daphne is a very powdery warm scent, which isn't what I really associate with daphne. It's a lovely scent, but it feels more like something that one would wear in the cold days of winter; it's not light and floral, and lacks that almost citrus note that daphne has. I still bought it, as it's still very nice, but I'd save it until next winter to wear with a nice coat and cold rosy cheeks.

- On my left inner wrist, I dabbed Cielo by Napa Valley, which I'd bought a sample of from LuckyScent.com. Compared to Laboissiere, it smells much more like daphne, but has a note that rings a little more tropical to me -- it's almost similar to one of the notes in Kai. There's no question that it's a floral, and it's certainly a nice scent. At $60 for 50 mL, it's not much of a price difference from the Laboissiere, and is definitely more in tune of a spring fragrance.

- On my right inner wrist, I tried the Demeter Daphne fragrance again -- I bought the $5 cologne splash in the hopes that maybe my previous judgment of it was wrong. Once the initial alcohol-y smell of the Demeter dries down, there definitely is the strongest scent of daphne among the three perfumes. However, it then becomes very sweet, almost to the point of not being floral anymore. It's very girly and not very strong; I would recommend it if that's your sort of perfume, but not if you're really looking for a true lasting daphne scent. I've found that Demeter fragrances vary in their lasting power; Tomato lasts for a long time (and I love it), but Ginger Ale isn't half as strong or as lasting. Daphne doesn't seem to be one of their longer lasting ones.

So what's my final judgment? All the perfumes have their good qualities, and I can see what they're trying to pull out from the daphne scent. Laboissiere is a very adult, warm, almost powdery fragrance that works well for the winter; I've heard daphne described as "spicy", which I don't really agree with, but maybe we're thinking of different types of daphne. Cielo is the closest to achieving the actual spring-y floral scent of daphne, but does have that odd little undertone of something else (I want to say banana, but I'm not that good at picking out notes!); I'm assuming it's the honeysuckle, as Cielo is a blend and not just pure daphne, but I may be wrong. Demeter's Daphne is cute and light, but not quite the same as the flower itself, and would need a lot of reapplying to maintain the scent.

...Which I guess means that my final judgment is that it all depends on what you're looking for in your daphne perfume. Ultimately, if I had to pick one of the three as the best daphne perfume, I would pick Cielo.

Are there any other daphne perfumes you know of? Have you tried any of these three? Let me know what you think; what am I missing from this list?

image from greatplantpicks.org


Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for all your research and insight! I will have to try Cielo at once!

knidonovan said...

We have a lot of Daphne growing up here in Oregon. I made up a Daphne perfume oil that I think hits the mark. Where I think people tend to miss is the "greeness" of the flower.
There is quite a bit of lemony and medicinal punch in front of the white sweetness.

tzu_shi said...

Have you tried the hamadryad "daphne cologne" ?
I ordered a couple of daphne and kemjira cologne. You wouold be surprise!! They are so great and very affordable.
well you guys check it out. I recommended this to some of my coworkers and they like it as well.

Sara said...

Thank you for the work you've done to find a true Daphne scent. I'm so greatful - you have no idea! I've been obessed with this flowering shrub since I was 5 years old. My grandma had a Daphne odora in her yard and I fell in love immediately and have been ever since. I truly think you haven't experienced life to the fullest without having ever smelled it. I've ordered a sample of Ceilo per your recommendation and I'm excited about it. I feel as though I'm a Daphne expert so I'm excited to see how our takes on this sent differ. I've been searching around for other perfumes that may do the trick as well and wondered if you've ever tried Carthusia Via Camerelle Eau de Toilette. The description says: "Via Camerelle captures the scents of the island of Capri, from the sea breeze to the blooming lemon groves. The bright top notes of bergamot, lemon and bitter orange are set against the warm herbaceous backdrop of marjoram. The transparent floral heart overlaid with cyclamen and jasmine segues into the weightless base of sheer woods and crisp amber." Some of the notes sound like they would hit the mark and others do not but I can't really imagine how they would meld together. It's sold at the Four Seasons hotel so I may need to stop by the next time I'm in San Francisco.

Roz said...

Well, there is a really great cologne ( not perfume) bythe Hamadryads...name Daphne.
Try it. Very affordable, Organic.

Anonymous said...

An excellent, very well-written article which addresses my own obsession with this unique fragrance (similar to the writer's and previous poster Sara's) and tracking it down. I'm in Australia and am fascinated that our common quest is international. We seem to be a daphne-lovers' club and know exactly what we want! In Australia I have located a supplier of daphne oil - they are called Fragrant Garden and can be found on the internet, and they ship orders which can be made online. I am about to order some myself - I haven't tried it but the company has a very good long-standing reputation.

- Ralph

Anonymous said...

When I was a little girl my mother had friends who had a lovely drug store, that would have been in the late 50's. They ordered her a tiny, beautiful bottle of daphne perfume. I can still see the bottle. It seemed to be pure daphne. I have searched for it many times. It lasted for at least three years. I am glad others a pursuing it. Afraid it will never happen

Lauren Tacke said...

Do you know of any other Daphne scented products besides perfumes? Perhaps a soap, candle or lotion?

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