Through most of the 1980’s I participated in a summer rental on Shelter Island, NY. I was often able to get out to the house before the rest of the roommates and I really enjoyed my Friday mornings. I used to fill a thermos with coffee and bicycle through the fog to this sandy hillock. From there I could watch the ospreys hunt for fish and early in the summer to feed the baby ospreys in the nests. If you had asked me a couple months ago whether there was a scent to that experience I would’ve scoffed at the idea. That is until I received my sample of Diptyque Florabellio.
Florabellio is described as an “olfactory landscape” on the website. This is a very interesting landscape combining three distinct styles of fragrances through the three phases. Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin has fused an aquatic, a fruity floral, and a gourmand into a single perfume. Even when I looked at the notes listed on the press release I expected this to be incongruous at best. What M. Pellegrin has done is to achieve his stated aim of creating a landscape containing focal points which come together to create a whole experience.
Florabellio opens with the smell of the ocean as carried to you on the breeze. It is light, ozonic, and a touch salty. He takes fennel and lets its herbal nature add a vegetal aspect. This is the smell of sitting on sand dunes surrounded by the grass growing there as the waves crash in the distance. The heart is a wonderfully delicate interpretation of fruity floral as if done in water colors. My biggest quarrel with fruity floral as a genre is it has no subtlety. In the heart of Florabellio M. Pellegrin is using the lightest hand as he combines apple blossom and osmanthus. The apricot and leather beauty of osmanthus is made diaphanous and the apple blossom blows through that opacity with a delicate sigh. If this was all there was to Florabellio it would have been enough. I was worried that the listed notes of coffee and sesame were going to make a change for the worse. With a little more presence than the florals in the heart M. Pellegrin brings the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee forward. The coffee note here captures both the bitterness and the richness of good coffee. The sesame gives it a smoky aspect.
Florabellio has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
I feel as if M. Pellegrin has created an olfactory painting of my summer mornings thirty years ago. Every day I wore Florabellio it reminded me strongly of that time. Florabellio can be perhaps too much of a good thing as it does tend to have so much going on some might find it distracting instead of enjoyable. I admire the decision to go for the design that Florabellio exhibits; it sets it apart in a good way.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Diptyque.