There are a distinct set of perfume brands which I consider the foundation of the independent-niche perfume sector. One of them is Diptyque. In 2021 they are celebrating their 60th anniversary. To begin this celebratory year Diptyque Orpheon calls back to the early days.
The perfume is meant to capture those exciting times as the founders Yves Coueslant, Christiane Gautrot, and Desmond Knox-Leet were creating their business. Like so many young businesses after a long day you would retire to the local bar. I am not sure how many great ideas for a small company have been spawned in a bar. I would wager it must be a lot. The founders spent a lot of time at the Orpheon which was right down the street from their 34 Boulevard Saint-Germaine atelier. There is no one left at the company to provide the knowledge of those days. It posed a challenge to perfumer Olivier Perscheux who would have to imagine the scene. His vision of the Latin Quarter in Paris 1961 is to keep it simple. Find the darkness of the polished wood, the cigarette smoke, a splash of gin around the floral keynotes that will spawn an influential brand.
I am guessing M. Pescheux was told the founders favored gin. That’s because the opening accord is an icy gin and tonic accord complete with a lime. Juniper berry is the core the slice of lime sparkles in the glass. There is a fizz of aldehydes providing chill and effervescence. With the drinks served it is time to brainstorm. M. Pescheux creates a dynamic heart of multiple florals. Headed up by jasmine, ylang-ylang, magnolia, and rose are all there as well. It is as if they are trying to decide which floral their first perfume should be based upon. The cigarette smoke hangs in the air through a tobacco accord. As they sit back the highly polished wood of the bar makes itself known. Cedar is given a high-gloss shine through vetiver, and benzoin.
Orpheon has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Something you can do on milestone anniversaries is to romanticize the past. I don’t know if the first fragrance Diptyque L’Eau was conceived at the Orpheon. I do know M. Pescheux tells a great story about the early days of the brand through perfume.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by Diptyque.