When I look over all of the perfume I have tried over the years there are some ingredients which seem to form the cornerstones of perfumery. When it comes to flowers it would be jasmine and rose. Patchouli is certainly one. When it comes to woody notes sandalwood is definitely one of them. One of the commonalities to anything I would put in this category is it can stand on its own. It can be a perfume all by itself. I have examples in the perfume vault here at Colognoisseur HQ. Most of those are expensive. It didn’t used to be that way. There was a time not that long ago that all these foundational pieces of perfumery could be found economically. At least in the case of one Yves Rocher Voile d’Ocre is bringing that back.
It was a funny thing as I read the press release while waiting for the sample to arrive. It told me this was meant to capture a citadel on the edge of the desert using two ingredients: cedar and sandalwood. Then I was told it took two perfumers, Ane Ayo and Fabrice Pellegrin. I was thinking this sounded like two Michelin-starred chefs combining chocolate and milk into chocolate milk. Once I received the sample the need for two noses became evident because there is a third synthetic ingredient which is a little bit cedar and a little bit sandalwood. Creating the right balance using that is not as easy as it sounds.
I think the third unnamed ingredient is Iso E Super. It is because the perfume overall has that desiccated quality it brings which is also reminiscent of the desert milieu they were aiming for. It also is the kind of synthetic ingredient that can be made more vivid through the addition of judicious amounts of natural ingredients. That’s my guess of what is going on here.
Iso E Super has this inherent dusty earth quality to it which is where Voile d’Ocre opens. This sets the desert backdrop. The natural woods are added in next. The raw almost green of cedar adds some life back to the dryness of the synthetic background. The sandalwood harmonizes with that arid aspect while also adding in a woody sweetness. From one of the ingredients a spicy piquancy is there also a milkiness which I’ll attribute to the sandalwood.
Voile d’Ocre has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is probably my new “best bang for your buck” sandalwood perfume. The perfumers do an incredible job of using one of the cornerstones to create a new woody edifice at the edge of the desert.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Yves Rocher.