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This is part 2 of Flower of the Month Series.  To recap, if you haven’t read part 1, carnations are the birth flower of January. You can read all about the history of carnations and their significance here

There are so many carnation fragrances out there, it was hard for me to pick three samples.  I wish I can try them all because I’m curious to smell different variations of this commonplace flower. I’m determined to find one that really speaks to me as my signature carnation. The following are carnation perfumes I have tested so far.  These are just off-the-cuff first impressions or olfactory snapshots so my opinion may change as I spend more time to get to know the juice better. You can expect thorough reviews later down the road.

Bellodgia

Perfume House:  Caron

Perfumer:  Ernest Daltroff

Launched: 1927

Notes: Carnation, Jasmine, Lily Of the valley, Musk, Clove, Vanille

I’ve read so many great reviews about Caron Bellodgia. How this is a vintage classic and they don’t make perfumes like Bellodgia anymore.  It’s also a unisex carnation scent.  A man could pull off this fragrance which I thought was interesting.

On a cotton ball, the intro smells hideous, strong and astringent.  It has the characteristic eugonol scent of clove and carnation x 20.  This gave me the shivers.  It smells as if I’m sitting in a dental chair about to get a root canal.  On the skin, it opens with the same eugonol astringency but dissipates after a few minutes.  As it dries down the middle of jasmine and lily of the valley bloom on my skin toning down white  noise of eugenol.  In the end, the carnation becomes a light powdery musky floral.  The intro is completely off-putting. Bellodgia and I are strangers who need to get more acquainted.  I still don’t get how a man could wear this, it smells very feminine to me.  I’m assuming because it’s the spicier of carnation fumes.

Billet Doux

Perfume House: Fragonard

Launched: 2006

Notes: bergamot, amalfi lemon, mandarin orange, peony, frangipani, carnation, cedar, vanilla

Beautiful bottle, beautiful name, beautiful scent.  I’d blind buy it on just the name and bottle alone.  Billet Doux means “love letter” in French.  At first sniff, it had me at hello. I immediately thought the name and scent would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It’s soft, sweet, and romantic.  It smells like a hazy daydream lying in a soft velvet bed of pink carnations.  Billet Doux is sweet but not gourmand.  It’s the natural sweetness of the flower itself. Think Possets Silver Carnation without the sugary vanilla and chocolate. I love how the carnation is prominent but not spicy. I can smell a bit of citrus giving the carnation life. The frangipani gives the carnation a unique sweet flavor. The middle is creamy and smooth.  My favorite is the drydown–a light veil of dusted carnation powder. Although, it was launched in 2006, Billet Doux is vintage in feel.  (Billet Doux is a recreation of a historic Fragonard perfume to celebrate Fragonard’s 80th anniversary.) It evokes the Regency period and reminds me of a Jane Austen character, a beautiful and demure female taking afternoon tea.  Not over the top, an austere but classy scent.  Love this one! Billet Doux is a signature candidate for sure.

 

 Vitriol d’Oeillet

Perfume House: Serge Lutens

Launched:  2011

Notes:  carnation, wallflower, lily, ylang-ylang, nutmeg, clove, pink pepper, pepper, paprika

 I was expecting Vitriol to kick my ass with all the fiery spice listed in the notes.  Instead I got hairspray. But once that goes away, I get a dark, sinister, brooding carnation.  A carnation that’s not angry but grumpy.  It’s spicy and dark but doesn’t burn the hair off my nose.  I think the lily and ylang ylang are toning the spice down a bit.  It dries down to a nice creamy carnation with hint of hairspray.  The carnation does not take center stage more left of center.  The name is misleading.  Vitriol is dark but soft. To my nose, Vitriol is a complex fragrance. I need to spend more time with it.  Unlike Caron Bellodgia, I can definitely smell a man wearing Vitriol.

Summary:

I love Possets Silver Carnation and Fragonard Billet Doux.  I don’t know which I love more.  They are both head to head contenders for my signature carnation.

Not a good first impression with Caron Bellodgia.  It smells too much like a root canal and it’s off-putting but I’m willing to spend more time with it hoping I will change my mind.

Vitriol d’Oeillet is grumpy carnation + aquanet.  Definitely a man scent.  Interesting take on carnation but I wish the carnation were prominent. I want to sniff more to appreciate its complexity.

Other carnations I want to try:  Comme des Garcons Red Carnation, Alkemia Perfumes Incendere, Mona di Orio’s Carnation, Ayala Moriel’s InCarnation, Caron Poivre, Floris Malmaison

Do you have a favorite carnation scent or one that you’ve had your nose on? Please share.

 
 
 
[Image 1] via scenicreflections.com
[Image 2] fragrantica.com
[Image 3] mimifroufrou.com
[Image 4] polyvore.com

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