a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
HÉLIOTROPE – 2012 – ♂♀
Classification: Floral Woody Musk
Top: Angelica, Chili Pepper, Elemi resin, Ginger, Red mandarin, Frankincense
Heart: Heliotrope, Magnolia, Nagarmotha, Saffron
Base: Benzoin, Grey amber, Musk, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Cedarwood
Perfumer: Olivier Durbano
Price: $150 for 100ml bottle
Could it be that Héliotrope by Olivier Durbano deviates from his normal repertoire of gemstone inspired fragrances? Not so much. Most of us are aware of a flower called heliotrope, but there is also a mineral known by the same name, otherwise called bloodstone. The mineral form is usually green in color, with brightly colored red inclusions that resemble blood spots, hence the name bloodstone. Just when you think that Durbano has turned over a new leaf, or stone in this case, we are right back to his original love of gemstones and minerals. Héliotrope is a pleasant surprise for Durbano’s Bijoux de Pierres Poemes collection.
Héliotrope opens energetically with a spicy profusion of chili pepper, ginger and angelica root, along with a splash of racy red mandarin. Just as this intensely colored perfume implies, the fragrance has a fiery nature right from the start. To further intrigue, Héliotrope is laden with smoldering incense and resins. Smoky incense is a common thread running through all of Olivier Durbano’s fragrance. Incense is a welcome meditative accompaniment for such a vivacious concoction. You might take notice of a few conspicuous peppercorns sitting in the bottom of the bottle. They are a gentle suggestion of the spirited personality within Héliotrope. Durbano’s fragrances have been known to include notes that have a medicinal or piney accord, and I’m uncertain as to their origin. Disconcerting at first, this antisepticness settles into the fragrance just in time for the heart’s floral pageant. While the linear spicy parade marches on, the heart initiates with a pleasurable blend of flowers. There’s vanilla-like heliotrope, citrusy magnolia and pleasant, woody, earthy nagarmotha with its cinnamon and frankincense traces. All of these beautiful florals unite perfectly with a warm, cozy saffron, giving the heart of Héliotrope a subtle Oriental vibe. The base of Héliotrope is rooted in incense, musk, woods and amber. This is a perfect balance for this spicy floral potion giving it substance and a morsel of complexity.
I was unsure about my opinion of Héliotrope upon first testing. Eventually, I found it to be soothing, like a nice hot toddy accompanied by a roaring fire. The spice suggests neither masculine nor feminine, and is a bit predictable from start to finish. Longevity is very good, and it lasted the entire day. While you may not expect much from these “jewelry designer one minute, perfumer the next,” types, Durbano’s newest offering is a pleasant surprise.