30 Days of Scent, day 2: Diptyque Eau Duelle

eau duelle

For day 2 of my 30 Days of Scent series, I wore Diptyque Eau Duelle ($90-125 for the eau de toilette, $140 for the eau de parfum, Nordstrom). Because what I have is a decant someone sent me as an extra “bonus feature” in a perfume swap, I’m not sure if what I have is the eau de toilette or eau de parfum, but in this particular one they’re similar enough that it’s not that big a deal. Do note, though, that it’s common for different concentrations of a fragrance with the same name to be very different (looking at Jean Paul Gaultier Classique and Chanel No. 19 as notable examples), so if you test one concentration and like it, it’s usually best to buy the concentration you tried on.

Eau Duelle is one that’s not marketed specifically to men or to women. The interesting thing about it is the way the vanilla in it is treated. Rather than being a soft, cake-y vanilla, this version is dry, aromatic, resinous, and a bit spicy. It opens up with black tea, juniper, and bergamot, but I’m a person for whom top notes go away so quickly that I barely notice. The best part of this one, though, is the vanilla, with a soft hint of incense-y olibanum (this is the name that’s more common in perfumery, but outside of that, most people know this resin as frankincense) and the closely related elemi. It then dries down to a soft ambergris base (which I rather hope and suspect is synthetic, because A. real ambergris is obscenely expensive, so a perfume that’s under $200 isn’t likely to contain much of it, and B. it’s an intestinal byproduct from a sperm whale, which…it’s kind of like sausage in that it’s a lot more pleasant if you don’t know what goes into it). The listing of notes also includes cardamom, saffron, pink pepper, and musk, but the thing with this particular scent is that it’s very well blended, and that aside from the vanilla, the juniper, and the “okay, I know this is some kind of resin here” vibe that lurks just under the vanilla, it’s hard to pick out individual notes.

Many vanilla fragrances that aren’t lightened up with a heavy dose of citrus can be heavy and stifling for summer wear. Admittedly I’m more comfortable with this for fall or winter, and I wouldn’t do it as a daytime scent for an outdoor event, but if I’m going to be inside in the air conditioning all day, or I’m wearing it out at night, I don’t see a problem with wearing it during the day. In fact, I did something today that many people would have advised me not to do. I had a job interview, and I read somewhere that even though standard wisdom is to not wear perfume in an interview, there was a study where women who did so were rated higher in intelligence, attractiveness, and friendliness. Vanilla is one of the scents that’s almost universally considered “pleasant” in Western culture, and there’s research to suggest that it actually helps calm anxiety and the startle reflex, so even though it bucks traditional advice, I wore Eau Duelle to my interview. I don’t know if they found me any friendlier, smarter, or prettier because of it, but I do know it did a lot to calm my nerves.

If there were one thing I could change about Eau Duelle, it would be the lasting power. I get maybe 4-5 hours out of it on a good day. The projection is exactly as I like it, in that one spray on my collarbone and a spray on my left wrist (I use the left because I’m left-handed and will be gesturing with that hand more) gives me about an arm’s length of scented space. I’m not sure whether or not I’d rank it as a “love,” but I definitely like it a lot. I’d rank it 7/10.

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