It's unusual in perfumery for the start of this century to encounter a modern composition which focuses on that loaded term which is dreaded by so many among the (younger) set: "a powdery fragrance". And yet, Esprit d'Oscar by Oscar de la Renta comes as an eminent sample of a youthful, modern re-interpretation of an age-old theme: the soulful cadenza of Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue. An old-school mainstream fragrance? Rub your eyes really well, perfumistas, this is no joke.
In more parts than it's considered good form to admit when launching a new fragrance, Esprit d'Oscar follows in the footsteps of the original Oscar by Oscar de la Renta from 1977; but that's a good thing! The lineage descending from the iconic Guerlain was evident then as it is now, but whereas the original Oscar was a symphonic floriental with the emphasis on the waft of its bittersweet tuberose message fanned on precious woods, in Esprit d'Oscar the melody is replayed with clarity on a single instrument with multiple keys, like a clavichord. The aniseed and violet accents that give the heliotrope in L'Heure Bleue its wistful, nostalgic character are here substituted by the sweetening of the almond facets of heliotropin. The citrusy top notes which open the fragrance on the other hand provide the necessary freshness to appeal to modern women of both younger and somewhat older age, shopping for a fragrance they can claim their own. Noting that Love, Chloé is also a recent entry operating on unmissable powdery tones, I think we're on to some new trend: old becomes new again!
Perfumer Frank Voekl is known for his streamlined approach which aims at a fragrance that acts as a mantle rather than armoury or clarion-call. On the whole, the axis of the new scent is tilted more to soft floral-oriental or even floral gourmand than to merely floral bouquet, and lovers of both categories are encouraged to sample. The leitmotif of Esprit d'Oscar rests on a fluffy almondy powdery note that supports, like a pampering duvet on which you fall back down on with relief, the floral notes of jasmine. The lemony inclusion lifts the jasmine heart just so, producing a refreshing, effervescent jasmine/white floral note. The white floral heart is rich, sexy and feminine, but non indolic. The synergy of vetiver and sweet (clean) musk (plus I believe a smidge of sandalwood) conspire to enhance the impression of clouds fusing into one another on the late afternoon sky.
Whimsical, romantic, beautiful....recommended, I say!
The bottle is even more beautiful up close. Inspired by the original Oscar Parfum bottle design, Oscar envisioned a package for Esprit d'Oscar that would marry the feel of the iconic original, with a fresh contemporary look. Sculptural glass and sleek feminine contours characterize the Esprit d'Oscar bottle. On top of its translucent flower cap, a glass pearl represents a single dewdrop, a symbol from the original Oscar story. When he was a boy, Oscar de la Renta imagined that if he woke up very early, he could take the dew from flowers to create a perfume…and so he did.
Notes for Esprit d'Oscar by Oscar de la Renta:
Top: Sicilian lemon, bergamot and citron
Heart: Egyptian jasmine, orange blossom and tuberose.
Base: musk, heliotrope, tonka bean and vetiver
Esprit d'Oscar is available in the (quite lasting and satisfying in its sillage) concentration of Eau de Parfum in 50ml/1.7oz and 100ml/3.4oz bottles for 78$ and 98$ respectively at select department stores. You can see info on oscardelarenta.com. Right now the code OSCAR10 will get you complimentary ground shipping.
For our readers I have one full bottle to give away!! If you want to be eligible, please comment including what you'd like to read on Perfume Shrine next. Draw remains open till Sunday midnight.
Painting by artbycedar
Disclosure: Sampled scent myself at store; giveaway bottle is a promo.