The most exciting thing on childhood summer holidays was our enthusiastic exploring of the dunes. I loved the sea and the beach, the sun in my eyes, and especially swimming underwater, but there was always something, up close in the strange roots of broom and other beach plants; dampened, insect-laden, away from the dry ease of the sand granules, that always perturbed, drew my brother and I in; into those dark, cool, salinated shadows. The strange, tunnelled canopies where we would stop arguing for a while and just crawl along together, stopping to examine this and that, our senses and imaginations stimulated.
As soon as I sprayed on Eau de Moheli by Diptyque, it felt very familiar to me, and I immediately got some of this feeling again. A fresh, commercial summer floral it may be, but there is also something quite potently tropical there (despite that freshness); the haze of the midday sun atop the dunes, the plants, alive and drinking in sun, just being…
The idea behind Eau de Moheli was apparently to encapsulate the whole ylang ylang tree and its surroundings; an in situ, ‘solar’ take by perfumer Olivier Pecheaux: the scented vibrations of the tree and its roots; the leaves and the flowers, and the scent, to me at least, is not ylangishly identifiable straight way (it is certainly not a ylang ylang soliflore).
Yes, there is ylang, and orange blossom perhaps, but all is overlayered with a fuzzy, peppery, gingery incense accord that twists the usual ylang profile into something slightly more savoury, arboreal. The result is quite pleasant, and it immediately pressed my mental ‘like’ button with no hesitation, a citrussy cologne-like brightness chiming nicely with its uplifting island florality. It is familiar (a ylang-ish Chasse Aux Papillions, perhaps, if slightly more feral), and certainly nothing spectacular, but it is also, on a hot summer’s day, enjoyable, comforting. It is the kind of perfume I would put on early on a hot summer’s morning: that shimmering, unfurling, time, early, before the heat sets in, when you feel the promise of the day, the flowers about to rise.