LOVE ON A CAROUSEL: DELIRIA by L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR (2013)

 

 

 

 

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When I was fourteen I went on a French exchange to the town of Moulins in central France. It was my first time abroad, and you might say that I was almost delirious with excitement. After a whistle stop tour of the sights and sounds of Paris, my fellow classmates and I found ourselves plunged, directly and fully, into the culture of the country I had been dreaming about for so long.  We arrived by train, and were soon paired off (a bit scarily I felt, for ones so young); shacked up with our pen pals and their families for a week. Escargots, cooked in garlic and slimy butter for dinner (yuk! I can still feel them sliding around in my mouth); petits pois, “vinaigrette”, it all just seemed so weird, slightly terrifying, and wonderful to an over-excited, easily stimulated, and very Francophile ‘budding linguist’ such as myself. Cela m’a beaucoup plu.

 

One of the highlights of that holiday, I remember, was a trip to the fairground, where my crush, a cute girl with braces called Laetitia, was all eyes, and so was I, and the sweet aromas hanging on the air, different, but familiar (is the rush of the fairground not universal?) were such a thrill. I always loved such places in England as well; the sugared clash of the cold, Yuleish wintry air and the tantalizing, caramelized steam that hung in nimbulus streams on the zingy atmosphere of Saturday night; the mischievousness of the dodgem cars, when you would deliberately bump and crash some giggling, hapless victims into hilarious mercy; that sadness – always out there, waiting in bushes – coated in pink and yellow, sugar glazed delight. And upon smelling this mood-lifting oddity by L’Artisan Parfumeur the other day ( Bertrand Duchaufour at his most playful), I was lifted out of my moment and plunged back, dreamily, into that world of fun, love, and French sweets: those rule-rubbing days when afternoons bled into evenings and the fair came to town: the cold, deep-pocketed frissons you felt at the clown-terror lurking at the concreted edges of the park; the lure of strangers; the dangers in those wild, mechanized rides.

 

“Prepare to be thrilled”, says L’Artisan. “Your senses will be shaken into a delicious blur”. Well, I  wouldn’t perhaps go quite that far, but Déliria, part of a new set of three perfumes called ‘Explosions D’Emotions’, is certainly a bit of light-hearted fun in this often po-faced world of perfumery, and it did put a smile on my face. Composed, apparently, of ‘dizzying’ accords of candy floss; toffee apple; ‘metallic notes’ and rhum, the most memorable theme of this perfume is, I would say however, the fantastically vivid top note of pineapple that bursts out at you from first go from the bottle, like one of those sticky, sugary and creamy pineapple cakes from Braggs the Bakers that my auntie Val is so addicted to.

 

Pineappled, phantasm dodgem cars scrape and spark with laughing electricity; music speakers boom with the gullible, teenage sweetness of surging, pubescent enthusiasms: love blooms, and Kia Ora – Orange & Pineapple flavour – is slurped greedily through stripey, twisty, plastic straws. L’ananas, musing with artificial flavouring, a child-loving burst of taste; of yellowy, custardish vanilla swirling before your eyes as candy floss stings, sweetly, the late November air…

 

 

 

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Just like the clumsy, ardent first fumblings of youth though, the stamina and performance here, are, sadly however, not awe-inspiring. Soon, once the deliria have faded (and they always do…) we find a more prosaic, uglier, tail-end of steel and santaloids, rather than the soft and cheek-pinching vanilla that we were yearning for (…. were those kisses not meant to last?) We can’t help noticing, suddenly, the rust and rudders of those ageing dodgem cars scratching the ride’s dirty floors: for the first time in a good few hours we look at our watches.

 

 

Yes, it’s a shame that it couldn’t last. As they say, after love, omne animal triste est. But who can really complain, honestly, when those first spurts – of fruits, and rum, of fairground thrills, and sweet, vanillic things –  feel so spontaneous, so joyful?

 

 

 

 

 

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “LOVE ON A CAROUSEL: DELIRIA by L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR (2013)

  1. Wow, Neil, another on-spot review. I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, but almost felt like I had and was agreeing with your review! What’s up with that? I guess will see once I am able to give it a try. However, I would bet my actual sampling of it will be exactly like your description.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence!

      In truth, this review is based on in-shop musings and in depth sniffing of scent strips doused in Deliria. On the skin it could morph alarmingly on different people I think!

      If it didn’t have that dreaded synthetic note in the base I might even consider buying it. I LOVE pineapple!

  2. Martha

    This is a perfect description of why we (as pre-adolescents) go to the fair in late summer. And, yes, pineapple is a wonderful fruit. I was surprised when I saw a cluster of them growing so close to the ground. I had imagined that they grow high up in a tree like coconuts.

    • I have never seen them!

      I felt the same way about cardamom in Indonesia. How could it possibly be like nuts, in the soil.

      • Martha

        I had no idea cardamom grew in the ground! I want to say that I am a little jealous of your recent excursion to Indonesia (and elsewhere?), but overall I admire that you made such a trip. We use various spices in cookery all our lives without a second thought, not really thinking about where they originate or how they grow. It is good to realize all that goes into the items upon which we rely most days. I think that the culinary arts and the art of perfumery are closely related.

      • I feel exactly the same, and I can’t tell you how fascinating it all was. I see spices and agriculture very differently now.

  3. I love this review! It brought so much back to me of French camping holidays and exchanges and you describe the experience of the fairground beautifully! I had many trips to France as a kid, living as we did in Thanet – ‘Planet Thanet’! – where France was a quick hop on the hovercraft from Pegwell Bay (those curious machines that looked like a lego house on a dinghy) or a slightly longer hour-long crossing on the Sally Line ferry from Ramsgate! This was in the days when a croissant was an exotic luxury and not something you had at the train station with a frothy latte, and I adored the trips across the Channel to the hyper-marche where one could buy these light, chewy buttery delicacies, along with huge slabs of thin milk chocolate and those never-ending rolls of individually-wrapped boiled sweets! One camping holiday I associate massively with the smell of a box of M&S talcum powder! I’d got it from my glamorous step-cousin (who I’ve waxed lyrical to you about somewhere on here with regard to White Lace perfume) for my 13th birthday. It was in a mauve box with a peach bow (hideous hideous, but at the time the height of girly luxury pour moi) with a peach powder puff, and smelled of a stunningly sweet and shadowy mix of white musk, parma violet and rose! We were staying on small camping field with nothing but a couple of rusty swings – and stunning views (or so the adults thought, yawn yawn!!) – so inevitably the shower blocks became the focal point for the bored teens by dint of the fact that it was one place where people could gather unseen of parents or teachers for international snog-a-thons! Alas, during one such gathering, a long-haired lout, who I vaguely fancied (on account of the fact he was taller than me, nothing else), grabbed the box and in proceeding to powder-puff his sallow, sweet but teenage-gormless mug spilled the talc everywhere. Everyone began skidding in it causing the camping warden to complain to the accompanying teachers and every teen on the campsite was banned from using the showers! I was in tears bereft of my lovely fragrance, and we all left the following morning leaving a dusty haze of violet-scented shame floating above the shower blocks (well, the French school kids left for this reason – we left because we were camped under trees, there’d been a lightning storm and my mum was in a state of anxiety envisaging trees struck by lightning falling on our heads… so we all left!). By weird co-incidence, we then moved to a campsite where I actually met Jules (my husband) fleetingly in similar teenage excess and high drama but only realised when swapping holiday-stories years later – but that’s one for another time! On the fairground front – I’ve never smelt the Artisan perfume you mention here (will seek it out – I love this house as you know) – but your description conjures for me Harajuku Lovers Love, also a peculiar perfume I bought in a crazy whirl of ecstasy, sniffing it obsessively in the shop, only to get home and realise it was not the perfume I loved but the smell of the box! This was Orla Kielly Eau de Parfum, and when I first smelled it I got a whack of leather (which turned out to be the smell of the box!!!) followed by (the perfume itself) a sweet, fizzy, lemon-sherbetty nougat and rose, cloyingly sweet and dizzy, and with a hint of gin and tonic, but frustratingly chaste, subsiding as it does into a smooth sandlewood (which as you know I dislike!) and lingering insistently! A definite fairground whirl – enhanced by a quirky glass bottle shaped like a four-leaf clover! A bit like the flop you get when the waltzer stops suddenly when you were just getting into it the spin! A damp-dying squid of fizz that flops like a Roman candle on a rainy bonfire night!

    • Achingly gorgeous Nina, thankyou. The chewy butter; the hovercrafts, the campsites, I know it all, exactly what you mean!

      Ps. I was on Waltzer, literally, as my grandmother was having a heart attack. She was laughing as it was happening. It was terrifying, and yet strangely wonderful.

  4. Yes, it was just a mini one, but it taught me something exhilarating about life. I loved her attitude. There with her grandchildren.

  5. Dearest GInza
    The Dandy was always more drawn to the hot dog stall at such occasions.
    Candy floss really never was my thing in real life or perfume and those decaying girders and greasy corners you speak of so eloquently always fascinated more than the garish galleries of prizes and gaudy lights.
    Beautifully praised but I expect this wouldn’t be one for me even in its first glorious minutes.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  6. I am with the Dandy on this one too. We call it Cotton Candy here in California. At 13 it rode the Tilt-a-Whirl twelve times in a row after consuming a huge wad of Cotton Candy. The results were a disaster. Thus to this day I can’t take anything to delirious or sweet. But I did so enjoy the ride you provide in your scrumptious review.

  7. You make this sounds like so much fun! Alas, I took a sniff of this the other day and it was not for me 😦 If only it conjured up similar memories! In any case, thank you for sharing!

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