Jasmines come in all shapes and sizes : svelte, buxom, overloaded, even coy. Usually, though, they keep their jasminisms clear : “Je suis jasmin” , “ Io sono gelsomino” – their titular blooms clear and precise even as they rasp away at your ear and nose and do their sensual, jasminesque thang.
Route D’Emeraude, apparently inspired by a journey to the opium-growing Golden Triangle area of Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, initially also makes its green, green-tea sambac main theme very clear in its overtures: quite giddy and humid, top-registered and gleeful – very much a South East Asian variant of the flower rather than the Patou-like Jasmine de Grasse and its smoother, Chanel-owning cousins.
Similar to the sambac jasmine used in By Kilian’s Imperial Tea ( for anyone who has been to these countries or at least experienced their luscious wares, this smell will be all too familiar – the jasmine tea I bought from Vietnam last summer I opened for the first time the other day, for example, and found it almost embarrassingly sensuous and perfumed, particularly at the office). Fragrances that use this more carnal and tropical essence of jasmine smell very vibrant, exotic and extroverted. Isabey’s Route D’Emeraude also takes this tack in making a refreshingly jubilant scent that seems made just for a starlet (actual or imaginary): bare-shouldered, smiling, and descending a white staircase as perfume spirals flirtatiously from her person.
While the green notes in the top accord allow the jasmine flowers at the heart of the perfume to unfold themselves at their own pace in the opening, it soon becomes clear that rather than a delicate sambac soliflor, what we have here is a full bodied, semi-oriental multiflor, with quite adult tuberose and orange blossom underlaying the sambac, alongside intimations of a woodier, ambered, musk-driven benzoin adding to the intemperate and ‘intoxicating’ throw of the perfume as well as a crucial and anchoring, spicier element of cinnamon. In its texture, scope and overall sillage (quite extensive, I would imagine, if sprayed) one is reminded slightly of Nuits Indiennes by Louis Scherrer, with its licentious sensuality, but conversely also, of more proper American allegiances to coiffeured and society perfumes such as Estee Lauder’s Private Collection or even the perfumes by Elizabeth Taylor. An ‘event’ scent, in other words – and a creation that I quite like for its plushness and sense of occasion, although at heart (and only she knows where she comes from), this creature is perhaps a touch less artistic – even trashier, possibly – than she would ever dare to admit.