We never made it to Halong Bay – or the Perfumed Pagoda : instead we had one of the best days of our life in Haiphong. Still, it is easy to understand how a Spanish perfumer could fall in love with this mystical Vietnamese legend with its ocean -reflected mountains and write a perfume formula as an ode to a place he felt at home.
Dulcet sweet, airy and light, this translucent oriental white floral is a fresh gardenia/ magnolia / lily interwoven with a semi-aquatic top note of lotus flower exuding a watery facet delicately tinged with eucalyptus, dill seed, lemongrass; a gentle white musk accord laced with benzoin and amber that shines through the vulnerable flowers like a bead of sweat on a lover’s skin.
Halong Heaven – a naive, romantically unhindered jeune fille of a perfume – exists in a very high key of unreality. Some might find it hysterical ; I find it pretty. True prettiness is underrated in perfumery these days; there are so many dreadful, supposedly ‘pretty’ perfumes out there in the commercial world and beyond that actually have unnaturally vicious teeth. Halong Heaven is slight – it does not dazzle – but it also does linger quite persistently in an opalescent dream-like state of white sheets and skin shadows, replete – as the fan on the ceiling whirs slowly above; torpid in the stillness of afternoon.