I’m a big fan of First by Van Cleef and Arpels and I was more than happy when I stumbled across a sample of Van Cleef by Van Cleef and Arpels. (Have I said Van Cleef and Arpels too much in one sentence? It’s hard to stop!)
I realised I wanted it badly, and I also realised that apart from some Oriental-lites (Cacharel LouLou, Jesus del Pozo Ambar), I do not have an Oriental bottle in my collection. Yes, it’s very much a First World problem, but I have to put this right and soon!
Van Cleef smells a lot more expensive than it is. I couldn’t figure this out until those clever articles in Fragrantica pointed out that Cedar, used liberally in Van Cleef, is also a bit of a trademark of many Serge Lutens scents. This may explain my feeling that Van Cleef smelled like a good niche scent. Add to this some bitter Galbanum and a miasma of Sandalwood and you have a rather lovely all season Oriental.
I don’t really find this very floral, despite the presence of Marigold, Roses, Jasmine, Neroli and Orange Blossom. What I smell more than anything is Oriental Spice and Cedar and all things piquant to the point of bitter, but just stopping in time and bedding down into a rich, Ambery cloud. (NB There is no Amber in this, but crikey it smells like it!). All in all, this is very reasonably priced at under 35GBP for a 50ml EDP and longevity is loooong at around nine hours.
I’m adding it to my Wish List. It will be mine. Oh yes.