On the hunt for the perfect summer scent I happened upon the Dior Voyage collection “Les Escales”.
There are three Eaux de Toilette (for now, I have no doubt the line is going to be extended). The first to be released was Escale à Portofino, a year later followed Escale à Pondichéry and finally the most recent one is Escale aux Marquises.
Since I am on a tea kick, I’ll start with Escale à Pondichéry, but the others will follow soon.
If you want to know how this smells, DO NOT test it on paper. If you do, you are in for a surprise when it actually hits skin. There is a world of difference. Thinking this was only my skin’s reaction that distorted this fragrance into something so different from the blotter, I recruited some friends to try it – with the same results. I am not saying Pondichéry is bad or disintegrates on skin, it just is not the same as on paper in a dramatic way.
On the skin Pondichéry opens with a bright burst of citrus notes that carry the tea with them. Soon cardamom is apparent too, I love that note. The first half hour of development of this scent is the best. A lovely melange of cardamom-laced tea with lemon. I do not get much of the jasmine, the composition segues into its sandalwood drydown on a strong bergamot fuelled citrus note carrying the scent of tea with it, jasmine – for me – is providing only a hint of a soft floral background. The drydown phase is surprisingly long-lasting, if low-key. I am tempted to reapply soon to experience the glorious crushed cardamom and fresh tea again and again. It is hard to go overboard with this kind of fragrance anyway, but it is a good way to burn money fast. 🙂
I like Pondichéry in a “it is lovely and fulfills its function” way, but I am not floored by its beauty or uniqueness. I love the bottle very much though, such a pretty piece of art I love to look at.
If you are looking for a tea-based cologne style summer scent that is undemanding and low-maintenance, Escale à Pondichéry is a good and solid choice.
What it fails to do is inspire me to any flights of fancy, to any associations, it does not invoke dreams of faraway locales in me. I get the feeling it smells like a Frenchman would want India to smell like, not like the actual place or even the fantasy of the actual place. It is the ultimate colonial fragrance maybe, a nod to the host culture, but essentially a good old European construction.
I have way to many perfumes that are able to inspire and invite to dream, to spend my time with a purely functional, if pretty one.