Saturday, February 4, 2012

Niche Spotlight: Divine

Divine is a breath of fresh air.  The shop on Rue Scribe is bright and light, with simple decor that is more understated elegance than minimalist.  And the fact that the line offers just 5 scents for women, 1 non-gendered scent, and 3 scents for men means that you can really get a sense of the whole line in one visit.  The woman who works at the Divine Paris store has an extensive background in luxury goods, including perfume, and she is quite willing and easy to converse with - which is certainly not a given in Paris.

In 1986, Yvon Mouchel launched his first perfume, Divine.  This classic scent remains Divine's most popular and best-selling fragrance.  It was 14 years later that Divine began to develop additional perfumes, and the year of creation of each scent is proudly displayed in the store and on their website.  Overall, my impression of Divine is that these are absolutely perfumes for today's woman.  They each have something classic in them, but they offer a fresh interpretation of perfume fundamentals.  There is something familiar yet new in each scent.  L'infante, for instance, which is my favorite of the line, is a classic pure floral.  But it is not overpowering, and it is not sweet.  It is feminine and elegant, perfect for a summer cocktail party, a romantic dinner, or just a walk in the park.  L'etre aime gives you a hint of spice, bringing to mind that first glass of vin chaud as the weather chills.  And Divine, the original - it is not my type of perfume.  But it is a beautiful perfume.  It smells like I imagine perfumes have smelled for a long time, but it's not an old lady smell.  It's a businesswoman, a mother of three, a woman of confidence.  The original scent is available in two forms, traditional eau de parfum and pure parfum.  I was able to try the pure parfum on my skin and it is really something.  The pure perfume is just incredibly rich and deep, and just infuses into your skin in an extremely luxurious way.

Divine pure parfum

I didn't smell L'ame Soeur, which is the most recent scent (although this most recent release is actual an update of the original L'ame Soeur), because it's a powdery scent and I just never like powdery scents.  It's apparently quite popular with Asian tourists.  Americans, like myself, lean toward L'infante.  French women favor Divine.  I asked whether they are currently developing any new fragrances and was given a vague non-answer about how it takes a very long time for a scent to be constructed.

L'inspiratrice is a great night-out fragrance

Another plus for Divine is that the prices are quite reasonable.  For instance, you can purchase 30ml of eau de parfum in a refillable spray can for 55 euros or 50ml for 79 euros. Even a 100ml splash bottle (eg, no spray) is just 95 euros.  I particularly love the 30ml concept.  It's not a size I've seen before, but seems like a good amount if I'm not planning on wearing the perfume regularly.  I almost bought L'infante on the spot but walked away in the end.  Fortunately for me, I live about 20 minutes away so I have easy access to this great niche line.   There are six other Divine boutiques, all in various cities around in France (Lyon, Toulouse, Caen, Nantes, St Malo, and Dinard).  Mouchel, the perfumer and creater of the line, often hangs around the St Malo store, I'm told, and loves to speak with people about perfume.  Will have to add St Malo to my to-visit list!

The Perfume Rookie is making progress. I'm feeling more comfortable with perfume jargon, and I'm finding that at most stores, simply explaining that I'm really interested in perfume is enough to open the conversational gates as the women working in these perfume boutiques seem quite passionate about fragrance themselves. 

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