Can Wilde match it’s namesake? Can Oscar Wilde’s vivacious personality and literary genius be captured in scent?
Bergamot, grape, fig, carnation, tea, oak moss, vetiver.
Jardins d’Ecrivains are one of the lines created by Anaïs Biguine, who also conceived the Gri Gri range. We have reviewed Tara Mantra by Gri Gri, and Gigi and Marlowe by Jardins D’Ecrivains. The company is French, having its headquarters in Paris and priding itself on producing fragrances that use ingredients from Grasse.
Jardins d’Ecrivains use literary personalities as the inspiration behind their scents, in this case Victorian literary genius Oscar Wilde is in the hot seat for perfume interpretation.
Wilde is a strange perfume and right from the start this is apparent. It opens with punchy, earthy and yet waxy bergamot, undercut with a grape accord. The grape accord reminded us of grape flavoured sweets. It does take over the scent a little, and it’s a really unusual scent to use such a lot of, but even so, we quite liked it.
The top notes together are not at all unpleasant, just a little unusual and difficult to get your brain around. The bergamot isn’t quite as bergamoty as you might expect and the grape accord smells a little synthetic at times, but pleasant enough. If we had to characterise the opening we would say that it was a sort of herbal fruitiness, quite sweet but with enough greenery in there to temper it somewhat and stop it becoming too sickly. It’s certainly an interesting start.
We read somewhere that Anaïs Biguine is a self-taught perfumer and if it’s true then it’s really apparent in Wilde, which seems to follow none of the regular rules of composition that have been established by the art form. This will either draw people to Wilde and enable them to fall in love with its idiosyncrasies, or they’ll be put off by it. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which side of the fence you fall on.
That aside, the sweetness of Wilde continues in the heart of the scent, which becomes – unsurprisingly – more powdery and floral as the carnation comes in. The carnation vibe did feel much more true to us than the grape notes did and it was backed up by a peculiar take on a figgy accord. The fig is sweet, green and slightly milky, but it doesn’t have the same olfactory texture as fig normally does in perfume, nor is it as big and bold as it can frequently be.
Wilde has a very pleasant, bath bubbles quality in its heart too. It smells like the bubbles made by a gentleman’s bath foam, soapy, clean, light. We rather liked that about it, but it’s not a scent that you would describe as having gravitas as a result.
The base of Wilde feels rather dry and prickly in the nose. The oak moss and vetiver are fairly standard bedfellows, and here they are considerably sweetened up by the fig and carnation that linger long into the composition. As it ages, the scent becomes more and more bath foamy and floaty in tone. We couldn’t find the tea note in the scent at all, which was a bit of a shame as tea notes can really make a scent.
Wilde feels like a scent that breaks a lot of rules whilst conforming to pretty standard ingredient choices, which is clever perfumery if you can pull it off. The trouble was that we didn’t feel as if it was totally achieved here, the soapy vibe although nice, gets a bit wearing after a while and the whole scent feels a bit muddled with the narrative that it starts to set out never fully materialising. Nevertheless, we can see this scent having a market with those who like to explore different interpretations of classic notes, and those who like to smell as if they have just had a luxurious bubble bath.
Does Wilde live up to Oscar’s genius and flamboyance? Probably not, but it’s still a scent worth checking out if you are looking for something a little unconventional.
The other stuff
We found that Wilde projected well from the body – to past handshake distance which makes it the sort of scent that you will definitely catch whiffs of all day when you wear it, but so will your colleagues and everyone you are on the bus with. The sillage of the scent is pleasant and clean though, so we doubt that they would object.
The longevity of the scent is moderate. It lasted to around lunchtime each time we tested it, but it vanished in the afternoons – sometimes this was early afternoon, and sometimes late. We think, on average, we got about 4-5 hours wear out of it though.
In terms of the gender of those who would wear the scent, we felt that this would sit more towards the masculine end of the spectrum. As always though, if you like it, wear it, whatever gender you identify with, if at all.
When we wear these scents, we always try and picture in our minds the stereotype that would be drawn to it, and with Wilde we felt as if it would be someone a bit foppish, a bit of a dandy, so perhaps it really is more successful than we might have initially given it credit for, at capturing Oscar Wilde’s particular charm.
Wilde is available from Bloom Perfumery, London, where it is priced at £85 for 100ml EdP. Bloom very kindly supplied us with a sample of this scent. At the time of writing, they carry the whole Jardins d’Ecrivains perfume range if you would like to explore further.
You can also buy the scent from the Jardins d’Ecrivains web boutique.