“Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Shadows painting our faces
Traces of romance in our heads”
– Maria Muldaur
Cardamon, mandarine, orange blossom, rose, date, sesame, cedar.
Tropical summer nights, languid, luxurious, decadent and hedonistic. That’s what the classy folks behind Les Liquides Imaginaires would have us believe that this fragrance smells like, and they’re half right. It does smell of those things to some extent. But it’s also playful, abundant and glorious. It says “sexy” with a wink and a smile on its face. It’s the sort of fragrance that would pinch the bum of a hot young workman and then run away. It doesn’t wear as seriously as the marketing bumf would have us believe, and that’s a really good thing as far as we are concerned!
The opening of Desert Suave by Liquides Imaginaires smells rather like Carmen Miranda’s fruity hat. Really. A rush of fruity florals tumble out of a spray. There’s what smells like pineapple, coconut, mango; all juicy and delicious but softened with a floral backdrop. This is quickly followed by a glorious sticky, sweet date note that you can almost feel adhering to your finger ends if you try and pick it up.
Desert Suave leads with a glorious abundance. It feels like platters full of fruit piled up on a groaning table and scattered with blossoms: joyful, playful and uplifting. Not quite what you might expect from the notes that are listed or the blurb published about this scent.
It is sexy and exciting and all those sideways glances and furtive brushes of flesh against flesh, but at least in the top of the scent it feels so much more carefree than that as well. A fruity, over-the-top, abundant riot of a scent, not at all restrained or chastened.
Once the scent has had time to relax, it becomes much more what you would anticipate from the listed notes, but retaining a distinct beauty. The clove creeps in, like a lengthening shadow against a sand dune, but it’s just at the right level so that it never becomes harsh. It’s so easy to overdo it with cloves, but this is warm and embracing rather than abrasive. The cardamon appears and adds to the building spicy roundness and the mandarine works with both beautifully. The mandarine is quite a watery citrus here so it isn’t ever really punchy.
Having clove and orange together brings a wonderful sense of nostalgic familiarity to the fragrance: if you really stop and think about it, it smells a little like Christmas. What could be a huge problem is sidestepped beautifully and the perfumers have managed to retain the sense of comfort without the festive vibes. It’s very cleverly handled and beautifully executed.
The fragrance really grows up in the base notes and here we get the oozing sensualness that was advertised. There’s a kind of salty skin tone and a sort of buttery thickness about Desert Suave which makes you think of words like unctuous and oleaginous, words that roll around the mouth in the same way that Desert Suave rolls off skin and into the nose; dense, oily, delicious. It’s probably a cliche to say it, but the base of Desert Suave does make you wish you were clad only in silk in a perfumed tent with the romantic protagonist of your choosing.
There’s also a floral brightness in the base of the fragrance, like a candle in the sexy desert darkness. At times this smelled like gorse, gently coconutty but still retaining a floral character.
One of the things that is most enjoyable about Desert Suave is the progression of the scent from this playful opening to a much more serious base, but without going through any jarring shifts in tone or personality on the way. It’s a lovely scent, really easy to wear and enjoy – probably the easiest to get along with of all the Liquides Imaginaires line that we have smelled, but no less lovely for that.
There’s something about Desert Suave that just makes you want to dance, and it’s not often that we can say that.
The other stuff
The longevity of Desert Suave is really good, we could still smell it at 6pm after a 7am application, which was really pleasing.
The sillage of the scent also appears to be very good, we felt that it projected to just beyond handshake distance. Desert Suave is one of those fragrances which smells quite different close up (spicier, sweeter) to how it smells in the sillage (more floral) or indeed on a blotter. This is definitely one we would recommend test driving before you buy.
Desert Suave comes down on the more feminine side of the spectrum but wear it, if you like it, regardless of what gender you identify with.
The presentation of Liquides Imaginaires scents is gorgeous, a glass bottle topped with a flared silver coloured cap. Definitely one for the presentation-obsessed of you out there.
Liquides Imaginaires is a French brand that has been around since 2012. They’re a classy and slightly esoteric brand who claim a new relationship to fragrance based on “the spiritual, mystical, symbolic and emotional virtues of the olfaction.” We think that they make really nice perfume which can be slightly more towards the thoughtful end of the spectrum, but is nevertheless wearable.
We’ve previously reviewed Tumultu by Liquides Imaginaires, and it is completely different to Desert Suave, being very woody and white light. We thought that if you liked Desert Suave, you may also like Meek Passion by M.INT.
Desert Suave is available from Jovoy Mayfair where it is priced at £160.
It is also coming soon to the Liquid Imaginaires web boutique where it’ll be €180 for 100ml.
Jovoy Mayfair gave us a sample of this scent with no strings attached. We thank them for their kindness.