Some perfumes are playful, some nostalgic, others are frivolous and yet more again are flippant, but if it is classical, fragrant elegance you are looking for, when nothing else will do, then Plume Impression have to be a brand on your list to try.
Mirabelle plum, cinnamon, dried fruits, tobacco, patchouli, tonka bean, amber, vanilla, sandalwood.
Spritz Rivalite Imperiale by Plume Impression on your skin and the first thing you are going to immediately notice is the sheer sense of elegance this creation contains. The fragrance is bold but not shouty, the blending is exquisite, and there is the hum of a classical French sensibility and composition about it from the get go.
The initial notes to rise are a combination of dried, sweet fruits, sugary and crystalline, held alongside a woody and warm cinnamon. The dried fruits could be anything from raisin to fig, all melding together in a sticky and delectable melange. This is complemented by the more juicy and tart tones of mirabelle plum. Fleetingly, when combined with the cinnamon, it feels as if Rivalite Imperiale could be about to twist towards some sort of festive plum pudding, but that really unctuous and edible feeling doesn’t last very long. Instead of lingering in that direction, Rivalite Imperiale turns itself towards a less edible and more elegant tone.
There’s most definitely a sense of luxury with the scent, and a timeless quality to the way in which it initially comes together. It could be taking us to the warmth of a storehouse in a desert country or the pantry of a cottage in rural France, either way we find ourselves somewhere warm, well provisioned and welcoming in the start of the fragrance and it sets the tone perfectly for what is in store.
That sense of gentle, welcoming familiarity and the scent of home continues as the fragrance unfolds. There are light wisps of something akin to a bready or yeasty note at times coming through. This further enhances the plum pudding impression, or, alternatively, gives the idea that a loaf of bread might be baking away in the kitchen and wafts from the warm oven are reaching all corners of the house. This isn’t something which is listed, but it does give the whole fragrance a truly friendly vibe.
Some of the things mentioned thus far may make Rivalite Imperiale sound homely rather than elegant (and there is a place for both in a fragrance wardrobe anyway) however that isn’t really the take home message here. The friendliness is more of a warm introduction, a scene setting device to get the wearer tuned in to the delights that the scent holds with elegance underpinning it all. As the fragrance matures we see it’s real character coming to the fore, and that palpable sense of development leads us onwards throughout the composition. In a way, the evolution of Rivalite Imperiale is rather like the growth of a person, from a child-like welcome of instant, sugary gratification, the scent grows to become more refined and gentle. It conjures a curious and warm individual who is adept in manners and fluent in good conversation, curious rather than stuffy, high-quality without being elitist.
Rivalite Imperiale opens its arms and welcomes you into its sphere. The warmth of the tobacco and patchouli which come to the fore in the heart of the scent really accentuate that sense of welcome that it exudes. The facets of the scent are convivial and exquisitely blended. The tobacco is golden and sun-warmed. The patchouli is sweet, addictive and speckled with spicy highlights. Nothing here is out of whack at all, the balance is perfect and the blending sublime – so much so that it is difficult to see the joins in between different parts of the fragrance.
At times, Rivalite Imperiale shows facets which are nutty, sweet, perhaps a little boozy, dry or sticky and the sheer wealth of different tones and highlights in the fragrance swirl around throughout the duration of a wear. Rivalite Imperiale reminds me of some sort of grand ball. The initial phases are the sweet treats and bon bons served to guests alongside a glass of syrupy, fruity wine to fortify guests for the evening ahead. The heart notes are a cigar smoked on a patio still warm from the sunshine of the day and the final phase, the base, is a swaying dance between a shiny, ambery facet shot through with the sweetness of vanilla and tonka bean, but all carried on the rhythms and sway of a sinuous sandalwood.
There is much about the way that Rivalite Imperiale wears that feels like a dance – a delicacy and precision in the way that the ingredients are assembled and the way that they work alongside one another to choreograph something beautiful. To wear Rivalite Imperiale is to not only be welcomed and made to feel at home, but it is also to delight in a celebration punctuated by treats like cigars and sweet, sticky dried fruits. As such, Rivalite Imperiale feels like a fragrance which is well fitting for this time of year, as we enter party season. Why not wear a celebration on your skin as you attend the celebrations of families and friends? Rivalite Imperiale is a scent which can most certainly deliver that.
The other stuff
The longevity of Rivalite Imperiale is really solid, lasting around eight hours following an application, even longer at times. The scent hovers at a beautiful level all day whereby it is noticeable, but not obtrusive. It projects to handshake distance or so, but reduces to a quieter volume later on. The duration of a wear and length of projection are spot on if you want a present fragrance which is unlikely to offend others.
As mentioned, Rivalite Imperiale feels like a scent which will perfectly accompany you through party season, it provides a classy, elegant accompaniment to a party outfit, and will take you from day to evening (if needs be) with ease.
The perfumer for this fragrance was Dalia Izem.
Plume Impression are a French-based brand, the work of partners Sabine and Gabriel. The scents are infused with a classical French fragrance sensibility but they aren’t stuffy or old fashioned at all, instead being friendly and approachable as well as elegant, much like the founders of the business (who I had the pleasure of meeting at Esxence 2022). There’s nothing overdone about the brand, which is admirable, and they have considered their packaging well – their luxurious gift box can be turned into a trinket or keepsake box by simply lifting out the bottle insert and you can even change the picture on the box lid by inserting a postcard into the picture-frame space. It’s a really nice touch which enhances that idea that the brand wants you to be welcomed into their fragrant world – this is no austere and unfriendly large super brand which doesn’t care what you think about or how you wear their scents. Sabine and Gabriel want the wearer to feel sexy, be happy, and celebrate their fragrances as much as they do – and it is a delight to bask in the energy that they bring to their creations.
The Plume Impression fragrances are all vegan and cruelty free.
Rivalite Imperiale is available from the Plume Impression web boutique where it is priced at approx £207 GBP for 80ml EdP.
You can also buy the fragrance from Perfume Playground.
We were very kindly gifted a bottle of this fragrance after meeting Sabine and Gabriel at Esxence 2022. Our thanks to them for their generosity.
Header image by Peter Arvell from Pixabay. Images of the product by The Sniff.