I thought I had already discovered every fragrance I was ever going to love — how very melodramatic (and wrong) of me. My Nordstrom Dior counter has a new manager, and we ended up talking about beauty, and the next thing you know…
Dior has a new fragrance out: Escales aux Marquises, the third in their Les Escales collection. Escales (according to Babelfish and Google Translator) means stopover, or port of call, and each fragrance is named after an exotic destination.
Portofino was the first, launched in 2008. It’s actually the only one of the three I didn’t care for. Portofino is a fishing village and tourist hot spot on the Italian Riviera, and the fragrance offers top notes of bergamot and citron, middle notes of almond and orange blossom, and base notes of cool cypress essence. It smelled powdery to me. I imagine a lot of women like it, but it didn’t strike a chord.
Pondichery was released in 2009. Named after a coastal city in southern India (formerly a French colony), the fragrance is unusual — sweet, spicy, with top notes of cardamom essence and jasmine sambac, middle notes of black tea extract (you can smell the tea), and base notes of sandalwood essence. I found it absolutely intriguing, and unlike anything I’ve smelled before.
Escale aux Marquises, named for the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia (852 miles northeast of Tahiti and 3000 miles west of Mexico), features notes of blood-orange essence, Tahitian tiare flower absolute, vanilla absolute, and pink peppercorn extract. The notes are printed on the back of the bottle, and when I read “tiare flower” (a member of the gardenia family), I was worried that the scent would be overwhelming with gardenia. Sprayed on a card, I actually smell the pink peppercorns first (which made me willing to try it on). On my skin, the tiare flower comes out more strongly, but it’s a new twist on gardenia, and I like it. Of the three, it’s my favorite.
Les Escales are available year-round, but I think they’re the fragrance complement to Dior’s Cruise Collection (to put you in a resort frame of mind). They’re available only as Eau de Toilette; $66 for a 2.5 oz. bottle, $87 for 4.25 oz.
So what are the fragrances I love? Ormonde Jayne Woman. Dior Addict. Hanae Mori Butterfly — though Butterfly and I need to take a break, thanks to a coworker who overdid it. I haven’t owned Serge Lutens A La Nuit or Bond Brooklyn, but I’d like to.