Creating the most beautiful and precious jewelry and watches, French Maison Van Cleef & Arpels was founded by Charles Arpels and his brother-in-law Alfred Van Cleef in 1896. The pair opened their first boutique at the prestigious Place Vendôme in 1906. They gained notoriety for their use of precious stones and their expertise and innovation in stone-setting techniques.
Parisian jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels is a pioneer in its field, with a subtle mix of knowledge and experience. Maison Van Cleef & Arpels is built on strong and specific values of elegance, femininity, creativity, excellence and style. The Maison’s fragrances mirror the philosophy of the jewellery collections, bringing together an array of rare ingredients in compelling scents, which are presented in perfectly crafted flacons that possess their own Van Cleef & Arpels magic.
Beautiful Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry has adorned the bodies of royalty, prominent political figures, socialites and numerous actresses and entertainers. The Maison’s first foray into fragrances came with ‘First’ for Women, in 1978, a classic timeless floral aldehyde scent. ‘First’ has remained a popular choice and inspired a number of flankers over the years. Other notable releases include men’s classics, ‘Pour Homme’ (1978), ‘Tsar’ (1989), and the ‘Collection Extraordinaire’, a luxury line whose first fragrance was introduced in 2009.
Next month, Van Cleef & Arpels will launch Oud Blanc, a new addition to the Maison′s Collection Extraordinaire. The Maison revisits the legendary Oud Wood with Oud Blanc. Oud Blanc, offering an extraordinary reinterpretation of that legendary wood that we mistakenly thought no longer had secrets.
To approach the Oud in a different way, I was inspired by what happens when it is burned during ceremonies. It releases a blazing, enveloping smoke, laden with mystery and opulence. I tried to recreate the scent of this smoke,which is both warm, soft and translucent.
Anne Flipo, master perfumer
Oud Blanc is not a reworked version of the Oud: it’s a rediscovery. Enclosed within a white flacon, this woody oriental offers a surprising and crystal clear view of that tempered wood. Those men and women who flinch violently at the keyword ‘Oud’ may still be able to relax with the latest Collection Extraordinaire offshoot.
Although this Eau de Parfum noticeably contains eaglewood, according to master perfumer Anne Flipo this is more like burnt oud, which is supposed to be quite intense, but here it is warm and soft and has been steamed down to a translucent level. The result was an oud note that is present but absolutely soft.
There are also some gourmand notes, such as date and vanilla, whereby the latter, together with frankincense (perhaps rather benzoin), makes it look as if some light chocolate has been used. Vanilla gives the composition its sweet and creamy trait, while incense causes a whirlwind of emotions in spreading its structured and smoky facets. It also goes very well with white, light musk.
The date in turn gives the whole composition a fine, delicately fruity-sweet underline, whereas the rose appears more as if breathed in. Oud Blanc remains, as could not be expected otherwise, quite linear. And it’s no surprise that the date runs out first and oud with white musk remains most consistent.
Well – this is all done quite well, even if the wheel is not reinvented here. What we have here is an extremely pleasant autumn scent that brings together the components of soft oud with unobtrusive gourmand notes in an exemplary manner. For hardcore oud aficionados rather uninteresting – for beginners a welcome opportunity.
If a color could symbolize this research, there is no doubt that it would be white: a bright and timeless white whose purity is enhanced by a perfectly balanced, elegant and refined flacon.
Van Cleef & Arpels Oud Blanc N°1584400 is available as 75ml Eau de Parfum at selected stores worldwide. Come into the beautiful world of Van Cleef & Arpels.