Narcissus plants grow in a green fluttering field and bear their white blooms that dot the landscape. However, these seemingly benign paper-white flowers harbour such a heady and complex fragrance of green, intoxicating floral note with facets of hay and honey. Its narcotic tone does not exactly spell ‘freshness’, but leave it to perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena to interpret this heady flower as a lasting spring breeze.
Eau de Narcisse Bleu bursts with a snapshot of green galbanum. But before long, violet and orange blossom succeed. The floral clarity of the composition has the familiar ring of the ‘green tea’ accord in Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (Bulgari, 1992) that similarly pairs the violet note of ionones and the luminous jasmine note of Hedione. The violet blooms and orange blossoms are a great floral extension that combines light and sensual notes.
Then, the heady density of narcissus is built around powdery iris, soft woods, and musk. There are also sweet accents of hay and almond. The composition now shifts from cool spring blossoms to warmer elements. This has a similar tonal shift to that in Eau de Gentiane Blanche (Hermès, 2009), in which the cool green herbs segue into warm incense. It feels as if the subject matter of these compositions were alive, and that is why even the simplest theme by Ellena exudes a lively attraction.
It stays quiet, but lasts well for an eau de cologne. I can still smell it after a day. It keeps me entertained on the most humdrum and grey days.
All in all, Eau de Narcisse Bleu reminds me yet again why I admire his knack for interpretation. He brings out freshness in the most unexpected of materials like gentian and narcissus. The bitterness of gentian root is served as a palate cleanser in Eau de Gentiane Blanche, and now the green floral head notes of narcissus are the new blooms amidst the grey, rainy day. And his subtle oscillation keeps the theme alive. Another marvellous composition that creatively highlights an unexplored idea for freshness.