Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gobin-Daude Nuit au Desert- A (Very) Lost Perfume

A long, long time ago (2002, actually) there was a talented French perfumer. Her name was Victoire Gobin-Daude. She launched a line of five natural perfumes made of the highest quality raw ingredients, inspired by her dreams and memories of living in faraway lands. The perfumes were sold in few but prestigious locations and had a small but loyal cult of followers. It wasn't enough, though. Lack of financial backing and spotty distribution caused her to stop producing by the end of 2005.

The remaining bottles were quickly sold out, a few made a brief and expensive appearance on eBay, decants were snatched at whatever price the sellers named and then there were no more...

This should give you an idea how I felt when a partial bottle of Gobin-Daude Nuit au Desert was offered at a semi-reasonable price on Basenotes. I never had a chance to smell it before, but I was not going to let the opportunity escape. A short correspondence, a quick monetary transaction and Nuit au Desert was mine.

Many of you reading this know the feeling. You've been through a similar experience of finding a rare fragrant treasure, be it a bottle of long gone masterpiece or a hard-to-find contemporary scent. You've torn the outer packaging, scattered the packing peanuts (to the joy of household pets) until you reached the box. Sometimes there's the careful ceremony of cutting the cord and breaking the seal, releasing an old glass stopper and then... dabbing or spraying of the precious.

(Yes, I know)

Since Gobin-Daude perfumes are actually spray bottle of an EDT, there was not much of this mystique going on, just the feeling of discovery and revelation. Another step in my olfactory education. What I found in my Nuit au Desert bottle was a beautiful scent, not as strange as some of the online reviews led me to believe, but different and outstanding enough. The first impression was of smoky wood , dry and earthy with a touch of exotic (not church-like) incense, a burning bush in the desert. It's as unique opening note as they come. It took me several wearing to discover that in order to smell and feel the full development of this scent, I had to spray quite all over myself. Then the heart reveals itself and it's surprisingly fruity, in the best sense of the word. There's something round sweet but not quite ripe that stays close to the skin. The fruit is a bit abstract, but mostly reminds me of a purple plum. It's smooth, dark and sensual but more pulpy than juicy.

The rest of the scent is creamy and woody. The insert in my box mentions cedar and agarwood, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out there's more than a touch of real sandalwood. It walks the line of ambery sweetness, but manages to remain dry. There's a soft, dreamy, enveloping feeling that makes Nuit au Desert into the work of art it is: A good perfume takes you places, geographic and emotional, which is exactly what Victoire Gobin-Daude has achieved with this fragrance.

Photo: Moon light night at central desert of Iran by Babak A. Tafreshi


  1. Gaia,you lucky girl scoring some of this fabulous juice! It sounds just dreamy, and right up my alley.

  2. I am so jealous. I have read that Sarah Jessica Parker is being inspired by L'Air du Desert Marocain in her next venture. Maybe she can track down some Nuit au Desert and make her version of that. I'd buy that by the truckload. I'd buy that even if it had Paris Hilton's name on it.

  3. Sob!

    What about these rumours that Victoire Gobin-Daudé is planning a comeback? Oh please, someone re-issue those perfumes! I need to get my hands on Sous Le Buis...

  4. Wow, Nuit au Desert sounds terrific. And the rumor of SJP taking inspiration from Andy Tauer?

    Suddenly, the world is full of hope.

  5. I am so sad that I missed out on all of these..

  6. D., yes, I couldn't believe my luck when I scored it. I've wanted some GD for years, and there was my chance.

  7. London, Nuit au Paris? Sounds familiar ;)

  8. Anon, I remember hearing the rumor some time ago, but I seriously doubt it in the current economic climate.

  9. Nathan, I should track down the SJP rumor and see what's up with that. Then again, she was supposedly inspired by Avignon when creating Lovely.

  10. Tom, I missed out on them, too. By the time I realized I should be interesed they were already gone.


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