The first few sniffs and testings of Diptyque's Eau Duelle (last year's release) left me shrugging. It was nice and soft but never grabbed my attention and barely lasted on my skin. Nothing to write home (or in my case, write a review) about. But the samples have been mocking me from their perching place in the pile and I had to do something. That something was using nearly 1 ml of the stuff in one seating. Then do it again a week later.
The verdict is still about the same from my very first testing. Diptyque created the sort of poor man's version of Le Labo Vanille 44. Eau Duelle is thinner and more sheer, but the result on my skin (I did a wrist to wrist comparison) is eerily similar, especially in the dry-down, when Eau Duelle's nose-tickling chemical opening goes away. That opening is what bothers me most. It's more present the heavier the application, so maybe I shouldn't have used so much of this perfume every time, but then again, Eau Duelle feels too pale otherwise, especially when sprayed. Dabbing (more like splashing) an unorthodox amount takes care of the lack of presence issue but leaves me with a faint smell of cooking gas for the first 20 minutes or so.
Despite the long and impressive note list (Cardamom, Asian cyprus, elemi, juniper, saffron, calamus, black tea, black African olibanum, amber, Firnat Vanilla, Bourbon Vanilla, white musk, via luckyscent) what I get from this Diptyque scent is a fuzzy incensy vanilla, not foody at all, not especially sweet and not too sexy, either. It's like a pale pink sweater, that only clings a little but has no sauciness until you actually put your hand on it and then feel just how soft and nice it is, how body heat radiates from underneath and realize there might be some some curves there.
The dry-down of Eau Duelle, if I use enough of it, is indeed a very nice skin scent. It has its appeal and had a bottle mysteriously arrive here I'd wear it. Or most likely use it as a linen spray, because the idea of getting into a bed smelling of it is quite tempting. However, as long as have and wear Musc Ravageur, Shalimar Ode a la Vanille and a few others, I can't really see the point.
Eau Duelle ($88, 50ml EDT) is available from Aedes, Luckyscent, Beauty Habit and Barneys.
Photo of Cybill Shepherd in a 1970 Russell Mills ad from myvintagevogue.com