One Thousand Scents

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cheshire Copycat: Laurence Dumont Vanille Chocolat Shower Gel


When I said last week that sooner or later every fragrance line comes out with a version of Angel, I didn't know how right I was.

I often buy scents and tuck them away for later, often unsampled; I have the satisfaction of knowing that I have it in my possession, but I feel as if I don't really own it until I've opened and worn it, and I find that exciting--the constant temptation, the repeated denial, and then the giving in. So a few months ago, when I placed an order with Sephora, I had them throw in a tube of Laurence Dumont's Vanille Chocolat shower gel, and didn't even break the seal until yesterday. It seemed like it would be an autumnal sort of scent, warm and comforting.

However, Vanille Chocolat, or at least the shower-gel version, is essentially a duplicate of Angel. Not a note-by-note recreation, but a sketch, a simplified impression. The notes listed on Sephora are "vanilla, patchouli, chocolate, honey," and that should have been my first clue. As soon as I opened the tube and took a sniff, all I could think was, "What the hell?"

The top note is a synthetic fruity scent which is almost immediatelyburied under the familiar chocolate-vanilla-patchouli core (heavy on the patchouli). It's very sweet and very pleasant, and, well, it's Angel, stripped down.

The advertising copy on the tube promises that the "shower gel...will let your skin soft and deliciously perfumed all day long". Okay, they mixed up "let" and "leave", but they're French, we'll cut them some slack. What's practically false advertising is that "all day long" bit, because the gel doesn't leave even the slightest trace of scent on the skin. It vanishes! The fragrance is all washed down the drain, every bit of it--something I've never experienced with any soap in my entire life. How do they do it?

I was so expecting chocolate-vanilla on my skin, and so disappointed, that I had to anoint myself with Cocoon before heading out to face the day. Now there's a fragrance that knows how to do chocolate-vanilla-patchouli.

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