Evoking travel – The Three Escales a Dior.

by Katie on June 27, 2010

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The sweltering hot humid sultriness of London in uncharacteristic hot weather always makes me long for faraway places where the heat is more congruent and the lifestyle supports the need to slow down, wear loose flowing clothing and relax. There’s an implicit longing for the sea and in my case at least, glamorous ports or stop off points where the destination in itself is worthy of the time and travel. This is travel with solid luggage, cocktails in the early evening and dressing for dinner rather than the ‘throwing on shorts and flip flops’ of the package tour.

To make the metropolitan city’s humid heat more bearable, this weekend I liberally sprayed myself with fragrances from Dior’s sophisticated and quite brilliant Escales collection. Not the most well know of Dior’s fragrances, dear reader, they are worth their weight in golden sunshine as they transport the wearer to another dimension in imagination where hillside towns overlook sparkling turquoise waters with yachts in the harbour. They evoke swaggers through cobbled streets in Portofino, swimming in secluded bays with lush landscape backdrops and the freedom that one feels when transported to another culture and lifestyle. These are fragrances for the woman who likes freshness but not the samey ozone freshness of many power house fragrance brands…there a feminine gentleness to these that reeks of class and taste.

Dior’s fragrances, Les Escales, embody the art of travel, like a modern version of The Grand Tour, all white linen, wide brim hats and a languid yet seeking attitude and appreciation of the region’s culture – elegance for an olfactory escapade. They each have a cologne spirit so they are easily spritzable but have added some of the world’s finest ingredients. Parfumer-Creator, Francois Demachy, has selected raw materials from each destination making each of the three Escale fragrances distinctively fresh yet evoking the characteristics of each region; Portofino, Pondichery and Marquises. Let me take you on a journey filled with the notes and feelings associates with each to give you a glimpse into the fragrance and the lifestyles they embody.

The newest addition to the Escale collection is Escale aux Marquises, slightly pinkish through the dappled glass and promising an escape to the notes and beauty of the Marquise Islands. Discovered in the 16th Century and annexed by France in the 19th Century, the islands are surrounded by infinite stretches of water while luxuriant vegetation overflows with exotic fruits and flowers. Artist, Paul Gaughin was drawn here and created his inimitable style that promised exotic beauty with French appreciation. Like Gaughin’s works, Escale aux Marquises is filled with the faraway promise and beauty of island life.

There’s a similarity to Escale a Portofino in its glamorous evocation but Escale aux Marquises is sweeter, probably due to the Tahitian Tiare flower, the symbol of welcome and femininity. Spicy pink peppercorn, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg tumble through the fragrance and meet a fresh breeze of orange, lemon zest and benzoin. But the tiare flower is the overriding feature of the fragrance, as special to the Polynesian islands as jasmine is to India. The softness of the native vanilla Tahitensis is added, referred to as ‘black gold’ in perfumery. The scent by and far evokes the sensuality and brightness of Gaughin’s Polynesian art combined with jewel like jade green seas and lush tropics with an injection of swish South of France sophistication so far away from Europe. Like Gaughin’s subjects, Marquises is softer, rounder, exotic and floral.

Escale a Portofino has to be my favourite Escale as it reeks of the Italian glamour, of Portofino and Santa Margherita, lemony fresh with bergamot and orange blossom. Refined, elegant and uplifting, just as sun dappled streets and the white washed stone of the Mediterranean with the azure blue sea as the anchor. Escale à Portofino includes notes of Calabrian bergamot, Italian citron, Sicilian petitgrain, bitter almond, orange blossom, juniper berry, cold spices, cypress, cedar, white musk, caraway and galbanum.

In short, with just one spritz it is amass with the smells and tastes of the Mediterranean….you can practically see the yachts moored, bobbing in the distance. Memories of strolling through the wall of hazy heat of Taormina, Sicily while in the English Garden, with Mount Etna in the distance is immediately brought back to mind along with the amazing views of the harbour from my hillside hotel room.
This is a fragrance for women with oodles of taste.

Escale a Pondichery is a nod to Raj style India and a brave step for Dior. Setting a fresh cologne in India, known for it’s deep exotic nature, could have proved a step too far but, as with every great voyage of discovery, led to newly discovered delights. When spritzed, the fragrance is like an injection of fresh black tea with a deeply floral after-taste. The smell and taste of another culture.

Four major Indian ingredients make up Escale a Pondichery and they’re mingled into the composition with delicacy like a fine tea on bone china – Cardamom Essence in the top; Jasmine Sambac Absolute in the heart; Sandalwood Essence in the bottom; and Black Tea Extract as the common thread running through the scent. This Indian experience is of the traveller abiding palaces converted into hotels rather than the gritty feral nature of Indian streets whether they are next to the sea or not.

The Escales collection of fragrances are a welcome respite in an over populated ‘fresh’ fragrance market. They conjure up travel to those thirsty for other climes and sensations with a sophisticated take from this renowned French fragrance house.

For very best effect, wear one of the Escales when travelling to another climate. The freshness, scent and change in pace of the culture will forever be yours after.

Escale aux Marquises launched exclusively at Harrods on 23rd May and goes nationwide on the 5th July. Prices are as follows: 75ml Eau de Toilette Spray £49.50; 125ml Eau de Toilette Spray £70.00; 200ml Eau de Toilette Spray £97.00

What’s your favourite fragrance for hoidays or hot weather? Please fill in a comment or add a conversation to the ‘shout mix’ box opposite. It’s easy to do!
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

RedlegsinSoho June 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

‘travel with solid luggage, cocktails in the early evening and dressing for dinner rather than the ‘throwing on shorts and flip flops’ of the package tour’ I hear you! travel has become so denuded of glamour.
The ‘fumes sound lovely, sadly I am so terrified of wasps I never wear scent in the sun.

Wishing I were in Portafino… x


meredith June 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm

i love the estee lauder bronze goddess fragrance – very summery


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