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I received a L'Occitane beauty set from my sister in laws' for Easter and within the package I found a 5ml Eau de Parfum freebie.
Breaking away from the traditionally tall, chunky and rather masculine bottles of the 'Notre Flore' or Blossom (Peach, Cherry, Plum) collections, L'Occitane's Pivoine is housed in a curved, apple shaped bottle that has a graded shade of cherry red. The white and cherry pink design of the inscription and the outer packaging is simple but eye-catching however in my eyes is not as characteristic and recognisable as L'Occitane's own but sort of blend in with the fruity floral packaging trends of designer houses and strongly remind me of Nina Ricci's Nina bottle creations.
Top notes: bergamot, lemon, green notes
The first impression I'm getting is a fresh and outdoorsy, lemony note with a floral overtone that in a seconds blossoms into a rosy tinged, moderately sweet, lemony accord. It's breezy and light with just enough sweetness for you to crave more. Pivoine's well-balanced, joyful and summery accord lasts for about ten minutes before it transforms into a more full-blown floral.
Heart notes: violet, peony, magnolia
What hits my nose gradually is an irresistible and heady cloud of magnolia that despite the light nature of the fragrance can be quite overpowering for some. The rose is also there but if not dominant, I cannot say it plays a backseat either. I quite like the duality of the heart and the fact that powdery - heady and sheer-fresh rosy aspects are not mutually exclusive but can exist together and delight the senses without becoming a clashing mess, quite far from that.
At times, the sheer rose scent seems to come forward and be more apparent, sometimes it's the white floral. After about a couple of hours as the ingredients fuse, the heady white floral is replaced by a softer, creamy rose finally reducing the intensity of the heart. The peony appears gradually less rosy and more ozonic and fresh. The green and breezy facet that re-appears in the final phase finishes the accord after about 4 - 5 hours.
Base notes: musk, cedarwood, vanilla
As the heart of Pivoine Flora burnt off, a greener and ever so slightly bitter cedar note appeared with the still noticeable, fresh peony clinging onto the edges. The fragrance still had a creamy and powdery edge that must have been the vanilla however it never became a linear or sickly sweet vanilla. What was dominant is a somehow.
The dominant note that lingered was a clean and boring white musk that instead of holding up the key ingredient, peony, it completely drowned it. Sadly, the fragrance didn't feel genuine to my nose any more
And the woody trail promised turned out to be a synthetised woody - musk accord with a hint of faded floral and vanillic tint.
The common and disappointing base common to hundreds of fresh floral fragrances I've smelled from Yves Rocher to Cacharel, Ghost and many others didn't last long and completely disappeared after about 6 - 7 hours in total.
Peony Flora starts out strong and promising however it loses steam halfway and from then on goes downhill fast. Careful not to shock maybe, it stays middle of the road, light, sheer and citrusy - rosy cologne that is nice, inoffensive if a bit banal. It's warm and fresh at the beginning and the way the fresh, sweet and heady floral ends up in a non-descript banality is quite disappointing.
With this offering, L'Occitane also seem to abandon their natural concept and jump on the fresh fruity floral bandwagon. There are cheaper and more readily available fragrances out there without paying for a brand that isn't innovative or holds true to its concept in this case.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
£40 / 50ml Eau de Parfum at L'Occitane outlets.
Thank you for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on ciao.co.uk
A true floral elixir of femininity catching all the intensity of a peony heart / There is a Mediterranean legend of a bEautiful nymph named Paeonia, who was so courted by the gods that a jealous goddess transformed her into a flower with a thousand petals