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~ INTRODUCTION ~
Cyclades Eau de Toilette is the third addition to Lancôme's 'Travel Collection' series that started with the launch of Tropiques Eau de Toilette in 2005 followed by Benghal in 2006. I've had an eye on Cyclades for a few years now to complete my collection as I own both Tropiques and Benghal in 50ml bottles. A limited edition normally available at airports, it has finally become available at online fragrance discounters Fragrancedirect.co.uk and I got hold of a bottle for about £12.95 + postage at a third of the RRP.
~ THE PACKAGING ~
Named after Cyclades, a group of Greek islands in the Aegean sea, the pretty design of Cylades recalls the highly decorative, distinct bottle of Tropiques or Benghal. It is made of clear-cut glass, including the upside-down triangular-shaped lid that has a slight curve on top just like the bottom. These 'spontaneous' curves make the bottle inimitable, sophisticated but at the same time, playful. The bottle, just like the white outer box, is adorned by deep pink, green and grey floral and plant pattern that represents the Nerium Oleander plant and which has a hand-painted feel.
~ THE FRAGRANCE ~
Top notes: orange blossom, bergamot
Just after application, Cyclades comes forth with a medium-strength, screechy and detergent-like lemon smell, the one you get in men's colognes, not the mouthwatering, edible, juicy type of lemon. This may be due to the neroli creeping in, giving it a bitter, rough and woody edge. Unfortunately, the neroli, otherwise known as orange blossom, isn't the plush, mainly floral, round and powerful bite of a neroli you'll find in Hermes' colognes but a bitter, aquatic and one dimensional one.
I've almost given up and classified Cyclade's top notes as a fairly linear and without character when an intriguing salty note emerged giving an unusual, skin-tone to the fragrance. The mixture actually reminded me of the smell of Tequila, with the wedge of lemon and the salt on the side of the glass. This salty note is per-ceptible every time, so it wasn't contamination; I always apply perfumes on clean skin.
Heart notes: jasmine, oleander
About 10 minutes later, the fluffy, white floral notes develop together with a tinge of vanilla. This phase is soft, sweet, clean and synthetic, an idea of a white floral just like in the vast majority of modern perfumes. Cyclade's jasmine has been stripped of its 'jasmine-ness' and probably never seen a real floral absolute. I learned to recognise this commercially used jasmine scent by the absence of jasmine if you know what I mean.
So whilst there's no real jasmine here, we're luckily spared oleander in the same way: Nerium Oleander is one of the most highly toxic plants, so its fragrance will always be man-made. Altogether, Cyclades offered a pleasant, well-blended and modern white floral accord that was gently flowing around me aided with some warm puffs of sweet vanilla from the base notes for the next three hours or so.
Base notes: vanilla, musk
Cyclades develops into a soft, not too sweet perfumy vanilla and musk with a hint of salt. Finally I know where the salty note comes from, the musk. It's subtle, but perceptible and makes the overall composition less sweet and also adds a bit of a character.
The fragrance lasted for 4 - 5 hours at most and sat closely to the skin now having no projection at all which kind of makes it pointless to wear for such a short while.
~ CONCLUSION ~
Cyclades is a youthful, delicate, uplifting, soft and gentle fragrance for all ages preferably worn in spring. It's pretty, feminine and versatile so I wear it when I just want to slap on something for the town / work without too much thinking. It doesn't perform well in summer as it tends to evaporate quickly in the heat.
Apart from staying power, I do have another issue with it which stops me from enjoying it completely and this is its lack of character. I may have found a remedy though for both. I had the idea of layering Cyclades with 24, Faubourg, a sublime masterpiece from Hermes which I own a miniature of. 24, Faubourg has powerful, nectar-like notes of orange blossom and jasmine, real and compelling that makes it irresistible. By adding a few drops of this ageless, slightly bitter floral perfection on top of a layer of Cyclades I just sprayed on and this formerly skeletal - boring structure suddenly came alive fleshed out. Now I could enjoy the neroli in its full glory and the vanillic based notes also lasted longer than usual, for about 7 hours.
Tropiques is a great, tropical fruity punch, Benghal is a less punchy number but is so beautifully made that you forgive it, Cyclades is just another classic example of how - even when its concept is beautiful and promising - most modern fragrances are dumbed down and made deliberately bland and weak. Just what are people responsible for perfume briefs actually afraid of? That people will not buy perfumes that were actually good, used real materials and also told a story? Probably so.
~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~
Sadly, fragrancedirect's great offer has expired now, Cyclades can be bought discounted on Ebay for about £15 / 50ml Eau de Toilette
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on dooyoo.co.uk