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Caravelle Épicée - Whiffing me a Merry Christmas! (November 19th, 2010 New Fragrance Listing)

Three years ago I ordered decants from Luckyscent, and among them was a sample of the new launch by Frapin, called Caravelle Épicée. The story of the historic French cognac house, Frapin, which was now making perfumes, was intriguing to my mind, and I love spicy Oriental scents, so I was really looking forward to receiving the sample.

I wasn’t disappointed. I loved it so much that I used up that 1 ml decant before you could say Caravelle Épicée, so I immediately re-ordered it, then tracked it down on visits to New York and Paris, but  for some reason or another, never bought a bottle (I had bigger niche fish to catch).  The Frapin line is now carried in Toronto at Noor in Yorkville, so after testing ALL the fragrances in the range, I bought the one I think is the best of the bunch. Yup, you guessed it – Caravelle Épicée.

Caravelle Épicée was created in 2007 by Jeanne-Marie Faugier, and the notes are coriander, nutmeg, hot pepper, pepper, thyme, Gaiac wood, patchouli, amber, tobacco, sandalwood. In French, Caravelle Épicée means Spice Boat. If you google a perfume name, the blogs pop up (it's true - bloggers read other bloggers posts), so I’ve read the Caravelle Épicée pieces, and  the focus is pretty much the same – explaining the name, the spice Route voyages,  with the scent compared to the smell of spices stored in the holds of the wooden ships, blah, blah, blah. The conclusions concur that the scent  is a spicy, woody, harmonious, rich blend which  works  well for both sexes, but I don't think it's an engaging story.

My take is on this scent is quite different. From my first sniff three years ago, right up to this moment, Caravelle Épicée contains the memories of all the happy Chistmases from my childhood, of my own family celebrations through the years, and the ones yet to come. From the end of November the house filled with the scents of the holiday season – dried fruit marinating in brandy for the fruitcakes, gingerbread and shortbread baking, the kids making pomanders from oranges stuck with cloves (keep the kids busy while Mum cooks), decorating with pine and cedar boughs, and finally the tree, and the days and nights of family celebration.  The recipe for these memories is all in this perfume's notes, which come out of the bottle in exactly the right order.

Caravelle Épicée is a party in full swing, conversation buzzing, glasses in hand, food on a plate - ginger-spice cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, spiced beef – I get all that in the top blast of coriander, nutmeg, pepper, thyme - aromatic and spicy, herbal with a slight sour  twist. I also detect clove and cinnamon but they aren’t listed – memory at work here! 

The aromatic spices are layered over peppery rose, patchouli, and amber, with sweet and earthy notes which add a boozy effect – someone’s broken out the scotch and rum! The dry-down moves into soft sandalwood, with a hint of tobacco – the party’s winding down. I think I’ll curl up on the sofa by the twinkling Christmas tree, and just enjoy the wonderfully warm, nutty, spicy comfort of Caravelle Épicée. It’s snowing outside, and I’m not going anywhere.............

I’m at a point in my perfume journey where I want a fragrance to have meaning – smelling beautiful or being  weird isn’t enough – it has to connect with me on an emotional level.  Caravelle Épicée has always done that. This rich, refined fragrance doesn’t take me on a voyage to foreign markets in an old wooden ship. It takes me to the warmth and happiness of my own home at a very special time of year, and for me, that's the best place to be.

Caravelle Épicée - whiffing me a Merry Chrismas!

Caravelle Épicée is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Photo: Wikipedia - Christmas cards