Post by Willa Zheng
It’s summertime here in the Southern hemisphere, and the living is easy. School is out and we wile away endless sunny days by the water. Our skins glisten with sunscreen, various body oils, sweat, and the salty sea water. There’s an almost permanent lingering fragrance of jasmine, gardenia and frangipani in the air.
Nuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum vs Le Labo Lys 41
Battle of the summer beach florals
It was no wonder then, when I first tried on Nuxe’s famous huile predigieux, it had me at first whiff. But it was a body oil, and body oil fragrances generally don’t last. (Although Roger & Gallet have come up with some exceptional fragranced body oils of late…) Then, I was introduced to Le Labo’s Lys 41 (2013) earlier this year. I thought I was whiffing Nuxe, albeit in the guise of an expensive French perfume. Henceforth, I am dedicating this month’s smackdown to my two favourite scents of the summer.
Lys 41 by Daphne Bugey for Le Labo 2013
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Jasmine, tuberose, lily, woody notes, vanilla, musk
Lily fragrances come in two guises: either a spicy clove like Anais Anais, or a salty fleshy white floral. Lys 41 is definitely an interpretation in the latter category.
Created by Daphné Bugey from Firmenich, it is a salty lily dropped into a gardenia-jasmine-tuberose white floral combo. The combination of salt and luscious white florals reminds the wearer of sand, naked flesh and coconut oil. It has an incredible Proustian effect and without the saltiness, I think this would have been another generic white floral, albeit made with very high quality ingredients and skillfully constructed.
Happily, Lys41 is relatively linear and full bodied. Gardenia is more noticeable in the initial first half hour, then jasmine comes to the forefront. Four hours in, in a creamy vanillary bed, the jasmine softens and you can detect faint mentholated tuberose. The drydown is vanilla and woods. I found the silage to be moderate and the fragrance carried itself right until bedtime. Excellent longevity.
Prodigieux Le Parfum by Serge Majoullier for Nuxe 2012
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom, bergamot, mandarin orange, orange
Heart: Rose, magnolia, gardenia
Base: Vanilla, coconut milk, pebbles
Start with monoi coconut oil, mix in some generic unscented suncreen to tone down and thin out the floral notes a level, squirt some orange peel oil, go for a dip in a salt water chlorinated pool, and you’ve pretty much recreated your own Nuxe Prodigieux experience.
The citrus lends a sour quality to this fragrance, like a synthetic ripe-banana. It clashes with the other synthetic notes and can cause some people to complain that this smells rancid and cheap. But it’s also the smell of spf, mixed with whatever coconut scented oils you’ve added on top. My mind instantly wanders to languid summer days spent by the beach, catching salty sea breezes. So do give Prodigieux a chance. On me longevity is 6hrs+ but it gets thin after 1hr. Silage is moderate.
Lys41 is a white floral perfume, a very well made and concentrated fine fragrance. Nuxe Prodigieux may as well have been labelled a ‘monoi tanning oil scent’ body spray. But the notes in both are so evocative that you only need an occasional whiff of it before you start to salivate, your mind begins to wander and you long for endless summer days.
For the price, I will keep dousing myself in Nuxe.
What is your favourite scent of summer vacations?