The Different Company is dear to my heart. Their first batch of releases in 2000-2001 included such masterpieces as Rose Poivrée and Osmanthus, both by Jean Claude Elléna. Osmanthus, in its small and seemingly unbreakable travel bottle, kept me company on many trips. I used to spray it in the air when taking possession of a hotel room to feel right at home. I was transported back a decade when I received a beautiful little box of generously-sized samples from them recapitulating their entire history. I know I am only a few days into this blog whose mission statement includes the grandmotherly advice “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing”. Yet, having just said something nice, I am now ready to break my vow and start kvetching: The Different Co. is less different than it was.
When the great JCE left for Hermès, his daughter Céline took over, and her fragrances were so-so. Of late, the company seems to have relied on large oil houses. Of their seven latest releases, five (Tokyo Bloom, White Zagora, South Bay, Kâshân Rose and a limited edition fragrance, Le 15 ) are banal and contain that dreadful, seemingly obligatory sour top-middle note first inflicted upon the world by Light Blue, supposedly related to citrus and supposedly fresh, which smells like dusty nylon lace curtains. All would fit in a mainstream line. Their most recent is Adjatay, launched at Esxence a few days ago. It is more interesting, a powerful, linear, monochrome, slightly functional leather tuberose that smells good on a strip but would probably be an uncomfortable neighbor at the dinner table.
Two fragrances stand out. Duchaufour’s I Miss Violet (2015) is a pretty violet-iris in a crowded field, and Christine Nagel’s Nuit Magnétique (2014) is a very good floral oriental in her habitual grand manner, uplifted by a celestial note of basil that lasts surprisingly long. There is some art direction slippage at TDC: the blurb for Adjatay says the fragrance belongs to a collection fatuously named Juste Chic, and describes it, among other purplitudes, as a dangerous ritual engulfed in narcotic waves. When, if ever, are French firms going to avail themselves of the talents of British copywriters (and graphic artists: the leaflet looks like it sells timeshares), the best in the world and only separated by 33.1 kilometers of Channel at its narrowest?