Crazylibellule and The Poppies Shanghaijava : Perfume Review

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Shanghaijava_1

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

There is nothing better than to encounter a fragrance line that combines interesting scents with a sense of humor. Crazylibellule & The Poppies is the fragrance line established by Isabelle Masson-Mandonnaud, the founder of Shop8 (which was renamed Sephora after being sold to LVMH). In collaboration with the perfumers of Givaudan, Masson-Mandonnaud has created a range of solid fragrances, priced democratically at $16 each and available in thematic sets. The Shanghaijava Collection includes 7 fragrances, which explore different ideas, from woods to flowers, and present rather fun and unexpected combinations. Encens Mystic takes one into the church during an evening mass. Ginger & Coconut teases with its mouthwatering coconut chutney scent. …

The exciting themes and the plentiful layering possibilities make this line very appealing. As with all solid perfumes, the fragrances stay close to the skin, rather than announcing their presence from afar. While the waxy texture is not unpleasant, I would advise rubbing them in thoroughly.

Encens Mystic is by far my favourite from the collection. In fact, its serene aura and rich composition is the main reason I have decided to acquire the rest of the Crazylibellule & The Poppies fragrances. Encens Mystic explores the same spicy incense wrapped into cedarwood as the peppery Armani Privé Bois d’Encens; however, the smoky vanilla serves to further round out the composition. It reminds me of sweet Orthodox incense, a fragrance that is at once dark and radiant, honeyed and dry.

Ginger & Coconut is a scent of coconut chutney. I almost envision a banana leaf folded to contain a fragrance paste of coconut crushed with spices and chilies. The coconut is milky and floral, providing a delicate hint, rather than the usual unctuous heft. The juicy tartness of lime accents the spicy bite of ginger. Embellished with cardamom and coriander, it almost makes my mouth water with its savory richness.

Musc & Patchouli explores a very appealing woody musky idea that is appealing on its own, but also serves as a great layering fragrance for many of the perfumes from the Shanghaijava collection as well as more traditional alcohol-based fragrances. A spray of a soliflore like Annick Goutal Le Jasmin or Jo Malone Orange Blossom over Musc & Patcholi makes for a very attracting pairing. The milky, seductive note of musk foils the woody sharpness of patchouli, which is actually rather subtle, lacking its characteristic winey earthiness.

Blue Orchid is a rich floral bouquet that reveals its jasmine heart upon the first inhale. A spicy note underpins the floral accord, while creamy woods frame the entire composition. It is rather elegant and voluptuous while it lasts. Unfortunately, I find that it vanishes rather quickly. To some extent, this can be rectified by layering the fragrance with Musc & Patchouli; however, this changes its character, allowing the musk notes to dominate.

Lilas Spiritual is a very pretty lilac tinged with vanilla. It starts out rather crisp, with a touch of lily of the valley lending a green freshness; however, it quickly assumes a sweet and spicy character. Not particularly complex, but quite lovely.

Certainly, it is rare in any collection that everything works perfectly. Litchi Blossom was one of the few fragrances from the collection that failed to impress me. It opens up on a harsh aromatic note that is closer to furniture polish than to the scent of a litchi fruit. Its presence obscures the delicate rose that lurks under the green pungency, while a minty note only further solidifies the functional product comparison.

Ananas Imperial is the scent of a fruit cocktail. If it were really a drink, it would come bedecked with maraschino cherries and pink umbrellas. By itself, Ananas Imperial is likely to appeal to those who love their fruity fragrances big and sweet. I do not fall into that category, therefore I experimented with layering. Musc & Patchouli + Ananas Imperial produced the most successful result. The citrusy sweetness of Ananas Imperial lent a vibrancy to the smooth richness of musk and woods, resulting in sweet, yet sophisticated fragrance.

The line has been discontinued.

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20 Comments

  • Elle: How fascinating that she was the original founder of what became Sephora. Encens Mystic sounds brilliant and, layering fanatic that I am, Musc and Patchouli also appears to be a must have. November 14, 2006 at 8:18am Reply

  • Marina: Everything sounds lovely, especially Encens Mystic. Thank you for adding another lemming to my ginormous list 🙂 November 14, 2006 at 8:44am Reply

  • luccia: Thanks for reviewing this, it’s great to see products like this coming out these days, the layering pre-built into the concept… November 14, 2006 at 10:33am Reply

  • Judith: Love the name and the price–and Encens Mystic sounds like a musttry! Thanks! November 14, 2006 at 10:43am Reply

  • Cait: These sound fun. Ginger and coconut – I read this right after reading Ina’s review of PG’s Cuir Venenum. It must be a coconut day. I’m getting hungry, after planning earlier to make a recipe inspired by Zubin Mehta for a coconut green chile paste encased crispy shrimp. November 14, 2006 at 11:31am Reply

  • Robin: V, I will have to try the Ginger & Coconut again — on first try, it didn’t strike me as that much different from the Ananas. Actually, now wondering if I tried the wrong thing? It didn’t smell like what you’re describing at all. November 14, 2006 at 11:36am Reply

  • March: The second rave for Encens… somebody else (Ina?) also loved it. I think these would be great for travel, too. And it’s nice to see something so reasonably priced! November 14, 2006 at 11:46am Reply

  • Ina: Encens Mystic is brilliant! Also love the Ginger one, reminds me of Indian food buffet. Yum! 🙂 November 14, 2006 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Elle, yes, I was surprised to find that out. The line is a lot of fun, but Encens Mystic is by far my favourite. November 14, 2006 at 1:56pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Marina, Encens Mystic has quickly become one of my favourite incense fragrances. It is warm, rich and resinous. November 14, 2006 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Luccia, I enjoyed experimenting with them. The fragrances are great on their own too. November 14, 2006 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Judith, Encens Mystic is a must-try for you! 🙂 November 14, 2006 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Cait, that shrimp recipe sounds delicious! Now, I am hungry again, and I just finished lunch. November 14, 2006 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: R, it is miles away from Ananas Imperial. Perhaps, you should try it again. November 14, 2006 at 2:23pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: March, Robin wrote a review of it a few weeks ago. It is a wonderful scent! November 14, 2006 at 2:24pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Ina, Ginger & Coconut makes me hungry the moment I smell it. I would say that the first three I reviewed are my favourites from the line. November 14, 2006 at 2:25pm Reply

  • Bela: I really like the sound of Encens Mystic. Will have to check it out next time I’m in France (when, oh, when?). Thanks for the lovely review. 🙂 November 14, 2006 at 9:31pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: J, thank you very much! I think that you might enjoy Encens Mystic. This line is so much fun that I keep reaching for these perfumes to experiment further with them. 🙂 November 16, 2006 at 1:56am Reply

  • sheila: PLEASE! Am looking all over for “musc & Patchouli”
    Purchased one yr. ago at Patchoullis in Rosemary Beach and they quit carring it…Can’t find it on internet….Can you help me? March 7, 2012 at 6:12pm Reply

    • Renee Schoenberg: It’s on ebay October 6, 2015 at 12:28am Reply

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