Parfums DelRae Wit : Fragrance Review

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Patricia discovers a new love in Wit.

Daphne, a spring plant that smells like candied citrus rind and jasmine, is the inspiration for  Wit, the latest creation by Parfums DelRae. Parfums DelRae is a niche fragrance brand based in San Francisco and Paris and comprised of nine fragrances known for their creativity, complexity, and high quality. I own two others: Début, a fresh, green lily-of-the- valley, and Coup de Foudre, an effervescent rose.

wit

Wit by perfumer Yann Vasnier, is easily my favorite release of 2014. I haven’t felt as excited about a floral perfume since L’Artisan Parfumeur introduced Séville à l’Aube in 2012. Although different in composition, they share the same lush, falling-into-a-pile-of-petals feeling. I wore Séville à l’Aube for a month straight after it came out, and I can easily imagine doing the same with Wit.

When I press my nose to my wrist and deeply inhale, I think of spring, romance, and my favorite heroine Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, of whom Mr. Darcy unflatteringly commented early in their relationship, “Her a beauty? I’d as soon call her mother a wit.” He, of course, changes his mind. I picture Elizabeth during her long walks about the English countryside, reading her letters from Darcy and from her aunt in private away from the prying eyes of her mother and sisters. Delrae Roth, also a great walker, was inspired during one such walk by the fragrance of the lovely spring-blooming Daphne plant and determined to create a perfume around it.

Wit starts out delicately green and zesty and dries down to an enveloping sweetness of amber and vanilla.  Musk lends it a creamy, tender layer, but it doesn’t obscure the complex floral accord. The star of the show is the fragrant Daphne plant that smells of peach, citrus and sweet jasmine. From start to finish all we get is a cascade of spring blossoms, and it’s an exhilarating sensation. They smell of lemony jasmine and narcissus, with just a hint of spicy sweetness.

Although I see Wit as a classically feminine perfume, it might be an interesting choice for the right man. After all, who says that men can’t carry off flowers? Whoever selects it will discover that Wit is a great daytime perfume, especially perfect for the office or school environment, where low sillage fragrances are more appropriate. It’s unlikely to offend even the most perfume-phobic office mate, but it has plenty of character and has enough twists to keep you guessing what happens next.

Despite  its subtle sillage, I find Wit to be very long lasting. When applied early in the morning, I can still smell it on my wrists at bedtime; the soft, creamy, floral drydown is practically a guarantee of sweet dreams.

Parfums DelRae Wit Eau de Parfum includes notes of lemon, mandarin orange, angelica, bay leaf, jasmine, narcissus, mimosa, ylang-ylang, amber, vanilla, and musk. Available at Luckyscent. 50 ml/$150

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52 Comments

  • Heather H: Thank you Patricia for the lovely review. I can’t wait to try Wit. I have several Parfume Delrae bottles. I love them as much as my Chanels. June 9, 2014 at 10:02am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Heather. DelRae Roth does such a great job. I’ve only begun to explore her line and expect to collect a few more bottles along the way! June 9, 2014 at 2:40pm Reply

  • Jillie: Oh, no, Patricia! Another perfume that I now want to try ….. you’ve described it so beautifully I can almost smell it. I love the fragrance of daphne, so I am sure to love this. June 9, 2014 at 10:15am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Jillie, If you love the smell of daphne, you will almost certainly like Wit. I encourage you to try it, and please let us know what you think. June 9, 2014 at 11:24am Reply

  • Austenfan: Thank you so much for reviewing this latest Delrae. I really want to try it as I love the Delrae’s and love most of Vasniers work. You have made this sound like something I would probably fall in love with.
    Eliza Bennet is my favourite of the Austen heroines as well, and Jennifer Ehle the actress who did my favourite interpretation of her. June 9, 2014 at 1:18pm Reply

    • Patricia: Austenfan, I think you would like Wit very much, but perhaps it wouldn’t remind you as much of P&P as it did me. Perhaps it was only Darcy’s comment about wit…

      Elizabeth Garvie was my favorite Elizabeth, and Judy Parfitt made a fine Lady Catherine in the same series (1980). Their scenes together are not to be missed. But Colin Firth was practically born to play Darcy, and he gave a very convincing (and swoon-worthy) performance in the 1995 series. June 9, 2014 at 2:38pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I watched the 1980 P&P as well. I remember liking it but the 1995 version I adored.
        Had to look up who Judy Parfitt is, I can’t remember her in P&P at all, I do however have very vivid memories of her in The Jewel in the Crown, where she was the icy Mrs.Layton.

        I can see Eliza in Début as well. I’ve always linked her with “green” perfumes. June 9, 2014 at 2:43pm Reply

        • Patricia: I don’t know if you watch “Call the Midwife,” but Judy Parfitt plays Sr. Monica Joan, the poetic, sometimes mentally confused nun.

          I also associate green scents with Emma, perhaps because of the disastrous picnic outing near the end of the book where she is sharp and unkind to Miss Bates. June 9, 2014 at 2:55pm Reply

          • Austenfan: I have only seen bits of that. I mainly watched because I find Miranda quite funny.

            The Box Hill picnic, one of those great depictions of social awkwardness:
            “Pardon me, but you will be limited as to number – only three at once.”
            You’ve reminded me that I have to reread Emma! June 9, 2014 at 4:16pm Reply

            • Patricia: I reread all of them on a regular basis :). June 9, 2014 at 5:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: I really need to watch that P and P version! (Sorry, Pat, for hijacking your thread with this Austen talk; I’m a late-comer to her novels, but I’ve really fallen in love with them.) June 10, 2014 at 12:41pm Reply

      • Patricia: Never too much Austen talk for me :). June 10, 2014 at 6:26pm Reply

  • CheninBlanc: Agreed! I received a sample of this a few weeks ago and absolutely love it. June 9, 2014 at 2:41pm Reply

    • Patricia: :) June 9, 2014 at 2:56pm Reply

  • Evelyn: Perfect timing. I’m nearly at the bottom of my lovely bottle of Bois de Paradis. I feel a new purchase coming on. June 9, 2014 at 3:22pm Reply

    • Patricia: Please sample first, though! (See Theresa’s comment below.) June 9, 2014 at 5:54pm Reply

  • Theresa: Well, I beg to (politely) differ! I got a sample of Wit, being excited about its purported resemblance to Daphne. I have several daphne bushes in my yard – during their bloom season, the scent is swoon-worthy. I didn’t find the DelRae scent to be reminiscent at all of the bush. It is pleasant – somewhat soapy – but not Daphne! I will save my little sample for next February/March – and then we will have a side by side comparison! June 9, 2014 at 3:31pm Reply

    • Patricia: I can’t compare to the actual Daphne flower, but would be very interested in hearing the results of a side-by-side comparison! June 9, 2014 at 5:56pm Reply

  • Theresa: and speaking of swooning and P&P, what about Laurence Olivier? I know that the 1940s movie was totally changed in plot, but I like the tone they achieved. June 9, 2014 at 3:32pm Reply

    • Patricia: Sir Laurence was probably the greatest Darcy… June 9, 2014 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Mary E.: I live in San Francisco and felt DelRae Roths’s Wit would be the perfect springtime scent. I am happy to say i think it ranks as one of her best! June 9, 2014 at 3:49pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks for posting, Mary. I still have several perfumes from DelRae’s line to sample, but I can’t imagine liking anything much better! June 9, 2014 at 6:28pm Reply

  • Courant: There’s a very expensive English perfume with Daphne as it’s inspiration. I forget the name. If you liked P&P with JE and CF do seek out ‘Persuasion’ with the much younger then, Ciaran Hinds. Be still my beating heart. June 9, 2014 at 4:06pm Reply

    • Austenfan: Persuasion is my 2nd favourite Austen novel and I really like the TV film with Ciarán Hinds and Amanda Root, quite true to the novel. June 9, 2014 at 4:19pm Reply

      • Patricia: Emma is such a flawed heroine…one who with mostly the best intentions gets everything all wrong…that she (and the novel with her name) can’t help but be my second favorite. Anne Elliot is a bit too goody-goody for my tastes. My third favorite Austen novel is Sense and Sensibility, with the sisters Elinor and Marianne serving as character foils for each other.

        Any ideas of what perfumes these heroines would wear? June 9, 2014 at 6:22pm Reply

        • Austenfan: Funnily enough I like Anne Elliot while I really don’t like Fanny Price. The one woman in Mansfield Park I do like is Miss Crawford though.
          I would put Anne in Heure Exquise or Sacrebleu. Something slightly wistful and nostalgic.
          I don’t know what I would choose for Elinor but Marianne will have to wear a classic Guerlain, maybe Shalimar? June 9, 2014 at 6:32pm Reply

          • Ann: I recently reread Mansfield Park for the singular reason that I couldn’t remember it. Gosh I found Fanny Price insipid and sanctimonious. Blechk! Almost hard to believe she was created by the same genius who created Elizabeth Bennet. Fanny’s perfume? I imagine her sucking on a violet-scented breath pastille…

            Wit sounds lovely! June 9, 2014 at 7:35pm Reply

            • Patricia: Even Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey is more interesting than Fanny Price! (And I enjoyed the spoof of Mrs. Radcliffe’s Gothic horror novels of the time.) June 9, 2014 at 8:33pm Reply

            • annemariec: Ah, but don’t you think it’s a mark of Austen genius that she did? And she had a laugh to herself in doing so; she knew that people wouldn’t like Fanny. June 9, 2014 at 10:34pm Reply

              • Patricia: Yes, though I didn’t actually dislike Fanny, she just bored me. Fortunately Austen provides us with plenty of characters, both male and female, to dislike. Lucy Steele from Sense and Sensibility comes immediately to mind! June 10, 2014 at 9:38am Reply

              • Victoria: I don’t really know that much about Austen and how she related to her characters, but reading Mansfield Park, I felt that she was very much sympathetic to poor Fanny. And since I finished the novel in three days, I guess, you could say it engaged me enough. But I finished Emma in a day and a half, and even read it through the night. It really made me fall in love with Austen! June 10, 2014 at 12:37pm Reply

                • Austenfan: There are more pages written about Austen than she ever wrote herself. In one of the studies about her work it was suggested that as Mansfield Park was written shortly after her father’s death she wanted to create a less subversive heroine. Her later works are not as lighthearted as the initial three. She is a wonderful observer op people and her stories are timeless. June 10, 2014 at 1:49pm Reply

                • Patricia: Please find time to read Pride and Prejudice at some point. Eliza Bennet is one of the most spirited heroines of all time! June 10, 2014 at 5:44pm Reply

                  • annemariec: Yes! I named my daughter after her. June 11, 2014 at 7:04am Reply

          • Patricia: Shalimar is perfect for Marianne! Elinor might wear a lavender-scented cologne. June 9, 2014 at 8:23pm Reply

            • Patricia: …sprinkled onto a handkerchief. June 9, 2014 at 8:40pm Reply

        • Victoria: Emma is my favorite of all Austen’s novels. I enjoyed Mansfield Park too, but it was not nearly as engaging. June 9, 2014 at 7:31pm Reply

          • Patricia: Jane Austen creates such realistic characters that easily pass through the centuries! Her books show us that the more things change, the more they stay the same :). June 9, 2014 at 8:39pm Reply

  • Maren: I just have to sample this, and your great review. And I love the idea of a fragrance named Wit befitting Elizabeth Bennett. June 9, 2014 at 5:56pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Maren! Please sample Wit, as I don’t think you will be disappointed :). June 9, 2014 at 6:25pm Reply

  • hajusuuri: Wow! I would have given this 5 stars myself! I tried it yesterday and loved it so much I used it again today. I am usually not into florals but this one is truly FB-worthy for me. Wonderful review and my experience was exactly as you described! June 9, 2014 at 10:29pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, hajusuuri! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Like you, I generally don’t go for the all-florals, but this was a lovely exception. June 10, 2014 at 9:28am Reply

  • Solanace: Thank you for the lively review, Patricia! I’ll include this one on my next sample order. Even the name is great, and I am quite fond of the myth as well, which brings to my mind a painting at the ‘Imagens do Inconsciente’ exposition, which gathered incredible works produced by patients from psychiatric hospitals. Now the gardener in me needs to make acquaintance with the Daphne bush, though, as nothing beats smelling the actual flowers: they are beautiful, fragrant, fresh and soft, the whole deal. :) June 10, 2014 at 5:28am Reply

    • Patricia: I like the myth as well and originally incorporated it into my article, but that had been done elsewhere in other reviews on Wit, so I took a different direction :).

      The exposition of paintings by patients at psychiatric hospitals must have been amazing. Can you describe the one you were thinking of in conjunction with Wit? June 10, 2014 at 9:33am Reply

      • solanace: It was a woman turning into a plant, a straight representation of the myth even if the patient had probably never heard of it. Couldn’t find it on google to send you the link – I knew I should have bought that catalogue back then! :( But if you google ‘Imagens do inconsciente’, you will be able to see some of their amazing work. Nise da Silveira, the psychiatrist behind the project, really found a heck of an output for these guys to express themselves. :) June 10, 2014 at 5:32pm Reply

        • Patricia: Thank you, solanace! June 10, 2014 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Ariadne: I love the myth too!
    (Daph′ne). The goddess of the earth. Apollo courted her, but she fled from him, and was, at her own request, turned into a laurel tree.
    Trying to picture this scene accompanied by a scent. Hmmm… June 10, 2014 at 3:44pm Reply

    • Patricia: I don’t know if Wit exactly matches this scenario (no laurel), but it certainly is a very pretty fragrance! June 11, 2014 at 9:09am Reply

  • Tara C: I have heard so many good things about this perfume, and the candied citrus rind + jasmine combination sounds lovely. Must try it! June 10, 2014 at 7:02pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Tara C., I think it’s truly lovely, but please try it and let us know what you think :). June 11, 2014 at 9:10am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: One of the rare purchases I made “unsmelled” but just reading your review made be desirous of it. I have received it, wearing it and loving it. What I also love about DelRae perfumes is that they do not inundate us every single season with a new (or promise of a new) fragrance. July 9, 2014 at 1:26am Reply

  • Patricia: Hi Phyllis, I’m so glad that Wit worked out for you.

    I’ve been wearing it practically nonstop this summer! July 9, 2014 at 6:58pm Reply

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