Diptyque Eau Duelle : Fragrance Review


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

A classical streak common to the latest Diptyque launches, Vetyverio and Eau Duelle, contrasts with the linear and streamlined character of most other fragrances offered by this house. Certainly, Vetyverio and Eau Duelle are not particularly complex, yet their structures offer some nice contrasts and interesting transitions. Eau Duelle is the most layered of the two, offering a bright spicy citrusy note set against a smoky, vanilla enriched amber backdrop.

Developed by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin, Eau Duelle is a woody oriental composition. The smoky, balsamic note reminiscent of lapsang souchong tea is evident even amidst the peppery bergamot top note. Once the initial spicy shimmer softens, the smokiness deepens considerably. The main element that prevents the fragrance from taking a dry leathery direction is vanilla. The composition is richly foiled in its creamy, opaque sweetness. The sweetness and smokiness are kept in a nice balance, with neither one dominating the composition.

The most surprising discovery about Eau Duelle for me was its Guerlain reference. It reminded me of Shalimar, but most strongly of L’Instant, where a classical juxtaposition of bergamot and vanilla is ensconced in a lush musk and crisp modern amber base. Nevertheless, Eau Duelle has a number of its own particular features—the clever use of spices and the smoky facet—that place the fragrance into the general woody oriental family, rather than into a copycat category. I do wish for the incense note to be more pronounced; however, overall, I find Eau Duelle to be very enjoyable. I imagine that it would be a great fragrance in the winter—warm and seductive, yet subtle enough for daytime.

Eau Duelle includes notes bergamot, cardamom, pink pepper, elemi, juniper, saffron, calamus, frankincense, cypriol, black tea, vanilla, musk and amber. It is available from Aedes, Beautyhabit, First in Fragrance, Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus.



  • k-amber: Dear Victoria,

    I am happy to enjoy your reviews again 🙂 I didn’t expect what this new Diptyque offers; “This would be a great in the winter.” A must Try!
    Much happiness to you!

    Kaori October 21, 2010 at 9:27pm Reply

  • flittersniffer: I tried these two on skin at Space NK last week and was blown away by Eau Duelle – haven’t stopped thinking about it since, in fact. It reminded me of a sanitised, more accessible version of L’Ombre Fauve, though there was still a slight hint of darkness. Vanilla is a favourite note of mine and this may be my favourite representation of it in a perfume, though retrials are called for! October 22, 2010 at 6:42am Reply

  • minette: glad you’re talking about this one. i got to sample it the other day, and i really liked it. couldn’t quite pinpoint why, but it made me feel good. it doesn’t register as a “vanilla” scent for me, though, and that’s a good thing. i’d very much like to try it again. it’s the best diptyque i’ve smelled (among the newer ones). October 22, 2010 at 7:45pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaori, I was just burning the incense you’ve sent me! It is so beautiful, and I always take out my treasured package when the weather starts to cool down. October 25, 2010 at 9:30am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: flittersniffer, I really enjoyed its comforting character, with just enough drama to make it memorable. It was such a surprising and pleasant discovery! October 25, 2010 at 9:31am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Minette, I have to say that apart from Tam Dao, I have never liked any Diptyque fragrances enough to own them. Vetyverio and Eau Duelle, however, seem very different to me–more complex, more interesting. October 25, 2010 at 9:32am Reply

  • k-amber: Victoria,
    I believe you moved to new place. PM me your new address. I will send something new again 🙂
    Kaori October 26, 2010 at 4:31am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaori, I will! I need your address too! 🙂 October 26, 2010 at 8:25pm Reply

  • Daisy: This is the SOTD! Maybe it’s because my mother is in town, but it reminds me of the green grass jelly covered in syrup that you can buy on the street in Chinatown . . .

    In any case, it’s misty and cold in NYC and hope that the weather is more pleasant in Brussels! October 10, 2012 at 1:31pm Reply

  • Cecilia: Is really a comforting scent and I like very much the duality between warm, spicy vanilla and cold tea and incense.
    I tried both the EDP, in which the contrast between vanilla and incense is more pronunced, and the EDT.
    The EDT stole my heart. It opens with vanilla, tea and pepper, spicy and feisty, then deepens with musk, a glorious amber and just a hint of incense.
    Maybe is a sacrilege, but is the best vanilla based oreintal I’ve ever tried. Is almost a cross between SL Bois Vanille and AG Ambre Fetiche.
    If you like the genre, I recommend it very much. March 3, 2017 at 5:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Such a great description of the differences. Thank you very much. March 6, 2017 at 10:08am Reply

  • Alba Lee: Hi this one feels like iris and vanilla as my reaction to it was quite similar to the one toward Van Cleef Arpels Bois d’iris. Or, I Coloniali’s Mirra mirra, vanilla and myrrh. August 13, 2019 at 1:52pm Reply

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