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Spring turns softly into summer: Parfums DelRae Wit

Parfums DelRae Wit carries the summery scent of fresh lilies
Photo and special effects by Donna Hathaway

Parfums DelRae Wit Eau de Parfum


Parfums DelRae is a small American niche brand guided by the creative vision of one woman, DelRae Roth, and the house does not launch new products very often, so any new perfume is always eagerly awaited. The 2014 release of Wit is no exception. This fragrance was inspired by the aroma of Daphne blossoms in the spring, and since that is one of my own favorite flowers, I was very eager to try it.

Wit opens on a fresh, lemony note mixed with leafy green and it's impossible not to think of spring and fresh air, so it definitely succeeded there. Narcissus, angelica, lemon, mandarin and laurel leaf all sing of dewy mornings and new beginnings. What surprised me about it was that it does not really smell like Daphne to me, at least not like our beloved Daphne odora found in so many Northwestern gardens. It is more like the sweeter smell of Daphne cneorum, also known as rock or garland Daphne, which is a low-growing plant with small leaves that is less showy than the larger D. odora. It has a sweet spice and vanilla scent that is close kin to that offered up by many lilies, especially the dazzling Oriental varieties, and after the opening burst, Wit settles into a very lily-like mode that includes the dense, slightly scratchy pollen impression (courtesy of mimosa) found in such fragrances as Cartier Baiser Volé, Lalique Flora Bella and Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia. I kept waiting for the scent to morph into something greener but it landed in the “yellow floral” camp for me, rich and slightly waxy with a dusting of pollen, and much more of a summer floral than a harbinger of spring. I can't say that I am too disappointed, because lilies are my favorite flowers, so Wit just adds another welcome choice to the short list of available lily perfumes. Of course, others may have a very different impression of this perfume, so it is always best to try before you buy.

Wit lasts very well for a floral scent, thanks to a base of amber, vanilla and musk. It lacks the astringent greenness of the sadly discontinued Napa Valley Perfumes Cielo that combined sweet Daphne with grape leaf and fig, and I could wish for more of that character from it, but it's a beautiful fragrance in its own right and I will enjoy wearing it as the weather warms up. The fragrances of Parfums DelRae can be purchased at Luckyscent.