Sometimes a scent translates as visual to me. I see a landscape, or even a particular room or person. Sometimes, though, a fragrance feels like music. Its notes are high-pitched or deep and sonorous. To me, L’Inspiratrice by Divine smells like Debussy’s Clair de Lune heard from outside the concert hall on a warm evening. It is elegant, entrancing, and bohemian, but always civilized.
Perfumer Richard Ibanez created L’Inspiratrice, which was released in late 2006. The Divine website lists L’Inspiratrice’s notes as patchouli, rose, ylang ylang, bergamot, peony, white musk, vetiver, vanilla, and tonka bean. It also purrs with rounded aldehydes that give the scent a decidedly French feel.
L’Inspiratrice contains rose, but it isn’t big and fruity. Vanilla and tonka add a smell almost like honey, but strangely not all that sweet. L’Inspiratrice’s patchouli is soigné but definitely present, and it is the patchouli that sets L’Inspiratrice apart as the rebel sister of Divine and L’Ame Soeur. Sure, she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she’s seen the inside of an artist’s studio or two and she can live comfortably in a fifth-floor walk-up with the bathtub in the kitchen. Just don’t ask her to do her own laundry.
All of Divine’s feminine fragrances feel ladylike to me, and L’Inspiratrice is no exception. The Divine feminine fragrances reject the “jolie-laide” elements that leather, dirty musk, some spices, or indolic flowers can add and instead embrace beauty purely and simply. Like the other Divine scents for women I’ve smelled, L’Inspiratrice floats without a strong bottom end and leaves me sniffing my arm trying to get at a ground that isn’t there. But if L’Inspiratrice did complete itself with a base of something firm and deep it might not be as intriguing.
If I could have only one bottle of a Divine fragrance, I’d choose L’Homme Sage. But next on the list is L’Inspiratrice, and I cherish the decant I have. After all, who wants to listen to the Clash everyday? Sometimes an aria from La Bohème is perfect, especially when it drifts from the balcony next door as you push open the bedroom window catch the summer night’s breeze.
Divine L'Inspiratrice is an Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Divine under Perfume Houses.