Oeillet Bengale is the upcoming fragrance from West Village niche perfume boutique Aedes de Venustas. It's their third, following 2013's Iris Nazarena and 2012's Aedes de Venustas Signature. If you've tried the first two, you probably already expected incense, and the name Bengale Oeillet, if you speak French (or even just perfume-French), probably led to you to expect carnation.
You'd be right on both counts. The press materials point out that the Bengale Oeillet is actually a rose (a variety of China rose, to be more specific), but that's not relevant to our concerns. The Aedes Bengale Oeillet is a carnation-incense fragrance, something I never particularly thought to wish for — I'm still waiting, patiently, for my perfect jasmine + incense — but that turns out to be welcome.
For Oeillet Bengale, Aedes turned to perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. They call the result a "fierce, fiery, feral flower", but I'd call it a purring kitten, in fact, it will make a great comfort scent, if you're among those of us who find spicy incense fragrances comforting.1 It starts off, though, with a bracing whoosh of bergamot, spices and citrus, already dusted with powder (for a minute or two, it reminded me of my beloved, nearly forgotten Crown Eau de Russe). The spices intensify as it dries down and the carnation joins in. It's more pepper-y than clove-y (clove-y carnations are a thing of the past)2, but clove is listed in the notes, along with black and white pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, saffron, and turmeric (other notes: vanilla, tolu, benzoin and labdanum).
A bright, clear incense is an equal player with the carnation — this is emphatically not a carnation soliflore, and it's well worth trying even if you're not typically a fan of carnation. The resinous notes in the base are softened by the powder, which sweetens slightly in the far dry down. Oeillet Bengale is full-bodied, but it's not quite as heavy (or dark) as Iris Nazarena. Still, to my nose it's possibly not a summer fragrance — I haven't been able to test the proposition, but I'm guessing it will work best from October through June, leaving the hottest summer months aside. The lasting power is quite good, as is the sillage.
Verdict: Love. It's my favorite from Aedes so far. This is as good a place as any to insert my disclaimer — Aedes is a long time advertiser at Now Smell This, and I'll just reprint the same footnote I used when I reviewed Iris Nazarena.3 When I reviewed that scent, I said that if it came in 15 or 30 ml, it would be on my buy list; since then, Aedes has introduced (nicely split-able) 10 ml travel spray trios, so this one is going on my buy list.
Aedes de Venustas Oeillet Bengale will be available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $245, or in a purse spray with three 10 ml refills, $195. The purse spray refills are $110.
1. And I'd entirely forgotten that Rodrigo Flores-Roux was responsible for Donna Karan Black Cashmere.
3. Just to clarify, we don't take direct advertising from perfume brands for precisely this reason — I'd rather not be in the position of reviewing products made by our advertisers. Since some retailers have started introducing their own branded perfumes, and since I also don't want to ignore great fragrances, which are after all few and far between, here we are. But I will readily admit that if I didn't think
Iris Nazarena Oeillet Bengale was wonderful, I probably wouldn't review it at all, so in that sense, I think you can say that this isn't a totally objective review, if such a thing indeed exists.