Recently I ordered a bottle of perfume from Beautyhabit.com, an online store that bills itself as a “modern luxe apothecary” and lives up to that description (I could browse their website all day long). Having ordered from them in the past, I knew that I would get some complimentary samples with my package, but because I happened to order when they had a holiday promotion going on, I used one of their coupon codes and received an even more generous package of samples. When it arrived, wow! There was oodles of stuff, including a pretty tote bag, but the best part was discovering an item that I would never have ordered on my own, much as I love fragrance (I’m a perfume junkie and have written about fragrance for years at my other site, Suzanne’s Perfume Journal).
Cinq Mondes eau égyptienne is a fine mist of fragrance intended as a body, hair and pillow spray, and while there are actually several sprays in the Cinq Mondes line, this version – eau égyptienne – was composed by one of my favorite perfumers: Olivia Giacobetti. I had no idea it was her creation, the first, second and third time I tried it on; I just knew that it smelled captivatingly ethereal, which is Giacobetti’s style. Eau égyptienne is based on the recipe for Kyphi, the most sacred of the ancient Egyptian incenses. The experience of smelling Kyphi, according to the Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch, is akin to listening to beautiful music, and he attributed it with having the power to “rock a person to sleep, brighten dreams, and chase away the troubles of the day.”
If Kyphi smells anything like eau égyptienne, which is to say, like allspice berries hovering on a cloud of delicate balsams, then I can understand why Plutarch likened it to hearing music, though I don’t have a sense of how to describe it that way, so will use a few culinary terms to describe it. This mist is very fine and effervescent: it is the olfactory equivalent of an apéritif , which is to say that it is meant to be only a light stimulant – an invitation to the senses, to awaken them (or to calm them) – and not a full course of scent. Whether used on pillows or on one’s person, it’s more fleeting than a perfume, but I’ve found that spraying it on well-moisturized wrists can make it last two to three hours. These aren’t the actual fragrance notes (I’ll list them below) but these are the notes I smell in eau égyptienne: allspice (a spice that smells like cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon combined, while also smelling gentler than any of those three) paired with whispery amounts of myrrh, with its rootbeer smell, evergreen needles, and a vanilla scent that issues forth from certain woods, such as pine bark. Giacobetti takes all of the sharpness away from these smells and somehow makes them meringue-like, such that they spark off each other in the subtlest of ways, creating a warmth that is sprightly rather than heavy.
Which makes it perfect for a pillow spray … making those pillows seem plumper when you go to bed, and then returning them to “normal” by morning, when this scent is long gone.
Cinq Mondes eau égyptienne fine mist features lotus flower and 10 key essential oils from the Kyphi recipe: Rose, Mint and Geranium for the toning effect on the body; Cypress, Juniper, Myrrh and Jasmine for their purifying action; Cumin and Incense for relaxing properties; and Mastic for lymphatic stimulation (per the fragrance site Fragrantica.com). It can be purchased at BeautyHabit.com, where a 150-ml bottle is currently priced at $86. (I have no affiliation with the store whatsoever, other than being a fan.)