I have seen two fresh, modern scents compared on the blogosphere. Out of curiosity, I decided to conduct my own side by side comparison with one spritz on each hand: Carven le parfum on my left, Elie Saab Eau de Parfum on my right. Both were created by nose Francis Kurkdjian, whose creation 754 I adore, so he already has a leg up in my book.
At first spritz:
Carven - fresh, airy, light floral with lots of brightness; inoffensive but a tad bit boring
Elie Saab - light floral draped in honey, more sweetness than air; the sweetness gives it an edge. I am more drawn to this hand than my left.
Entering the heart:
Carven - one dimensional. The scent has not changed or evolved and now offers just a lighter version of the first spritz with soft, fresh flowers remaining, namely white hyacinth underscored by sweet pea. It might be a great choice for someone completely afraid of perfume. I am not her.
Elie Saab - Wow. Loving this sweet floral that leads with orange blossom. I would choose it for every day wear and a light social occasion. A few spritzes at the nape of my neck and on clothing would offend no one. It reminds me of my daughter's spirit: sweet, light, fun.
Lingering in the drydown:
Carven - my first impression remains but the flowers have been replaced by pure powder. Nice enough for someone (probably someone twenty years younger) but I am yawning. Perhaps if the patchouli were dirtier it would fit pour moi. However, if all twenty-somethings replaced their entire Bath and Body Works lotion collection with this ... hmmm ... the possibilities ...
Elie Saab: a slight hint of vetiver graces my nose while those gorgeous orange blossoms still sing. I have been searching for a multi-dimensional neroli-focused scent and Elie Saab qualifies. With this added dimension of depth, a thought just struck me as I inhale: a perfect wedding day scent. Still, I would quite happily add this to my winter/spring rotation.
Perhaps the parallel note of mandarin blossom prompted my fellow perfumistas to link these two scents, but based upon this experiment, I find Elie Saab the standout winner for those with more discerning noses. Both offer freshness and light, while Elie Saab provides more depth and dimension to that theme.
A special thank you to Kristie Short at Saks Fifth Avenue, Biltmore, Phoenix for equipping me with samples of these two scents. Sales assistants like her make fragrance shopping a wonderful experience!
Carven le parfum and Elie Saab Eau de Parfum can both be purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue. Carven retails for $84-$109 per bottle. Elie Saab EDP retails for $94-$124 per bottle.
Image of mandarin blossom from perfumemaster.org.