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Duel – Seasonal surprise – December 2, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Wikimedia Commons - Steaming yerbe maté in a gourd - 2005

I was rummaging around a box of samples, decants and minis looking for stocking stuffers when a mini of Duel fell out of the box and onto the floor. As I picked it up to put it back the box, I paused to look at it. Little minis are so adorable – small little replicas of full-sized perfume bottles – I imagine they are the result of leaving two big bottles alone together for too long. But I didn’t recognize this one at all. Duel? Really? As I looked at it in my hand I wondered, where it came from (my whimsical explanation of perfume bottle mating aside). It looked like it hadn’t been opened. In fact, I’d never smelled Duel. Then it came back to me. It was a gift with purchase at the Annick Goutal store in St. Sulpice at Christmas one year.

As I muttered “Tis the season” I opened the mini and put the juice to my wrist. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was gonna have to get the Big Daddy bottle of Duel. Yep, as part of Goutal’s ‘Les Masculins’ line, Duel is for men, which is probably why the mini ended up rattling around the bottom of the sample box in the first place.

Duel was launched in 2003 and according to the Goutal website It all started on Isabelle and Camille's love for the amazing green maté accord and their wish to create a fragrance around it.

Yerba maté is the South American herb that’s related to holly and is used to make a caffeine-rich infused drink that is similar to tea. It is traditionally served in a hollowed out gourd and sipped through a flanged straw. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am not a big fan of tea to begin with, but served in a hollowed out gourd? With a flanged straw? Sounds like a lot of effort for a strong pungent ‘tea’ that people say is an ‘acquired taste’ (which is usually code for  you-won’t-like-it-at-first-but-if-you-drink-enough-of-it-you-will). Hey, I’m not slagging tea or tea drinkers. I’m just saying that tea is not my cup of tea and that I’m happier to have it in fragrance form.

Duel opens with a gentle citrus note of petitgrain joined by green, slightly camphorous mate. As it blooms, the maté gets earthier but a smudge of absinth sweetens and lightens it. At the heart, iris root, velvety and cool and appears alongside woody, slightly floral Gaiac wood. All of it resting on a base of soft, supple sensuous leather and animalic musk.

Given the weight of some of its ingredients, Duel’s drydown is surprisingly light, smooth and gentle which makes it perfectly unisex in my opinion. It is a perfect warm weather scent, but it has enough huskiness and heft that it can be worn in cooler weather too.

Hmmm, come to think of it, Yerba maté, being holly’s cousin, kinda makes Duel the perfect holiday gift. Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but just you try squeezing eight maids a milking into a Christmas stocking!

Today, we’re adding Duel to our Decant Store. Decants are $4.00.