Zelda by En Voyage Perfumes

Zelda by En Voyage Perfumes

EnVoyage is a niche label created by perfumer Shelley Waddington. Her scents get a fair amount of attention from perfume blogs, but I probably wouldn’t have found her otherwise. Zelda is the newest EnVoyage release, inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald. 

YUM. Love it love it love it. This smells - and looks - like something you might find at an estate sale. However, Zelda is both dated and contemporary at the same time. It has a distinctive vintage aesthetic, which is to say that Zelda is meant to be noticed and appreciated. It also has many notes in common with perfumes created in the 1920s. On the other hand, Zelda wasn’t actually created in the 1920s. It’s not wedded to a particular era like, say, a classic Guerlain.

The opening is sharp and spicy. It’s a big cloud of green citrus that is unlike anything meant to be sprayed on a paper test strip in Sephora today. After that burns off, Zelda almost disappears for a few minutes. The heart notes begin as a mild nutty floral and gather strength over an our or so into a magnolia-honey-coconut-smoke dream. The sillage is perfect; the best of any perfume I’ve tested in the past two years (108 and counting). It’s light-but-present and smells even better than a close-up sniff of my wrist. This stage reminds me a tiny bit of Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess only more robust and less beachy. Despite the kind of tropical magnolia/coconut combination, Zelda doesn’t contain any minerals or aquatic notes. It’s an art deco garden rather than a beach.

I thought I would be disappointed to observe the middle stage wearing away, but no. The base notes feel vintage-inspired, but not oppressive or dusty. I get vanillic amber, sweet grassy tobacco (vetiver?) and some nutty woods. And more magnolia. I’ve read a couple of reviews that describe the magnolia in Zelda as “waxy” and even though that sounds kind of disgusting, it’s totally appropriate. This is not the dewy, sweaty magnolia of L’Instant de Guerlain. It’s velvety and dry while retaining all of the creaminess that makes magnolia so wonderful. 

This is basically a fall-over-dead gorgeous fragrance. The promotional blurb calls it “jazzy” and I completely, completely agree. Zelda is multifaceted and evocative. In addition to the fact that it smells fucking fantastic, Zelda also takes risks with some unique vintage ingredients. I really can’t say enough good things.

My one - I hesitate to call this a criticism - my one less-than-100%-positive comment is on the bottle size. Zelda is only available in 0.6 oz (for $75). The price point is fine and I’m glad that 0.6 is available because I could use more of these smaller bottles for scents I wear sporadically, but Zelda is not a scent I want to wear sporadically. I wish it came in 1 oz or even like a 1.7 or 3.4 so I could spritz with a little more abandon. I don’t believe in one perfume to rule them all (the “signature scent” school of fragrance thought), but if I had to pick just one, I wouldn’t hesitate before choosing Zelda.

You can (and should) order a sample from the EnVoyage website.