Few places on the planet have a closer relationship to the sun than the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, the Bride of the Red Sea, gateway to Mecca and Medina. To honor a great city that is both religious epicenter and vacation destination, cultural capital and center of commerce, Stéphane Humbert Lucas chose to focus the one element equally present and central to all endeavors, and contained within the brilliant gold-metallic bottle is a sun-drenched, rapturously bright citrus-floral that gradually evolves to reveal hidden depths of Russian leather, Madagascar vanilla, buttery iris, and earthy amber. Like the multi-faceted city of Jeddah itself, the reasons for going and the reasons for staying may be entirely different.
The initial brightness of Soleil de Jeddah is a thing of unapologetic beauty: tart, juicy lemon, pillow-soft Roman chamomile, and an exquisite osmanthus so mouthwateringly jammy that we’ve variously detected peach, apricot, lychee, and mango, albeit without any of the cloying sweetness that might accompany any of those notes in a lesser fragrance. In fact, for a fragrance this big and bright, it’s a minor miracle that Soleil de Jeddah never deviates into reductive sweetness or overdone sour, which we can only attribute to the exceptional quality of the ingredients, as well as a lightly powdery iris root heart that seamlessly bridges the gap into the earthier, surprisingly sensual base. Once the Russian leather emerges, rich and resinous with a very slight smokiness, what might have seemed like a strange and unfamiliar progression is now natural, intriguing, and deeply satisfying. Like the beautiful, hand-milled golden honeycombed cap, the Jeddah sun shines brightly enough to bring everything together, with undeniably beautiful results.