Eau du Jour Eau de Parfum by Veronique Gabai Review

Collage of Eau du Jour by Veronique Gabai and its notes, including lemon, bergamot, ambergris, salt, sage, wood, and sugar.

When I was first getting into sampling fragrances, I’d always invite my friends to sniff what I’d call the scent of the day. A particular dear friend started calling it the “scent du jour” — in horrible butchered Franglais, the scent of the day — pouncing with great enthusiasm to smell that day’s new sample.

Imagine my amusement a few weeks ago, when that same dear friend of mine received this as their first Scentbird subscription purchase. Eau du Jour, French for Scent — well, water, but the implication here is some concentration of fragrance product — of the Day. The literal scent of the day had fallen into our laps.

Two green bergamot citrus fruits, one of which is cut open.

Eau du Jour? The name makes a bold claim for universal wearability, but also feels pedestrian — I can’t help but feel Veronique Gabai is selling this short by marketing it merely as the scent of the day. Although Eau du Jour is nothing groundbreaking, and does indeed fit into its ascribed niche as a mundane, benign, flexible daytime scent, it does have its own unique corners and charms, which are sold short by the dull, nondescript and uninspired marketing of the brand.

But then, how else might Veronique Gabai market it? Indeed, there’s nothing original to the note pyramid here: Eau du Jour Eau de Parfum is clean soapy citruses and a splash of crisp herbal sage, ending in a long tail of warm and faintly salty ambroxan. It’s a rather uninspired and pedestrian mix, but well-executed, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not every good thing has to be earth-shatteringly original.

If you’re looking for a general, likable scent to serve as a backdrop for casual day-to-day life and you like soapy citrus, sage, and salt, Eau du Jour is a solid pick. I don’t see this fragrance winning any artistic awards, but that isn’t the point. It’s a simple concoction mixed up for the average Scentbird subscriber — since that seems to be one of the only places this is sold — who doesn’t know much about scent but is looking for something pleasant and light. And it delivers.

A ribbed glass jar filled with sugar cubes, with more sugar cubes stacked neatly beside it.

Right off the bat, Eau du Jour opens with a bright, loud, refreshing citrus accord. For the first instant, it’s a lemon-with-sugar accord that makes me think of Halloween, and the way my mother would sprinkle white sugar on a thin slice of lemon as a special treat for me when I was little.

The gourmand lemon-sugar effect lasts only a few seconds; a moment later, it turns into a bar of gentle-lather bergamot soap. This is fancy-soap-from-Marshall’s citrus. Like in Diptyque’s Oyedo, the clean bergamot soap accord here reminds me of a particular box of bergamot soap I had as a child. The box was sturdy, made of pale yellow paperboard with an orange pull-ribbon to slide it open and shut. I kept my little plastic beads in there, and, later, the little toy snakes I assembled from those beads.

Half of an unwrapped clementine, the smallest kind of mandarin orange.

There’s a golden glow to the soap that’s a little too bright, sweet, and sparkly to be bergamot. It’s a glittery sprinkling of mandarin orange! Though ephemeral and faint, it adds a warm orange glow, a juicy sweet sparkle to the edge of the opening that keeps the bergamot soap accord from quickly becoming staid and dull. There’s a fizziness to it, almost like a mandarin orange soda, that, although faint, brings a smile to my face.

Though there’s no neroli here, there is a certain neroli-like denseness to the texture of the citrus in the first few minutes. Though not syrupy or cloying, the mandarin-tinged golden glow of bergamot is thick, slowly dissolving into a gentle swirl of white soap flakes like golden drops of maple syrup being absorbed by snow to make maple taffy.

There’s that definite sugar-sweetness in the first few minutes that fades away quickly enough, but brings to mind the rich headiness of white citrus flowers. And then there’s a certain almost-indolic edge to the first few minutes, most likely the work of the farnesol molecule, which emphasizes sweet floral assets in perfumes and is prominently present in neroli essential oil. Thus, though there’s no true neroli note here, the citrus overture of the first few minutes is oddly flower-shaped, rich and dense and just a little bit white-floral around the edges.

A vintage floral and gilded white teacup full of brown tea with a matching saucer and gold spoon.

Unlike in Oyedo, here the bergamot note blooms beyond its initial soapiness. In a few more minutes, a touch more personality comes out, a touch more of that acrid green sourness making up the distinctive bergamot rind note in a metal tin of loose-leaf Earl Gray tea. It never escapes the soapiness entirely — not by a long shot — but there’s more to this bergamot note than pure, innocent, squeaky-clean soap from TJ Maxx.

It’s surprising and refreshing to see several dimensions to such a simple note in a fragrance that sells itself as a simple and pedestrian thing. This is the theme of Eau du Jour: a simple enough collection of notes, but each with unique and surprising nuances that are far more than I had expected of such a nondescript scent of the day.

A bent soft branch of common sage with fuzzy leaves.

In the background, a hint of clary sage develops. It doesn’t feel at all musty or very gray the way sage often can. It doesn’t feel dense like tobacco or herbal-heady like lavender. There’s no head-spinning smogginess to it, no overwhelming stuffiness of a crystal shop.

Instead, the clary sage here is fresh and crisp, a barely-there splash of aromatic freshness. It’s closer to green than to a dried-spice nuance, but it isn’t ever truly green in the fresh-snapping-twigs way: somehow, this sage note perfectly represents an herb that isn’t at all dried, but also isn’t a freshly broken sprig covered in dew. It’s a sprig of sage growing in the garden, just a touch of herbal freshness. After an hour it’s all but gone, receding into the background for the rest of the development of the fragrance.

At this stage, Eau du Jour feels quite bright, but in a refreshingly naturalistic way, not at all in a headache-y way. The first act is loud, but not in an obnoxious perfume-y way. It’s spacious in a natural-adjacent way, like essential oils, but not entirely like pure essential oils mixed in a carrier; there’s a refinement here that confirms this is, in face, perfume.

Nonetheless, this feels like a fragrance that’s mostly assembled of pure essential oils, and looking at the ingredients list I can see why: though not actual essential oils, the molecules listed are simple, fairly common plant essences. I can read the ingredients list and understand what most of them are: alcohol, water, fragrance, limonene, linalool, diethyl phthalate, citral, hydroxycitronellal, citronellol, geraniol, farnesol.

Half of a bright yellow lemon.

Sure, ‘fragrance’ can hide any number of secret ingredients, but the rest is clear enough!

For the perfume world, that’s quite a short ingredient list. And you can tell. Eau du Jour feels simple, but not in a flat, two-dimensional way: the aroma molecules here feel fresh and alive, the rough essence of the herbs and citruses that inspired the scent.

The listed note pyramid includes lemon, bergamot, mandarin, clary sage, and mate. All of these are quite distinct and easy to pick up, except the mate: I don’t get anything that feels like yerba mate here, except perhaps in a general aromatic nuance in the background and in the brief tea-like phase of the bergamot note. The rest, however, is spot on: citruses and sage.

There is one prominent note that is entirely glaringly missing from the Veronique Gabai notes list (and it isn’t the neroli nuance). But we’ll get to that later.

A pile of four square white bars of soap.

Fifteen to thirty minutes in, the soap in Eau du Jour gets flakier and powderier, more like vintage laundry soap shavings than a new bar of fancy hand soap purchased at Home Goods. The effect at this point is almost a little blue on the very edge, spacious and tinged with soap and clary sage. Eau du Jour continues to be expansive and refreshing in its raw plant-like qualities, balancing out the almost-powderiness of the soap.

An hour in, it seems to be fading in a linear manner, still soapy, less citrusy than before. A fresh citrus-sage soap in the background somewhere, at the most naturalistic edge of blue without the brunt of the calones, much quieter than the opening act.

Ninety minutes in, a curious thing happens: Eau du Jour becomes defined by a light and airy saltiness. A sea breeze, not overbearing or bloody, not even metallic except just the faintest glimmer around the edges. It reminds me of a single percent of the salt accord in Mugler’s Womanity.

A blue-toned monochromatic whale.

You might be able to guess what that creeping warm-sea-breeze accord is: it’s ambroxan, here to make its obligatory modern musky-skin-scent entrance. Thankfully it isn’t too heavy here, not too musky or too salty. It isn’t framed in a particularly woody way here, either, instead leaning into the fresh saline nuances of ambroxan. This is a light saline scent on the skin, pulling upwards on the composition, keeping it from fading away into nothing.

I should have expected the ambroxan. It’s the trendy finish to every gender-neutral fresh skin scent these days. That musky skin-like je ne sais quoi seems all but essential in every new release this year. At least it’s balanced here, not too heavy but rather made light and pleasant, tempered with a continuous freshness.

A large glass jar with a spigot filled with cool, chilled cucumber water.

That freshness isn’t directly calone-derived, but it feels like there might just be a faint hint of cucumber or similar buried deep in there. Only at the very top of the scent is there a relic of herbal sage, twisty like a decorative motif printed in a beautiful book. Deep underneath, just a hint, just a faintest glimmer of that lemon-forward citrus helps fill out the body of the first instant of freshness. The tiny amount of these sage and lemon notes that remain later in the scent are stretched out by a faint cucumber calone.

The salty metallic accord gradually gets louder throughout the middle of Eau du Jour, but never gets overwhelmingly heavy, bloody, or dense. It stays fresh like a light sea breeze — or, rather, a perfume-y fabrication of one. It’s definitely paired with a light blue calone note, lifting and carrying the salt along, but it’s faint and subtle. It doesn’t clobber you over the head; it stays light and balanced.

A blue cloud, as from an atmosphere aerosol of colored fog in a can.

This is one of the things that impresses me most about Eau du Jour: blue calone freshness and laundry soap powder freshness are both present but subtle, balanced, and never overpowering. I am not a calone person, but I don’t mind it here.

Part of that, of course, is how faint Eau du Jour is generally. The opening is loud, but beyond the first one to two hours, this is a skin scent, no two ways about it. It keeps developing in fascinating and unexpected ways, but it’s soft-spoken compared to its masculine citrus freshie peers.

I say masculine only due to established cultural associations with not-too-sweet citrus-herb smells. Really, there’s nothing here that feels overwhelmingly traditionally masculine. It’s a relatively neutral scent, not trying too hard to lean into gym-locker-room blue freshness nor clean-laundry-powder brightness. Both of those are present here in moderate and balanced quantities. It’s an impressive feat of balance and restraint, keeping the focus on the raw freshness of the notes in Eau du Jour rather than dragging them into a particular gendered aesthetic direction.

By five hours, Eau du Jour is barely hanging on as a faint fading ambroxan skin scent. It’s all but entirely gone in eight. The very last thing to leave is a curious hint of almost-bitter almost-woodiness on the skin.

A stack of four carved matte wooden cups.
Get it? They’re teak-cups.

I’m not quite sure what this is — perhaps a nuance of the very tail of this particular ambroxan accord, or some ghost of the aromatic notes of openings past. Nothing else in Eau du Jour feels explicitly woody, but there’s a faint floating bitterness here that reminds me a little of teak and other such dark, biting, at times almost-walnutty woods.

All in all it’s quite faint, a whisper of bitterness at the very tail end of the ambroxan accord, one last fascinating surprise from Eau du Jour.

The marketing materials accompanying Eau du Jour describe it as “open” and “an ode to joy and sunshine.” These descriptions are apt. This is a blooming, open sort of scent, with a brightness that feels natural and refreshing. It’s fresh and sparkling, joyous like ripening new citrus fruit and soft silvery leaves of sage.

Additionally, the marketing implies that the scent is made for layering, saying Eau du Jour will “enhance the luminosity of any fragrance you choose.” Paradoxically, Eau du Jour feels both simple and utterly unsuitable for layering to me. At the very least, I’d have to think carefully about what to layer this with. It’s a peculiar naturalistic blend of citrus, sage, and ambroxan, open and bright, and yet it feels like it would make for a difficult backdrop, caught in a perpetual power struggle with the other fragrance.

A light green slice of cucumber.

Veronique Gabai seem to want to eat their cake and have it too, hopping on the gentle, open, no-perfume-perfume, barely-there ambroxan trend, selling this as a daily staple perfect for any activity and for pairing with other fragrances, and yet there are very loud and bright distinctive notes here that fundamentally make this not a simple skin musk layering scent.

Indeed, the soapy-citrus-sage accords are quite bright and distinct. The springy, juicy freshness of these notes is what makes Eau du Jour unique. I don’t think the combination is for me, but it’s inoffensive and generally pleasant, warm and sunny and a little bit herbal.

I am reminded of other traditionally-masculine fragrances that have centered the citrus-and-aromatics thing before, like Guerlain’s L’Homme Ideal Eau de Toilette and Paul Sebastian’s Onyx Eau de Cologne. Eau du Jour is much farther removed from the minty toothpastiness of the aromatic notes in those compositions; here, the sage is more subdued, crisp but not in-your-face green.

The mixture of citrus soap and sage feels a bit odd to me, perhaps unfinished. Eau du Jour is not plain and simple enough to make a daily layering skin scent, but is too simple to stand on its own as a compelling and original composition. Particularly in the middle few hours of the scent, there’s a kind of looming emptiness between the fading citrus and aromatic notes and the slowly creeping salty ambroxan accord.

It’s caught in a kind of uncanny valley of perfumery, neither a chic ambroxan skin scent nor a distinct perfume of its own. Caught in the middle, Eau du Jour is a scent of the day that you certainly could wear every day — it’s pleasant enough — but feels like a bit of an odd flat choice for a standalone signature.

An ornately-shaped crystal glass full of water with mint, watermelon, ice, and limes.

Altogether, this is a perfectly decent, if simple, citrus-based fresh summer scent. Lasting eight hours, the strength and performance of Eau du Jour are on the weaker side generally, but perfectly respectable for a scent that’s all citrus and no structure.

Citrus is an inherently ephemeral thing, and this is no exception; if anything, I’m impressed by how long the bergamot-soap-scent hangs around in the background. Though advertised as a layering scent, I can’t imagine that bright, prominent citrus-sage accord melding with anything harmoniously without interference.

The character of the perfume is refreshingly natural and bright. It really is a simple warm-weather scent that brings a smile to your face. It’s nothing unique, and I don’t think it accomplishes its goal of being a chic, understated layering scent. But if you like citrus-aromatic summer scents, this is a pleasant and delightfully crisp, if unoriginal, option.

Rectangular gold and glass bottle with rounded corners of Eau du Jour Booster Eau de Parfum by Veronique Gabai.

Where to Find Eau du Jour Eau de Parfum by Veronique Gabai

You can find samples, decants, and full bottles of Eau du Jour EdP at Scent Split.

It’s also available on Scentbird, a monthly decant subscription service.

Note that some places simply call this Eau du Jour and others call it Eau du Jour Booster. To my knowledge, there is no difference.

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