For me, L’Artisan Parfemeur *was* niche, before niche exploded. When I first discovered it more than a decade ago, the idea of the brand seemed decadent and wild, and I devoured everything about it. I started collecting as much as I can – Dzing! will always have a place in my wardrobe – and maybe I don’t pay as much attention to it now as I should I still have tons of their stuff (some in their old original bottles) but I find I never reach for them. Last year, when they had their annual sale, they were almost giving away Bucoliques de Provence. I grabbed it, without really knowing anything about it. I assumed it was a floral, based on the label on the bottle.
So when I finally got it and opened it, I spritzed. My first reaction? It was very old school L’Artisan. It is nice and soft, and very unique. It envelopes you. I read later that it is a tribute to Provence, so obviously this would have lavender. But it is not the barber shop lavender we know – this is quite sharp. It is enhanced by a dry paper-y iris, and the combination is exquisite. There is some suede to round it up, giving this light floral heft – this one does not go away quickly.
My verdict – I like it a lot. I wonder how it projects, though. I feel it’s a skin scent, so intimate and personal, but i bet it lingers. It’s also probably discontinued, so I should savor it.
One of the great things about reopening my collection from storage is that I feel like I am getting perfume. These bottles have been out of my sight for at least a year, so I know I haven;t worn them for the same amount of time. Most times, I forget that I do own some of them.
Take Fleur de Liane, for example. I unpacked it and wore it today, and was taken by it. I don’t know if I have written about this already (likely) and I know it wasn’t the most popular scent (it has since been discontinued) but wearing it now I find enamored by it. I think Los Angeles doesn’t really get well with orientals, and I know I am not alone in feeling this. I was talking to someone who is a big patchouli fan and she said that patchouli never quite smells the same in Los Angeles.
But now, this melon note here is very appealing. I think the sun makes it bloom, and the slight nip in the air preserves its ozonic bitter green accord. The scent feels very complicated now – in one whiff it’s very green, and then aquatic in the next instant. I never thought of this as a very layered perfume, but look at how a different climate can bring out the best in it.
I have gotten some of my perfumes from storage and I am slowly – very slowly – unpacking them. (I don’t have a permanent place for them yet so I can’t really open them all) I marvel at the way my sister packed them, all in bubble wrap so safe and preserved. I do this game of randomly opening one, as if a surprise, and more often than not, I am delighted. One of my recent delights is finding that I have a 30 ml bottle of L’artisan’s Mon Numero Uno. I remember getting this from a L’Artisan sale at Nordstrom, and I remember thinking at the time – isn’t this rare? Well, it kind of is. This is one of then ten fragrances that Bertrand Duchafour crafted for the house and they sold exclusively (and at a prohibitive price) around 2008 – exclusively at Barneys, if I recall correctly. I never sniffed them because i thought to myself I would never be able to afford them anyway ( a bottle was $20,000 I think) This is a fairly small bottle of it, and I am guessing this was part of a gift set or an exclusive pressing. In any event, I am glad to own such a (I hope) rarity. As for the fragrance itself, this is a nice solid leather scent. It’s a spicy leather, not soft buttered like a handbag or tanny like a wallet. It is accompanied by spices – I get cardamom for sure. And it is pretty linear, and very warm. The mornings have been a tad cooler recently and this made my morning walk very pleasant. It is an enveloping scent, hugging you like a soft cashmere sweater. Truth be told, there really is nothing very special and unique about it, but you can tell it is expensive and is made from good materials. And while I wouldn’t say it is a perfect ten in those terms, its exclusivity and pedigree make it one.
I am still wrestling with my samples – though I have now rescued a couple of bottles from packing boxes – when i chanced upon a great sample of L’Artisan’s ‘Nuit de Tubereuse.’ I remember when I first got this – it’s a 10ml small bottle given to me by one of L’artisan’s old reps, and it was when the perfume first came out, and I am guessing it’s from the Summer of 2010. Here we are almost eight years later, and I am first wondering if the sample is still good. Well, not only is it as juicy as then, but I even suspect this formulation does not exist anymore. I bet you what you will get today is watered-down.
This is a glorious spicy tuberose. At first I get a dose of clove with this, and some cardamom, and something tropical (I am reading it’s mango) along with the bouquet of tuberose. It’s a little off-putting, and initial blast can be scary. But it settles down to a deep and dark scent – its base of benzoin and beeswax (kind of a staple for Bertrand Duchaufour, who signed this scent) feels contemplative, even melancholy. This settles quite nicely on me, and for sure a conversation piece. I know a lot probably won’t get this, and I wonder how it will play at the office. But I don’t care. This is a very unique take on the flower, and its moodiness is quite fitting for how I am feeling lately. I know I held off getting a whole bottle when it first came out, and for the life of me I cannot recall if I ever did get one. But I will make sure this is going to be in my wardrobe.
I don’t have all of L’artisan’s offerings, but I do have a lot. I never did buy Fou d’Absinthe, one of their earlier releases, for whatever reason. Today, I was rummaging through my samples when I saw one and decided, sure.
I regret everything now, for this is a wonderful perfume, so much so that here it is, 2017, and this has not been discontinued yet. That means it has a lot of fun.
Fou d’Absine starts almost weird – cold fuzzy frozen drink. ( They describe it as a steely grip of icy alcohol ) and I ask myself is this the absinthe note? I’ve never really smelled or tasted it) Then there’s fruit to kind of cut the cold – blackberry. also smell some herbal blends somewhere there, and so pine? It’s blended with some spice that doesn’t feel heavy, and I bet, I said that this is a Olivia Gacobetti creation, and sure enough, I looked it up and it is. Instant Love.
Rapelle-Toi was launched in 2014, as part of the Explosion d’Emotion line. I have all of them now, and this one I bought from the line because it did not really speak to me then. But when it came up on one of the discount sites with a price so low you’re stupid if you don’t get it. Besides, I told myself, it would complete my collection if I do.
After purchase thoughts – still not in love with it. It is a very subtle fragrance. It starts with a bang: full of gin and fizz. Then it quiets down to a gardenia – not a blooming one, nut one is fading, and it’s quiet, too quiet for me, for sure. I’ve read it’s a scent that calls for contemplation. But, I have so many things I am contemplating with that I don’t have space anymore.
For some reason, I craved wearing L’Artisan ‘Tea For Two’ this evening. This perfume is one of my first ‘niche’ loves. I remember discovering it and feeling my heart beat a little faster. I thought to myself, this is a perfume which does not want to be beautiful (in the traditional perfume sense) but it ends up being more gorgeous. At that time, the tobacco and cinnamon notes were new to me, and I dipped myself in them with wild abandon. And the tea note – it was revolutionary – slightly smoky, slightly bitter, all addictive. I remember getting a comment from a co worker that I smelled “weird but wonderful.” (She didn’t know it was my perfume and I did not say) And perhaps Tea for Two is the reason why to this day I cannot get enough tea-based perfumes, and still idolize Olivia Giacobetti, who signed this. She always has a light ethereal touch to her creations, they touch you internally. My craving tonight was out of the blue, but this perfume comforts me like no other scent does. I am well.
I distinctly remember when L’Artisan launched their Explosions d’Emotions collection. It was 2013, and I was at Harrod’s in London. There was a dedicated associate for the collection, and I asked him what made this collection different. The way he explained it, on these perfumes the notes would come and go. Meaning, just when you think a particular note has subsided, it will come back. I remember getting Deliria then (still my favorite in the line) but I remember my second choice was Amour Nocturne. I have since acquired the whole series (the price of it has dropped so low that it seemed a waste if I did *not* get them) And Amour Nocturne was the last one I got. Why? It had a note that I was scared of: hot milk. I am not a big fan of the milk note (of the smell of milk in general) perhaps because I am not a milk drinker. In fact, the thought of it makes my stomach curdle – just a lactose intolerant thing.
But, in Amour Nocturne, milk is mixed with a couple of other notes, like gun powder, rum, and candy floss. Doesn’t sound like one of those cooking experiments wherein someone is tasked to come up with a dish with weird ingredient combinations. And yes, this is definitely a weird scent, along the lines of Secretes Magnifique from Etat Libre d’Orange. I honestly still cannot decide if I like this or not – that hot milk note does come up in the initial blast, but it is mixed with a lot of gourmand-y things (toffee? caramel?) that the effect is more candy milk than plain milk, making the combination more of the sweet and sour variety. And the gun powder note goes there to bring some mineral/chemical aspect. And in the heart of this all is cedar – woodsy but with all the sweetness it is more a sweet wood. It’s too sweet at times, but true to the sales associate’s word, the notes do come and go, and at times the woods dominate. Amour Nocturne definitely smells like baked bread at times, but then a times it smells so far from it. I don’t know if this is something I would like to wear everyday (I would say not, and I could also see someone despising this) but I am certainly glad that, as a collector, I have this in my wardrobe.
Does the world need another rose scent? Or more specifically, do *I* need another rose scent? That note is very much represented in my collection, but I don’t mind. I like it in all forms: deep, dark, mysterious, or dewy, airy, light. When L’Artisan announced they were launching a new rose scent, I was excited as I adore their two previous rose scents. I wonder, how will they differentiate this third release from their other two (I do think one of the earlier releases, Drole de Roses, has been discountinued, though) Rose Priveé is a more light airy rose. It is sort of aquatic, but with a dark shadow. It opens like a rose fresh from the rain, tinged with a deep violet note. The contrast is immediate, and striking. It then continues to a more vegetal state – this rose veers more green than pink. It’s slightly bitter with an oakmoss-y note, which makes this a lot more mature. The woods stay there to a woodsy rosey finish – I detect hints of patchouli which grounds it, and hay which gives it more softness. I like it a lot, and find it a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. Though I won’t be rushing to buy, it will be on my radar.