I have had a 15 ml. bottle for some time, but I have been able to appreciate Timbuktuâ€™s real beauty only very recently. At first, I thought it was short-lived on my body, with a strange flowery opening leading to a soapy heart and then fading.
Then I started noticing its mysterious and addictive smoke, an incense note of its own. Usually incense is a rather difficult note for me; I have come across it mostly in orientals and it usually says indoors and demure atmospheres to me.
Here, on the contrary, it has this incredible vastness, a very different kind of mystique. Very airy, interestingly clean, endless. Accompanied with a deep, deep sandalwood. Incredibly serene and detached on colder days, like looking at the world from the sky. Things are in slow motion, time is suspended, worries of everyday life somehow disappearing. This is a strange feeling of serenity I associate with skydiving and floating in the air.
Nevertheless, this feeling does not come without a paradox in Timbuktu. Sometimes, in addition to leather undertones, there is a dirt note from the patchouli that's very prominent on my skin. And sometimes a very noticeable campfire note. Both of them are satisfactory olfactory experiences, though not necessarily pleasant in an everyday sense. I feel very conscious of myself when I notice these on my body if I'm outside. Still, they have taught me to derive pleasure from things that I would easily hush aside some time ago. They disappear when it's cold.
Timbuktu is a strictly colder weather fragrance for me with good sillage and lasting power, but I prefer wearing it closer to my skin and reapplying if necessary. It goes surprisingly well with the chaotic city I live in as well as the inner peace I work to nurture.
In a nutshell:
Timbuktu smells like old money. Old money on vacation at a resort in a hot, dry climate.
Timbuktu by L Artisan Parfumeur is not what I expected. After reading several reviews and note listings, I ordered a sample hoping for a dry, spicy chypre with incense. The opening is quiet with a hint of spiciness and fruit. Then—bang—strait to stale soap. Did I receive the correct sample? Yes, I’m identifying green vetiver and a strange floral note, but the “warm spicy” part is definitely not detectable. (The opening is far away from the dry down.) Perhaps someone can help me understand this fragrance…
16 hours later, a trace of Timbuktu lingered in my hair. The scent lost the soapy aspect exposing deep smoky woods. I also found that if I apply a very small amount to the skin the smoky-campfire aspect shows through almost immediately. This brings to mind a midnight camp fire in the middle of a hot exotic forest. I have memories of sitting around a fire with friends; drinking, and smelling the trees, flowers and other greenery as the smoke coats my hair and clothes. Timbuktu is this, only strange. Getting better…
One week later: I love this fragrance! I can’t stop smelling it and losing myself inside the presented contradiction. Clean yet musky-smoky; dry and hot, yet never powdery; green, but not “fresh”. Also, I challenge anyone to call this fragrance boring given that some of the notes are exotic, especially the floral note (Karo Karounde) and the smoke (cypriol).
I came to a point in my life where I wanted a "renaissance". I wanted to exercise more, eat better, and most of all, spend my time on work I enjoyed more. I saw an image for the feeling I had in the Matt Damon movie We Bought a Zoo. At the end there is a long sequnce filled with natural beauty,human kindness and radiance.
I wanted a scent for my new life. I tried a lot of samples, and for some reason decided to revisit LAP Timbuktu, a scent I'd always considered over-rated. It was a revelation. The opening is darkly mysterious and radiant at the same time. It feels like clear sunlight illuminating a forest.
As Timbuktu progresses, the woods and incense become pronounced. While it is clearly a dry woods fragrance, it does not have that bone dry feeling. The radiance counterposes and even lifts the dry woods.
As Timbuktu drys down, it becomes earthy, but still retains its light.
There are some indigenous African flowers in Timbuktu, but there are none of the floral scents we think of in the West. To me, that enhances the scent, making it more mysterious but never off-putting.
My highest recommendation.
A lot of people refer to the dirt in this one.
Frankly, i don't get the dirt.
I don't get any burnt wood, choal, tobacco, citrus or patchouli.
What I personally get is pepper and spices, myrrh, some pine and also a tad of the mango sweetness, benzoin resins, and vetiver.
All blended perfectly and balanced.
I love it.
However, after the first spritzes on my wrist I wrote it off 5 minutes after because of some heavy old leather smell that arized - I suppose it's the dirt that people are talking about? - and stayed put for around 45 minutes.
But after those 45 minutes I got a whiff of the fragrance without the heavy leather note - and I was hooked!
It's a winter fragrance for me, and thank god for that - 7 months with cold weather will make it easy to empty the bottle - when I get one!
But first off i will start with getting a small decant, as it is an unusual fragrance, supposedly to be worn by men. I don't find this scent especially masculine, though.
It is one of those scents that you wear for yourself, and not for everybody else IMO.
I love it on me, but I'm not so sure people near by will love it as much as I do. As I mentioned, it is an unusual fragrance, and not for everyone.
This is definately a try-before-you-by fragrance, but please do try if you like unusual scents with woods and spices like ceder, myrrh, cardamom, pepper, mango, and a touch of inscence.
Notes: green mango, pink pepper berries, cardamom, karo karounde flower, incense, papyrus wood, balms and spices, patchouli, myrrh, benzoin and vetiver.
Timbuktu opens on my skin with green fruity mango notes and pepper. Underneath the sheer and sparkling head notes, I faintly smell the patchouli and the aromatic resins. Unfortunately the interesting head notes do not last long and the patchouli and resin notes get gradually stronger. Although the fragrance becomes drier and earthier in its development, as underneath the main notes there are warm spice notes as well, the exotic flower and the papyrus wood counterbalance all of them very well. Somehow Timbuktu faintly reminds me of Terre de Hermes. They do share some notes, but Timbuktu is without any citrus notes. Once the fragrance has settled into a greenish patchouli and resin combination it stays that way until is softly disappears. On my skin there is no particular dry down which is a pity since I love Terre’s sweaty grapefruit and salty incense dry down. Lasts for about 4 hours.
No offence to the people who love this but this must be one of the most unpleasant scents for me. I do not get the mango that is listed as a top note. I get the cardamon, the incense, the tobacco, the vetiver and the patchouli, all in a harsh blend. A fragrance that smells dirt and burnt woods, especially in the drydown. Definitely not a feminine scent, but I would not like it on a man either. Very unappealing in the hot weather. I will retry in autumn (when I feel brave) and update if I change my mind but for the moment this is a scrubber for me!
I love Bertrand Duchafour, but this scent is a no for me. I also love smoky, woody and incense scents. I don't get clean cedar pencil shavings, though I wish I did. There is an almost oily, inky darkness which ruins the whole thing for me. There is a sweet meaty note also that reminds me of a glazed ham sprinkled with cumin, and I usually like the cumin notes in scents but not this way. I wish I had loved this, because all the notes seem like something I should.
Spicy and too citrusy. I'm not a fan of citrusy scents, so this one is not for me. However, it's not bad and it does last quite well for a L'artisan fragrance.
The associative power of the olefactory is completely addictive, and to the right mood even unpleasant smells can be almost trippy. For me Timbuktu recreates the early-childhood cedary thrill of a freshly sharpened pencil, when to be in possession of a pencil - and to know how to use it, indeed - was a power among the thrones and dominions. My first spritz of Timbuktu filled me with an absurd, unreasoning joy, and I spent my whole day sniffing my wrist compulsively. That cedar, plus a contained, self-assured frankincense note that murmurs rather than exclaims all day long, makes this wonderful stuff supremely wearable (for me it's now an everyday accessory) rather than shouty as many 'exotic' formulations seem to be, especially from the more commercial houses. I don't like most florals and orientals because they are always too declarative, heavy, and irritatingly persistent, and it would be easy to mistake Timbuktu for one of those wide-mouthed sirens. L'Artisan scents are always interesting but they are not always an unmixed delight. Timbuktu, which I notice on a number of the blogs gets very mixed reviews, is my new best friend, and one I'll still be talking to when I can no longer hold a cedar pencil