Fragrances -L'Artisan Fragrances - Jour de Fete (new)
barbarellaboy 3/14/2003 7:56:00 PM
After hearing rumours of a Jour de Fête re-launch, I finally submitted to my fragrance lemming and took the day off work to make a pilgrimage to the L'Artisan boutique in London (all in the name of investigative fragrance reportage, of course!). I am happy to confirm that the new Jour de Fête is exactly that - a brand new scent, completely different to the previous perfume of the same name as described elsewhere in Productville.
Gone are the notes of orange and amber. Not a hint of heliotrope to be found. Instead what we have is a perfume based on sugared almonds - with the emphasis on "sugared"... This was so sweet on my skin that for the first twenty minutes I was walking round Sloane Square smelling like those little muslin bags of wedding favours that people stick in the middle of tables at receptions. I also have to say that the alcohol in this was pretty strong, and it took a while for the scent to really warm up and battle through.
This isn't a terribly complex perfume - the delightful and knowledgeable assistant at L'Artisan noted that in addition to almond, Jour de Fête also contains notes of vanilla and sandalwood, both of which I could detect to the exclusion of all others during the drydown.
Five hours later on the train home, however, and I found myself sniffing my wrist compulsively. The lingering scent can best be described as something between creamy honeyed nougat and warm baby's skin (bizarre comparison, sorry!) - comforting, soft and (dare I say it?) snuggly. Perhaps this is the work of the ellusive "wheat" note that L'Artisan mention in their promotional literature? There's certainly something there that I can't quite put my finger on, but if it is indeed wheat then it's a field of the ripe, golden stuff, not the green stems of the advertorial.
Not a huge triumph for L'Artisan or terribly innovative, in my opinion, but this perfume definitely has a charm to it that I can't quite shake. I won't be wearing Jour de Fête on a regular basis as I find it a trifle too "pink and fluffy," but I can imagine myself spritzing it onto a comfy sweater on a Sunday morning and tucking myself back up in bed with a cup of tea and toast to watch the telly. Hmmm, evidently my fragrance demon works in mysterious ways... :-)
I hate to be the first to dissent, but I really cannot abide this on my skin! So strong it actually had me reeling when I first uncorked the bottle, I detect none of the subtle depth and warmth I've come to appreciate in sandalwood oils through my aromatherapy practice. I'm the first to admit I've never been a big fan of sandalwood anyway, but on my skin this rebelled with a startling medicinal overtone that reminded me unpleasantly of trips to the dentist!
I really wish I could tolerate this Lutens long enough to make it through to the drydown, as I suspect it may mellow into something altogether more palatable as noted by others below, but sadly this one gives me a headache after mere minutes :-(
Evocative of majestic Italian cathedrals, wooden chests loaded with ancient treasures, musty books of magick in a deserted library... this is a haunting and unique fragrance full of whispered secrets and furtive glances. For me, Messe de Minuit represents the perfect example of how a scent you once hated can suddenly creep up on you and win you over with its seductive charms.
Smells like pressed flowers between sheets of gently rotting paper; moulding wallpaper and damp floorboards... and yet, all of this in a strangely enchanting fashion. Like the faded grandeur of a crumbling gothic mansion, it both repels and fascinates with its striking personality.
Quite unlike anything else I've ever smelt, this is certainly one to get you noticed.
A scent for wild Green Men and Women of the woods who like to tumble amongst the roots of trees, faces blackened with dirt, ivy tangled in hair and mud between the toes.
I take an almost guilty pleasure in this fragrance, which is the complete antithesis of what I normally wear - this wicked perfume draws its depth from the very source of tropical humus, the vetiver root itself.
Mayra is spot-on with her comparison to Guerlain's timeless classic, but this unctuous nectar is threaded with twists and turns that add a thoroughly modern perspective; Lutens weaves his forest spell with a touch of musk for sensuality, a wisp of sweet incense, a hint of liquorice and the darkest, most bitter chocolate stirred into the drydown.
Rich, dark, as earthy as one could wish; dappled with the warm summer light of leafy tree-tops; the result is truly daring and addictive.
Fragrances -Demeter - Condensed Milk Pick Me Up Spray
barbarellaboy 2/14/2003 12:59:00 PM
I'm torn between liking and loathing this cloying, sugary entry in Demeter's fragrance library. I must admit to finding a certain comfort in its brazen synthetic sweetness, but ever since a work colleague brought her bouncing baby boy into the office and he dutifully redistributed his breakfast all over the carpet, I'm afraid all I can smell when I put this on is the unmistakable topnote of "Eau de Baby Spew" (sorry!). Nestle Condensed Milk, second time round... not nice.
This smells like a cheap and nasty version of Crabtree & Evelyn's "Salad Greens" room spray. Whilst undeniably fresh and green, there is also a harsh soapy note in this perfume that makes my nose wrinkle. Although passable as a springtime room spray or linen freshener, I could not wear this on my skin. For something with a bit more "depth" and infinitely more wearability, try Lothantique's take on the same theme. Unfortunately, when it comes to Demeter, I have yet to meet a real cucumber that smells like this (or should that be fortunately??).
Fragrances -L'Artisan Fragrances - Les Epices de la Passion - Red Philtre
barbarellaboy 10/17/2002 1:14:00 PM
The Red Philtre – Piment Brulant (Hot Pimento).
The first spritz of this intoxicating potion had me dizzy with a delicious, sparkling rush of fresh raspberries. Not the creamy sweetness of yoghurt or ice-cream, but the sharp, nose-tingling bite of sorbet – just like plunging eagerly into a punnet of claret-coloured fruit, plucked from the autumn hedgerow, this amazed me with its ability to capture that heady bitter-sweetness of the ripe berry.
Just like the fruit itself, these delicious top-notes disappeared all too quickly, but were soon replaced by the heat of Mexican pimento. And then – oh sweet heaven! – barely detectable at first, the wicked whisperings of dark, bitter chocolate. Let me make it clear: this is exquisite, single-estate Valrhona Chocolat Noir – the Grand Cru of Trinitario cocoa, not the sugar-laden confection of commercial bonbons. In short, you won’t find a Hershey Bar within sniffing distance! :-)
The music plays. Mistress Chocolat weaves in and out, draping herself in hot curls of red pepper, and somewhere in the distance I spy an unsure suitor, shyly clutching a bouquet of wild flowers whose delicate fragrance wafts lightly on the breeze (poppies, L’Artisan would have us believe, but I’m afraid my nose isn’t that finely tuned!).
Ultimately, the two embrace and settle gently onto a bed of rich golden amber, scattered with the delicate white petals of vanilla blossom. These final notes linger gently on the skin, but always spiked with the unexpected heat of the pimento. Something tells me Mistress Chocolat’s suitor won’t be getting much sleep tonight… ;-)
Hot chocolate laced with chilli – deliciously lethal, and fatally addictive – I want more!
Fragrances -L'Artisan Fragrances - Les Epices de la Passion - Gold Philtre
barbarellaboy 10/17/2002 4:57:00 AM
The Golden Philtre – Safran Troublant (Saffron Spell).
If you thought L'Artisan's Vanilia was a sexy, adult bourbon, wait until you sniff this baby! Quite simply, I adore this. The golden, honeyed piquancy of precious saffron is tempered by the sweet seductiveness of a bourbon vanilla pod, its warm and fleshy scent permeating my skin throughout the day. The faintest hint of clove kept me on my toes during the initial dry-down, whilst the saffron and vanilla twisted and turned enticingly, neither one dominating or fighting for attention, but each note complimenting the other perfectly.
I detect palmarosa in the middle notes, with the lovely tang of geranium oil – not the very particular floral sweetness of rose otto claimed by L’Artisan, but maybe that’s my nose playing tricks on me? :-) This is my favourite stage of the perfume’s evolution because it is so unexpected; it almost seems out of place amidst the other notes, but gives the composition an edge that works deliciously.
Last, but by no means least, in the final dry-down gentle sandalwood hides shyly in the background, quietly holding it all together with the minimum of fuss. And still, watching over everyone, that tenacious but delightful vanilla – the glamorous party girl who’s always last to leave ;-)
Sophisticated, yet with a mischievous glint in her eye, this beautiful perfume is confident in her femininity. The scent of choice for Christmas angels!
This is one of the stunning scents from Frédéric Malle’s exclusive Editions de Parfums collection, which is only available from Barneys in New York and direct from the salon itself in Paris. I actually own "Bigarade Concentrée," which is the parfum strength version of "Cologne Bigarade." Described by Editions de Parfums as "a cornerstone in the world of the Eau de Cologne," this bold, sparkling fragrance draws extensively on a new bitter orange essence created specially at the request of the perfume's composer, Jean-Claude Ellena.
The top notes present a rush of freshly peeled seville oranges, bergamot, lime and a touch of lemon zest. I find it to be a particularly fresh and enlivening scent, and can best describe it as akin to splashing the face with cold water in the morning - whether this sensation appeals to you in a perfume or not is a definite matter of personal taste!
This is unusually long-lasting for a perfume centred on citrus notes - the bitter orange and lime remain throughout, and a very faint hint of rose becomes detectable on the dry-down. Malle also lists cardamon, pepper and hay, and I am sure there is the slightest whiff of juniper berry hiding amongst the scenery.
I love this unisex scent, which for me has a simplicity and crispness that is unsurpassed. One word of warning, though - on my partner this smells like Sunny Delight that's been left out in the sun too long, so testing is advisable before purchase!
Imagine walking through a field of French lavender at the end of a hot and dusty afternoon... the scent of the flower as the sun sets over the horizon is captured perfectly in this fragrance.
This is a complex and captivating perfume, completely unlike the cloyingly sweet lavender-for-the-masses aroma that is sadly so often found in more "commercial" products. Its composition is hot, smoky, and intense - I detect frankincense in there somewhere. I am filled with memories of holidaying in Europe, winding my way back to the villa at dusk to the song of the crickets, with the unmistakable perfume of hot summer lavender warmed by the sun carried on the breeze.
This is wild lavender at its truest and very best, a scent which I adore but regrettably find overwhelming to wear as it has the power to take me instantly to a place and time far away from here! Equally enchanting on a man or woman.