Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: Traversée Du Bosphore from L'Artisan Parfumeur (2010)


Some of you may recall that the digestive problems of a certain Icelandic volcano caused me and Madame Persolaise to be stranded in Istanbul last year. Well, apparently the same thing happened to Bertrand Duchaufour. But whilst I returned home with an empty bottle of Antaeus, he got back with another idea for a perfume.

To my mind, Traversée Du Bosphore does not for one moment evoke the former Constantinople - a sprawling metropolis I'll forever associate with smells of the sea, fresh fish, bread, coffee and roasting meat - but that's besides the point. Taking his inspiration from green apples and Turkish delight, Duchaufour has concocted another highly original brew that reinforces his reputation as one of the most innovative perfumers working today. The bridge between the fruit and the powdery confection is a rasping, paper-like, staunchly modern dryness which lends the whole an admirable shape-shifting complexity that continues to intrigue for hours. Its name invites a certain amount of geo-political musing, and yes, the fragrance's balance of two extremes suggests a journey between contrasting worlds, but it isn't clear whether we're travelling from west to east or vice versa. All we know is that the destination is covered by an intoxicating cloud of finely-ground, rose-tinted sugar... as opposed to toxic ash!

Released in a year that also saw the launch of the highly-praised Nuit De Tubéreuse, Traversée marks another fine addition to L'Artisan's feminine range. It's worth mentioning that it works beautifully as a candle too, filling the air with a butteriness that softens the edges of the most trying of days like an indulgent teaspoon of condensed milk.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained in 2010; fragrance tested on skin.]

Persolaise.

12 comments:

  1. Interesting review, thank you!
    I was looking forward to your take, since on me TdB turned into a tour de force of loukhoum with hardly any reprieve. All the lovely nuances you describe were lost on me in a sea of sugar. I will try it again (when I get over the trauma ;)) to see whether that was a one time occurrence or whether TdB is just not for me. I'd like to smell what you smell in it!

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  2. I seem to be the only one in the perfumosphere who got a dirty ashtray sitting next to a moldy appple core. I was terribly disappointed and, like Ms. Olfactoria, must recover before trying again.


    *Jen

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  3. Olfactoriastravels, thank you, I'm glad you brought up the issue of sweetness.

    My main criticism of the scent is that it becomes too sugary at times, but I think a more restrained application might be the answer. Do try it again: when it works, it really works very well!

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  4. *Jen, I'm intrigued by the dirty ashtray image.

    The perfume's official notes list leather, which I don't really get at all, but if there is some leatheriness in there, maybe you're detecting it as stale cigarettes...?

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  5. I recently got the chance to try this, and I was a bit surprised that I took to it so quickly. I figured I had enough scents already like it that it would be superfluous. Not the case. I find it utterly charming and it's something I would wear regularly. It's by far my favorite L'Artisan I've experienced.

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  6. I was quite indifferent to this when I first smelled it. I felt there was too much fruit and not enough depth.

    After a few wears I've come to appreciate it's nuances. I suddenly 'got' the iris, suede, hint of tobacco and a wonderful nutty vanillic drydown. It is very sweet but in an airy way that prevents it becoming cloying to my nose. I'm besotted now and I really think that you have to spend some quality time with this one to come to love it.

    Great to read a review by someone who's actually smelled Constantinople. Makes me glad this scent isn't too literal!

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  7. Persolaise,

    I tried again today and wish to amend my description:
    On my skin, it smells like rotten-apple cured leather wrapped around tobacco leaves.

    I *do* get leather, then. It's nothing like the leathers I love (Cuir de Lancome, Cuir de Russie, Bandit) or even No. 19 which doesn't really speak too strongly of leather anyway, at least to me.

    It's an unusual, fruity leather but tobacco tries to smother it - and me.

    I can't believe this, but it's actually A Scrubber! I wanted to love it. It hurts to have your heart broken...


    *Jen

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  8. Carrie, I reckon you're right: it probably is one of the best L'Artisans. But it's not as unisex as some of their other ones.

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  9. Hilary, who knows, maybe if you went to Istanbul, you'd think it smells like this perfume ;-)

    I didn't have any Turkish delight while I was there, so that aspect of Traversee's composition was never going to spark any recognition within me.

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  10. *Jen, thanks for being so brave! And thanks for writing again.

    These things do happen, unfortunately. What's it like on paper for you?

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  11. cannot wait to try this!

    the beginning of this post really made me giggle by the way- Bertrand just can't seem to help himself wherever he goes... he finds a perfume

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  12. Rose, I'm sure you're right. I wonder if he ever switches off his 'perfumer chip'?

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