Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Review: Coeur De Vétiver Sacré from L'Artisan Parfumeur (2010) + Guerlain Bottles + Kurkdjian's Advice

Vetivert oil is such a multi-faceted material that people in some countries wear it as a complete fragrance all by itself. It's capable of appearing both woody and green, earthy and ethereal, spotlessly unimpeachable and very, very dirty indeed. Perfumers present it either with minimal add-ons - allowing it to speak for itself - or they devise complex means of obscuring some of its aspects so that only certain traits come through.

Karine Vinchon has chosen the latter approach for L'Artisan's Coeur De Vétiver Sacré (recently released in the UK). She dessicates the top notes with a generous dose of cedar and pepper. She chills the middle section with a callous violet note. And only in the end does she allow the eponymous ingredient to emerge as a recognisable presence, by which time it's settled into woody, vaguely tea-like territory. The link between the floral heart and the vetivert may be clever, but its effect is pretty unengaging, not to mention thin. Still, if you liked Gucci Pour Homme II - which also centred around violet - you might want to give this a try.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by L'Artisan Parfumeur in 2011; fragrance tested on skin.]


All this talk of khus reminds me of a discovery I made last week at the Guerlain counter in Harrods. It would appear that the familiar, 'horizontal blinds' flacon for Vetiver has been discontinued and replaced with the current Habit Rouge bottle. The juice doesn't seem to have been tampered with... this time...

And speaking of London and iconic fragrances for men, I was very pleased to be able to tell Francis Kurkdjian how much I enjoy and admire his Fleur Du Male for Gaultier. He nodded and thanked me for the compliment, but his face took on an expression of sadness.

"It was too much," he said. "The market was not ready for it. The same with Fragile. The market was not ready for that also."

I tried to convince him that sometimes popular tastes have to be given a jolt, but he wasn't having any of it. He just said that if I do really love FDM, then I'd better stock up, because it may not be around much longer...



  1. Mr. Kurkdjian made Fragile? I didn't know that but when it came out, I loved it instantly and had to have a bottle. :)
    Which I used up rather fast...

  2. Hmm... I think of CdVS as an apple pie scent which I enjoy from time to time... Somehow it doesn't feel like it has been properly finished... Now I am going to have to go and find that callous violet...

  3. I get the impression from various reviews that 'thin' and 'L'Artisan' often go together. Certainly, those I've tried disappear too quickly. And as a lover of full-blooded vetiver, I don't like the sound of this much.

    Funny, I was thinking about Fragile the other day, I saw it reduced online and wondered whether to buy it. (Still haven't decided). That was his? I had no idea.
    As for Fleur de Male, I've never even sniffed it, which is perhaps something I should fix.

  4. I have yet to find anything from L'Artisan that I don't find thin. ...I've also described it as 'flimsy', there's just not much substance to it.

  5. Ines, I THINK he made Fragile, but perhaps he didn't, and cited it only as an example of another Gaultier.

    I bet there are still some bottles available somewhere out there.

  6. Alexander, it certainly didn't give me an apple pie vibe, but there you go. And yes, 'unfinished' is a good word to use in this case.

  7. I just wandered in to House of Fraser and tried Fleur de Male.

    Hmmmmm.. The first note (what I've heard called 'laundry musk') which I got at at first sniff, made me think this was not for me. But now it's been on my skin a while, I like it. I don't think I'd wear it, but I'd be happy to smell it on someone else.

  8. Tania, I'm quite fond of L'AP as a range, and sorry to be contrary, but I wouldn't normally associate the word 'thin' with them. Clean and transparent, but not thin. And actually, have you smelt Al Oudh?? That hasn't had a bath since the Middle Ages! And Dzing is pretty funky too. And then there's Timbuktu, which manages to be crisp and interesting.

    As for Fleur De Male, do try it when you can. I'd love to know what you think of it.

  9. Tania, how funny: you tried it whilst I was replying to you.

    I think it's great. And Madame Persolaise loves it on me.

  10. Alice, again, I don't think of many L'APs as being thin... but flimsy would be another excellent word for CdVS.

  11. Persolaise, I just checked Now Smell This and they list Fragile under his name. :)

  12. Persolaise,
    I haven't tried any of those, I think I had better! They don't sound thin at all. I think the ones I've tried were indeed 'clean and tranparent', which type of scent tends to disappear from my skin in minutes.

    Yes, that is funny.I did like FdM, and I hope it doesn't get discontinued.

    Ha! My Word Verification is 'retch'.... ;-)

  13. Tania, those word verification things are sometimes a bit too spooky for words.

    My favourite one is probably 'oudinous', which came up for another one of my readers, Carrie.


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