I'm not sure why L'Artisan Parfumeur have given us the Explosions D'Émotions mini-range, but there we are: the logic of fragrance releases isn't always easy to work out. As a brand, they've recently struggled to maintain their identity - examples of this include their decision to ditch their 50 ml bottles and their smaller candles, their Caligna marketing campaign, the categorisation of their scents into 'masculine' and 'feminine', their flirtations with Sephora and their presence on QVC - so perhaps this new trio of scents is just the latest evidence of some kind of internal re-alignment. Maybe we're supposed to read it as a sign of greater changes to come. Or maybe Bertrand Duchaufour - yes, him again - just had three spare fragrances lying around and didn't want them gathering the proverbial dust in his lab. Who knows? The facts are that they're with us and that, for whatever reason, L'Artisan don't wish us to view them as part of the main collection. According to the press release, the scents' unifying theme is "the emotional power of olfactory art", a phrase so vague and hollow, it implies that, actually, there is no unifying theme at all. So I suggest we dispense with the marketing spin and treat the perfumes as separate entities.
Of the three, Skin On Skin is perhaps the least interesting. Essentially a drier, less multi-faceted version of Duchaufour's own Traversée Du Bosphore, it mixes leather, iris and musks with an odd, medicinal note which will no doubt have some wearers making comparisons with the Band Aid whiff of L'Heure Bleue. I couldn't quite see the point of it, but then I'm aware that many people found Bosphore too sweet - and apparently it wasn't as runaway a success as L'Artisan had hoped - so perhaps it'll find a grateful audience.
Amour Nocturne comes across as a tribute to Jean-Claude Ellena's masterful Bois Farine, in the sense that its heart is a finely powdered cedar. But it's much sweeter than the Ellena - the wood is mingled with a weightless cloud of icing sugar - and it also sports a rather unsmiling herbal top section. If none of this sounds especially amorous or nocturnal, then don't worry: I too struggled to see its romantic side. But never mind. Curious name notwithstanding - why didn't they just call it Bois Sucré? - it's a worthwhile piece of work.
My favourite of the three turned out to be the one which failed to impress me when I first experienced it. The aptly-christened Déliria is an eyebrow-raising jumble of seemingly contradictory ideas. Pineapple snuggles up to minty sheesha smoke. Fizzing berries leap into a strawberry punch. Apricots and oranges frolic in a massive jug of sangria. And somewhere in the background, a jester jingles the bells on his pointy hat. It's all utterly bonkers. But it works, probably because the gentle boozy note balances the more adolescent feel of the fruit. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would and I just hope it isn't overshadowed by the other two. Then again, this stuff is so hyper, its siblings probably wouldn't stand a chance of stealing any attention from it.
[Reviews based on samples of eau de parfum provided by L'Artisan Parfumeur in 2013.]