L’Artisan Parfumeur is a fragrance house of over 40 years that appears to have the honour of the title, “first niche perfumery.” Apparently, chemist Jean Laporte started up the endeavor after successfully meeting a challenge to create a banana scented fragrance to match a costume of the same fruit for some gala event, and subsequently followed through with fragrances based around grapefruit and vanilla.
Now I suppose it would depend on how you define niche, but L’Artisan Parfumeur is certainly a brand that is known for producing quality blends created by well-trained and indeed prolific noses. There are many from the brand that I adour and also many I have not yet sampled. I talked about one of my favourites in an earlier post. Today I share with you a set from the 2011 holiday collection. It consists of three fragrances, each in 15 ml bottles of both EDP and EDT concentrations, and came in a lovely box, but I have since given that away. I didn’t procure this set back in 2011, however; it was another one of my second-hand Mercari finds.
Mûre et Musc
Let’s start with the oldest of the three, Mûre et Musc, a fruity floral unisex EDT fragrance that launched way back in 1978. The nose behind this fragrance is Jean-Francois Laporte himself.
- basil, amalfi lemon, mandarin orange, orange,
- blackberry, red berries,
- musk, oakmoss
Undoubtedly, the earlier renditions of this fragrance are going to have been the better ones, since real musk and oakmoss are now a big no no. I’m not sure to what degree this older bottle has of anything authentic, but regardless, I don’t say nay to synthetics, either, especially when no harm to animals or the environment is the result.
Real or synthetic, musk is a scent I can be anosmic to, and I tend not to be a fan of the soapy variety. This one, sadly for me, is a wee bit soapy, very clean; not animalic. The blackberry and citrus notes are fizzy and faint but can be sniffed out if you search for them. The basil breaks up the sweetness of the berries and oakmoss softens the musk. It dries down quickly into a soft, muted, slightly powdery and herbal skin scent and I wouldn’t say it was sexy, but I believe there are some that might think it so. Perhaps on the right person, maybe. I will say it is a crowd pleaser for those in the crowd that get close enough to the wearer to perceive it. And despite its 1970s launch, this simple, charming, and uplifting fragrance does not smell dated at all to me.
Though I do feel this one is a classic, I also believe there are better and more interesting things out there now. However, if you get it heavily discounted, and appreciate a tart fruity barbershop musk scent that easily works for all genders, this might be your jam. And go for the older formulation if you can find it. Otherwise, perhaps Body Shop’s White Musk might be a better choice, value-wise? – not as refined but meets a craving for the musk. There is an extreme version of Mure et Musc, which is an EDP with black currant. I’d love to sniff that one!
La Chasse aux Papillons
Next we have La Chasse aux Papillons, a unisex EDT floral fragrance launched in 1999, and nose is Anne Flipo, who is a master perfumer known for her floral compositions. The L’Artisan Parfumeur website describes this scent as “armfuls of white flowers, flooded with sunlight, on a summer’s day.” Here are the notes:
- linden flower, orange blossom, tuberose, jasmine, citrus
This one is mainly about a calm, romantic, fresh and green tuberose that opens with gentle linden blossoms and a touch of luscious jasmine and gardenia. All the citrus trees have been bundled together at the top, and the dry down is smooth, sweet, and luminous. There is a very sheer and serene feel to this scent, and I feel it’s perfect also for a cooler spring day.
The name of this perfume is perfect. I can easily imagine sitting in a recliner in a stunning backyard spring garden, while children in the neighbours adjacent are chasing after butterflies in nets, laughter included. Just chuck in your favourite impressionist outdoor or floral painting from likes of Renoir, Monet, Matisse, or Degas, and that might give you a sense of this fragrance. Perhaps this is what fairies or forest sprites smell like? Or, perhaps Julie Andrews in a clean and crisp frock running in a meadow: the hills are alive with the sound of music.
Performance is not great at all on this one. It lasts for a few hours, starting with a medium to short projection, and settles into a skin scent. Just on performance alone, I would pass on this one. At the time of its creation, this must have gathered more love from the perfume community – we’re talking pre-social media community, mind, but today, although this scent is still a very beautiful and serene bouquet of white florals, I might pass on it even if performance were not a problem. For me, this fragrance is sadly as easily forgotten in time as it is in space. Undoubtedly pleasant and delightful, though. There is an extreme version of this fragrance in an EDP concentration, too, which includes the addition of bay rose and saffron, perhaps making it feel more concentrated and perhaps last longer? Just assuming. Comment below if you know. Also, I’ve heard people reference Jo Malone’s Wild Bluebell as a slightly sweeter and spicier fragrance very similar to this. Jo’s scents are generally poor performers as well, so that part makes sense.
Nuit de Tubereuse
Finally in this set is Nuit de Tubereuse launched in 2010. This one, too, is designed to appeal to all genders, and the nose behind this one is the infamous Bertrand Duchaufour.
- pink pepper, cloves, mandarin orange
- tuberose, mango, ylang-ylang, rose
- angelica, precious woods, resins (benzoin and styrax), musk
Nuit de Tubereuse is an EDP and is notably more concentrated than the other two. Sadly, I’m not sure this one is in production anymore, as I didn’t see it on the company website. It starts out strong and powdery, with a blast of slightly incensed tuberose. Tuberose is the star here, so obviously if you don’t like the smell of that flower, you won’t like this. Tuberose has a very milky or creamy texture to it, so having a little spice to it like the pink pepper and cloves (and maybe some cardamom in here?) balances out or perhaps subdues that milkiness.
The opening is a tinge bitter and green, and the end is musky, but the heart and the main note all the way through is that heady white honeyed flower, tuberose. A smidge of rose, ylang-ylang, angelica, and a gentle sea breeze does round it out, and the resins and woods give it depth and keep it fixed. The mango gives it a tropical feel, but the camphorous edge of this tuberose keeps it from getting too hot. Maybe that’s why it’s Nuit de Tubereuse instead of Jour de Tubereuse.
On me, this lasts about six hours and has moderate production. It’s a serious and seductive evening fragrance in my view, and a good one for fans of this flower.