Exotic Voyages and Wonderful Discoveries – L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversée du Bosphore & Vanille Absolument Perfume Reviews

Les Voyages Exotiques

Les Voyages Exotiques

I chose to review Traversée du Bosphore and Vanille Absolument together because they have something particular in common. In fact, they have lots in common; they are both from L’Artisan Parfumeur, are both part of the ‘Les Voyages Exotiques’ line, were both composed by genius perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and are both gourmands, but that’s not why I have lumped them together in this review. No, it turns out that the particular thing they have in common is the fact that I’ve been searching for them for a long time.

I believe that my collection of fragrances is like a wardrobe, and just like a wardrobe there are different ‘pieces’ for different occasions. Within your fragrance wardrobe you will have fragrances for work, for going out to dinner, for partying, for summer and for winter. You will also have necessities that no wardrobe is complete without, so with clothing it might be the little black dress or the black t-shirt, and with fragrance it would be the vanilla fragrance or the happy-go-lucky citrus. Us perfume enthusiasts are on a continuous journey to complete our wardrobes and we revel in the joy of finding perfumes that plug any gaps.

Both of these ‘exotic voyages’ have taken me on a journey filled with wonderful discoveries and fragrant epiphanies. I have discovered two perfumes that have each found a prominent place within my collection. In Traversée du Bosphore I found the Turkish Delight fragrance I had been looking for, and in Vanille Absolument I have discovered the vanilla to fill the missing spot within my collection.

Traversée du Bosphore

Traversée du Bosphore

The Notes

Top: Apple, Smoky Notes and Saffron
Heart: Pistachio Nut, Tulip and Rose
Base: Leather and Musks [1]

How Does it Smell?

My search for the perfect Turkish Delight fragrance has been a bit of a nightmare. I am a huge fan of the middle eastern treat, its powdery soft texture and sweet taste are irresistible to me and long have I looked for a fragrance that perfectly replicated everything I loved about the delicacy. I have tried all of the Turkish Delight/Loukhoum perfumes to no avail, they all seem to focus on a hideous burned cherry dessert rather than my favourite treat. After years of searching I came across a sample of Traversée du Bosphore soon after it was released and for me it is the perfect Turkish Delight fragrance.

Traversée du Bosphore was released in 2010 and is inspired by Bertrand Duchaufour’s trip to Istanbul and his crossing of the Bosphorus, where Europe meets Asia. It opens with a strong blast of sweet apple, which is mouthwatering and crisp. The golden spice of saffron tempers the sweetness of the apple and adds a slight tinge of something sour and metallic.

The Turkish Delight in Traversée du Bosphore is of two varieties; rose and pistachio. Both of which are my absolute favourite flavours (I’m starting to think this fragrance was made for me) and the blend of the rose, which is very much like rose water here, and the nutty pistachio is simply heavenly.

It wouldn’t be a Duchaufour creation if there wasn’t some smoke and woods lurking in the background and they are definitely there, but their use in Traversée du Bosphore is much more subdued than in most other Duchaufour fragrances.

Leather is listed as a note, but thanks to a generous whack of iris the affect is closer to that of suede than leather. The suede like texture laid underneath the sweet apple and Turkish Delight with the wood and smoke in the background, makes for a rather delightful, yet interesting composition. Traversée du Bosphore feels like it is slowly unfurling on your skin, and as each layer is peeled away a new surprise appears.

Traversée du Bosphore has very quickly become one of my absolute favourite fragrances, it wears relatively close to the skin and it definitely treads the line of unisex. I would recommend it to anyone, but it is one of those fragrances that you will either like or you won’t, if you’re not a lover of gourmand fragrances then it really is a must try, it offers something completely different within an overcrowded genre.

Vanille Absolument

Vanille Absolument

The Notes

Top: Clove, Dry Fruit and Rum
Heart: Tonka Bean, Tobacco, Immortal Blossom and Narcissus
Base: Vanilla, Smoky Wood, Leather, Balms and Musks [2]

How Does it Smell?

It struck me a while ago that I didn’t have a ‘vanilla’ in my collection, I have a good few fragrances with vanilla, and even some that showcase a vanilla note, but none that could take the place as my ‘token vanilla’. Discovery of this fact left me quite puzzled – I like gourmands, I like vanilla, so why the distinct lack of a reference vanilla within my collection?

For that question I don’t have an answer but I think I have found a vanilla to remedy the void within my collection, a vanilla that I’m tempted to refer to as the ‘perfect vanilla’ – and that is Vanille Absolument. Although, if there is one thing I have learned during my perfumista discovery is that you should never speak too soon!

Vanille Absolument, formerly named Havana Vanille, was released in 2009 and is inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of Cuba. It opens with a melange of notes; cloves, cinnamon, dried fruits and rum, LOTS of rum, so much rum in fact that I’m sure Jack Sparrow would love this fragrance. But the rum is where the connotations with Cuba end.

As you would expect the vanilla comes through very quickly, there is a brief moment of discord between the rum and vanilla before the two notes decide to work together in harmony. Vanille Absolument is quite similar to Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille, but it’s about 10 times lighter, the rum, whilst boozy, gives the vanilla an almost sheer quality that is much easier to digest than the Guerlain.

Vanille Absolument becomes drier and smokier as it dries down, there seems to be a good deal of incense and benzoin within the base that adds a woody fuzzy facet, a facet that works perfectly with the vanilla. The woods never quite take over and it very much feels like a perfect pairing for the creamy tones of the vanilla.

Bertrand Duchaufour has created yet another fragrance that displays his talent for taking the trite and the familiar and turning on it’s head. Vanille Absolument may not be the best vanilla in the word, but it is the best that I have tried, maybe one day another vanilla will come along and take it’s place, but for now it remains for me a really wonderful discovery.


Both Traversée du Bosphore and Vanille Absolument are available in 50ml and 100ml Eau de Parfum. Prices range from £65-£88.


This review is based on bottles of Traversée du Bosphore and Vanille Absolument from my own collection.

[1] & [2] osmoz.com

Image 1, 2 & 3 artisanparfumeur.com