Hot Summer Nights – L’Artisan Parfumeur Séville à L’Aube Perfume Review

Seville - One incredibly fragrant city

Seville – One incredibly fragrant city

Séville à L’Aube (Seville at Dawn), the lastest fragrance from renegade niche house L’Artisan Parfumeur, is a fragrance like no other. It is a fragrance born from a chance encounter between fragrance writer/blogger Denyse Beaulieu (of Grain de Musc) and renegade perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour who, after hearing Denyse’s story of a hot summer night in Seville during the holy week said the magic phrase: “Now that would make a very good perfume!” [1]. Thus Séville à L’Aube was born.

Well obviously that was after roughly 130 mods and a whole lot of to-ing-and-fro-ing between perfumer and muse. The devil, as they say, is in the detail and I would suggest that anyone interested in the creation of Sévile à L’Aube should pick up a copy of Denyse’s book The Perfume Lover (you can read my review here) and immerse yourself in the full story of Séville à L’Aube’s birth. It really is fascinating.

For Séville à L’Aube Bertrand Duchaufour had the mammoth task of capturing the sights, sounds and most importantly the smells of one of Denyse Beaulieu’s most unforgettable nights. Neither being known to shy away from a challenge they have managed to create an orange blossom soliflore that one does not hesitate in decreeing as being the absolute best of its kind. That’s right, you heard me: the best!

Séville à L'Aube

“I am in Seville, standing under a bitter orange tree in full bloom in the arms of Román, the black-clad Spanish boy who is not yet my lover. Since sundown, we’ve been watching the religious brotherhoods in their pointed caps and habits thread their way across the old Moorish town […] In the tiny white-washed plaza in front of the church, wafts of lavender cologne rise from the tightly pressed bodies. As altar boys swing their censers, throat-stinging clouds of sizzling resins – humanity’s millennia-old message to the gods – cut through the fatty honeyed smell of the penitents’ beeswax candles.” Denyse Beaulieu, The Perfume Lover

The Notes

Petitgrain, Petitgrain Citronnier, Orange Blossom, Beeswax, Incense Resinoid, Luisieri Lavender and Siam Benzoin Resinoid

How Does it Smell?

Orange blossom, a usually heady and narcotic flower, has been tamed by Duchaufour for Séville à L’Aube and the result is a shimmering, euphoric rendition of the flower that is sweet, lush, honeyed and mineral in equal measure. I do really mean it when I say that Séville à L’Aube is the best orange blossom fragrance of all time, it completely subverts the genre and stands as proof that in perfumery there are still surprises to be had.

Following the theme of a night in Seville during the holy week, Duchaufour pairs the orange blossom with incense to represent incense burned during the ceremonies (and because it shares a similar mineral quality with the orange blossom) and beeswax to represent burning candles. Both add a rich, waxy texture to the orange blossom and elevate it to something atmospheric – a trail of floral shadows in the air.

Séville à l'Aube

Séville à l’Aube – The memory of a hot summer night

The smell of lavender cologne, a scent prolifically worn by the Spanish, is the inspiration for one of Séville à L’Aube’s most noticeable facets. That said, it hardly screams “LAVENDER” and the focus is very much on the darker, more resinous facets of the flower as opposed to the sweeter, more caramelised qualities that one is more accustomed to.

To get this effect Duchaufour opted to use Luisieri lavender, a heavy and almost labdanum-like type that has not been used before and he describes it as the missing link that links the dense base notes with the orange blossom.

Perhaps the most interesting element of Séville à L’Aube is, despite the erotic nature of the story that inspired it, it doesn’t feel animalic, carnal or particularly sexy. There is definitely a darker side to it, especially in the base notes, but the indole and skank of the flowers never really comes to fruition, instead there feels as if there is a more human element to it, almost like the smell of unwashed human skin. This could be attributed to the use of costus, an ingredient that smells like the hair and scalp of a person. Whatever it is it gives Séville à L’Aube that little something it need to link the scent with the sensual aspects of Denyse’s story and the perfect balance between light & dark.

At the launch of Séville à L’Aube I asked Denyse how she felt now that her baby had been unleashed on the world and she said that it was never really for her, instead it was made for the story and the fun that she and Bertand had doing it. The process belongs to both perfumer and muse, the fragrance belongs to those who fall under its spell. Denyse also described Séville à L’Aube as an “open house” for “those who can live in it” and I think that it is going to find many residents to live in it and love it.

L’Artisan Parfumeur, Bertrand Duchaufour and Denyse Beaulieu have created something incredible with Séville à L’Aube. Not only is it a heartbreakingly beautiful fragrance, it is a scented picture that takes you away to that place, that time and that night under the orange tree, clutched in the arms of a handsome man. The rest, as they say, is history…

Availability

Séville à L’Aube is available in a Limited Edition 100ml Eau de Parfum for £88.

Disclaimer

PR sample. Notes via Basenotes. Image 1 via paradiseintheworld.com. All other images and quotes via L’Artisan Parfumeur, except [1] which is via The Perfume Lover. D. Beaulieu. 2012. Harper Collins.

66 thoughts on “Hot Summer Nights – L’Artisan Parfumeur Séville à L’Aube Perfume Review

  1. Wow! Now I’m tempted. Orange blossom which is one of my favourite notes and lavender which I’m currently on a seek for the best lavender for me. It’s not available here but my friend will be bying in soon and she promised me to share a sample of it.
    Can’t wait!
    See you here and at my Chemist…

  2. This keeps moving closer to the top of my must try list. I’d love it if I thought it was as fabulous as you do. From your description it does sound like the perfect orange blossom though. I’ve been craving a good orange blossom lately. It seems like everyone who’s tried this really likes it. I’m trying not to buy anything for a while but one little sample can’t hurt right?

  3. My SoTD! Lovely review.

    Although I wasn’t as blown away by it, I’ve worn it every day since I got it (except for one when my vintage Vol de Nuit edt arrived from evilbay). It’s extremely wearable – perfect for cutting through the muggy weather we’ve been having and it’s public transport friendly! Love that Luisieri lavender too.

  4. I enjoyed the book very much, particularly following the development of the fragrance as it was poked and prodded and tweaked into the direction it should go.

    I generally don’t love orange blossom (it is quite soapy on me) or lavender (it frequently gives me a MASSIVE headache, even though I think it smells pleasant), and Duchaufour’s creations are often difficult for me to wear – angular, earthy-moldy, uncompromising. With all those strikes, I was surprised to find Seville a l’Aube so lovely. I don’t enjoy the drydown as much as its other fans seem to, but I could spend daaayyyys in that gorgeous top-heart. It is luxurious and sensual.

    • The creation of Séville and interactions between Duchaufour and Beaulieu are absolutely fascinating, making for the best part of a mixed book.

      I’m glad that, despite the odds being stacked against you with this one, that you’ve managed to find it so lovely. The top-heart is gorgeous isn’t it?

  5. I have really, really, really been wanting to try this! I have such fond memories of Seville. When I was there, the trees were so fat and orange-laden that it was actually dangerous to walk around for fear of falling fruit! But all the smashed fruit on the pavement mixed with the smell of tapas and ham was intoxicating.

    Any hope that Duchaufour put a ham note in Seville à l’aube? I do really hope so!

    • LOL I also remember the scent of jamon in Seville. Fortunately none in this lovely scent. Nor the waft of drains. This is a truly lovely fragrance, fresh and lush. I adore orange blossom and this is really a benchmark. It doesn’t smell like Seville, but you can feel Seville in the mix for sure.

      • I would like another blogger to inspire Duchaufour to make a fragrance inspired by air-dried ham:-) Can you imagine? Like the heavenly insides of those giant wooden barns in the countryside where they age legs of ham from pigs raised on chestnuts!

  6. Have to admit I was a bit disappointed with it – which was awkward on meeting Denyse and Bertrand at the event😦 I also find it very un-sexy, it is a pleasant fragrance, but the drydown of incense and beeswax gave a desweetened vanillic/myrrh like texture on my skin and stayed that way – subtley. All the goodness of fresh lavender and rich indolic orange blossom was all taken out! The incense wasn’t spicy and intense – it was all extremely muted. But there we go – I’m glad it works for others including yourself:)

    • I agree that it’s not a sexy scent, and I’m glad to be honest because it was the “sexy” parts of the book that I found uncomfortable.

      As with all things Duchaufour it is an interesting take on the genre and won’t work for everybody. What do you think of Nuit de Tubéreuse just out of interest?

      • Haha, I loved the raunchy parts, I begged for more, in that kind of gross out way :’)
        I have never tried NDT on skin, which is terrible really becuase each time I’ve sniffed it on paper – I’ve loved it. It’s a fascinating interpretation and you’ve reminded me to revisit it:)

      • I’m not averse to raunch normally but I found it to be just so jarring and awkward in what is an otherwise excellent book.

        Re Nuit de Tubéreuse – DO IT! I really think you’ll find it a million more times satisfying.

  7. I was pleasantly surprised when I smelled it at your talk. I’m not an Orange Blossom fan but I really loved it on the blotter. I don’t think it’s a fragrance that I would wear but I might give it a spray on skin next time I pass l’Artisan.

  8. I really must get a sample of this (and read the book as well) although I just bought FB of Guerlain Rose Nacree and Encens Mythique, so I guess I’ve used up my perfume budget for a while!
    I’ve often found orange blossoms to heavy and headache-inducing, but since I’ve managed to conquer my tuberose-phobia, I guess that shouldn’t discourage me to try this!

  9. Hey, can’t wait to smell this :o)

    I read ‘The Perfume Lover’ recently and would love to hear more detail of your thoughts on it. I enjoyed it and the story of the development of the perfume was fascinating, but I found the author’s voice a bit tough to take. She was so very pleased with herself and her characterising of herself as some fabulous Carmen referring constantly to ‘my lovers’ with their array of ridiculous nicknames made me want to squirt the book with Circus in revenge. I also got the impression, from her own writing, that the perfumer was not as impressed with her and her moaning and carrying on as she thought he should be. That made for a slightly awkward read, I thought, but I think I will probably read it again at some point, despite all that!

    • I think we probably share some thoughts on the book. I have included a link to my Basenotes review in the second paragraph that should give you a full idea of my thoughts.

      On the whole I enjoyed it, but felt that some of the same issues you had got in the way of a fascinating story. Denyse writes so beautifully about fragrance and she has so much knowledge on the subject that I feel I can forgive the bits that I didn’t like.

  10. I’m going to go down in history as the horrible person who didn’t fall in love with Seville a l’Aube, but I do agree that it’s an orange blossom like no other, and I think it should be tried both by people who love orange blossom and by people who don’t. Certainly if you think orange blossom is too wimpy or soapy, I don’t think you’ll have that problem with Seville a l’Aube. I do need to read this book! I guess it’s floating to the top of my perfume book pile now that I’ve finished Alyssa Harad’s “Coming to my Senses”. Which I loved.

    • And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you being that person! It’s important to be able to appreciate certain fragrances without actually liking them and I completely agree that both ob lovers and ob haters should try it.

      I’m just about to start Alyssa’s book😀

  11. Loved your review! Ah! This is just gorgeous!!! I got a sample from Luckyscent. Heaven, heaven, heaven. The longevity appears to be surprisingly good for a L’Artisan too. I’m so happy because I’ve never really found an orange blossom I could love before. SL’s, for example? The cumin just explodes on my skin – SO sweaty it makes me blush. Don’t even talk to me about Rubj. So scared of Rubj EDP. Cumin dance party! Sweet redemption is much easier but just too sweet – it gets a little gooey. Vintage Narcisse Noir? It just smells…well…very vintage. And dark. And difficult. Jo Malone’s OB is perfectly fine, simple and pretty – but didn’t turn my head. And I never have had the privilege of smelling the legendary L’Artisans from 2005, etc (and don’t want to, b/c I could never afford). But this…ahh! My nose is attached to my wrist. It’s so sunny and happy, but warm and sensual at the same time. Honestly I often think the sexiest scents are simply comfortable scents – if that makes sense? This isn’t va-va-voom, but it’s welcoming. It is wonderfully balanced – it has a sunny disposition, but it’s mysterious too – and interesting. It’s got unusual facets. And yet it’s never challenging or arch – it just smells GOOD. It also has that yin/yang between masculine and feminine that I think the sexiest scents have.

    Okay, I will stop waxing euphoric now, lol. Good stuff.

    Also – I just want to thank you for all your wonderful writing about white flowers. I’m a white-flower-phobe until recently – and really appreciate the hand-holding. Best, Wesley

    • Hi Wesley!

      I’m always happy to be a helping hand when it comes to white florals, and don’t you apologise for waxing lyrical, it’s great that you’ve found a floral love!

      The cumin in Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger and Rubj EDP is very strong. Have you tried Rubj extrait? It’s a completely different perfume and I much prefer my Rubj sans cumin, you should try it!

      • Oh, no! Have not tried the Rubj extrait. Thanks for letting me know – I didn’t realize it lacked the cumin note (yay!). Now on my to-sample list:)

        I don’t know if you have time to offer any recommendations for this little white florals quest I’m on – But I live in Louisiana, the land of Magnolias, and I’m trying to find a “Southern” white floral (whatever that means!!!). But essentially a beautiful white floral I can wear in the hot, humid springs and summers here, and that matches the “vibe” of this part of the world. I’m looking for something creamy, languid and beautiful – like a lazy afternoon on the veranda. Sensual – but without being over-the-top sexy/erotic. A flirty and charming morning scent would be fine too:) So would something a little mysterious – a twilight scent (just not a full-on boudoir scent). Any ideas?

        Imagine a Victorian greenhouse full of blooming flowers, orchids, moss, pitcher plants and Venus flytraps and you’ll have a bit of an idea of the vibe here:) It’s a little jungle-y in Louisiana, but in gothic/old-fashioned sort of way.

        I’m particularly curious about Magnolia notes, but am open to just about any note that “feels right.” I struggle with heavy jasmines (scared of A La Nuit, for example) and also can’t bring myself to love Songes, though many recommend it. I DO find Carnal Flower to be drop-dead gorgeous (who doesn’t??) but find that I don’t wear it often because it’s such a statement – and the menthol-y note while beautiful – doesn’t create that same languid effect I’m seeking.

        Anyhow – TMI! But I figured if anyone had thoughts – you might:) Wesley

      • Thank you! I actually had ordered a recent batch of samples and had the Mona in my “to test” pile. And yes – it’s wonderful! I think I like the snuggly benzoin. It just sort of melts into the skin like body butter. Yes, I have tried Magnolia Nobile – but only on a test strip, and that was a couple of years ago. I’ll have to revisit it. Thanks again!

      • Wesley, in your southern white flower mission, have you tried MFK’s APOM? Perfect orange blossom and cedar for hot languid nights, and mornings:-)

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  15. I bought it (among other full bottles) last week in France. OMG. It’s gorgeous and I can’t stop wearing it. This perfume is my crack. I’ll post something about my perfume retail-therapy soon….

      • It was love at first sniff and the sales associate in the store across from the Louvre was top notch. I’ve gotten some compliments which is an added bonus (sometimes I care if other people like it, and sometimes I wear my “stank” just for me!). Just a gorgeous, gorgeous, orange flower (not surprised, with L’Artisan’s track record). It has replaced SL FdO as my favorite orange flower. And I definitely get some lavender in the drydown.

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