Crisp & White – Carven Le Parfum Perfume Review

Carven Le Parfum
“She simply has the delicacy and grace of a time gone by in a body of today.”

The house of Carven appears to be going through a period of resurrection. In 2009 Guillaume Henry took over as Artistic Director of the house, lifting it out of its long-served period of retirement. Now, following the reinstatement of the brand’s fashion line M. Henry has turned his keen eye to the world of Carven Fragrances with the re-issuing of the brand’s classic scents ‘Ma Griffe’ (1946) and ‘Vétiver’ (1957).

In addition to the revival of Carven’s historical fragrances the brand have launched an entirely new flagship fragrance to capture the spirit of the brand. Simply entitled ‘Carven Le Parfum’, the fragrance sets out to embody the energy of Henry’s designs for Carven and create in perfume, the idea of the ‘Carven Woman’.

Le Parfum, which was created by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian (he of Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Le Mâle fame), is described as; “the concept of a sillage that combines several paradoxes, a fresh and ethereal fragrance that is, at the same time, ultra feminine. A fragrance that is as structured as Guillaume Henry’s line of clothing” and created for the Carven woman, who Kurkdjian says is “beautiful without even thinking about it.”

Carven Le Parfum
Carven Le Parfum

“I wanted to play with the Carven values in a feminine mode: timeless elegance that also seems absolutely effortless. I wanted a fragrance that would resemble a huge bouquet of freshly cut flowers, with temperant and a lingering sillage.”

Francis Kurkdjian

The Notes

Top: Mandarin Blossom and Hyacinth
Heart: Sweet Pea, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang
Base: Sandalwood, Osmanthus and Indonesian Patchouli

How Does it Smell?

Le Parfum opens with a wave of dazzling, white light – an effect that is akin to pulling the curtains open on a bright morning and allowing beams of sunlight to pour in through the window. In scent form, this light is represented by crisp touches of sweet apple, the sweetness of lemon and the greenery of flowers.

The flowers that permeate Le Parfum’s signature, namely sweet pea, jasmine and ylang-ylang (with the emphasis on the former two) are impeccably well behaved, with the impression being one of a expertly arranged bouquet of perfectly shaped white flowers with absolutely no room for anything ripe, naughty or funky.

As Le Parfum is a Kurkdjian creation it will come as no surprise that the base is elevatory blend of musks, wood and patchouli, but what is surprising is that even in the far dry down these base materials never feel heavy or oppressive and allow for Le Parfum to continue its ethereal dance for a mightily long time.

Smelling Le Parfum brings to mind my Grandmother’s description for how she likes her linen; “crisp and white”. To me, Le Parfum epitomises the idea of crisp, white cleanliness but it’s far from being just another ‘laundry scent’ and whilst it may be perhaps a bit too safe for its own good, it really is very pretty!

It’s also difficult to smell Le Parfum and not draw comparisons with two of Kukdjian’s other works – Elie Saab Le Parfum and Amyris Femme – both of which play on the same theme of clean, light bearing flowers, but where Elie Saab is a golden shard of warm, honeyed light and Amyris Femme is the pale pink, powdered light of twilight, Carven Le Parfum represents the clear, white dawn.


Le Parfum is available in 30ml (£38), 50ml (£55) and 100ml (£72) Eau de Parfum. Matching body products are also available.

Sample, notes and quotes and image 1 via Carven. Image 2 via