L’Artisan Parfumeur has an excellent track record for creating interesting and wearable fragrances of exceptionally high quality at a (relatively) affordable price. They are arguably one of the first ‘niche’ houses and whilst they may have had more than the occasional creative lull over the years they now very much seem to be on track, partly thanks to venerable perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour.
Duchaufour has created a number of the brand’s most recent and intriguing scents, including; Al Oudh, Nuit de Tubéreuse, Traversée du Bosphore, Séville à L’Aube and Vanille Absolument (quite an impressive list, huh?). It stands to reason then that L’Artisan would wheel Duchaufour out for their latest trio of fragrances – an imprint line they are dubbing ‘Explosions d’Èmotions’.
‘Explosions d’Èmotions’ has been created to translate “the extraordinary emotional power of fragrance” and as a series it contains three perfumes that cover a range of emotions from the intimate and sexual to the giddying and frankly downright maniacal. This olfactory funhouse is an odd mix with all three fragrances – Déliria, Amour Nocturne and Skin on Skin – taking one on a journey of wild experiences from pleasure to fear and sex to err, bread making…
“Prepare to be thrilled. Your senses will be shaken into a delicious blur.”
Metallic, Rhum, Gourmand Notes, Toffee Apple and Candy Floss
How Does it Smell?
Before spritzing on Déliria it is advised that one ensures that all safety belts and harnesses are firmly secured as this fragrance is one hell of a ride. The top notes are a hectic blend of sharp, hissy pineapple, mint and metal. This robotic fruit cocktail is two parts dizzying and one part bamboozling, displaying a shrill and unusual contrast between both hot and cold.
Warmer gourmand notes take control in Déliria’s mid section, with rum and caramel adding a pleasing degree of fruity booziness. The cold metallic notes do persist the whole way through but they become muted with time and after a few hours of exhausting roller coaster rides (literally) the whole thing settles to an effervescent pineapple musk that when it comes, almost feels like a relief.
Déliria is Pennywise the mad clown from Stephen King’s IT – mesmerising and terrifying in equal measure. It’s abrasive metal accord is both fascinating and troubling, and whilst it’s not a perfume one could wear often it is something that is a thrill to smell, simply for the sheer audacity of its existence. We’ve really got to give it to L’Artisan and Duchaufour here, they’ve created something incredibly compelling, unique and frankly bizarre!
“Infinite tenderness becomes ecstasy. Live a moment of sublime intimacy…”
Cedar, Hot Milk, Caramel, Gun Powder and Orchid
How Does it Smell?
Right from the outset Amour Nocturne feels very similar to the finely milled powder of Jean-Claude Ellena’s Bois Farine, created for L’Artisan Parfumeur in 2003. Here however, the nutty (hazelnut mostly) powder of cedar and iris is unfortunately accented by the really quite unsettling aroma of latex gloves.
Amour Nocturne is easily the least interesting of the bunch and it is fair to say that it treads familiar ground for L’Artisan. There’s also something rather unsatisfying about it, the notes promise hot milk, caramel, gun powder and orchid almost as if Amour Nocturne should capture the smell of an explosion caused by two bodies meeting.
Unfortunately none of this comes through and Amour Nocturne instead evokes the image of bread making, with its yeasty facets pulling it far away from resembling anything even remotely sexy. Bread making is a pleasant enough experience but it is hardly the most amorous activity on earth now is it?
“Skin on Skin awakens our animalistic instincts – to touch, to get closer, to smell.”
Iris, Suede, Leather, Safforn, Whisky, Lavender, Rose, Musk and Skin Effects
How Does it Smell?
Skin on Skin (a truly lovely name btw) is described by L’Artisan Parfumeur as “a wanton embrace” and one assumes that, very much like Amour Nocturne, it intends to capture the image of two bodies locked in an exciting embrace. Although the bored facial expression on the female model in the picture above may beg to differ…
To evoke the smell of skin, Duchaufour uses iris and saffron. Together they create a sour and almost milky accord that could, at a push, be likened to warm skin. A generous helping of sticky fruit seems to muddle things however, adding accents of rose and cherry to give Skin on Skin a tasty gourmand edge.
The base is all fruit powder and musk, with little of the shimmering saffron found in the opening. Again Skin on Skin promises a fun ride with notes such as lavender and whisky but these aren’t to be found anywhere, meaning that at times the whole thing falls just a little bit flat.
Skin on Skin, despite not living entirely up to its name, is a very lovely perfume. There’s a nice contrast between the delicacy of the iris (is there any note more fragile, I ask you?) and the sweet, rosy treats that are waiting to be gobbled up, but the whole thing could have done with an injection of something darker to temper the sweeter notes and create something wonderfully carnal.
Déliria, Amour Nocturne and Skin on Skin are available in 125ml Eau de Parfum for £135 each.
Samples, images 2, 3 & 4, quotes and notes via L’Artisan Parfumeur. Image 1 is the cover for Stephen King’s ‘Joyland’.