L’Artisan Parfumeur has been at the forefront of niche perfumery for forty years and in those four decades they have not only reshaped the landscape of perfumery, they have created a vast number of iconic and beautiful fragrances. Today, the brand continues to offer intriguing olfactory editions mixing accessibility with a strangeness that features heavily in the DNA of the brand.
The two latest launches from L’Artisan Parfumeur are Mont de Narcisse and Mandarina Corsica. They sit in ‘Les Paysages’ a collection of fragrances inspired by different regions of the brand’s native France. Here the subjects are the rustic Auvergne and the hot Corsican vistas, with two fragrances that celebrate the physical, botanical and olfactory landscapes of France.
Mont de Narcisse
Black Pepper, Leather and Narcissus
How Does it Smell?
Mont de Narcisse was composed by Perfumer Anne Flipo and takes inspiration from Auvergne in France. It is, to my nose, an unusual fragrance, straddling a number of genres. It opens as a spicy floral – a powdery narcissus-iris combination accented by black pepper and anise. The anise nuance connects directly to an undercurrent of immortelle, the maple-like, curry-esque, fenugreek material that lives up to its everlasting name by being remarkably tenacious. Here, the immortelle is kept well and truly in check by a big slab of leather, which itself brings salt and smoke in to play.
Mont de Narcisse is a contradiction – it feels cool and aloof initially but warms up to something more distinct and hefty with time. It’s intriguing, if a little muddled. It does not know what it wants to be and feels slightly unfocussed, with a whirlwind of nuances coming together to create a unique take on flowers and leather.
Immoretelle, Mandarin and Tonka Bean
How Does it Smell?
Perfumer Quentin Bisch seems to have spent a lot of his career composing gourmand fragrances with unusual twists. For Angel Muse he injected a sharp twist of vetiver into the creamy, smoothness of nutella and for and La Fin du Monde her weaved a popcorn note amongst the burned rubble of a post-apocaloptic landscape. For Mandarina Corsica, Bisch plays on the popular caramel theme, as seen in the likes of Mon Guerlain et al, but gives it a unique twist with juicy mandarin.
Mandarina Corisca is inspired by a sweet delicacy: the candied mandarin. It immediately smells of mandarin, but where one expects juicy, vibrant and sharp citrus, the effect is actually more muted. This is dried mandarin coated in brown sugar, which gives it a toasted feel. There’s also a dryness to the composition – a dried under the sun quality that works perfectly well with the malted quality of the burned sugar and the soft, marzipan vibe of the tonka bean.
Mandarina Corsica presents the idea of candied sugar and fruits with with both warmth and transparency. It is gauzy, cosy and utterly delightful.
Mont de Narcisse and Mandarina Corsica are available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £115.
Samples, notes and quotes via L’Artisan Parfumeur. Images are my own.