L’Artisan was the first niche line I fell for. Here are brief notes on some of the less common L’Artisans worth exploring:
L’Artisan Fleur de Carotte — baby carrot, cucumber, tarragon, lettuce, apricot, ginger. I burst out laughing the first time I smelled this. Yes, it smells like a carrot and it is gorgeous. If you think of the smell of a carrot in terms of its delicate, vegetal sweetness, and add a bit of green from the garden, and a thin slice of fresh ginger, you’re there. This deserves to be more popular. Buy some so they don’t discontinue it. My decant is gone. How do I get Patty to buy this so I can get my hands on some more? Hmmmm….
Un Zest D’Ete — lemon rind, orange bergamot, grapefruit and lemon blossom, is, as the name suggests, geared toward summer, released in 2003 and still available online. I’d pegged this one as my favorite. I love things sharp and citrusy, and grapefruit and lemon blossom suit me perfectly. This one is stronger than you might expect, easily the strongest of the four, and unfortunately the bergamot basically buries all the other notes on me, except for a hint of grapefruit. However, if you are a big fan of bergamot, you might want to try this one. I would re-name this Bergamot Extreme.
L’Artisan Oeillet Sauvage (Wild carnation) — pink berries and pepper, rose, ylang ylang, lily, gillyflower, vanilla. This is the somewhat sweeter, more multifloral but still very pretty cousin to Floris Malmaison. I like the Malmaison better. However, if it struck you as a bit too linear but you loved the idea of carnation, you might want to give this a go. But hurry up, rumor has it it’s being discontinued, which is a damn shame.
Jacinthe des Bois (Hyacinth of the Woods) — tulip, galbanum, sap, narcissus, broom, beeswax, mate and melilot. Sap scents tend to register as a weird, mothball-like note on me, and this is no exception. But the mothball fades after the first 15 minutes and leaves me with an arrangement of fresh flowers as haunting as Giacobettis ethereal En Passant for Frederic Malle, only less melancholy. I don’t see hyacinth listed in the notes (!) but as far as I’m concerned this is a realistic representation of the hyacinth and broom blooming right now in the garden next door. Also being discontinued.
Note: samples of these L’Artisan scents are available at Lusciouscargo.com.
Finally, let us change direction and look briefly at Marc Jacobs’ new line of splash colognes (10 oz., $65 at Nordstrom), Grass, Cotton and Rain. The bottles are lovely and clean-looking, although they look, um, a little familiar (Jo Malone, call your lawyers!) Unfortunately, their appearance is the extent of their charms. The Grass was not greener, I didn’t cotton to Cotton, and Rain distinguishes itself only by its level of relative sweetness. Yes, I understand these are splashes, and yes, they’re supposed to be light. But please. These are pathetic. I could buy something more distinctive at Crabtree & Evelyn for one-third the price. You gave us the stellar Blush, and then you stooped to this?