That soft spot in my heart for l’Artisan

What a week it was: too cold on several days to walk the dog or do my evening walk. Layers, heat on, still chilled. Would hunker under the duvet and a blanket and shiver for 5 minutes until I managed to warm up enough to fall asleep. Caught cold (the first lurgy since 2020). Discovered black mould growing on a number of windows which had to be thoroughly cleaned.

But come this past Saturday, after two weeks of freezing, it got milder. Got the dog out for a proper walk (which exhausted him – see pic). Then, got warmer and started raining. Like really raining.

So, we’re on flood alert now.

Anyway, I had been using winter candles but on Saturday switched to a small l’Artisan candle called Parfum de Feuilles which smells of fresh green leaves, a bit of tomato and something floral. It’s discontinued, and I think I bought it 10 or 12 years ago, but it’s definitely a scent for warmer weather, so doesn’t get a lot of burn and thus is still half there.

It set me off thinking of all the things l’Artisan I’ve loved over the years – and the fact that decades ago l’Artisan was one of my first forays into niche.

My first real l’Artisan love was Mure et Musc which I wore exclusively for at least a couple of years in the 1980s. It was launched in 1978, with notes of basil, lemon, orange, blackberry and other berries, musk and oakmoss. It was a gentle musk, close to skin scent on me and garnered a lot of compliments.

I tried over time to wear other l’Artisans but that didn’t work well. Only Jour de Fete (feast day) made it into rotation. A lovely, sweet dessert thing, the notes include icing sugar, almond flour, wheat and honey. I felt delicious wearing it. Another one that got a lot of love from others.

The only l’Artisans I currently own are Mechant Loup and Nuit de Tubereuse, both  Bertrand Duchaufour fragrances. Big Bad Wolf included pepper, star anise, licorice, sandalwood, honey, hazelnut, myrrh, tonka bean and cedar. It was marketed as a masculine and smelled mouth-watering. To the extent I once smelled it on someone on London’s Tube and actually tried to find them in a heaving carriage (no dice). Tubereuse (notes: a lot of things including tuberose). I wear this maybe once a year, I think.

The version I have of Mechant Loup does not hold a candle to the original, but I enjoy smelling it out of the bottle every once in a while.

Someone once gifted me a Traversee du Bosphore candle (another Duchaufour fragrance) which was a great rendition of Turkish Delight, a sweet I very much enjoy. Notes include tobacco, apple, tulip, saffron, leather, Turkish Delight and musk. Loved that and it’s now long gone.

So, back to my Parfum de Feuilles candle. It made a wonderful antidote to our recent awful weather: fresh, green, luscious.

When I first discovered l’Artisan I would travel uptown in NYC to the Madison Avenue jewel-box shop in the east 70s. It was a great place and the staff were wonderful.

Sadly, that, along with a lot of other standalone l’Artisan shops, closed when niche exploded and everyone and their mother was starting a perfume brand.

Now, l’Artisan, as far as I can tell, is online and much diminished regarding its stock.

But it’s a brand I definitely have a soft spot for.

So, what about you? Any l’Artisan loves? Anything discontinued you still hanker after?

Pics are mine

  • carole says:

    I love Leau de L’artisan, Fleur di Lianne, D’zing, Safran Troublant. I got really lucky and won Jour de Fete from a blog site I loved-it was incredible cause two weeks before that I won a bottle of Grandiflora Michel from the same site 🙂

    I also have their Winter candle, from a few years back, and I have a Tea for Two candle, which I bought last year and have not burned yet. I have an old catalogue, too, and it’s so charming with the pretty bottles and their original coloured labels. I used to have La Chaisse and Mure et Musc body oils, which I really liked. It was such a charming line but they took away so many of their charming and unique fragrances. They were never easy to find in Canada so I can’t say I visited their stores but I loved reading about other people’s experiences.

    • cinnamon says:

      I desperately wanted to love l’eau de l’Artisan. The whole idea sounded wonderful. But not on me. Sounds like you’re a lucky being winning all that swag. The l’Artisan candles I’ve smelled have been great.

  • AnnieA says:

    I have a bottle of Safran Troublant I don’t remember to wear often enough, and emptied a decant of Mimosa Pour Moi only to find it discontinued, alas.

    • cinnamon says:

      That’s the issue with l’Artisan: so many good things didn’t last. Is there someone somewhere in management who just shrugs their shoulders and says cost-benefit analysis no longer works?

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I’m still livid that L’Artisan discontinued Havana Vanille. I will admit that I haven’t really explored more of the line.

    • cinnamon says:

      I guess it was that period when houses were releasing stuff left, right and centre — and then things got a lot quieter.

  • Dina C. says:

    I own Premier Figuier Extreme, La Chasse Aux Papillons, and Seville a l’aube. I used to have a decant of Nuit de Tubereuse which I loved in the hot, humid summer. It read very tropical and spicy to me. Your candle sounds pretty and refreshing. I might have had a votive of it a long while ago.

    • cinnamon says:

      Premier Figuier was never my fig. I really wanted to be able to wear La Chasse but it went ashy on me. My problem with Seville a l’aube was I found the book really annoying, though I am sad she stopped writing her blog.

  • Pam Frasier says:

    Dzing! Which I wear when I’m working playing with our llamas so they know there’s more to them than poop and spit. I wear it other times too, but for me it’s an outside smell as I love the way it smells in the cool mornings and the hot afternoons. Same with my Seville a l’Aube. I know I love a sent when I leave the house in the morning and it mixes in a magical way with my rural Montana mountain home.
    I rely on your posts and Surrender to Chance for my full bottle purchases and have never been disappointed.
    Thank you!

    • Pam says:

      Scent. I really can spell.

    • cinnamon says:

      You and Tom on Dzing! We’ve entered both flood time and muck spreading on the fields so sometimes it’s really hard to decide what to wear that won’t be associated with annoying water or with awful stinky air.

  • Patty Wood says:

    I love my powdery Orchidee Blanche. It’s an iris scent, quite profuse. I use it sparingly. I have been told it is DC but it seems to turn up now & then, here & there. It comforts me, like an old friend. I intend to never be without it.

    • cinnamon says:

      I am not sure I ever sampled this one. It’s good when bottles of DC stuff pops up on eBay or sample sites.

  • March says:

    I don’t know which I still have (they’re packed away) but I had quite a few at one time. Mure et Musc and Passage d’Enfer, both of which I adore in different seasons, probably got the most wear. One of my very happy memories was spending a day in some Paris department store sniffing all of them, over and over, at their display. We also used to have a local DC boutique that carried them, now long gone, which I loved to visit.

    • cinnamon says:

      Interesting thought about unpacking and seeing what you have. Do you recall which Paris shop? I have realised that I’ve never done proper perfume shopping on Paris trips. How silly.

  • alityke says:

    Had so many LAP’s most of which I sold on. The two I still own are Jour de Fete & The Pour Une Ete.
    If you can contact me via IG (same name as on here) I’m happy to share some JdF. The 100ml bottle will last me out

  • Carolyn says:

    Hi Cinnamon,
    Your dog is super-cute! Oh yeah, perfume…
    I really wanted Timbuktu and Traversée du Bosphore to work for me, given their references to exotic locales, but, alas, the samples I tried were no-goes.
    I had much better luck with Batucada, a blind buy, no less. It’s a boozy freshie with opening notes of lime, mint, and sugar cane, the composites of the Caipirinha, Brazil’s favourite drink. I have not visited South America (yet) but I have enjoyed the national libation many times.

    • cinnamon says:

      Tx. He says he’s fabulous 🙂 I loved the idea of Mimosa pour Moi but it did absolutely nothing on me. Perfume and travel. Definitely!

  • Maya says:

    I like L’Artisan, but unfortunately they are all very short-lived on me. My two favorites have been discontinued, L’Eau du Navigateur and La Haie Fleurie.

    • cinnamon says:

      Agree that many are short-lived. I recall however that Mure et Musc was quite long-lived but that may well be in hindsight. Long time since I’ve sprayed it.

    • Anita Lane says:

      La Haie Fleurie was so lovely but fleeting.

  • Tom says:

    Dzing! was a fave and I still have a bottle buried that I bought from the shop on Madison Ave. I don’t think they make it anymore; I know a lot of people got barnyard but I liked it.

    • cinnamon says:

      Over the years they did some very ‘interesting’ stuff, most of which then disappeared. I wish I’d kept a bottle of Jour de Fete.

  • Portia says:

    Heya Cinnamon,
    L’Artisan was one of the few niche brands available in Australia when my craving fully kicked in. L’Eau d’Ambre was my very first purchase and there’s still a bottle of it in my collection, maybe my third? Over the years I’ve bought quite a lot, been in love for a while and then moved them on. Maybe 10 bottles still here that get worn. Also backups of Seville a l’Aube and Tea for Two because life would be a bit bleak without them and I’m never sure what will be DCd.
    I’ve also got a Caligna Shower Gel on the go currently.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      The amber never worked on me but I’ve always been curious about the amber ball thing. I think the candles can frequently be ‘deeper’ than the perfumes in l’Artisan’s case. I wish I had another Bosphore candle…

  • Maggiecat says:

    I have a tremendous respect for this brand, and what it’s done for niche perfumery. However, I’ve not yet found one that inspired true love for me. This is almost certainly a “me” problem, and I keep trying but no luck so far. (I haven’t tried the candles yet. Maybe…)

    • cinnamon says:

      Totally agree. It was such an eye opener decades ago to discover them. I do recommend the candles.

  • ElizaC says:

    Love l’Artisan! Some of my first perfume purchases. I’ve got a few! Turkish delight is one of my favorite sweets, so I had to get Traversée du Bosphore . Safran Troublant has such beautiful, foody vanilla and saffron! Séville à l’Aube is my favorite orange blossom perfume. Ananas Fizz is such a fun, summery pineapple and Coeur De Vetiver Sacre smells like barely sweetened apricot pie. It doesn’t look like they have any of these on their website. That is too bad, they are beautiful!

    • cinnamon says:

      There were so many over the years that sounded luscious and then disappeared. Wow, apricot pie. Will have to keep a lookout for that.

  • Tara C says:

    I love their Orchidée Blanche and Jacinthe des Bois, both long gone. Still treasuring my bottles of Traversée du Bosphore, La Haie Fleurie, Riviera Palace, Fleur d’Oranger, Timbuktu, Dzongkha, Tea for Two, Safran Troublant, Nuit de Tubéreuse, Séville à l’Aube, L’Eté en Douce, Patchouli Patch, Passage d’Enfer, Voleur de Roses, Fou d’Absinthe, La Chasse aux Papillons, Mûre et Musc, Jour de Fête, Noir Exquis and Mon Numéro 8. More than I remembered actually, had to check my shelf. I do love the brand and lament their decline, but they are still at least producing, even if the newer ones are less interesting to me.

    • cinnamon says:

      Wow, that’s a lot 🙂 Things like Patchouli Patch, Voleur de Roses and La Chasse didn’t work on me, sadly. The perfumes had great names over the years.