L’Artisan Carotte and other Oddities

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 Carottebaby 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?

  • Bela says:

    Oops, sorry about the double post. Clicked too soon. 🙁

  • Bela says:

    Lovely and fun blog! 🙂

    JFYI, Jacinthe des Bois = Bluebell

  • Bela says:

    Lovely and fun blog! 🙂

    JFY, Jacinthe des Bois = Bluebell

  • March says:

    Flora — the Carotte is just the greatest smell. I need to do a post on the lettuce soap I found.

  • Flora says:

    Tha Carotte sounds just lovely. I have not tried that one but I do love virtually all the L’Artisans I have tried.

  • March says:

    S — I get something rooty from Hiris too, but not enough to stop me from wearing it! To me, most iris frags smell a little rooty. But if that note dominates, I’d find it offputting too.

    I’m surprised the Gap stuff wasn’t more successful. I actually thought they were pretty good for the price point. I liked the Yuzu and the Peony.

  • March says:

    Carolyn — the Zeste looks like lemonade. It’s just so inviting, I can totally understand your desire! I keep trying it, wishing for a little less bergamot (sigh):(

  • cheezwiz says:

    The Zeste & Jacinthe L’Artisans sound awfully nice to me. I am iffy about the carrot, because on me root fragrances tend to smell like — root cellars. I thought Hermes Hiris was beautiful but kept getting an undertone of turnip which unsetteled me.

    Too bad about the MJ splashes, but that is waaay too much money for a splash. I will stick with my Gap stuff which I am quite fond of actually (I wear their Peony & Cassis fragrances all the time).

  • Carolyn says:

    Now I really want to try the Carotte. Sounds so nice, and different, for Summer. And does it show that I’ve lost my mind that the description and bottle for the Un Zeste d’Ete make me really thirsty? I think if that bottle were sitting here I might try to drink it.

  • March says:

    Robin — I tried them on, waited an hour, then went back and re-applied heavily. The Rain is fairly sweet. The Cotton smells vaguely like dryer sheets. The Grass just smells… randomly sweet to me, with a hint of produce. Like Healing Garden Cucumber. (How’s that for a slam?) I mean, if it were Healing Garden, it would be fine. They are not offensive, but they are EXTREMELY light, and even layered they are profoundly uninteresting. I was stunned by their inertia. I expected more from the house.

  • March says:

    Marina — which other one? Xanthos? PS I got yours today. I’m supposed to be WORKING=))

    Will get to these in the next day or two. Thanks!

  • March says:

    Katie — well, I was surprised, and frigging incensed, too. I think MJ Blush is a winner. His clothes are interesting. So I had a higher bar. Was it Gertrude Stein who said there is no there there? They’re… null. I actually had a mini-niche-perfume tantrum in front of the SA, who I think was contemplating calling security. (What is it about me and perfume that attracts the security personnel?) The Gap ones were BETTER.

  • March says:

    V, I’m just so tickled about Carotte. I was all primed for something really intense and green, like Vent Vert. And instead it’s this delicious, sweet baby carrot, and a little bit of garden dirt, I’ve decided. And kind of a lettuce smell.

  • March says:

    P, I wish the stupid Carotte bottle wasn’t $110. I guess it’s bigger? I wore it again this morning. It’s a great summer frag.

    The MJ — harrumph. You and I own a dozen better colognes.

  • Robin says:

    Wish the Carotte was part of the regular line. I think it was one of their better summer scents.

    Did you actually try the MJs on skin? I tried them all on a card, and wasn’t exactly enthralled but I did think the Grass was nice and worth further exploration. Of course they had no samples so that is all I can say about that.

  • Marina says:

    I thnk I just figured out what Hummingbird and…the other one really are. He he he. (maybe not, maybe I am mistaken)

  • Katie says:

    Heh, so the MJs are duds, and you know, that’s not too terribly surprising… it’s not exactly the concept really, so much as execution – just because they’re colognes does not mean by default they have to be bland I don’t think. Such a pity, really. But these “you can layer them!” concepts never quite seem to work out so well for any house except Hermes, and I think that is in large part because the Hermessences you can enjoy them very happily on their own. Even the lower end Gap ones didn’t really catch on like I think they would have preferred.

  • Victoria says:

    March, me too! L’Artisan was the first niche line I discovered and everything went downhill from then on. Fleur de Carotte is such a lovely fragrance. Should we petition L’Artisan to bring it back?

  • Patty says:

    The Carrot, on damn you! :(( I have been so curious about this one for so long and now I’m going to have to hunt this sucker down.

    The Marc Jacobs, agree. I sniffed these and then immediately forgot what they smelled like. The SA, who was furiously spraying cards for me, said it was for summer. All in all, I’d far rather splash on some 4711 or Eva.