Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire – Cologne Noire and Lys Carmin

We have come to the last two in this series.

Notes of lily, ylang, vanilla, sandalwood and peppercorns compose Lys Carmin. The name is very apt. This is a spiced-up lily.  I get used to the more common pristine, virgin’ish lily, the one of Easter and springtime. This lily is more the in full bloom of summer.  It’s ripe and the stamen is spreading all of that yellow dust that gets all over your hands. It’s almost messy, but not quite. This is probably my least favorite of the six. Not sure why exactly, but I get almost a plasticky smell from it. I really like the spiciness and the angle they were taking, but it just doesn’t seem to work on my skin. If anyone else has smelled this and gets a different take on it, please post your thoughts.  After several hours, I did wind up liking it  more as that plastic smell seemed to fade, but the fading also muddied it a bit on me.  Liked it okay, didn’t love it.

Cologne Noire, while giving more of a nod to the masculine fragrances, is the one of the six that is the most unisex.  Created by Mark Buxton with notes of ginger, cardamom, pepper, bergamot, bitter orange, mandarin and wood notes.  Octavian reviewed it, and I’m not sure there is much I can add to his excellent review. It does carry the spiciness in a cool way. Not ice cold.  It dries down to a lovely woodsy scent, but still carrying the spices, deepened with incense.  It carries the Mark Buxton olfactory stamp, so if you already have a Mark Buxton that you love, you probably don’t need this one.  I definitely like it, but it fails to move me in some transcendant way towards my wallet.  If you were missing the Mosbudd whatever thing, this is pretty close to it.

So two of these that didn’t turn out as well on me. I guess it’s good that only four of the six won me over, but that’s a really good batting average.

Since the blog was down last week when I did the announcement of the drawing for two sample sets, I’m going to make it three and draw from commenters on this post and the one last week.

We do think the blog is working again. We finally got the upgrade notice to a new software version that’s been out a while, so we think some of the weirdness may be fixed.  I sure hope it is!!

Moving on.  Has anyone sniffed the Cartier things yet? I read a couple of quite notes on Basenotes that they were fine, but not that special.  At 225-250 (?) per bottle, I guess they have a higher bar to get over, but I’m still anxious to sniff them since Cartier’s stuff is normally pretty interesting, or has been.

  • Lavanya says:

    Would love to smell this. Please enter me in the draw! Thanks!
    I love the idea of a spiced lily. But the plasticky smell doesn’t sound inviting. Maybe it is just a chemistry thing. Must try.

  • Theresa says:

    Please enter me in the draw. There’s definitely a few in there that sound great, but I guess I’m hoping against hope I won’t fall in love b/c they’re certainly pricey!

  • Janet in CA says:

    The gardenia sounds lovely. Lilies and I are coming to an understanding. I would love to be in the draw!


  • Laura M says:

    Please enter me, Patty. The muguet and the iris sound lovely. You certainly haven’t made the lily out to be anything great, but we sniffers will try anything once, at least! Thanks. Glad to see y’all are up and running again. I first thought it was just me!

  • Tara C says:

    To be fair, I decided to try these again. Still a no-go for me. All I got was vaguely sweet candy-wrapper from the Lys and the Muguet, Orchidee Vanille was blah, Cologne Noire was too masculine, and the Gardenia Petale petered out after only 1/2 hour. The only one I would wear is the Bois d’Iris, and then only if it was a gift. So please don’t waste the samples on me! 🙂

  • CynthiaW says:

    Ooh, I’d love to try these. I’ve only been able to smell them on cards so far and I’m dying to see what they would smell like on skin. I love the Mugeuet Blanc on the card and would love to see if it holds that beauty on my skin.

  • carter says:

    Neither of these are calling my name. I do like lily if handled right — Un Lys is something I will when I am in a mood for sweet and lovely, which isn’t often but it does happen — but heavy, syrupy funeral in the heat lily is nauseating and my stomach cannot take it for the duration.

    Still, the others are high on my list to try, so I’d love to be entered again for the draw 🙂

  • Jemi says:

    “spiced up lily” sounds delicious. Please enter me in the draw!

  • Lara says:

    Please enter me in the drawing (again?) I, too, think mine dissappeared from the last VC&A review.

  • Amy H says:

    All this talk about the new VC&As makes me want to try them all. Please enter me in the draw!

  • Abyss says:

    Thanks for the reviews! I can’t wait to try these but I’m nowhere near a store so I’ll have to wait until the next time I’m in London. I suspect Gardénia Pétale will be right up my street but they all sound pretty good and worth a sniff.

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    My comment on the last go-round disappeared, so I’m very happy you’re adding to the drawing! Please put my name in the hat; I’d love to try these!

  • violetnoir says:

    Ooh, I can’t wait to sniff the Cartiers, too, Patty!


  • Nina Z. says:

    Oh, I’d love to be included in the draw (I think my comment on the previous post has disappeared). I stopped by NM to sniff Orchidée Vanille and was quite taken with it, but the SA said NO SAMPLES. (Your writing about your father’s funeral was beautiful, by the way. Has yoga philosophy had any influence on you?)

    • Patty says:

      Mean SAs!!! I swear, they are so ungenerous.

      Yoga has had a pretty big impact on how I view/live life. It’s slowly changing and evolving, and it’s not what I thought it would be. It’s more embracing who I am, the yucky parts and the cool parts. I’ll get around to writing about it one of these days!

  • T-Rex says:

    Please enter me in the drawing! I was too late to get my name in the hat the last time. 🙂

  • HollyGolightly says:

    I love the idea of a rough-around-the-edges lily; please include me in the draw!

  • Francesca says:

    Posse has been up and running well here since Sunday, thank Goddess. I was having heavy sweating and the shakes. Thanks for fixing it!

    • Patty says:

      We didn’t actually do anything! To break it or fix it, it’s our hosting company that seems to be having some server or DNS problems or something else I don’t really want to understand that I used to understand when I was still interested in the magic behind the internets.

  • Fernando says:

    It’s frustrating, sometimes, to live out in the boonies… The new VC&A set sounds like I want to smell them, but not enough that I want to spend money buying decants. Or drive three hours to get to Boston. So here’s hoping I’m one of the Chosen Ones.

  • mals86 says:

    Just in case my comment on the earlier post got eaten, please enter me in the draw. Would love to smell these.

    “Fails to move me in some transcendent way toward my wallet” is one of the most succinct wrap-ups I’ve read in a review. Thanks for that one!

    I do love the spicy, heady scent of summer lilies; Donna Karan Gold smells of my stargazer lilies to me and I love it. Exciting new development on the home front: after months of eye-rolling from my makeup-and-fashion-averse teenage daughter over “Mom’s perfume obsession,” yesterday she came home from school and asked for perfume. (!) She sniffed over most of my wardrobe, and finally picked, yes, Gold. I’m so proud.

    • Shelley says:

      🙂 to the Gold.

      I was thinking of asking, Patty, how you would compare VCA lily to that of DK Gold; peppercorns and spice suggest something a little spikier around the edges than the smooth operator Gold feels like to me. Like I said, am now curious enough to seek it out and find out what it’s about.

      • Patty says:

        It’s definitelly spicier. I remember Gold as being pretty heady and opulent. This one is rich, but spicy. If it didn’t have that plastic smell on me, it would be pretty perfect. So I think if it’s my skin an dyou don’t get it, lily lovers should like it a lot.

    • Patty says:

      I’m trying to remember Gold. I liked it, but I think it was too opulent for me to wear more than once in a blue moon. My love for lillies runs more to the Lys Mediterranee and Vanille Galante variety. I love them live, but they can be overpowering in a closed room quick.

  • Shelley says:

    Lily, Lily, Lily. Plasticky & vulgar? Sounds like you’ve got a Munster on your hands. 😉

    Of course, my interest is bizarrely piqued, and now I want to try that one just to see what happens. ‘Sokay…one more reason to go hunt these down and sample. For beauty and more. I understand what you mean by the Cologne being nice but not worth gyrations if you’ve already got something of that ilk.

    A couple of hoorays for the day: Yay, the Posse is back running! Yay, fall has definitively arrived! 🙂 I wore Nu with much happiness yesterday. Oh, the choices I will have…

    • Patty says:

      It wasn’t great, and I really wanted to love it, but it just hit that Barbie head note that didn’t make me very happy at all.

  • Michelle H says:

    Add me in to the draw please, I would love to smell these and see if I want to invest in some bottles. So many awesome reviews about these scents on blogs! Thanks for linking to Octavian, btw.

  • Ooh I’d love to try these!

  • Debby H says:

    Yes – please enter me – I’ve searched for my comment from the last post and can’t find it. These sound beautiful! Thanks.

  • Sue says:

    When are the Cartier hours officially being released? The conceit intrigues me, but the price is very high. Are they housed in giant bottles likes Les Exclusifs?

  • Nita says:

    I think my last comment disappeared- please enter me! Thanks!

  • Christine says:

    I’d love to be entered in the draw. Thank you!

  • aubrey says:

    I actually liked the Cologne Noire. It’s cold and heady on my skin, but smells comfy at the same time. I’m not normally a fan of cardamom, and this was one of the only frags with that note that has ever worked on me. Please enter me!!

  • Erin T says:

    Please enter me (again? I can’t remember if my comment got eaten…) I am particularly interested in the Bois D’Iris, but oddly the Muguet and Gardenia are calling my name, too, and I usually have some issues with LoTV and the blue cheese smell. Thanks for such great reviews of these, P.

  • Klara says:

    The whole Van Cleef Extraordinaire line sounds very well made. But I’m sure that it won’t be available where I live. Please enter me in the draw. Thank you!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Please enter me – I’d love to try these. I liked several on cards, but didn’t try them on skin. Thanks!

  • Ah, Musette, you and I need to invent a musk-trap so we can wear perfumes that are fine till the musk smacks us in the nose.
    I don’t care if it’s called pink, light, white, or barely there musk, I can smell it and it’s not nice on me.

    Meanwhile–I thought I would love Cologne Noire, enough to buy a bottle. Lucky I spent one more day with the sample. It simply vanishes on me with just a tiny hint of sourness in 15 minutes. No fair. The opening is lovely.

    • Patty says:

      No way!!! The tenacity on me was pretty astounding. I can still smell it faintly while I’m waiting on Chanel to call me back before I can go shower.

  • Kim says:

    pricey! funny but newer ‘series’ releases make the Chanel Exclusifs seem a bargain. I’m always up to try a Buxton though so am interested in the draw. The Cologne Noire sounds like it has possibilities.

    • Patty says:

      Woody incense lovers should really like Cologne Noire. I don’t know that it will vault you over the fence or anything, but it’s incredibly lovable.

  • Musette says:

    I’ve had a hard time with lily. I thought I was wildly in love with Lys Mediterranee but that blasted MUSK! sneaked in at the bottom of the ninth….

    I wish I could get past that. Funny that I used to love the stuff (Jovan Musk, baby! Musk Oil! Muskrat Love!)…but now it usually doesn’t work for me, especially where it seems to be most prevalent – the drydown of a lot of scents. I fell hard for Beige – until the drydown. Ditto Drama Nuui (though, as I continued to wear it, it seemed the musk crept up until it was nearly at the open)…

    …but enough of my pain.

    This whole collection, though, sounds pretty interesting.

    Sudden dip in temps here – yesterday it was broiling, today we’re in heavy sweaters and jackets! Perfect Madame Jolie weather.

    xoxo >-)

    • Patty says:

      Really, ixnay on the musk? But the civet at max dosage is okay? 🙂

      We go back and forth. Beautiful one day, 30s the next. My layering is getting ridiculous, as is my turning on and off of fans/swamp coolers, opening and shutting windows.