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Friday, March 30, 2007

Needle in a Haystack. Perfume Review: L'Artisan L'Ete en Douce

Today's post is a new installment in the Needle in a Haystack series, a joint project between Perfume-Smellin' Things and Aromascope. Ina and I fearlessly delve into the depths of our sample drawers, blindly pick samples and review them. This week, my random sample turned out to be L'Ete en Douce by L'Artisan. The fragrance has been originally released as a limited edition, under the name of Extrait de Songes. Annick Goutal, with their newly released Songes, took issues with the name, and L'Artisan withdrew the scent from the market, and later reissued it as L'Ete en Douce. Airy, gentle, transparent, the fragrance is very summery, very charming, very Giacobetti. Although there is nothing overly feminine in this understated blend, it makes me want to wear a very girly dress with a full skirt, perhaps even white gloves and a sun hat and to smile and twirl and generally behave completely out of character. Since L'Artisan doesn't have an ad for L'Ete en Douce, I decided to help them out. This is what a perfect advertisement for this little charmer of a scent would look like. L'Artisan, you are welcome:

The beginning of the scent scared me a little, in a sense that, with its barely-there musk and a hint of minty greenness, it was practically odor-less. But as soon as I started to grumble that it was yet another one of those scents that take understatement and minimalism to the ridiculous extreme, the floral accord started to blossom. I smelled a little orange blossom and a lot of linden. Now, linden is a very tricky note for me; in a lot of scents it has an incongruously gourmand, almost chocolat-like undertone, whereas I like my linden to smell greener, more ethereal. L'Ete en Douce achieves the desired effect by adding mint and hay to the blend. The former adds diaphanous coolness to the linden, the latter highlights the sweetly-green aspect of the note. The subtly-woody base further dries down (pun intended) the composition; quiet as it is, the fragrance lingers on the skin for quite a long time, finishing its development as a clean, musky skin-scent. L'Ete en Douce is refined and gentle, soft and gauzy; it strikes me as a kind of perfume that would be perfectly suitable for children as well as their elegant mamas. Little Miss Colombina and I must have a bottle for summer.

L'Ete en Douce is available at Barney's, $125.00 for 100ml.

Please visit Aromascope to read about Ina's Needle in a Haystack.

28 Comments:

Blogger Ina said...

You're in for a surprise, my sweets. There's ROSE in L'Ete en Douce. Yep! Rose, mint leaves, hay, white musk. You know you can trust me on this one. So, as much as you hate rose these days, it doesn't hate you back. L'Ete en Douce is indeed a seemingly barely there fragrance that sort of opens up on your skin when you least expect it. That said, it conjures up images of fresh, clean laundry drying in the back yard one summer afternoon... Ah, Sweet Summer! We need you!

10:43 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Ina,
I know that there is rose among the notes, but luckily I get none of it, not a tiny little bit, zilch, nada, nil. And I am very grateful for that :-) Can't wait for summer!

10:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

P.S. Love the ad! I should e-mail it to certain someone. ;D

10:46 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

You totally should :-)

10:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

Ah, OK, no surprise for you here then. I get very light rose, just a hint. I mostly get hay and white musk.

10:47 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

I get lotsa, lotsa linden. Not a big linden fan, really, but it works here, because it is light and gentle. Did they reformulate it when they re-released it?

10:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

I don't think they did. It smells identical to me. It's also exclusive to Barney's right now, and only comes in the large size.

10:51 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Loved the older bottle. Goutal people are so mean. But I actually think that this name suits the scent better than Extrait de Songes.

10:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous newproducts said...

This one sounds charming but not like something that I would crave. I'm still caught between my warm "winter scents" and more summery blends, just as the weather is. I'll see where my cravings take me on this sniffa!

1:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

I can't take La Chasse aux Papillons seriously because on me the linden is so pervasive. In my native country people drank linden tea to soothe their nerves and go to sleep. LCaP doesn't soothe me. It just sits there challenging me to think of it as a fragrance. I know I would bring out the linden in L'Ete en Douce. =:-0 (I don't want to insult any Chasse lovers. It's just my glitch.)

3:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous dinazad said...

Linden gets me very naughty. Seriously. I once had one of those headshop perfume oils in Linden, and the moment I put it on, my hormone levels went a-raging. When the linden trees on Bahnhofstrasse are in full bloom, so am I! Extrait de Songes (I only tried it under that name), however, was so ethereal that it put me to sleep before I noticed any notes at all.
Love the "Needle in the Haystack" idea! I've taken to choosing the scent of the day that way (blind grope in the decant-and-sample-box) whenever I'm undecided!

3:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous em said...

I just missed getting one of the last bottles of Extrait de Songes and keep forgetting L'Ete en Deuce is out now. I really loved the original and fortunately got none of the rose in it. Reading your review makes me seriously think I have to have a bottle for summer! And your ad? Excellent!!! :-)

6:35 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

When this version first came out, I discovered, through a fortunate mistake, that it was perfect for me when layered with L'Artisan Vetiver: Voila! L'Ete en not so Douce:). And yes, Independent Noses confirmed this as well (you are right, being an IN would be a wonderful job!) Unfortunately, my fragrance doesn't fit your lovely ad quite as well as the original:)

6:41 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Minsun,
I think I moved on from my winter scents. Apart from those that have leather, of course, or incense. Other than that, it's all about flowers and delicate thingies, like this one :-)

I'd love to hear a full report about Sniffa and to see pictures!!

7:38 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Maria,
I think they do the same in my country too. :-) Perhaps taken internally linden is soothing, for me the smell doesn't quite work that way. There is a discontinued Guerlain scent called Aromaparfum Apaisant/Soothing- thick, fluffy linden with that strange almost chocolatty undertone. If anything, it makes me more stressed :-)
But L'Ete, on the other hand, is actually quite soothing.

7:41 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

D,
Ooh, naughty linden! :-) Never thought about it that way, but at the very least the smell of linden trees in full bloom put me in a very romantic mood :-)

7:42 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

What a perfect ad! I tried this when it first came out and remember thinking it was nice, but decidedly not something I needed. I think for me it was the white musk - I wouldn't be at all disturbed to see that note banned from perfumery. It doesn't bother me in the way celery does, but it manages to throw a clean, bland blanket over scents that makes me lose my ability to appreciate them. Still, your powers of persuasion w/ this review have me thinking I need to go dig out my sample and retry this. I *want* a scent like that ad.

7:42 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

M,
Thank you!
The new bottle is boring and has that horrible bolt-like cap, but hey, it's all about the scent (it doesn't match the scent! :-(( )

7:43 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Judith,
That is a great idea, to layer it with Vetiver. No, the ad wouldn't do. We'd have to dress the girl in less feminine clothes, in earthier tones and make her pose in an aloof manner :-)

7:45 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

L,
I absolutely agree, white musk is capable of throwing a clean, bland blanket and making a composition bland. It doesn't quite happen here, but I don't think a scent would have lost any of it charm if there wasn't white musk. Not a fan of clean, white musks, me :-)

7:47 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

this sounds so lovely

2:09 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Great review, and do hope L'Artisan appreciates your efforts on their behalf -- love that ad!!

2:11 PM EDT  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

I actually have a large spray vial of the original Extrait de Songes, which was given to me by none other than Ina. :) It is very lovely.

2:26 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
It really is! :-)

2:31 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

R,
Thank you very much! :-) They can have it for a couple of bottles of something :-DDD

2:33 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

V,
I have a feeling that if I were to count, at least 60% of my samples would turn out to be from The Magnificent Enabler that is the lovely Ina :-)

2:35 PM EDT  
Blogger faizanjax said...

Sorry, to my nose this is extremely light and stays at that abstract minimalist level. I like how you tried to coax some substance out of this composition, but to me this is a very subdued, disappointing fragrance. Next!

11:18 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

F,
It is rather subdued. I believe when I tried it a while ago, when it was still called Extrait de Songes, I was disappointed. I guess I am now in the mood for this kind of a scent.

8:26 PM EDT  

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