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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Perfume Review: L'Artisan Dzongkha

Dzongkha, the latest scent by L’Artisan Parfumeur, is a new installment in the travel series that already includes Bois Farine and Timbuktu. Like the latter, Dzongkha was created by Bertrand Duchaufour, author of several other L’Artisan scents, a couple of Comme des Garcons (for example, Sequoia) and Paestum Rose, just to name a few. Dzongkha is said to have been inspired by the temples of Bhutan, called Dzongs.

Dzongkha is a quiet, introspective scent, a study in tasteful understatement. On my skin, it is most and foremost an iris fragrance. From the sweetly piquant beginning ornamented with cardamom, to to the earthier, spicier, almost savory heart of vetiver, incense and a subtle leather note, to the delicate, simultaneously sweet and strangely salty drydown of vetiver, some more cardamom, and a gentle, vaguely fruity accord (perhaps the lychee that was supposed to be in the top notes?), the iris is always present. Warm and spicy, cool and ethereal, earthy, bright and floral, the note here is a chameleon.

This is a soft, soulful blend that must be given time and perhaps a couple of testings before its quite charm will start working on a wearer. At least that is how it was with me. While at first I thought Dzongkha to be rather pale, indistinct and aloof, after a while its various warmer aspects and subtly spicy nuances became apparent and fascinating, and I realized that what I mistook for aloofness was in fact meditative tranquility.

The samples of Dzongkha are now available at First in Fragrance.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do I hear Iris? Must go in search of this.... =P do you think I will like it, oh fellow Iris-lover =)

11:26 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

well, I am going to have to read this at work tomorrow, since Safari on my 6 year old iBook cuts off the top of your review. But since I can read leather, cardamom incense and vetiver I am already going all Pavlof's dog. And you didn't even mention musk...

12:30 AM EDT  
Blogger AnyasGardenPerfumes said...

The description of notes makes it sound like a cool-weather scent. I think it would be more readily understood then, yes?

I'm wondering if the "saltiness" doesn't come from something other than vetiver, as you state. Perhaps oakmoss?

6:49 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Hmmmm. . . You make it sound nice, but not urgent--which is fine. I should be getting a sample soon, so we shall see. . .

7:36 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Your review gives me hope! Am quietly chanting leather, incense, cardamom and iris mantras so that my skin chemistry will have those notes be the dominant ones. I normally wouldn't even hesitate w/ notes like that, but Timbuktu had cardamom and lots of other uber desirable ingredients, yet it turned out to be one of my least favorite scents of all time. However, I adore the other scents you mentioned that he created. Can't wait to try this! Back to chanting note mantras...

7:55 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

So far, all the notes sing to me...

I'm only hoping it's not a skin scent- these days, I'm in posession of a number of them, and while they're duly wonderful, what ever happened to perfume as perfume?

I appreciate your pre-sniff sniff!

And I hope that you're over the B-day blues- you're too barely nubile and lovely [by all accounts] to succumb for long...

If it were funny, they'd call it "levity'- NOT 'gravity'-

Besides, getting older gives me carte blanche to be even more outre than I was years ago [ huzzah! more things to celebrate!].

I get away with murder now- and I like it...heh, heh...

Consider yourself kissed, and baked [luscious desserts] for-

[Did that make ANY sense?]

8:59 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Hmmmm... well, actually it's the vetiver I'm a little scared of. But since I either like or love most of the L'Artisans, I'm going to keep my hopes up.

9:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I got iris, but that might because I was hoping so much to get it. But no, seriously, on my skin, iris ruled. Here is hoping it will be as prominent on yours!

9:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I couldn't figure out, based on the official description, what it can possibly be like. On the one hand there are leather, incense, cardamom, on the other there are...peonies. But it is kind of neither too darkly-incencey-leathery, nor floral. A happy medium, very well balanced.

9:13 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it is one of those scents that are year-rounders. It is subtle enough for summer, but has enough body for winter. I honestly don't know where saltiness comes from or even if anyone else would get it too :-)

9:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is not an urgent kind of scent, you know? It is quiet and understated (at least on me), and one doesn't apply it for the first time and goes, Whoa! But it grows on you. The same happend to me with Bois d'Armenie and Sel de Vetiver. There is nothing striking about it, I guess that is what I am trying to say, but it is very charming.

9:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I was only chnating that I don't get any penies :-) And I didn't it. So the prayers to Perfume Goddesses sometimes help :-)

9:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wouldn't call it a skin scent, no.
Thank you very much for you kind words re: my b-day blues :-) I'd love to hear more about those murders you get away with...:-D

9:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yeah, vetiver was quite prominent on me too. So, given that and iris...fingers crossed Dzongkha actually behaves in enterile different manner on you. Perhaps it will be all incense and leather!

9:23 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Hmmmm. . . I know what you mean, but I loved Sel de Vetiver right away, and still haven't been fully persuaded by Bois d'Armenie (though I like it fine). It will be interesting to see where this falls on that scale. It SOUNDS great, that's for sure.

Now--what did you get for the big B-Day?? Did Mr. C. stick to The List? Inquiring minds want to know!

9:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you M, for the wonderful review. You have dimmed this lemming for me and intensified the lemming for Paestum Rose instead!If they're both incensy scents created by the same nose, I'd much rather try the rose than the iris please. :) Do you plan on reviewing PR any time soon? I would love to read your thoughts on it.

9:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I remember turning thirty......all of a year ago. :) It was not a happy birthday b/c my DH & I took a short trip and ended up fighting instead. >:( Thirty-one was better...and more fragrant.

9:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

He stuck to The List, and got the thing on The List that I wanted the most (well, it was the first thing there AND highlighted in bold :-)). Chanel Cuir de Russie. :-)

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I you want a review of Paestum, I'll do a review of Paestum next week. :-)
Thank you very much for your birthday wishes!

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

PS. and I am not surprised about stress and fights on one's 30s. All day yesterday I was ready to burst into tears at the slightest provication and was in general strangely touchy. Bizarre. :-)

10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yay for Chanel Cuir de Russie!! He has excellent taste (with a little help:)

10:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So he does. With a little help :-)

10:16 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

My favorite kind of comment. :-)

12:11 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Sounds like I liked this one much more than you did (no surprise there!), M, although I've hardly given it a proper try as yet. At any rate, have purchases so few bottles this year that I feel I must buy *something*, LOL...

12:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

But I liked it! Does it come across as if I haven't? I just wasn't wowed straightaway, but I do think it is FBW for me too :-) I can totally see you liking it though. *nods sagely*

4:05 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, I guess I thought you liked it but weren't absolutely wild about it. Glad to hear you are!

12:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

To me this is similar in feel - if not entirely in smell - as Passage D'Enfer. The two notes that come through the heaviest on me are the iris and papyrus so that it smells like the stony love child of Hiris and Gucci Homme. Can't say I'm going to need it, but it's nice.

12:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree about Passage and Hiris. I don't remember Gucci Homme, but have a feeling you'd be right about that too :-)

8:40 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its sexy and i have the best compliments of a perfume in a lifetime , drives women crazy.


9:59 AM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

ah...your descriptions. For many years I worked as a tutor editor, in Hebrew and Spanish, and so many writers couldn't possibly be brought to let themselves go off the expected, the tedious and the banal. But you know what makes a description, and in this mysterious field of fragrance, and of Dzonghka, which is rather hard to define. The lychee made me laugh, because it is some point a faint sweetness with a fresh liveliness comes in, late, like innocent love found late in life, too innocent to match the experience that by then must have been reaped.

6:32 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You write so beautifully, I think you should have a blog.

8:27 AM EST  

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