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Monday, December 27, 2010

In a Holiday Humor: L'Artisan Coeur de Vetiver Sacre & Amouage Memoir Man

By Marina

With Coeur de Vétiver Sacré, L'Artisan Parfumeur promises to take the wearer to the "magic East". On my skin, the fragrance never makes it quite that far. It goes down Queens Blvd and Long Island Expy, with final destination being my favorite Russian grocery store, called Monya & Misha, in Rego Park. Not very magic, you say? Well, when one is craving one's ancestors' food, it is! Inside the store we head right to the pickles section. Monya & Mitya has a big table with buckets full of barrel-marinated tomatoes, gherkins, cabbage, name it, they marinate it. That unglamorous, badly lit little section might just be my favorite place in all NYC. To put a long story short, and you've already guessed it, Coeur de Vétiver Sacré smells to me like pickles or rather like that whole corner at Monya & Mitya's...a green, dill-like, raw, earthy aroma, slightly rotting in the most appetizing manner. Coeur de Vétiver Sacré might disappoint the hardcore vetiver fans; were it not for "vétiver" in the name, I wouldn't have guessed that the composition was meant to be vetiver-centered. I am not complaining though. To a Russian, pickles (with a shot of icy vodka to raise a toast to New Year) are indeed sacré.

When one over-indulges, one wants to detox, not in the least to detox spiritually. Here is where Amouage Memoir Man comes in. With notes of basil, mint, lavender, absinthe, frankinsence, leather and a whole bunch of other good stuff, on me it basically smells of piney insense. The chilly herbs are fairly pronounced, the leather is not, the base is all cedarwood...but overall my impression is just that- cold, piney incense. This is the scent of a brisk walk in the morning, the kind of morning that Pushkin described as "frost and sunshine"...the snow is shining, the air is biting your throat with its iciness...everything is suddenly clear and quiet in your head and your walk through a pine forest to a small wooden church, you inhale the incense, you are at peace with yourself and the world...

A bit of a jump from Rego Park, Queens, to Pushkin's Russia, but hey, such is a transportive power of perfume. Quite possibly, neither of the fragrances smell on me as creators intended, but hey, that's skin chemistry and cultural background for ya. And finally, expertly and seriously written reviews these were not, but hey, Holidays should be fun.

Which fragrances smell on you like nothing you'd expect from the list of notes, surprising you with odd associations? Do share!

Coeur de Vetiver Sacre is available at Barneys, $135.00 for 100ml; Memoire Man can be found at Luckyscent, $260.00 for 100ml.
Image is by Steven Meisel.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice reviews, we love pickles and pine forests here, too! Weren't these two perfumes both done by Karine Vinchon-Spehn? How does the pine compare to Fille En Aiguilles?

1:37 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, that you post this today! I smelled the L'Artisan the other day and was immediately transported to a delikatessen in New York standing in front of the giant dill pickles they have there. We have amazingly similar associations with this fragrance, I'm glad you posted them, I thought myself quite odd ;)
The Amouage I have yet to try, sounds very nice. What would you think is the best perfume from Amouage to start getting to know the line?

5:52 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I believe Memoire Man is by Jacques Flori, of Messe de Minuit fame. I'd say, compared to Fille, this one is much drier and colder, with basically no sweetness.

8:00 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am glad to hear that, didn't expect anyone to agree!!
With Amouage I'd do it in chronological order, to see how they changed over time. Gold-Reflection-Jubilation 25 or Lyric Woman or Ubar-then one of the Opuses, maybe...

8:03 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, M! So much to smell, so little time :)

9:06 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Exactly, I know I'll never catch up.

9:07 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

{laughing} Spasibo! Now I shall raise my sample vial to you and toast "To Pickles!" whenever I try my own portion of Coeur de Veitiver Sacre.

I get it; I'm not sure I'll ever get out of it now. ;) Which may not be a bad thing, incidentally; my first run with it, I was busy observing how once again my nose/skin seemed to be steering it toward sweet. Dill and earthy will help.

Have not tried Memoire Man, but your placement of it as detoxifying reminds me of how I reacted to Lyric Man. It was oddly disappointing, in that I had been expecting some rich opulence a la Lyric Woman. Not so. Much lighter, much more transparent, much perkier/pepperier general, more a (interesting) cologne than anything you could chew on.

Not a complaint or endorsement, mind you, just what it was. :)

Maybe I'll suit up in CdVS and watch Crossing Delancey. :)

9:15 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I had to google the movie :) I see the connection now! :) I can also see where and how CdVS would be sweet..SWEET PICKLES :)

9:17 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I am cracking up over the Russian pickles and icy vodka that you smell in L'Artisan.
I did not get to try Memoir Man, the Woman was so strong, I had to put the blotter outside my office, and then people in the corridor started to complain. I do not dare wearing it on my skin yet.

12:54 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

yeah, Memoire Woman dies not subscribe to notion that less is more :)

12:56 PM EST  
Blogger Vintage Lady said...

I must say lately it is Eau d´Epices by Tauer Perfumes. Why? Because I have been several times to the Middle East, in different countries, and I though, through the notes I read, that it would be a trip back there. But it didn´t happen. Instead, it took me to another time, really, and a trip to the Middle East I had never had until I smelled this perfume. It brought me a new sensation, perhaps more pure. It was all a discovery to me.

Another one would be Flapper by Opus Oils, because it literally made me feel I was smelling old leather gloves, and not a hint of glittery flapper flower times. And I must say I really loved it, it was humid, it was old. I loved it.

1:10 PM EST  
Blogger Katy Josephine said...

Love your description of both Coeur de Vetiver Sacre and Amouage Memoire Man - now I must try both! A perfume that smells like pickles...hmmm.

I would have to say that Amouage Lyric Woman was the most recent perfume that was NOTHING like I thought it would be based on the notes. What read interesting and dark was, in reality, cloying and sweet on my skin. It's been awhile since a perfume was so...disappointing.

1:18 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Vintage Lady
I love how you describe the scent of Flapper!

3:33 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I totally see how Lyric can be like that, although like it myself.
Have you tried their Memoire?

3:35 PM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Do I have a different Vetiver Sacre??? I just get vetiver on the beginning and then gorgeous, earthy, strong , warming black tea. No pickles and no dill, thanks god - I'm not much of a pickle-fan!

3:57 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd love to smell yours!

4:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Sturdgeon said...

I could have sworn that some sandalwood CO2s masqueraded as maple syrup. I'm always tempted to pour them over pancakes :-)

11:21 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

So well noted, the maple aspect!

10:10 AM EST  

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