L’Artisan Parfumeur has launched L'Orient, a new collection of five fragrances: Bois des Sables, Contes du Levant, Fables d'Orient, Légendes du Cèdre and Ode à l’Oudh.
L’Artisan Parfumeur opens the doors of the Orient and urges to dream. This collection of tales and legends offers an East praised by dreams and fables and celebrates a rich and opulent nature. Being guided by his emotions, the perfumer Christophe Raynaud sowed in these stories some native ingredients of an Orient of wonders: Turkish rose, saffron, cedar, incense. An idealised, reinvented Orient, a nod to the ancestral and mysterious cradle of perfumery.
Bois des Sables ~ "There can be no clearer or more encompassing depiction of the perfumer’s creative obsession, crystallised around one idea: wood, wood and more wood! It was incredibly bold to create this woody bouquet, skilfully composed, blending patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, oud and cedar in a bed of unctuous vanilla that beautifully coats this wood "forest" to nourish and then tenderise it. "This fragrance embodies the richness and generosity of woods by combining Cypriol, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Gorjum, Cedar and Gaiac with the smoothness of Vanilla. " Christophe Raynaud"
Contes du Levant ~ "In a simple and clear writing, the perfumer wanted to capture the green and spicy scent of a Damask Rose treated in majesty, just infused with sumptuous notes of incense and patchouli. He succeeds in putting in tension the freshness of this Turkish rose and the addictive warmth of the pepper and ciste trio. This fragrance, entirely structured around the favourite flower of the Orientals, deploys its aura of mystery on the skin. "This fragrance features three vibrant peppers - white, pink and black - to enhance the iconic rose du levant, majestic in each of its facets, on a mysterious and bewitching patchouli base.” Christophe Raynaud"
Fables d'Orient ~ "You have to imagine a "flower milk" that has been brought to life in the perfumer's mind. It is a material, a texture as much as a smell. Its incarnation is the sun-radiated heliotrope flower with its unctuous and creamy fragrance. The nutmeg, with its warm, peppery scent, makes it irresistibly addictive. The last piece of the puzzle, ensuring the fragrance blends with the skin, is the magical vibration of amber and the cottony comfort of musk, which close the accord on a sensual and comforting note. "This is an oriental fragrance that celebrates amber and the most beautiful and precious resins of frankincense and myrrh, wrapped in white iris petals and the comfort of overdosed musks. " Christophe Raynaud"
Légendes du Cèdre ~ "The perfumer wanted to create an almost mystical emotion of what he nicely calls a "woody nectar" built around a creamy cedar with warm and gourmet accents of saffron and muscade nuts. The presence of the enchanting resins of ciste and labdanum evokes the warm earth of the Orient. This innovative combination of cedar and fiery spices dyes this perfume with an aura of mystery and makes the journey madly enigmatic. "This fragrance is a woody nectar built around a creamy cedar with saffron accents”. Christophe Raynaud."
Ode à l’Oudh ~ "The perfumer had long dreamed of a fruit liquor with floral accents, as sweet as a flow of honey down the throat, with the effect almost of a mysterious potion. He made it the beating heart of the perfume, the soul, the very essence of his creation. Even in the base, the perfumer has favoured simplicity: a leathery-animal note suggested by oud wood, resonating perfectly with saffron and vanilla bean. A signature fragrance with the necessary roundness and comfort. "This fragrance reflects the delicious opulence of vanilla, coloured with spices and adorned with vibrant woods. " Christophe Raynaud"
L’Artisan Parfumeur L'Orient Bois des Sables, Contes du Levant, Fables d'Orient, Légendes du Cèdre and Ode à l’Oudh are available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum, £160 each.
I’m rather shocked at the unapologetic use of the label “Orient” here, haven’t the French read Edward Said yet?
I had the same thought, both about the use of the term “Orient” and about the equally unapologetic Colonial-era-sounding exoticism of it all.
I do like the idea of “flower milk,” though…
I agree. It seems super tone deaf to release this now while changes have started to be made to move away from “oriental” and the “Orient” in perfumery.
Hah! I got totally stuck on that as well and couldn’t digest the other information about the fragrances. I feel like there may be a way to think about “the Orient” as a mythical space in the Western psyche–Maybe. Especially because Oriental perfumes is a distinct perfume genre. But here the Orient is used both as a identifier of a fictional tradition–“An idealised, reinvented Orient, a nod to the ancestral and mysterious cradle of perfumery,” and as a geographical location–but ahistorical and even the countries themselves are sort of conflated— into cedars (presumably Lebanon?) and saffron (presumably India?), etc.
Guess this is by Occident!
Thank you for the laugh!
Really though, this isn’t much different than other recent releases — Penhaligon’s Constantinople, for instance. Seems like the mistake is mostly in the name of the collection.
I do understand people who would like to rename the Oriental fragrance family, but if perfumes can’t be inspired by other places, or by fragrance materials that came from a specific geographic region, hey, that’s a big chunk of fragrance marketing…. Just a few more recent examples: Comptoir Sud Pacifique Yucatan Secret, Karl Lagerfeld Alster Hamburg, etc etc. Gallivant Bukhara? Avon Ginza Stefany?
Are we ok with Chanel Paris Edimbourg? Paris-Venise? And if so, why? Are we still ok with Traversee du Bosphore? Is Chant de Camargue ok because it is made by a French company? What if it was made by a company somewhere else?
I am not arguing for or against anything, just think that if we want PCness in fragrance, there should be consistency about what is acceptable.
I personally would rather not see fragrance marketing that contributes to the othering of any peoples / cultures, but frankly given today’s geopolitical / economic reality, what looks to one person like othering might really be a mistaken notion about who the fragrance is being marketed to in the first place…I know L’Artisan under Puig is trying to expand in China and the Middle East.
Robin, this is why I made my comment last week about being disappointed with a comment I read. It’s not a violation of the comment policy but to me, it’s a sign of wokeness that have permeated society where there truly is not a place for wokeness. Of course this is just my opinion.
Ah. Well I’m glad it was not something outside the comment policy, and I’m going to assume that nobody was trying to be hurtful. (I hope?)
Just to clarify, I am not disappointed in anybody’s comments today, and I have no general beef with wokeness although mostly that’s a discussion outside of our comment policy parameters
But perfume, yeah — most perfume marketing is so incredibly UNWOKE, and fragrances are marketed in ways that are easy enough to find offense with, if you want to, based on gender or culture or lack of honesty or luxury pricing or wasteful packaging or whatever. I don’t mind what anybody takes offense at, even if I don’t take offense at it, but I think if we’re going to reconsider the use of the term oriental, we need to be consistent about what we’re objecting to.
Tania Sanchez from Harper’s Bazaar:
“European cultures have historically fetishized and sexualized Asian people and cultures, and perfume marketing has unfortunately often played into this harmful fantasy.”
I mean, yes, and I have no beef at all with replacing the word oriental as a fragrance family (actually I think it’s a good idea), but consider for a moment who/what/where hasn’t been fetishized and sexualized in perfume marketing? Seriously.
(And today I am wearing Assam of India, from what is essentially a collection based on cultural appropriation. India, oh, that would be tea and elephants, right? )
The Berdoues Voyage collection is so laid back that it’s hard working up the energy to be annoyed!
Well, Edward Said has been dead for nearly 20 years & his influence has also waned over those decades so it’s understandable if he wasn’t forefront in their minds. I’m guessing the ‘shock’ is newfound as I don’t remember any controversy when Tom Ford launched his Atelier D’Orient collection a few years ago with among others Shanghai Lily , Fleur de China & Plum Japonais ?
Interestingly this presentation strikes me as more tone deaf than Tom Ford! Maybe it’s the golden empire 80s visuals?
Or maybe we expect Tom Ford, talented as he may be, to be tacky in his pursuit of sales, but we expect a little higher tone from a house like L’Artisan?
Given that L’artisan is owned by Puig I’m not sure why you expect a higher tone? I’m trying to think of a Puig brand that would fall into the ‘higher tone’ category…this is the company that brings us Antonio Banderas, Paco Rabanne & Carolina Herrera
I guess there is the actual company that holds the brand which differs a bit from the brand image. L’Artisan has more of a ‘niche’ history and it does contrast a bit with the more main stream brazen image of Tom Ford.
My favourite unPC line has to be the Parfum d’Empires but unfortunately no longer available here.
Interestingly – when I google ‘perfume oriental appropriation’ I get a page of results about Dior’s Savauge advert. So, that’s what seems to have garnered the most throw back from us fickle perfumistas
Yeah but L’artisans niche days are far behind them & they lost a lot of their character when they rebranded into the new bottles. At least they have fared slightly better than another brand Puig bought out -Penhaligons where plastic animal shaped lids rule the day !
I haven’t tested all of L’Artisan’s old ones and most of their new ones but I very much like Violaceum – not least for the name – but which I also find odd, upbeat and peculiar all at once.
With Penhaligons I find it strange how they satirise their own British upper class audience.
Mock them – then take their money!
Ah, where would we be without Orientalisme.
It’s 2021 and the continuation of exoticising and festishizing in perfumery is unbelievable and the condoning of it is even worse. Just because people do it, doesn’t make it right. This is internalized misogyny and colonialism in fancy packaging.
It doesn’t matter that Edward Said’s work is from the 1970’s when Orientalism is still pervasive. The problem is, these types of fantasies are never consensual.
From L’Artisan’s website, “L’Artisan Parfumeur opens the doors of the Orient and urges to dream. This collection of tales and legends offers an East praised by fables and celebrates its rich and opulent nature.” Where do these door open to??
Why don’t marketers just leave out “The Oriental Fantasy” part and focus on the olfactive? It’s possible to create fragrance and dreamy scentscapes without dehumanizing people.
If L’Artisan is trying to market to China and the Middle East, you would think they would do some research and create products that are not offensive to people from that region. Eau de Colonialism is so passé.