Les vacances, 3 from L’Artisan Parfumeur

Now that August is finally here it’s time for me to start the countdown until my own summer holiday begins, which will happen on 30th day of this month. With currently reoccurring waves of hotter and milder weather I tend to seek for help among perfume, as there are quite many that are able to tame the heat and make you feel better on a hot day. Last week my head turned to the brand of L’Artisan Parfumeur again (this happens sometimes, even if I’m not devoted fan) because of three fragrance samples that arrived at my doorstep thanks to a generosity of a friend in Germany. A day with each made me realize that they are perfect for summer and for holidays, therefore they should get some praise from me since there’s still enough time to enjoy our beloved citrus.


Sur l’Herbe (shown left) begins with a vibrant neroli note. As soon as you spray a little bit of it on your skin, this white floral bouquet will start to bloom. Neroli here is very pretty – quite citrusy with a delicious orange undertone mingling somewhere in the background of essence distilled from orange flowers. Very soon it becomes a little bit more juicy as it if had some lemon too and then it starts to emanate with radiance. Composition of this fragrance contains something that is called a solar accord. I don’t know exactly how it smells but if impression of a skin warmed by the sun with a hint of sunbathing oil is accurate then that would be it. Handful of white musk adds an interesting facet to Sur l’Herbe. Thanks to it the fragrance smells clean but not in a soapy way. To me it’s smelling more like fresh bed lining or a white towel drying outside on a string. Ambery notes add unexpected warmth. As if the perfumer tried to capture the sunlight inside of the bottle. There’s something sensual about it too. Moreover Sur l’Herbe is quite a spacious scent. It has some sort of volume and freedom – the notes are not cluttered but are put together more freely. Oxygen accord provides the impression of a breath of the morning air after the night rain. When cool and pure air fills our lungs. This eau de cologne created by Fabrice Pellegrin was inspired by Le Dejeneur Sur l’Herbe, a painting by Edouard Manet. Its longevity is around 4 hours when applied sparingly.

Au Bord de l’Eau (shown middle) has a super juicy opening. Seconds after it’s sprayed on the skin it reveals a mouth-watering lemon note that is so true to reality that you’ll want to check if someone next to you is actually squeezing a half of this yellow citrus. It has a smell that balances on the edge between sweet & sour. Once bergamot joins the composition the fragrance gains more tanginess and zestiness, making it feel very delicious and refreshing at the same time. Next a hint of neroli appears. It feels like the same type of gently floral, orange-tinged bouquet that is full of sunlight. There’s just much less of it compared to Sur l’Herbe. Further into fragrance development the orange hue fades away, making space for a newly appearing verdancy. The green colour of Au Bord de l’Eau becomes more intense over time, going from pastel green to more brighter shades but never becoming over saturated. It’s green character is hard to define at first, it feels kind of herbal and leafy. Finally rosemary arrives to claim reign over the green accord. It’s herbaceous and green aroma feel almost edible & when I smell it I feel as if I was taken to a little garden somewhere by the Mediterranean Sea. After a while Au Bord de l’Eau seems to be watering down a bit (the l’eau part) and begins to display violet note in a graceful way. At first this flower feels watery, ozonic and kind of crisp but then it reveals more powdery & sweet facet. The drydown is musky and I find it analogical to Sur l’Herbe, as it also smells like a clean cotton – soft and fluffy. This fragrance ends with a light hint of cedarwood. This eau de cologne was also created by Fabrice Pellegrin and was inspired by Au Bord de l’Eau, a painting by Claude Monet. Its longevity is around 4 hours as well.

Histoire d’Orangers (shown right) is another ode to neroli. It starts with a delicate scent of orange flowers. At the beginning it’s sheer and transparent, like a gentle lace or a see-through fabric. After a while neroli facet intensifies a little bit, still remaining very graceful. Even when stronger it has a clean, soapy smell that provides freshness. Couple of minutes later neroli is followed by white tea accord. You can tell it’s arriving when orange hue becomes slightly green on the edges. Tea note brings something peaceful and serene to Histoire d’Orangers, it’s like a whisper inviting to relaxation. I even found something slightly powdery in this note. Another important element of this composition is Helvetolide, a synthetic musk with a slightly fruity side. It introduces something crystalline to the perfume. It’s also warm and later develops into similar fluffy cotton that embraces the wearer. I’d love to wear Histoire d’Orangers on a lazy day I’d spend on reading a book in a hammock. In the heart there’s one more fraction of orange blossom goodness in a form of the absolute of this white flower. Compared to neroli it feels more citrusy, with an unmistaken orange aroma. It also feels a little bit oily with a hint of rustling petitgrain verdancy. Base of the fragrance features Ambrox molecule that adds lovely ambery tones that make the perfume warmer and longer lasting. Finally tonka bean brings something aromatic to the blend with a tiny hint of something creamy and spicy. Perfumer behind Histoire d’Orangers is Marie Salamagne & unlike previous colognes, this one comes in eau de parfum concentration. It lasts for around 6-7 hours on my skin and has small sillage.


Sur l’Herbe, Au Bord de l’Eau and Histoire d’Orangers all smell idyllic and represent a perfect style of a perfume that I’m looking for in the summer. Ideal situation would be if L’Artisan Parfumeur launched a special coffret with all 3 in 15-20 ml sizes. But that’s just a wish, they come in 100 ml bottles. My favorite one is Au Bord de l’Eau. Which one do you think you’d like the most?

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19 thoughts on “Les vacances, 3 from L’Artisan Parfumeur

  1. Jillie says:

    A very long time ago I considered L’Artisan one of the best perfume houses, but as time marched on and it killed off old favourites, diluted others and then spat out so many (not too special) releases in a frenzy, I grew tired of it and haven’t really taken any notice of the innumerable new fragrances. Your post has made me think that this might be a mistake! I should give it another chance, perhaps.

    Would you believe it – our weather turned again and I am actually chilly today! I hope that by the time you start your holiday it will be perfect – sunny but not too hot.

    • lucasai says:

      For me L’Artisan has always been there. Obviously they’ve been creating fragrances years before I discovered niche. I tried many but only Iris Pallida (limited) and Safran Troublant worked for me. Now I can add these 3. I’m always afraid when a brand is being acquired by a market giant (L’Artisan is one of those) but I like their refreshed packaging and hopefully there’ll be even more great fragrances.

      Chilly? From hot to cold. Wow. We had 35*C on Tuesday! Yesterday it was 25*C after the rain, today should be similarly easier to handle

      • Jillie says:

        La Haie Fleurie du Hameau (the name was shortened later) was probably my entry into the world of niche – about 1989 I think! I remember being flabbergasted because it smelled exactly like our garden in the summer when the honeysuckle and jasmine bloomed. Also around that time I wore Mimosa pour Moi, which again was a very realistic fragrance, and then Vanillia, which was L’AP’s best vanilla I think. I was also a great fan of all its wonderful home fragrances, especially the lamp-burning oils, and haven’t found anything quite like those since.

        Yes, our weather is behaving so weirdly, but at least I prefer to be cool – I can always put on an extra layer, but I can’t take my skin off if it’s too hot! Glad the temperature there has dropped to a more sensible figure for you.

        • lucasai says:

          Now I remember you once sent me a sample of La Haie Fleurie. I never tried Mimosa Pour Moi and I recently got crazy about mimosa. Wonder if it’s still any good nowadays. I’d love to smell L’Artisan Provence Ball from their home scented goods.

          • Jillie says:

            I have a horrible feeling that the Mimosa Pour Moi might have been discontinued. i’ve got a little left from bottle I bought a couple of years ago, so I’ll make you a sample of that – providing you promise not to fall in love with it and are disappointed because it no longer exists!

            My husband bought me on of the amber balls about 6 years ago – I replaced its crystals about 3 years ago and it still smells lovely.

            • lucasai says:

              Well, Mimosa Pour Moi is still on their website, I just check. But it could have been reformulated since that time when you got a bottle of it.

              3 years is really long for a home scent thing, isn’t it?

  2. These all sound lovely and yes, a small coffret set would be nice. I am so behind the times on L’Artisan and were it not for my best friend sending me samples I would probably not have tried any. She recently sent me a decant of Saffran Troublant and I drained that very very quickly…needless to say I loved it! Definitely full bottle worthy! Wish my local Sephora carried this brand but alas, it does not.

    • lucasai says:

      They do, right? Yes, a coffret of small ones would be ideal. I would purchase it without much thinking as I wouldn’t have to only choose 1 then. Glad your friend keeps you busy by sending samples. I’m also happy you liked Safran Troublant

    • hajusuuri says:

      Hey CM8, if you have a Blue Mercury near you, they may still carry the line in-store. There’snor one near where I typically shop but tbere is one near where my family and I occasionally have a meal. My last cisit to that Blue Mercury was auite a while back and was where I got my Tea for Two and they were so stingy about samples (zero) that I vowed never to buy anything from there again. The Blue Mercury at Newbury Street in Boston was the exact opposite – Inwas plied with many samples eventhough I did not buy anything! It seems that Blue Mercury stores carry different lines depending upon where they are locatex. The one at Newbury Street caried a full range of Jo Malones, La Mer and many other high end skincare products whereas the specific one in NJ had Laura Mercier and other still good but not as high end lines.

      • chocolatemarzipan8 says:

        Thanks h, for the recommendations! I see there are some Blue Mercuries scattered throughout the city (not any near my neck of the woods)…if and when I am back in the big apple I will try to make my way there…but I see online that a lot of the L’artisans are out of stock so I wonder if they are carried in the stores.

  3. Holly says:

    Ooh, I’d love to try all three! I’m particularly captivated by your description of Sur l’Herbe as “spacious”. Arielle Shoshana now has Histoires d’Orangers so I’ll get my nose on that soon. Thanks for the lovely reviews!

  4. hajusuuri says:

    Lemming x 3! These all sound wonderful. Times like this make me miss the L’Artisan boutique at Henri Bendel.

  5. Undina says:

    L’Artisan hasn’t become my brand so I do not really notice their new releases any longer. And 100 ml bottle doesn’t help either. I will give them a try at some point if I get to the store that might carry them – but by that time the summer will be over… Still, I’m pleased that they made something that you didn’t dislike 🙂

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