VIE DE CHATEAU introduces what smells to me like a dry, smoky green leather chypre with just a touch of sweetness. The texture seems a little gritty at first but smoothens itself out as musky patchouli ties up the disparate elements together, effectively binding the dry brown of hay and tobacco leaves to the deep earthy green of oakmoss.
Excellent stuff! I can imagine how intrigued I'd be were I to smell this on a young woman. It has all the gravitas of a long-lost vintage, and the androgynous ambiguity to make it wearable even to the men. That it was delivered by a niche house is probably something we should be grateful for as I doubt if this composition could have made it past today's focus groups had it been a designer release. While I do wish the structure could hold itself together for a little while longer, the magic that Vie de Chateau weaves over the first hour is enough to make me a believer.
Vie de Chateau sits right between Eau Sauvage and Diorella. It is a lemony chypre with a herbal touch.
I love the wonderful start - exhilarating, fresh, simply wonderful, but the drydown is not 100% up my alley... might be due to the herbs used (tarragon, cistus). There's a faint hint of leather, too, but it remains in the background. Given the fact that this is an Eau fraiche, the lasting-power is good (about 3 hs). Not my favourite Patricia de Nicolai scent, but better than many others in the field.
7 out of 10 points on my personal scale.
This falls into what I'd call a unisex sweet, smoky green hay category, almost like a variant of Devin that's been semi-feminized with florals, or Richard James plus smoke. Interestingly enough, LuckyScent considers it masculine, so the Basenotes directory is wrong either way; I'm assuming LS decided this because a lot of the earlier florals seem to be violet. Mostly it's tobacco on florals, which isn't really my thing (in fact normally I hate this) but it's well-done for what it is. Ultimately it reminds me of incense, but of the more floral, less woody or spicy bent, and stays away from the moldy or musty character of Tsar, which I also place in this family. It's still too floral for me, but if I were forced to pick a masculine floral, I'd easily take this over a lot of the heavier ones that get such rave reviews. Still, I'd ultimately prefer to go the pure violet route with Ajaccio Violets.
This a unisex offering, from her "eau" line. Not strictly for women, neither in in feel nor intent.
This is hands-down my favorite Nicolai, a perfectly-executed, refreshing leather chypre. It smells like an homage to 'Cabochard' and 'Diorella', yet totally modern; that is, it's much more modern-smelling, to me, than its 1990 birth date.
Much in fact, like PG's 'Corps et Ames', attended with a 'steadier' hand and a greater appreciation of tradition.
I find VdC's cool-vibed, yet-passionate attitude totally beguiling. And I cannot seem to get enough of the actual DELICIOUSLY-heady uniquely- "light" leather smell.
It's a spot-on 'soft' leather, with a whimsical, romantic twist of wet woods, animalics, herbs and sunshine.
I experience it associatively like horse-riding across a sunny meadow, then slipping away from view under a rich canopy of beech, where bluebells and damp leaves make a lush bed of the earth....
and then deciding to dismount, delving deeper into the mossy wood, where the smell of my horse and her saddle at my side seem to steam up in unison with the enchanted mist of the sheltering bog, offering me not only the conviction of belonging in such a dark, wise, and mythical wood, but also the comfort of my steed's life-force, and dependable warmth.
It's great one, Vie de Chateau. An overlooked classic.
9.5 out of 10
17th July, 2010 (last edited: 27th July, 2010)
Dry herby-leathery top notes burn off into buttery hay and tobacco notes. I do get an odd something that I was able to place as banana after another reviewer mentioned it. Vie de Chateau has a good longevity: I can catch whiffs of this on myself for hours after applying.