I can compare the recent re-issue with the vintage version.
NEW - Starts with good citrus note, quickly moves to herbal (like tarragon, marjoram) and minty notes. The mint is well done, not like toothpast or peppermint candy. Rather, it is green, leafy, with a hint of lemon zest and rather herbal in style. Cool, even a bit camphor-like, the latter could be from the lavender. Very refreshing. Hints of grassy vetiver and salty oakmoss appear. Dry (not sweet), substantial but not heavy, wears well. Has an intriguing, even haunting quality. The dry-down has a salty mossy note and retains the herbal mint. Overall, a very successful reformulation.
VINTAGE - A bit greener at the beginning, and the lavender is stronger. The scent is more powerful at this point: a bit sweeter, denser, richer. Not as herbal-minty at first -- rounder and more full. The dry-down lands in a very similar place to the new version.
So, I find that I appreciate both but actually prefer the new version. I like its dry, haunting, herbal quality.
I'm not particularly sorry this is discontinued - except I'm sorry for those of you who love it and I agree it's mint done exceedingly well! Not quite well enough for me to get over my general aversion to mint notes though, but if I did wear one mint fragrance, this would be it. The dry, even sharp, herbal fougere accord with lavender and oakmoss harmonises with the mint-as-herb and takes away all toothpaste or chewing gum associations. Bracingly refreshing. For me personally though, I prefer my fougeres with a licorice/anise note reminiscent of the scent of actual ferns, such as Penhaligon's English Fern.
This was discontinued? Why in the world? Please keep in mind that I mostly dislike mint in fragrances; L’Eau du Caporal is a wonderfully refreshing spearmint fragrance and the way the mint combines with the lavender is spectacular: It creates an aromatic accord that is much smoother and richer than mint alone could possibly be, I rarely find a scent in which the mint alone can hold its own as a solo note. The aromatic excellence of the mint accord in L’Eau du Caporal echoes the use of mint as a high aromatic note in Guerlain’s Derby. L’Eau is quite linear, and in this case, that’s a really good thing because the mint accord stay clean and bright until its end, making it an excellent hot weather fragrance – mint done exceptionally well.
07th October, 2006 (last edited: 08th April, 2008)
Ahh, a blind buy that worked out well for me. It's also one of my favorites from L'Artisan. Very dry, herbal, and sharp, the topnotes remind me of MPG's Centaure. But, as it dries down, it takes a very different path. While Centaure seems to get thicker and butterier as it dries on me, L'Eau du Caporal gets crisper and cleaner, with the mint taking center stage. It is surprisingly long-lived, both considering it is from L'Artisan, and because it is an herbal-mint fragrance. The citrus doesn't seem as prominent to me as the herbs, especially mint. A very good choice for hot, humid summer days.
An unusual fougere highlighting spearmint leaves and lavender. Fresh, invigorating, unique and surprisingly long-lasting. A shame it was discontinued. I've never loved mint in a scent as much as I do in Caporal.