Perfume Directory

Tsar (1989)
by Van Cleef & Arpels


Tsar information

Year of Launch1989
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 383 votes)

People and companies

HouseVan Cleef & Arpels
PerfumerPhilippe Bousseton
Parent CompanyInter Parfums
Parent Company at launchElf Aquitaine > Sanofi Beauté

About Tsar

Tsar is a masculine fragrance by Van Cleef & Arpels. The scent was launched in 1989 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Philippe Bousseton

Tsar fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Tsar

I haven't tried the original, which I hear is better, but the today's version of Tsar is very well done and one of my favorite fragrances.

It's woody and green if maybe not exactly piney. It reminds of a Northern forest full of lush undergrowth and is wonderful to smell on a cool evening. If you loved the original Polo you should really like this.

4/5 or better for me...I wear it frequently.

Here are the notes printed on my bottle of Tsar:

Top Notes: Artemisia, Lavendin, Rosemary, Bergamot, Basil
Heart Notes: Geranium, Jasmine, Cedarwood
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Vetiver, Amber, Sandalwood

You should be able to pick up a full-sized bottle online for about $30.
07th May, 2018
Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels is the underrated house's late fougère-type entry into the 80's powerhouse masculine style, and feels more like a transitional fragrance for that fact. It borrows heavily from the bergamot/lavender/moss trifecta that was so prevalent in the fougère-like powerhouses of the day, but takes a far greener coniferous road than many of it's contemporaries, making it at once feel both older in design but also in line with the emerging "fresh" fougères that were poised to wipe away all the olfactory density of the outgoing decade. Tsar has surprisingly futuristic elements for it's day that would also imply a bit of "sportiness" to it's performance, something mass-market designers would explore more in the 90's then revisit in the 2000's, but more on that later. The ultimate effect of wearing Tsar is a scent that comes on clean, fresh, soapy, and more modern than it's release year implies, but finishes crisp, dry, with a suit-and-tie elegance expected from more of the early 80's crowd than the latter end of the decade. It's a far sight heavier than most other things making the rounds that year, save maybe Montana Parfum D'Homme (1989) which was another late-decade transitional powerhouse.

Overall it feels like Van Cleef & Arpels liked to release their masculines as bookends to a decade, since they did this with the first Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme in 1978, and continued through until the 2010's doing so. Maybe it affords them greater perspective in making something that stands apart from it's peers, as most of their noteworthy efforts seem to do. Tsar being a poster child for this hypothesis, opens with a familiar aromatic fougère blast of bergamot, and lavender, with the neroli being the freshness "X factor" in that opening which sets it apart. The middle of muguet and carnation is joined by the equally-freshening pepper note that's honestly more common in a 90's scent, which then finishes in a rich base where oakmoss is strangely only an ensemble player rather than a lead guitarist like with a lot of these juices. The odd choice of balsam fir joins this otherwise 80's standard base, alongside sandalwood, leather, and patchouli, inferring the aforementioned sportiness by giving the whole orchestration a late-game shot of late-stage green that comes in after the pepper in the heart begins to subside. Polo Ralph Lauren (1978) could easily be this scent's older, and less athletic brother. I liken Tsar to a presage to the sporty scents of the 90's in the same way the first VC&A PH was something of a presage to the 80's powerhouse style, but kept one foot in the 70's.

Tsar's loose-fitting nature between active and formal use helps it straddle across multiple contexts and temperatures with ease. It won't withstand sweltering heat, or fierce cold, but indoor and outdoor use are both good. It's white-collar trappings understate it's versatility, and assuming one likes green masculines, Tsar could be the middleground between something like the soapiness Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1972) and dryness of Dunhill Edition (1984) with a bit of that "sporty" freshness that the masculine perfume world wouldn't take for granted until stuff like Perry Ellis 360° for Men (1995) focused on it more and stuff Addidas Adrenaline (2003) hit the market and injected this idea with egregious amounts of ozonic top notes. By the 2000's, "sporty" (but often with blue-tinged juice too) had been so overdone in the mass-market segment that one might see this as a more-refined and stately moss-powered version of that style instead of a fougère that merely inflected with it. If you're the kind of guy that doesn't like to change clothes or fragrance between a day at the office and an evening at the pool haul, Tsar may be just what you're looking for. If you'd rather ditch the bright greens and focus on soapier, more conservative structures, try the first Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme instead. This dependable fougère neither feels like it has a mature vibe nor youthful one due to it's generalist chemistry, so there's no concern over it smelling "dated" for most people, and sells for less than a Coty fragrance at retail! Good show VC&A!!
26th February, 2018 (last edited: 06th March, 2018)
TeeEm Show all reviews
United Kingdom
This review is for the original green bottle, I bought around 1990.

For me it did not quite do it... green like the bottle, fresh and slightly spicy...
It reminds me of the Green Polo or the Jazz by YSL, but these two do it better, and have identity and uniqueness.

I remember loads of positive comments from females when I wore it... Happy days
08th January, 2018
Tsar is an honest, good fougere, the likes of which are disappearing one by one these days. There's the traditional bergamot-lavender-oakmoss structure, but Tsar distinguishes itself with an array of fresh, green notes that are slightly grassy-coniferous than herbal. The bright, vivid opening of bergamot and lavender, tinged with neroli, leads to an aromatic phase that persists over a few hours. It is fresh, delightfully reminiscent of soap, yet retains a surprising crisp dryness. The oakmoss is discernible, though somewhat toned down, and together with patchouli and woods comprise an abstract accord that concludes the final transformation, where the fresh green aspects are still retained. It seems to have very little leathery aspect, if any. Tsar has an appreciable duration of about seven hours and a persistent gentlemanly sillage.

Tsar's neighbours could be Jazz (less green, more abstract and complex), Duc de Vervins (less fresh, more leathery) and Esencia (more woody and coniferous). Tsar could be a classic white shirt fragrance, though personally its charms are best experienced at leisure. I tend to think of Tsar as uplifting, uncomplicated, handsome, authentic, wholesome, more traditional than conservative, and a wardrobe staple for the discerning noses.

17th August, 2017
No idea what the reformulation smells like but the old ribbed bright green glass/copper colored bottle's look fit accurately to describe it..and that's not a compliment to Tsar.

This was a fuzzy/haze of a fragrance that was bright green,dainty,and tacky.Lavender teased with some pineapple sweetness crossbred with sap(?) maybe.A swirling synthetic green/leafy mess of nothing identifiable.That's all this fragrance smelled like to me.Aspen by Coty comes off as a more expensive smelling scent than Tsar.

22nd February, 2017 (last edited: 05th April, 2018)
Stardate 20160824:

VCA has been churning out great fragrances since 1976 starting with First by J-C Ellena. I like what they do for many reasons
- Their price point. Great stuff can be had for $30 bucks
- They make good quality stuff. In fact all of their male colognes are top notch - Tsar, PH, MiP
- Their reformulations are pretty good

It is pity they do not get recognized and appreciated by Creed and BN9 loving generation. Well, good for us as we can have their elixirs for cheap.

Tsar is a great masculine fragrance. It is green and a bit spicy - in a Fougere style.
Safe for office and fun to wear. I have both vintage and current formulation and this one is good in both versions (just avoid the clear ribbed bottle vintage version).
One of the few where modern reformulation is almost as good as original.
Get it. For $24/100ml it will be a crime if you don't.

24th August, 2016

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Tsar By Van Cleef and Arpels For Men Eau De Toilette 1.6 OZ 50 ML Spray

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Van Cleef And Arpels Midnight In Paris Cologne Edt 5ml SAMPLE Travel Tsar Homme

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Tsar by Van Cleef and Arpels Men's 3.3-ounce Eau de Toilette Spray

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Van Cleef and Arpels Tsar Eau De Toilette Spray For Men 3.30 oz

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Tsar Cologne by Van Cleef and Arpels, 1.7 oz EDT Spray for Men NEW

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Van Cleef and Arpels Tsar 50ml vintage 85%

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Eau de Tsar Van Cleef and Arpels 1.7 oz Eau de Toilette Spray Boxed New Sealed

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Van Cleef & Arpels For Men - CHOOSE SIZE AND TYPE

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TSAR by Van Cleef & Arpels Set Vintage 2pcs Eau de Toilette Men and After shave

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