Jean Kerléo, co-founder of l’Osmothèque, creator of the exquisite Patou 1000, must have dreaded having to make an aquatic men’s fragrance in 1995. What he created is at least an interesting comment on life post-Cool Water.
Even in 1995 the release of an aquatic fragrance would have been met with tedium and low expectation. It was 7 years after the release of Cool Water, and while there had been hundreds of imitators, Cool Water was still king. In fact Cool Water created another slot to be filled in the roster of every perfume house. A new genre had been created! Each one needed an aquatic/calone/fougère fragrance in their line-up, and the challenge was to create one that met the expectations of the market and at the same time reflected your brand. Tough for Patou. Aqua-Joy anyone? Sublime Water?
The crux of this dilemma is creating something to reflect your brand while at the same time appealing to the broad masculine market. This genre, the fruity masculine aquatics, had a cultish aspect to it and straying from the known was tacitly discouraged. Once a certain safe island of perfume is reached by men, change is considered a threat to self image.
Kerléo’s solution? So far as I can tell, what Jean Kerléo did was to create a pleasant, recognizable citric aquatic top note, then fold it into a mossy, woody base. The result is a perfume that had recognizability in the form of a pan-masculine aquatic note, but had a warmer dry down than Cool Water's chilly metallic vibe. It seems like a slapdash approach, a little of this, a little of that, stir and spritz. But I must say that this is the most appealing of the aquatics I've smelled. The top note is an aquatic collage, but it doesn't appear to have been made by rote, and has a tangy citric astringency in lieu of a clanging metal note.
The overall effect is that Kerléo has managed to make a demi-chypre out of Cool Water DNA. While Voyageur doesn't have quite the classic ambery dry down of a chypre, the top note of grapefruit stands in for bergamot and a large helping of oakmoss does the rest.
How tragic that the solution to this ongoing problem was a material that was being curtailed out by regulation. Voyageur was doomed from the start.
19th June, 2014 (last edited: 18th May, 2015)
Voyageur opens with an almost aldehyde-like grapefruit top note before quickly transitioning into its herbal aromatic lavender heart, giving the scent a very light fresh almost soapy marine vibe. A very strong oakmoss base note appears quite early in the scent's development, really co-starring with the aromatic lavender throughout. Joining the oakmoss in the base is a cedarwood supporting note that acts as the scent's backbone without calling attention to itself, content to let the oakmoss and lavender drive the scent's general nature through the dry-down. Projection and longevity are both average.
Voyageur has undeniable pedigree from its legendary nose Jean Kerleo of Patou pour Homme and Patou pour Homme Prive fame (among many other uber-masterpieces) so it is only natural to come in with super-stratospheric expectations. Those expecting similar greatness to Kerleo's best work are bound to be disappointed and based on the other reviews indeed were, as Voyageur does not deserve being mentioned alongside those Kerleo masterpieces. Setting that aside, Voyageur when approached for what it is (an aromatic lavender composition that was created to compete with the Cool Water aquatics that were so popular in the 90's), I think Voyageur should be viewed in much higher regard than it gets credit for. One primary thing I immediately noticed was the great oakmoss base that dominates the scent and just cannot be found in today's compositions due to restrictions on the ingredient. Those seeking a calone-free aromatic marine-like scent that is "restriction-free" would be wise to seek out this one as it is quite competent and relevant, and the oakmoss makes it easily wearable year-round. At its approximate street price of about $0.50 a ml it really is quite the steal and one of the best options in its genre. The bottom line is while I am not a big fan of the fresh aromatic marine genre, I am very happy to have Voyageur in my collection and award it a "very good" rating of 3.5 stars out of 5. Kerleo at his worst is better than 95% of other noses at their best.
This one has a pleasant topnote of gentle grapefruit- orange citrus elements, which are followed by a sage- lavender greenish note. Towards the later stages sandalwood comes in, and a bit of oakmoss (I only get a smidgeon). There is a mild background fruitiness that is quite discreet and not disturbing. Silage is average as is projection after the first hour, which might not be a bad thing when wedged into cattle-class. Overall a restrained and classy travel scent, with adequate longevity of about three hours. Whilst this is in no way comparable in quality and genius to the Patou pour Homme series, it is a nice travel fragrance of some class and more interesting than many recent offerings. A borderline call, but the very nice, practical and nigh unbreakable bottle tilts it to a positive rating.
Voyageur is a woody-aromatic fragrance with some iodate, slightly synthetic, marine elements infused in to a neroli-grapefruit-lavender accord standing on a woody-mossy foundation. The opening is a dust of watery orange, grapefruit, aromatic notes and aldehydes (I suppose) which gradually slides towards a woodsy cedary base that is not anyway heavy but upholds an airy, nearly iodate feel. The insertion of sage contributes to impress an aromatic push to the marine salty elements. This is a fresh fragrance, clean but lacking of distinctiveness and uniqueness. Longevity and sillage are in the average.
17th March, 2011 (last edited: 03rd November, 2014)
Sheer disappointment...doesn't cover it. I was (stupid enough) expecting something in the vein of Prive (Patou) when the sales assistant directed me toward this.
A waste of my time, and she (the SA)needs to learn her fragrances!
Look, I'm sorry, but Voyageur was just bland, and "uncomfortable" feeling. There was something "off" about it. I got a lot of dried fruit, like the stuff my mum used to shove in my luch-box when I wasn't looking. And it wasn't dried fruit in a gourmand or artistically perfumey-sense; just "wrong" smelling.
A more accurate description of the notes would be: Dried Apple, Dried Apricot, Orange, Grapfruit, Synthetic mosses, Oceanic Accord, Fern Accord, Common extract, Bland Accord.
I thought I might have sniffed an "off" bottle, so I complained, got them to open a new bottle, and it was just the same...then the manager came over and said "No no, thats quite right - I remember that's how it smelled when we got our first order a few years ago in about mid '95, and that was only a year-and-a-half after it was released...We've had a new shipment come in every year since, so it is fresh indeed..."
I just said "Oh, well, my sincerest appoligies - I had heard something completely different about Voyaguer, but whilest I'm hear, I'll grab a bottle of Lagerfeld Classic - haven't seen than in a while...". The manager then replied "Sure thing darling (god I hate it when the do that!!!!), yeah, so I'll just pop over and get the Lagerfeld for you...we have had a few people comming in to try the Voyaguer and leaving in some disappointment every-now-and-then..."