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To approach a written review with Yatagan, one must first understand what the Caron house represents...uncompromising, avant-garde, classic and amazing perfumery - creations go back many decades! Yatagan was first released in 1976. If you haven't smelled Vintage - well, then you have not truly smelled the animalic notes that were once in here. It has been tamed - the Yatagan blade has been "dulled and sheathed", to a degree. However, it is still a wonderful (and perhaps) more wearable scent than before in today's world.
Lessened to a good degree is the castoreum and that note, in and of itself, transcended the entire composition. But, I respect what Caron has done here - as their other two main masculine scents have evolved as well. Sure, one can argue that Vintage of ALL 3 are superior...but we are still left with wonderful scents in the current juice of Caron Pour Un Homme, Le Troisieme Homme and...Yatagan. Without a doubt, this is the most difficult of the three to approach - let alone wear, for some. It is, to me, very good, close to excellent (in current formulation). Vintage is excellent.
The boozy opening is comprised of rich and pungent artemisia (wormwood), deep & resinous galbanum, sharp lavender, along with a nice 'tossed herbal salad' blend of basil, mint and watercress (which create the "celery" accord). If you want to minimize the "celery" accord, spray close and rub in. Really 'stack' the scent - it is more potent and longer lasting this way as well, with slower development. People mention other herbs, including rosemary - which I get the bitter earthiness of, however, it could be an accord. The mint on top is not light or 'fresh' - it is mentholated and comes in like a cool mountain breeze after the warm booziness of the galbanum and artemisia/worm wood calm down. Wow. Not for the faint of heart, still. Caron continues to take pride in ALL of their classic bottlings!
Into the striking heart of fragrant pine needles, woody vetiver, and herbaceous and slight camphorous patchouli...wilderness surrounds you. The aromatics here are wonderful. Oakmoss is listed as a heart note. I do not detect it until a light touch shows (in the reformulation) in the dry down/base notes. This is stark green, dry woodiness and very aromatic throughout most of the wearing in the heart. Possibly my favorite part of the composition as I adore the rich, boozy opening and the segue into this pulsating heart. When you where this, it is best to close your eyes and breathe. It is, like Caron Pour Un Homme and Le Troisieme Homme, truly transcendental and can carry you to a far-away place.
The base notes breathe through as a slightly dirty, warm musk is the key animalic note now. It is done well here - keeping the Yatagan-vibe as castoreum is only a faint note in the current juice as compared to before. Deep, resinous and still very much a green scent throughout. The key note in the base, for me, is a nice warm leather note, that is more 'raw' leather that is distant from a soft suede and more "fresh-cut" than a saddle note, although it does seem to dry down to that after an hour or so.
Final "note" of discussion - and an important one as it really delivers a lot to the composition. A light smokiness enters with the touch of green moss in the base. That 'incense' accord is actually coming from styrax (or benzoin resin) - a wonderful, smoky note that seems to create plumes that weave their way through to nearly the top opening. Brilliant. It does not sweeten the scent - but, instead adds warm depth and a touch of light smoke. Enchanting and wonderful vibe...
So, where does Yatagan take me? If I close my eyes and meditate - I am riding on a mighty steed, in the cool crisp air surrounded by forest on a leather saddle. In another life, an Ottoman Turkish soldier on horseback, my sabre (a sharp Yatagan) held in my hand! I smell the fresh wood of the pine trees in the coniferous forest around me, pungent green notes, fresh-cut herbs and smoky resins from the bushes that grow out of the damp soil. I am alone in the wilderness...far away in a distant time & place.
You cannot possibly over-think this fragrance. To say it is 'masculine' is completely rhetorical and meaningless. The best comment I received while wearing it was from my wife, who said, "...it smells exotic and rich, yet comforting." It is not about 'smelling like celery' at all - in actuality, Yatagan is a work of olfactory art that only some will enjoy wearing. Not for everyone - as no bottle from the timeless and uncompromising house of Caron is. To me, true excellence in composition. You choose when you wear it...
07 January, 2014