The Rance 1795 Le Vainqueur's opening is peppery-aromatic, green, metallic, fruity (yes melonal-grapefruit-mandarine), floral and semi-aquatic, quite conventional, something in the middle between Faconnable Home, Bond I love NY for Fathers and Wall Street. The peper-lavender-grapefruit accord is heady by soon and intense while the fruity-floral intensity is rooted over a mandarine-lily of the valley-grapefruit connection. Sharp floral notes provide a restrained and energic melancholic vibe. The note of lavender holds on to be aromatic and fresh throughout till the dry down which is mostly dry woods and ambroxan with a faint note of smooth leather coming up at distance. The final trail is refined, slightly powdery and virile with a sheer leather-warm amber-spices accord which is well appointed but un-original. Too much pungent and intense (in its floral fruitiness) for my full pleasure. The final outcome (the most interesting part) is a moody leathery-floral somewhat virile, powdery, warm and elegant.
Le Vainqueur ("the winner") by Rancé 1795 is similar to all extents to any masculine cheapie from the 2000s, stuffed with calone, melonal, aldehydes, ambroxan (and other typical delicacies of the XVIII century). A white/azure scent, artificial and metallic, even interesting in its own way for the abstractness of the notes – it does not smell of almost "anything" clear, just pure synthetic nowhere, a series of metallic-aquatic-green suggestions, cold and decontextualised, true to life like a Windows '98 background image. More than to cheap designers, perhaps it is even more similar to floor cleansers. I do not get the placement of such a type of scent in a "neoclassic" line. Ugly per se, and most of all, ugly for the price and the pretentiousness of another made-up "historical" brand (founded in 2003).
A nice modern offering from this venerable French house. The clean, fruity melon in the top notes definitely places this in the modern day, but the lavender and floral heart, combined with a salty, musky, woody base put this squarely in the classical French fragrance category. A great option for someone in tune with the present but with a desire to reference the past. Would Napoleon ever have worn this? I do not think so--too fruity--but wearing this could be a great way to bring out the conquering hero in all of us. Beautiful bottle and packaging and a solid addition to any aspiring emperor's collection.
Le Vainqueur opens with a nice soft breeze of melon, grapefruit and ginger, mixing with hints of lavender. The lavender becomes the primary heart note, supported by nutmeg and the remaining citrus from the opening. The lavender remains through to the end, adding base note support from a powdery iris and light musk. Projection is average, but longevity is excellent (I got 10-12 hours).
I am not a huge fan of lavender scents, so Le Vainqueur is not really my cup of tea. That said, it is an extremely well-executed scent that should appeal to just about anyone who does like lavender-centric scents. Despite my preferences to the contrary, I have to give Le Vainqueur a thumbs up because it does smell good and it is a quality scent that is worthy of a try for anyone, and maybe even a buy at its relatively sane niche retail price of $120, if the notes are to your liking. Recommended, earning 3 stars out of 5.
14th April, 2012 (last edited: 20th December, 2012)
The opening seems modern – grapefruity, melony… and it gives a modern semi-aquatic feeling. The opening, as I usually find in this type of fragrance, is adequate – attractive, even – but it is neither unique nor extremely interesting. The rest of the scent, though, has plenty substance and uniqueness to offer. After the opening, the scent comes across to me as quite abstract. There’s a soft but important animalic note in the background along with a tiny bit of moldy ambiance: I think these are the product of the combination of nutmeg, vetiver, and leather. The abstractness of this accord seems to exist within a more traditional floral / ambergris / musk fragrance. The structure of the scent also seems to be more abstract than traditional: Except for the opening accord which disappears when the citrus is expended, the remainder of the fragrance seems to waft in and out with the notes oscillating in no special order. That soft animalic note that I mentioned provides an implied sexuality in Le Vainqueur, and its character and structure seem more like something Etat Libre d'Orange might construct than what I would expect from a “1795” fragrance.
Le Vainqueur is an intriguing scent. It seems more modern than Napoleonic. I like it but I’m not exactly in love with its aromas; however, I find it quite interesting, very wearable, and beautifully performing.