Aedes de Venustas (original 2008 version) goes on with very gently peppered carrot-like stark iris with a tinge of clear benzoin-derived sweetness. Moving to the early heart the gently spiced iris remains, now joined by fine co-starring radiant frankincense and natural smelling cedar, with relatively sanitized patchouli rising from the base in underlying support. During the late dry-down the iris and frankincense both recede, with a newly emerged patchouli infused vague woody accord taking the fore, with significant support from the remaining benzoin that now showcases its powdery vanilla-like facet through the finish. Projection is on the low side of average with the composition appearing close to a skin scent at times, but longevity is excellent at about 12 hours on skin.
Aedes de Venustas by L'Artisan is the kind of composition that is hard not to like. It has a great nose behind it in Bertrand Duchaufour, and he certainly didn't hold back on his skillful blending techniques here. The iris immediately makes itself known right on skin application, but this is not your powdery make-up like iris seen in so many compositions today. Rather, this iris is more clinical and carrot-like. Joining the iris is just the slightest hint of peppery spice and sweetness, neither of which detract from its natural impact. Adding to the rather impressive natural effect of the composition in its key mid-section is the arrival of a gorgeous cedar wood and frankincense tandem that meshes perfectly with the iris with none of the notes overpowering the others. During the late dry-down the benzoin that was so subtle and lacking powder earlier, used as a slight sweetener to the iris turns slightly powdery as it joins what can only be described as "vague woods." Usually when one hears those words it is a precursor to mentioning the use of the dreaded woody synthetic norlimbanol, but honestly if it is used here I can't detect it, with the woods coming off as completely believable, just not easily identifiable. The late dry-down is less impressive and more mundane on the whole than the rest of the composition's development, but really this is an extremely minor quibble as in the end the whole thing is pretty darn good. The bottom line is the $185 per 100ml 2008 L'Artisan version of Aedes de Venustas is a fine example of Duchaufour at near the top of his game, earning it an "excellent" 4 stars out of 5 and an enthusiastic recommendation to all.
I have a sample of Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum, and it smells good, and interesting.
It's a new smell to me. I don't think it matches my style, but I still like it. It smells modern, classy, and trendy / ahead of the curve. It could be an interesting office fragrance.
This one did a huge flip-flop on my skin and headed a direction I couldn't believe it was going, but there was no denying after two wearings. I may try it again and see if I have the same reaction, but so far...
It started out with a mélange of notes that didn't seem to reflect the pyramid - very little incense, some leaf, non-spicy spice (more a character of presence than spice), a bit of fresh orange, perhaps the dryness of iris. As the opening ripened into the heart note, it began picking up a sweeter, richer, incensier fragrance, leaving behind the natural air.
After an hour it became a very different fragrance from the first. It had a familiarity that kept nagging at me, and since the dry down was very long and strong, I had a long time to finally place it. I couldn't believe the memory association was Passion by Elizabeth Taylor. An incensy Passion to be sure, but the association was vivid in my nose. I notice they both share common base notes.
I liked Passion when it first came out, the first fragrance I owned with a purple bottle, which was downright ugly in my opinion. But it was hugely popular, I smelled it everywhere, and it was guilty of a great deal of fragrance inappropriateness (Costco, snow machining, junior high classes). And finally, I grew tired of the fragrance itself, becoming a little blatant.
So I'm having a real hard time getting past that association with AdeV. After two wearings I'm unable. The opening on AdeV is completely different and this fragrance has more inbuilt complexity so I'll probably try it again in the future and see if anything has changed.
Genre: Woody Oriental
The voice of diss(c)ent: Bertrand Duchaufour’s recent scent for Aedes de Venustas smells to me a lot like his earlier Jubilation XXV for Amouage – but with about half of the ingredients removed. With incense becoming ever more popular as a fragrance theme, Aedes de Venustas faces lots of market competition – much of the best of it from Duchaufour himself. For me the question is whether this scent adds anything to the burgeoning incense repertoire.
As I’ve already intimated, this is more a case of subtraction. Absent are the amber, fruit, and floral accords of Jubilation XXV, the piercingly smoky cypriol overdose of Timbuktu, the dark rose of Paestum Rose, and the brilliantly exotic lychee/iris/peony accord of Dzongkha. What remains is a spare, straightforward frankincense over a transparent woody base. This structure is unfortunately so lean it might as well have been eviscerated. With much that had distinguished Duchaufour’s earlier incense fragrances taken away, Aedes des Venustas feels hollow. It’s also a very quiet scent that wears close to the skin – so much so that I might be the only one to notice that I'm wearing it!
I perceived the near-baroque structure of Jubilation XXV as an expansion of Duchaufour’s range into richer and more layered compositions. Aedes de Venustas marks a turn in the opposite direction, and aligns more closely with the minimalist works of Mark Buxton and Jean-Claude Ellena. In this sense it marks a retreat into more familiar territory for Duchaufour.
I can understand how Aedes de Venustas might appeal to someone for whom Duchaufour’s other incense compositions are just “too much,” or for whom his Avignon, which shares this scent’s austerity, is just too potent. But then I ask myself “Do we really need another minimalist woody incense fragrance, and a comparatively weak one to boot?” My answer, I’m afraid, is “No.” So while it’s pleasant and well put together, I did not give this scent a “neutral” rating because I find it such a disappointment coming from so talented a nose as Bertrand Duchaufour.
I won't even bother discussing the individual notes of AdV. I'll just say that the overall impression is akin to the cacophony of food and spice aromas that envelope and permeate the hair, skin, and clothes of someone who has been indoors cooking all day. This is not a wearable "perfume," and I am baffled that it has admirers.