The first time I tried Traversee du Bosphore, I almost laughed out loud at how bad it was. There is a lurid, cherry-flavored Jolly Rancher note up top pitched halfway between children's cough syrup and the clear pink goo you find at the bottom of a supermarket pie. I felt cheated. I had been promised a mystical Duchaufour-ian trawl through the back streets of Istanbul and what I got was cheap sweeties that even sugar-crazed five year olds might reject if they came spewing out of a piñata.
The notes say apple and pomegranate, two ingredients heavily used in Turkish and Balkan cuisine. But I am used to my mother-in-law’s wild pomegranate syrup, which is tart and sweet and tannic all at once, and I couldn’t see the connection to the more single-cell syrup I was smelling.
The dry down, on the other hand, was more interesting to me – a fat, pink suede cushion thickly dusted with icing sugar and trembling under the weight of rose petals. But every time I tried it, I had to clench my teeth through the artificial syrup opening. The main problem was that the opening notes felt cheap to me, and jarred against the uber expensive pink suede cube waiting for me in the dry down.
Then it struck me – what am I talking about? Lokum is cheap. It’s cheap to make, cheap to consume, and it tastes a bit cheap too. That’s practically the whole point of lokum. I used to live in the Balkans, and at meetings in Bosnia, Serbia, or Montenegro, someone would invariably pull out a tin of hilariously cheap lokum and you’d find yourself mindlessly chomping through two or three cubes of vaguely rose-flavored gelatin with the coffee – always more of a texture than a taste – careless of the post-lokum sugar headache that loomed over your medulla lungata like a nuclear cloud. Good stuff! Good times.
Knowing that lokum costs pennies is part of its hokey charm, I guess. It’s like coffee, good bread, and chocolate - small things that cost very little and yet provide so much pleasure to our daily lives. And this (essential) cheapness is key to appreciating Traversee du Bosphore. Enough with the mythologizing of Eastern sweetmeats, this perfume seems to be saying – lokum is made from boiled up horses’ hooves, and let’s not all pretend that it’s something fancier than it is.
I no longer live in the Balkans, so when I feel a bit nostalgic for the cheap rosewater taste of the local lokum, Traversee du Bosphore will have to stand in. Now that I have this scent pegged – a cheap and cheerful lokum suede – I can enjoy it without worrying about the cheap notes, which are, after all, exactly as they should be.
A fruity / floral accord opens Traversée du Bosphore, with apple and pomegranate for fruit, and tulip, iris, and rose for florals… the tulip and pomegranate take prominence which makes for an interesting and inventive accord. The accord IS synthetic, but I rather enjoy its synthetic but untypical nature. The next accord moves in with a dominant leather / saffron – I agree that the leather is more suede than leather. Even with my dislike of leather and saffron notes, I don’t dislike this middle accord – but I’d guess that I am not capturing the complete drama of the accord. The base goes sweet primarily with vanilla and it still retains the “leather” aura in a very pleasant and long-lasting manner.
Some other reviewers experience Traversée du Bosphore as a gourmand – to me it usually comes across as a sweet fruity suede. In my first testing of it, the iris came across rather strongly but with further tests the iris strength diminished and the leather / fruit took precedence.
This is a well made fragrance that attempts some fairly complex and dramatic things while still retaining a L’Artisan identity - which is an almost self-contradictory goal. I think it does a good job of reaching that goal… It’s an interesting fragrance – more edgy than most L’Artisans. I like the direction this one takes.
Traversée du Bosphore opens with a pleasant, evocative and invigorating Middle-Eastern blend comprising warm notes of powder, amber, vanilla, spices (tonka above all to me), a sweet and earthy tobacco note providing a darker, yet always mellow “support” to the powdery-amber-spicy accord. It may sound simple, but actually it’s a rather pleasant and perhaps quite complex harmony of colours and shades, with a thin but totally solid texture, basically a sort of warm Oriental talc-amber-spicy scent with an ephemeral boozy heart. Now... the issue here, as with many scents by L’Artisan, is that of all this suddenly turns into a fairly light (and somehow generic) skin-scent, as much pleasant as “faded”. It’s like a time machine that in 30 minutes transports you directly 4 hours later, on the very drydown. Great until it lasts, then barely nice overall, but... meh, bit of a tune on the “volume/persistence” knob would be appreciated in my opinion.
I totally agree with Kain. This is a horrible perfume. In fact the whole line is terrible. Mr. Bertrand what where you thinking when creating that poorly made, synthetic and cloying line!!!
I'm testing this fragrance via my sample and I must say I'm quite impressed .............. but not by the juice!
Actually by all these positive reviews!!!
What the hell?!!
The opening is a very synthetic and in your face note of pomegranate with lots of sweetness and some floral notes in the background.
The opening is just synthetic chemical mess that remind me of cough syrup! it's terrible!
After a while and in the mid that synthetic pomegranate note settle down just a bit and the floral note goes away.
Now you can smell a sugar like sweetness which is a little stronger than the opening and there is small amount of leather in the background.
The leather note is just there to give the scent slightly dirty and dark feeling.
You will have this scent until the base shows up!
In the base you have a very sweet sugary scent with leather, synthetic fruity scent and some floral notes in the background.
That terrible synthetic fruity note never goes away and it's there all the time to torture my nose!
When I'm going for a niche fragrance brand and I want to pay more money, at least I'm expecting quality and this one doesn't have it at all!
Very synthetic fruity note meshing with other notes that create a very bad unbalanced scent!
A big thumbs down!
I hate it!
Projection is average and longevity is above average on my skin.
Discovering that some tulips are scented was quite a surprise – I had to bring my nose right up to their cups and there it was, faint but distinct, like a whisper heard with great clarity from a distance. The scent had a touch of saffron, a trace of something green.
The marvellous transparent opening accord of Traversée reminded me of tulips (not least I suppose because that is the intention of the perfumer), that light saffron note – here complemented by soft iris, suede and a hint of something fruity – worked its quiet magic. This is a scent that is carried by a breeze across a lake, somewhat distant but so tempting.
Whereas the opening typifies the rich-but-light trick that many L’Artisan creations do so well, the drydown is quite straightforward. To me this is mainly a lipstick iris, soft, creamy and comforting, with some sympathetic accents rounding it out, which then turns into something amorphously sweet – likeable but doesn’t inspire devotion.