Green chypres are as effective at cutting through summer heat as any citrus, and have the advantage of lasting you the whole day. This is one of the best ones around, if you ask me. It is a thrillingly fresh, dry melange of summer grasses, hay, and tobacco leaves, leavened by a touch of pink grapefruit up top, and supported by rooty, dry vetiver, leather, and moss in the base. It has the same feel as vintage Diorella and Parfum de Therese, both by Edmond Roudnitska, that is to say, natural and outdoorsy, but thankfully it is devoid of the rotting melon effect that I dislike in those perfumes. Vie de Chateau is both greener and drier than its predecessors, and calls up nothing so much as the memory of rolling around in cut hay and grass when you were a child. It is a serious, even austere perfume, but it is that touch of childhood innocence that sends a spike of sunlight shooting through the entire composition.
The analogies are all drawn to Diorella and Eau Sauvage, but for me Vie de Chateau actually falls squarely between green chypres like Givenchy III or Y and the leather chypre of Guerlain’s magnificent Derby. I can see how the exquisitely rendered bergamot and herb top notes and the remarkably deft, light woody chypre foundation might fleetingly evoke vintage Dior, but Vie de Chateau has none of the overripe melon accents common to Diorella and Le Parfum de Thérèse, nor any of the Roudnitska trademark - a peculiar, savory, almost meaty quality – that those two share with his Eau Sauvage.
No, no such traces of decay cast shadows, however pale, over Vie de Chateau’s glimmering surface. Instead, Nicolaï’s scent is a unambiguously happy, if still complex and understated composition. Its heart is a superbly balanced arrangement of sweet/tart fruit and crisp, stimulating green notes set against a warm, yet never heavy background of tobacco, discreet leather, moss and vetiver. Its green olfactory hue, springtime ambience, and overall texture align Vie de Chateau with the reissued Givenchy III, but Vie de Chateau differs in having less of an astringent edge on its herbaceous notes, in the added warmth of leather, and in the conspicuous use of spices. It’s the leather that can recall Derby and, at a greater distance, Bernard Chant’s Devin. Indeed, if you enjoy any of these great precedents, chances are you will enjoy Vie de Chateau as well. It’s not merely poised, sophisticated, and elegant, but genial and remarkably uplifting to boot. If you ask me, it’s Vie de Chateau, and not the more often praised New York, that represents Patricia de Nicolaï’s most satisfying scent for men.
this is an extrapolation of the original diorella vibe - chypre with just slightly skanky fruit with a big caveat - a dry hay note that sticks around forever. wow! classic yet very relaxed construction and an all-year standby. great 9/10
I cannot add much to Richaki's excellent review, which matches my experience of this fragrance. It is certainly in my top 3 fragrances and for me lasts quite well (6-7 hours), although it retreats to my skin fairly quickly (3, maybe 4 hrs?).
If it's of any interest to you, all the women in my office love it when I wear it.
The fruity opening offers an elegant combination of hay and grapefruit exhibited here with sparkling originality and dovetailing nicely with the low key tobacco, musk and leather all lurking around in the background, before finally drying down to a chypre base oozing with class and style.
The scent also displays a lovely versatility that can compliment any season.
Clearly, no perfume is without fault and if my critical faculties were set at 10 then the longevity can seem a little thin.
At last, a niche fragrance that I am extremely happy with and therefore enters my personal top ten, furthermore I encourage any fellow 21st century urban nomads to take a closer look at this one
22nd September, 2012 (last edited: 17th October, 2012)