Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Arpège by Lanvin

Total Reviews: 77
I'm a fan of anything vintage-leaning and indolic, so needless to say, I am an admirer of Arpege. The powdery aldehydes occasionally give me pause, but the animalic aspects of the vintage version of this scent are luscious and dark and sophisticatedly retro. Amouage's Gold Man and Arpege seem to be singing the same song, and it's a refrain I love to hum along with under my breath. I don't wear either of these two very often, but each time I do, I am impressed by their amazing combination of the delicate and floral with the deep and animal.

Delicious, but perhaps an acquired taste in these squeaky clean and candy floss-times.
05th October, 2017
Complex and floral, revealing its age sensuously. I found out quite by accident how differently it behaves on moisturised skin as opposed to newly showered. With a neutral moisturiser, (E45) the base styrax and patchouli dominate and do so fairly quickly. the topnotes, dissipate quickly leaving little more than a memory. The heart stays and develops elegantly. I agree that it is quite a 'dirty' fragrance, but that is a classification I love.
23rd August, 2017
A wonderful aldehydic blend of lily of the valley, styrax, ylang ylang, and jasmine. This doesn't come across as too floral, but a complex blend that smells formal and classical. In the same vein as Jicky and Shalimar, This has held it's age well and hasn't collapsed under they over-regulated reformulations.
10th August, 2017
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How gorgeous! I just tested both the current EDP and vintage extrait. They are very different. I prefer the EDP. It's all about a beautifully mixed tuberose. A bit sweet but not cloying. Sexy and elegant, with good projection and longevity. Current but vintage.

The vintage extrait is more disappointing. Of course, it smells oily and stays very close to the skin. It's rounder. Powdery. Discreet. This extrait could be worn by men as well, while I think the EDP is very feminine.
05th May, 2017
I found some vintage Arpege extrait, and I would describe it as a softer, rounder, less concentrated version of Ubar. Ubar contains modern components that allow its individual notes to really pop and sparkle and be more articulated than those in an aged vintage fragrance, yet the scent profiles of these two are very, very similar - dominant sandalwood; civet; similar mixed floral heart with discernible lily of the valley. The top notes and aldehydes in my bottle of Arpege have long dissipated, so all I can know of it is a bit of its heart and a lot of its base, which doesn't have the mossiness of a chypre, nor the sweetness of an oriental, and is an elegant animalic woody thing at this point. It's unisex and smells quite of its time in much the way that Vol de Nuit does.

I've always found Ubar to be stunning in both senses of the word. I've kept a leaky sample in a drawer because it makes my office smell nice, but the fact that one drop left in a five-year old carded sample contained in a closed drawer scents my whole office, well...that's a more potent fragrance than I can wear on my person. That said, I've come to have a whole new context and excitement for it through getting to know vintage Arpege, because I can better see what Amouage were trying to do, and they really nailed the classic style in a way that doesn't smell dated, just timeless.
16th February, 2017
I had the chance (misfortune?) to smell the vintage and the new formulation back to back. It is the quintessential example of everything that is wrong with brands milking their past for all it's worth.

The vintage is a lovely floral on which entire pages have been written, so I will be brief. I really felt like in a field of flowers in the middle of the European summer, when the pollen and the smell is particularly heady.

The new formulation smells of rotten fruit mixed with drain cleaner. That is literally the picture that formed in my head as I recoiled from the sample and tried not to throw up. It is just awful and has absolutely nothing in common with its grandparent.

Do not give your money to the people who have done this, it will only encourage them.
18th August, 2016
First the caveats
This review is for vintage Eau Arpege which, from what I could gather, is EDT version of original.
A great unisex fragrance. The aldehyde in this is not as strong as EDP and I prefer that. The aldehydes in original are suffocating. The whole fragrance is well balanced (better than the baroque edp) and drydown to die for.
I would highly recommend this at it can be had for cheaper that original. Get this instead of modern version.
24th April, 2016
Aldehydes and indoles - All that flowery by-product goodness that was once all but unavoidable in perfumery. The listed notes might makes this sound like a fresh, semi-sweet bouquet, but this juice is practically filthy. And, whereas this used to be a desirable standard of fragrance for women, nowadays it might be seen as a more avant-garde masculine. It's a tough wear for what it is, but a pleasure to sample. The EDC formula peters out too soon on my skin, but some might call that a mercy.
09th February, 2016
I was reading the biography of Wanda Osisir, famous Italian actrice, singer and soubrette in the period 1930-50 that widely used arpège that she even sprayed on roses that she threw to the public.

I went to try it in a perfumery shop close to my flat and I decided to buy the first bottle (I already both other 2, one for a friend) over internet as its price is much lower.

I sometimes wear it (also famous LucaTurins says that it is also masculine) but nearly every day I spray it on the bed, it smells fantastic.

A dark, weighty, floral chypre that belongs to a fragrance category now out of fashion but in my opinion still very exciting, elegant, classy.

I would like to try the vintage version (reported as fantastic) but I do not want to buy it on line to avoid that the fragrance is not anymore good, hope i'll find it in an historic shop.

29th December, 2015
This was my mother's signature scent and I remember her closet smelling of Arpage and cigarettes. This scent represented everything good about my childhood. heavenly.

I bought a bottle recently and it has been reformulated. Sadly, the cheapened ingredients don't do it any favors. A once complex and beautiful fugue has fallen apart into a dissonant unworkable mess.
10th August, 2015
This fragrance had to have been reformulated. It doesn't smell the same as I remember years ago. This review is for the contemporary one.

As with many of these reformulations (of the older classics), it has its feet stuck in two different worlds and doesn't live in either of them well. It opens with soapy aldehydes, slightly sweet, that tend to date it, yet behind it is a certain thinness of notes. And with this reformulation, a giant green swamp-like note emerged, a vegetal soup pot of three-day old greens soaking in warm water. I was trying to place what note was producing this, but it very likely was a combination with the soapy aldehydes. But it left this a murky mess, fit only for frogs. After 45 minutes the swamp notes dissipated, so I could finally smell the fragrance as it was intended. Except I hope not.
This fragrance has no real distinction of notes. While the swamp note went away, I was still in a murky pond. A sickly sweetness, that had smelled funky with the greens, is still present, and I can tell it is the vanilla, left to soak in soapy aldehydes and peachy musk too long. It doesn't really smell like vanilla anymore, only milky sweetness. A little nauseating really. I actually pick up a fair amount of green in this fragrance, which would have been nice if it had been crisper, but swimming in the slight sweetness made it unappetizing.
The dry down was the best part, a light base of attractive basenote roughness combined with mild vanillic soapiness, but it had little depth, one of those newer drydowns that just sort of fade away with a resigned acceptance of its fate. It went out with a pleasant soapy whimper.
How did this fragrance go so wrong on me? I tried it several times to make sure of the reaction, and it was the same. Beyond a truly unappealing sweet vegetal swamp, it doesn't seem to hang together. It's stripped of the elements that made it work at its inception. When the gene stripping by IFRA was done, so was this fragrance. Best to give it a respectful funeral and let it retain its dignity.
02nd May, 2015 (last edited: 03rd May, 2015)
Way Off Scenter puts it perfectly: "Poor Arpège. As a dark, weighty, floral chypre, it belongs to a fragrance genre now so out of fashion as to be positively gauche. It lands on the skin potent and massive, arriving quickly at its central structure of a thick, rose-dominated floral accord and deep spices (the pyramid lists coriander, I smell cinnamon and nutmeg,) over an intense, earthy chypre. To contemporary sensibilities this sort of composition is liable to smell ponderous, “perfumey,” and hopelessly dated…"

Although that reviewer goes on to praise it as does almost everyone on this page, I must be the first and so far only dissenter.

I found it to be harshly tweedy with dry, heavy florals, most unpleasant and sharp. This is the way perfume should not smell. Yet, its popularity for almost 90 years and its iconic advertising slogan "Promise her anything, but give her Arpege" puts me in the obvious minority on this one.

My scent pyramid on Arpege is more extensive than the one above:

Top notes: Bergamot, Peach, Neroli, Honeysuckle, Iris, Muguet, Musk
Middle notes: Rose, Jasmine, Ylang, Coriander, Mimosa, Tuberose, Violet, Geranium,
Genet, Iris, Camellia
Base notes: Sandalwood, Vetiver, Patchouli, Vanilla, Benzoin, Ambergris

No wonder it smells dense, it has practically every note of its day in it.

Turin gives it four stars and calls it a "unisex classic."

It repels me, but no doubt it is due to my own scent profile, not that of the world at large.

08th October, 2014
This was the very first scent I ever wore on a regular basis - my voice teacher brought me back a little vial from France when I was 13! But that was the original formulation, back in 1961. I wore it as my "signature" fragrance until it suddenly became almost impossible to buy in the US - sometime in the 1990s, I think. (I switched to Lancome's Magie Noir, but that's another story.)

When I went looking for a new "signature" fragrance last year, I tried something that came in a familiar bottle labeled "Arpege". Alas, it wasn't at all what I remembered, and it smelled terrible on me. Why did they do that?
14th September, 2014
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On me, this smells like a baby diaper if that baby ate nothing but jasmine. And yet I love it.

It goes fecal on me in the best possible way, dry, thick, indole, raspy, cold and dressy. It smells so vintage to me that it comes across as modern.

This could be said of Fracas as well, but on me Fracas is a screeching, needy, diva, attention-whore. Arpege, with its similarity to First by VC&A is more refined, confident and romantic.

It makes me feel rich.
29th August, 2014
Genre: Floral

Poor Arpège. As a dark, weighty, floral chypre, it belongs to a fragrance genre now so out of fashion as to be positively gauche. It lands on the skin potent and massive, arriving quickly at its central structure of a thick, rose-dominated floral accord and deep spices (the pyramid lists coriander, I smell cinnamon and nutmeg,) over an intense, earthy chypre. To contemporary sensibilities this sort of composition is liable to smell ponderous, “perfumey,” and hopelessly dated, but it’s really a better scent than that, and deserves to be judged on its own terms.

Even when met with an open mind, Arpège has a conspicuously awkward episode in its early development. Not long after application the floral accord mounts an enormous crescendo, during which an unfortunate combination of waxy aldehydes and a crudely artificial rose note makes for an embarrassingly crass, dowdy impression, the olfactory equivalent of Edna Turnblad answering the door in her housecoat. (I’m talking the Divine version here, not the scrubbed and sanitized John Travolta.) Then, somewhere between a half an hour and an hour’s air time, a sweet, smooth amber settles in to bind the ingredients and tilt the composition into balance. What remains is an appealingly spicy and somewhat sweet oriental-tinged chypre, that while still bulky and opaque, nevertheless manages a staid brand of poise and grace in motion.

The remainder of Arpège’s stay is very pleasant, especially once the ambery, mossy drydown sets in. In fact, the drydown exudes such elegance and understatement that the earlier clumsiness is forgiven, if not entirely forgotten. For those tolerant of its anachronistic style and patient enough to experience Arpège in its entirety, this grand old survivor offers some tempting pleasures.
08th June, 2014
Lanvin – Arpege(pre-formulation)
A clean and tight perfume with a 'classic' structure that’s floating by like the Titanic on open sea - majestic and gracious. It got a compressed and concentrated feel about its aromatics with a great balance between flavour-efficiency and airy-expression; accelerating slowly with a smooth, trapless transmission from top, to mid and base. Very fresh and full flowery-flavored with the main-stage being taken by tuberose, beautifully accompanied by an orchestra of the other flowers, glowing and pulsating their flowery notes, dressing up the tuberose. It floats on a resinous-creamy sandalwood/patchouli/vanilla-base with powdery-iris and greeny notes: which already projects its light and warmth in this perfumes’ early start. Arpege is an incredible harmonious and very smooth blended perfume with a powerful, yet very elegant flow to it - never hurried, always in a constant pace that shows grace and dignity, wrapped in a mystical mist of knowing where its heading. A poetic masterpiece with no weak points and due to exquisite blending far more ‘easy’ smelling than how complex Arpege in reality is.
26th May, 2014
This rich, resinous, warm glow of a fragrance, is like the olfactory interpretation of a black, velvet cocktail dress. It's a theatrical, grande dame of a fragrance, with memorable personality, while not being shrieking and era-bound. It has the distinct, signature factor of a 1980's scent, like "Poison", with the reserved, whispering softness of a hotel soap from 1933 and the flamboyant, celebratory feel of the 20's scent that it is.

To me, the name "Arpege" couldn't be more perfect for this crackling fireside of a blend. It smells of beautiful places and joyful, social events. It smells like the dry, aged wood interior of a piano, with its polished keys. It salty-dry, yet soapy powdery scent of styrax, feels like a clean woman, dressed in a cedar-stored velvet gown or dress, warming a little, under hot lights. The creamy florals smell like the best, hard-milled, cold cream based soap. The shadowy -- almost murky -- textured greens, like herbally vetiver, evoke the feeling of standing on a veranda, looking out to the moonlit garden and grove of trees (with hidden benches, for snuggling lovers!) below. The dry, smooth, crumbly resin base notes, reminds me of the polished, sweet smell of violin rosin.

While "Arpege" contains some truly lovely, apricot-creamy florals, it's really a scent for those who love woods, resins and shimmering aldehydes. It's similar to "Mitsouko", in that it has a mossy, layered undertone of greens, herbs and tonic but where "Mitsouko" feels more like a bouquet of greens, ferns and incense, "Arpege" is mostly just sweet woods, shimmery, metallic florals and bitter incense.

That lovely, slightly bitter, dry bite is why I would settle on classifying "Arpege" as the quintessential "Oriental", while the wet, earthy mossiness of "Mitsouko" sets that squarely as "Chypre". Both have a similar heft and a romantic, otherworldy presence and feel curated, like a trunk of World travels but "Mitsouko" is sleek cat, mystery, while "Arpege" is glamour -- with a kick of sweetness. "Mitsouko" is Louise Brooks in "Prix de Beaute", while "Arpege" is Janet Gaynor in "A Star is Born".
31st March, 2014
Feminine, sexy, classic

„An elegant, beautifully balanced classic "

Over the years, I've read many reviews that suggest a close similarity between Arpege and Chanel #5 so I've assiduously steered clear of this fragrance. The famous Chanel has never shown its beauty to me; in fact I dislike it intensely. So why would I want to try it's "twin"? A silly prejudice on my part, for these two are not alike in any way except for their categorization as floral aldehydes. I've tested; I've bought the bottle. And I've been won over by this timeless beauty.

My review is of the current EDP formulation.

Aldehydes were fairly mild to my nose; I had expected something along the lines of Herme's Caleche. The sweetness of honeysuckle and luscious, juicy peach stood out most vividly. The heart notes were so beautifully blended that no one floral stood out on its own, all were interwoven in a seamless way. A slight powdery note came into play during the unfurling of the notes, the orris root I guess, but it was pleasant, never over-the-top. The drydown is so lovely; heavy on vetiver, musk, and sandalwood on my skin. A resinous drydown that is balanced and long-lasting. The entire fragrance is beautifully balanced to my nose. Sillage very good, longevity 9+ hours. I'm so glad I decided to give Arpege a try. (Thanks, Coutureguru for your dazzling review!) I know this will become a staple in my wardrobe. Suitable day or night, in my book. Perfect.

Pros: Balanced, complex
Cons: None"

04th October, 2013
i dont know which formula i have tried, it is said to be better then the most recent one,

it opens up like grand dame of classic aldehydic scents, serious cold aldehydes and floral! much more floral then Chanel no.5.which is not my genuine love, but very soon, the sharp/cold aldehydic note is gone and scent transforms into warm, sweety and just a touch powdery floral. This was like 180 degrees change, the sweetnes of the base takes over! It is like serious lady in her 50s turned into young lady in her 30 s:), all is nicely balanced a little thin, but i blame it on reformulation maybe

that drydown is unmistakenly similar to classics like Tabu, Ball a Versaille in a way that its dense, complex, a little powdery, Arpege doesnt have animalic notes but leathery one , and is like office scent version of Tabu :) less sweet, more floral, but they all share DNA of classic style perfumery :)

staying power and sillage is not huge, very medium
16th January, 2013
This is one of my very favorite scents. It does remind me of No. 5 but to me it's heavier in a way (maybe the choking aldehydes?), yet the dry down seems to be a bit lighter and, well, just different. I prefer No. 5 but the 2 alternating together satisfy almost all of my perfume needs. Nighttime needs, I should say. Arpege, to me, is a sexy scent for night only, and for cooler nights too. It's quite overpowering in a hot, humid climate like New Orleans. But I find most scents I like do better in cold weather though, except really citrusy ones. Arpege is a very sophisticated, grown-up, sexy, bold yet refined, classic lovers' scent that is always on my vanity. As with most fragrances, vintage is way better than the current formulation. My vintage sample seems a bit less choky/aldehydy and more restrained than my new bottle.
13th January, 2013
I'm ashamed to say I bought a bottle of this a while back and gave it away after finding the initial application too strong and 'choky'. Shame on me. I recently gave it another go and this time, after the first 5 minutes, discovered how much I love this fragrance. Like Shalimar, this reminds me of an old sweet lipstick smell from my nana's draw - Cyclax perhaps. I much prefer to spray a little distance away and walk into this one rather than a direct application. Love!
22nd October, 2012
It is a musical, harmonious set of notes that play the Arpege. Sweet and delicate conjuring floral gardens, a hint of vanilla that remains in the dry down to hum in the background for hours. The mystery of an old instrument case, perhaps too! My first time buying this! I don't regret it. And don't feel old! What are they talking about, when they say it seems suitable as an old womans fragrance?! It fits me and I am nearing mid thirties!
11th June, 2012
Love this one. Has a nice complexity to it that I really like and reminds me of scents my mother and aunt wore years ago. I like "old lady" perfumes and this one has that mature feel to it.
09th April, 2012
I remember liking this as a child in the '60s, so when I had the opportunity to buy it several years ago, I looked forward with great anticipation to my adult perception of the scent. I opened it and sprayed it on, and Aaahhh!!!. So much better than I remembered. This scent is not for the shy or faint-hearted. It makes an assertive and gorgeous statement. Still scintillating after all these years!
15th February, 2012
LuciaW Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I got a mini bottle of this on the recommendation of some of the lovely Basenotes members. I LOVE it, a really grown up scent, sparkling aldehydes and the perfect drydown reminiscent of No'5 but softer and more rounded to my nose. Its suitable for all occasions in my opinion, being noticeable without entering the room before you.

I have a full size bottle on the way.

I imagine I will always have a bottle of this from now on.
24th January, 2012
A conjuration of many following fragrances (also inspired by Arpege in my opinion and I mean Rive Gauche, Nina Ricci Fleur de Fleurs, Hermes Caleche, V&A First, Chanel N. 5 and others) this pillar of classicism combines all the elements that use to constitute full structure of a classic vintage floral-aldehydic-mossy-chypre and I mean aldehydes, bergamot, patchouli, rose-tuberose, neroli, the laundry neutral sophisticated chord of iris-ylang ylang, moss and vanilla. The combination of aldehydes and styrax holds on a certain level of soaring and balsamic gassy powder throughout the trip. The sweetness elicited by neroli, bergamot, rose, ylang-ylang and amber is opaque and soapy with an hint of balminess. The base of vanilla, patchouli and moss is shadowy, soapy and neutral. There is a sort of rosey-powdery-mossy-soapy kind of vein which exudes in the air anyway a spark of full classic aldehydic sophistication elicited by iris, lily, patchouli and bergamot. Lanvin Arpege is an out of time creation and embodies that kind of bold, classic, balanced, neutral and mysterious temperament as well exuded by scents like Mitsouko, Aromatics Elixir, L' Heure Bleue and Eau de Soir.
03rd January, 2012 (last edited: 06th January, 2016)
Perfume for real ladies. Never easy for women!
You must have courage to use this powerful scent, mysterious, dramatic and classic.
I can smell the powder, jasmine, rose, vanilla.
Ordinary people would find it "old." I think he's divine!
Never use in everyday life. I am Brazilian, here in Rio de Janeiro is very hot, so only use on winter nights in Rio de Janeiro on special occasions.
03rd January, 2012
I got a whiff of a vintage bottle of Arpege, which gave me an intense case of dèjà vu. On the bottle resides the iconic image of a robed figure hanging onto the bowed figure of a pulling child that looks, from a distance, like the billowing, triangular sails of a ship. Inside the bottle is an aldehydic floral with a great, big, breathtaking jasmine note that floats me back into the past. I smell all of the women I have ever known who wore cocktail dresses and spiked heels and red lipstick and beehive hairdos while accompanying their husbands who wore suits and ties to parties because it was de rigueur to do so. Somehow, I always remember them as “grown-ups” in my skewed perspective, although they were younger, then, than I am now. Iin my jeans and t-shirts, I remain childlike in comparison to those serious-minded ladies who not only looked the part but played the part of ADULTS, and smelled like them, too.
29th December, 2011
I haven't read all the reviews for Arpege but probably someone has already mentioned how much this perfume smells like Rive Gauche (the feminine version.) I wore Rive Gauche yesterday and Arpege today and I almost immediately realized that they are extremely similar perfumes. Even their listed notes are extremely similar though, so that is really not very surprising. I am pretty sure though that Rive Gauche must have been based off of Arpege.
I think I prefer Arpege a little more though (although I love Rive Gauche too.) When I wear Rive Gauche I feel like I am enveloped in a cloud of fragrance, but I don't get that sense from Arpege so much. It seems much more light and subtle, which is better for everyday wear. I think you could wear Arpege to the office or to a job interview and no one would be put off, but you might not get away with that with Rive Gauche..someone would notice it for sure.
Between the two of them I think I recommend this fragrance a little more, but honestly, they are still both really great classic perfumes.
21st October, 2011
One of my all time favorites. Elegant, mature, romantic and sexy. What more could I ask for?!
17th October, 2011