I've been enjoying my samples for a couple weeks now, and I must admit that the scent is definitely vetiver prominent but also an extremely unique take on vetiver that is refreshing for fans like me.
Unlike some comments above, when I first sprayed Turtle Vetiver Front
on, I did not think it resembled the Turtle Vetiver Exercise No. 1
at all. The first one, is very stark, raw, iodine-rich, and smelled the most like an essential oil or aroma-therapeutic version of the accord than an actual scent. Like other raw vetivers (Etro, Annick Goutal, Profumum) it was a bit jolting to wear, in its rawness. Not that this is a bad thing - we sort of demand this kind of boldness in a niche scent like this and Isabelle Doyen does not disappoint. Plus, let's face it, this release was always touting itself as a Limited Edition, art-project type release. It was not designed for the masses to appreciate it but rather for a select few to enjoy and own it. I personally was lucky enough to have a BN buddy send me a large decant of Exercise No. 1, so I didn't have to invest in a full bottle yet got to enjoy it whenever the mood struck me. I have a tiny bit left, that I plan on keeping around as long as I can.
The first time I smelled it I couldn't figure out what the sweet, roundness was...it sort of resembled apricot skin or nectarine, but not crisp more...unctuous. After the third or fourth time, I realized what it was: coconut. I know that this note can be polarizing for certain people and I also am very aware that I am extremely hyperanosmic to the coconut accord. There are a few new fragrances on the market that feature coconut (Hermessence Santal Massoia
, Santal 33
, Santal Blush
), so my guess is that someone created a new coconut aromachemical new to the fragrance industry - it is not very sweet and it has an oily/buttery aspect, but not
tropical and it avoids the sharp, suntan-lotion-Pina-Colada-drink-mix
associations by being slightly transparent (like the green-fig leaf-whiff I get in Windsor
) and, in Front, it's very subtle
. The vetiver/coconut accord sounds gross, but it totally works (sort of like Fat Electrician
by ELDO does with vetiver/vanilla). The raw, green, woody vetiver and the smooth, slightly milky coconut flesh swirl back and forth all throughout the top notes in a comforting way. And then, when you least expect it, there's a sort of CdG-ish, industrial copier toner cartridge, ink smell - a more exotic, raw alternative to the ink smell of Encre Noire
. I personally love the smell of freshly copied paper - that combination of hot paper, ink, a sort of charcoal, burnt smell. Well, this is what you can smell from Front, mostly when you smell the scent up close on skin. The 'cedar' comments above don't surprise me - yes Front is very woody and there is a hint of something like oakmoss buried way deep down in the base notes. It's not oakmoss, but most likely some other aromachemical that adds a phenolic, slightly tar-like texture and enhances the toner accord even more so.
Whereas both stages of Front sound completely opposite from each other, they really do work together nicely. It's presence, perhaps due to it's raw-sour / smooth-sweet
combination, can be smelled for hours on skin. I wasn't shy today when I wore it, I doused myself in 8-9 sprays from the small sample atomizer and it was neither harsh nor cloying (Guerlain Vetiver
, one of my all-time favorites gives me a headache if I spray more than 2-3 times).
Would I buy a full bottle? I'm not sure. I am such a fan of vetiver scents that perhaps I don't need
another one, unless it completely captivates me and I fall head over heels for it - especially if it's going to cost +$150, like Front does. I don't find myself obsessing over it, after having smelled it (like I did, the first times I smelled Sycomore
). But, then again, a bottle split might be just the perfect amount for me to have. I'm going to wait before I spring for a bottle - which I see is finally on sale at the Les Nez site
. And check out the new bottle (a step up from the boring and drab bottle they used for Exercise No. 1, no?)