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  1. #1

    Default Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    (Yes, I also posted this in the sample of the day thread but I felt that this observation was long enough and detailed enough to warrant its own thread. I'm also posting it as a separate thread to get more feedback on the scent. )

    Today I sampled Les Nez's Let Me Play the Lion.



    This is a really interesting scent that I think has been written off far too quickly by many. With only the occasional cursory sniff over a single wearing one would be left thinking this is a quite linear and short lived scent. These observations prove to be both true and untrue.

    LMPTL goes on with a blast of anise and a coniferous accord which features a black spruce note rather prominently, accompanied by black pepper. The anise moves to the forefront for a short while before receding to reveal a beautiful and novel accord that remains dominant from its arrival until the late drydown: cedar and carnation. I have a feeling a variety of cedar notes are used as its soft and warm and round aspects are present as well as its sharper, turpine qualities. The accord is further warmed and deepened by the carnation note which is simultaneously smooth and buttery and slightly clovey.

    The clove note disappears in time and is replaced by a soft sandalwood note and a faint note of incense. A warm and yet sufficiently bitter honey/beeswax like note also becomes noticeable in the heart. I wonder if this is an illusion created by some combination of the carnation and anise, if a honey or beeswax note is actually present, or if this is the early phase of the dryout of the *real* ambergris that Let Me Play the Lion features. Yes, LMPTL features real ambergris, according to Les Nez owner Rene Shifferle.

    Despite the honey-like notes and the smooth carnation, the scent never feels creamy. It feels warm and dry and yet soft. I must say that the magnificent creature in the title of the scent was well chosen - the scent is evocative not only of the color of a lion's fur but also of the softness of its mane. And yet the scent never lets your forget that there is a dangerous animal beneath all of that soft fur. This is portrayed olfactorily by the ambergris note which is slightly animalic, dirty and funky. Combined with the beeswax and carnation it sometimes comes across as though this lion had to urinate. I only pick up the urinous quality periodically, and even when I do it is not so strong as to be off-putting or make me self-conscious of my scent.

    The reason I said that it was both true and untrue that the scent was linear and short-lived is that the scent is linear in that there are no significant changes from one scent category to another. No citrus->floral->woods or spice->floral->amber or anything like that. Yet, there are notes weaving in and out of its central dry/smooth/woody theme to keep it interesting. Also, it seems short lived. It seems to fade quickly on skin, and yet you will catch the occasional whiff of this golden woody aura surrounding you hours after you thought the scent disappeared. When I sniff within my shirt or the spot on my forearm where I applied I can barely smell a thing (at about 10 hours into the scent) and haven't been able to for a good 5 hours, and yet I'll still be greeted by whiffs the cedar/sandalwood/ambergris drydown when I least expect it. Let Me Play the Lion really does let you play the lion - and be surrounded in its subtle, gentle, warm and animalic aura.

    An excellent scent. Great for winter but due to its lightweight treatment of heavy notes I think it'll make for a great and different summer scent, as well. While some have complained that it is lighter than the vaguely similar Gucci Pour Homme, in this case I think that is more boon than bane. It makes it versatile and also prevents it from becoming suffocating or overstaying its welcome as strong, straight-up woody scents are wont to do.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I am nodding in agreement with your excellent assessment of LMPTL SOS. It is one of my winter staples, but here in South Florida 'winter' is that rare day in the 40s or 50s that comes once in a blue moon it seems. LMPTL is a gem. Soft, generously spicy and very wearable it is a unique and delightful experience each time I put it on.

    And Rene Shifferle is such a charm to deal with. I was so taken by LMPTL from the sample set sent to me by LesNez a couple of years ago it prompted me to contact LesNez online and then Rene himself somehow and arrange for a direct shipment of 2 bottles of LMPTL directly from him to me. All the while, in my early Basenotes naiveté, I was assuming the 'Rene' I was dealing with via email to be a LesNez employee and not the principal until well after I received the bottles he personally shipped to me here from Switzerland!

    As an aside, a friend of mine was dining in a (Paris?) restaurant about a year after my purchase with his future wife when he struck up a conversation with a gentleman at an adjoining table. My friend told the gentleman he was from the West Palm Beach, Florida area and the gentleman, who turned out to be Rene Shifferle, mentioned that he had a customer from that area. Surprised, and after some conversation, my friend identified that customer as his friend (me) to Rene. What are the odds?
    Last edited by kbe; 13th December 2009 at 01:26 PM.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  3. #3

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I have a sample and will someday spring for a fb. It's a well-balanced and intriguing scent.
    Are you not entertained??? Is this not why you are here??

  4. #4

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Hey kbe, thanks for sharing the story. That's awesome! Rene had written to me personally too when I had posted a looong thread long ago raving about L'Antimatiere. Shortly thereafter he started offering a L'Antimatiere only sample pack (which he has since removed). I thought it was cool to make an impact like that. He told me he was going to share my words with Mrs. Doyen who he said thought would appreciate them.

    I'm curious - in just how warm of weather do you feel comfortable wearing this? Where is the temperature threshold that it no longer becomes enjoyable?
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  5. #5

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    It is a fantasitic scent. We have got through two bottles per year since its launch. The Les Nez scents are very high quality IMO and Rene is a pleasure to deal with.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Hey kbe, thanks for sharing the story. That's awesome! Rene had written to me personally too when I had posted a looong thread long ago raving about L'Antimatiere. Shortly thereafter he started offering a L'Antimatiere only sample pack (which he has since removed). I thought it was cool to make an impact like that. He told me he was going to share my words with Mrs. Doyen who he said thought would appreciate them.

    I'm curious - in just how warm of weather do you feel comfortable wearing this? Where is the temperature threshold that it no longer becomes enjoyable?
    Nice to know others here have had nice interactions with Rene..

    SOS I found that even in warm/hot weather LMPTL is quite wearable and enjoyable. The only time I personally found it to be a bit heavy was on warm/hot days combined with an above 85% relative humidity, and we have quite a few each year in that category.
    Last edited by kbe; 13th December 2009 at 06:47 PM.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  7. #7

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    This is definitely the one in the line that most appeals to me. That being said, I think all of the scents in the line are very high quality and truly worthy of being labeled 'niche' - there's nothing quite like them elsewhere.

    Two big thumbs up for the house as a whole.
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  8. #8

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I have a few more niche samples to test, but at this point I think I'm going to make this one my first niche bottle. The scent is pretty much perfect to me, plus I know it's a bit of a hidden gem right now. I just wished they would have called it something else, maybe just "Lion" or "Play the Lion". I hate saying something weird when people ask what I'm wearing.
    Last edited by Stew; 11th April 2011 at 03:15 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I love the name. I'm also a fan of the scent, I gave the decant to a friend so I could smell it on him. It has a warmth and gentleness to it and also a rough catch, from the pepper I guess.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Just stumbled across this old review of mine and am bumping it because I think that Les Nez is an underrated house.

    Would love to hear more opinions about Let me Play the Lion!
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I received a sample of this from Luckyscent not too long ago and thought it was a very nice woody scent.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I agree it's a nice composition. A minimalistic and quite austere cedar/incense combo that strikes me as incredibly simple yet thoroughly enjoyable. SOS, I geinuinely wished I got all the nuances and undertones you describe in your original review but unfortunately to me it's mainly a cedar/incense a-la Comme Des Garcons. Nice.

    BTW, thanks for bumping old threads. At least we can talk about less popular scents....


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  13. #13

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by kbe View Post

    As an aside, a friend of mine was dining in a (Paris?) restaurant about a year after my purchase with his future wife when he struck up a conversation with a gentleman at an adjoining table. My friend told the gentleman he was from the West Palm Beach, Florida area and the gentleman, who turned out to be Rene Shifferle, mentioned that he had a customer from that area. Surprised, and after some conversation, my friend identified that customer as his friend (me) to Rene. What are the odds?
    Thats sensational!

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I liked this one from the get go too. I don't know if I like it enough for a full bottle yet, but more wear in winter will probably tell.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I find that this is my favorite "simple" woody/incensey scent. It's richer and more natural than Gucci PH and it generates much more interest than the zen-like simplicity of Tam Dao. PG's Indochine is another simple but excellent woody scent - sandalwood and honey - but I find Let Me Play the Lion to be warmer, rounder, and again, just better balanced and has more subtle layers at play that keep me interested.
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  16. #16

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I would like to echo the praise for this fragrance. I've enjoyed it for years and heartily recommend it to anyone who likes dry wood fragrances. It has a dusty quality but also is full of life and variety. It reminds me of walking through the dry arroyos brushing through the sage, cactus and junipers in northern New Mexico. Or it could be a morning hike up a rocky trial in Sabino Canyon overlooking Tucson. A lion at home in the wild.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    I just sampled this after I enjoyed Turtle Vetiver Front, and I'm loving it. I guess I missed the whole cedar bandwagon, and I've been looking for a couple nice cedar scents to add to my collection. Let Me Play the Lion is a top contender.

    Also find it interesting comparing the spruce note to that in Norne. I like that LesNez seems to give more consideration to how a scent will play out on skin.
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 11th March 2012 at 03:40 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Thanks for the remind Brian. Somehow LMPTL has migrated to the back of my cool storage area and it has been too long since I wrapped myself in its charms. I will remedy that situation STAT!
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    I just sampled this after I enjoyed Turtle Vetiver Front, and I'm loving it. I guess I missed the whole cedar bandwagon, and I've been looking for a couple nice cedar scents to add to my collection. Let Me Play the Lion is a top contender.

    Also find it interesting comparing the spruce note to that in Norne. I like that LesNez seems to give more consideration to how a scent will play out on skin.
    I love Doyen's Front, but I too recently tried LMPtL, but in my case I was underwhelmed. I love cedar scents and the notes looked right up my alley, but the scent was so subtle, it pretty much disappeared immediately on skin. I tried applying more of it from the sample vial, but alas, no luck. Oh well...

    If you are looking for cedar scents, I recommend you give Mona di Orio's Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver a sniff if you haven't already. It has a fantastic natural virginia cedar note in it that is an incredible complement to the vetiver.
    Current Top Favorites:
    1) Portrait of a Lady (EdP Frédéric Malle)
    2) Giorgio for Men vintage (Giorgio Beverly Hills)
    3) Dia Man vintage edt (Amouage)
    4) Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver (Mona di Orio) - tie
    4) Lalfeorosa (O'driù) - tie

    6) Anat Fritz Original Formula and Classical (Anat Fritz)
    7) Captain vintage (Molyneux)
    8) Tzora (Anat Fritz)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by drseid View Post
    I love Doyen's Front, but I too recently tried LMPtL, but in my case I was underwhelmed. I love cedar scents and the notes looked right up my alley, but the scent was so subtle, it pretty much disappeared immediately on skin. I tried applying more of it from the sample vial, but alas, no luck. Oh well...

    If you are looking for cedar scents, I recommend you give Mona di Orio's Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver a sniff if you haven't already. It has a fantastic natural virginia cedar note in it that is an incredible complement to the vetiver.
    I'm about two hours into LMPTL, and I do wish it had a better grip on my skin. I'm going to try a full dose next.

    It's been a long time since I tried Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver. I think that might go on for tonight! Thanks for the reminder.

    Also at the top of my cedar list: Un Parfum de Sens et Bois. Completely used up my sample and madly in love with it.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by drseid View Post
    I tried applying more of it from the sample vial, but alas, no luck. Oh well...
    I have to say these are some pretty unusual scents from LesNez and they need to be worn fully.

    They really play on the skin and can actually get stronger as you wear them.

    LMPTL still might not work for you but it might be worth investing in a proper spray sample (available directly from LesNez) before judging.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by laph View Post
    I have to say these are some pretty unusual scents from LesNez and they need to be worn fully.

    They really play on the skin and can actually get stronger as you wear them.

    LMPTL still might not work for you but it might be worth investing in a proper spray sample (available directly from LesNez) before judging.
    Totally agreed with this. It is light and sort of ethereal, but in that sense it captures the diaphanous nature of true incense smoke. I find that with a few sprays, it lasts all day (10+ hours), although it is always light and airy.
    ***For sale:

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    and more!
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by drseid View Post
    I love Doyen's Front, but I too recently tried LMPtL, but in my case I was underwhelmed. I love cedar scents and the notes looked right up my alley, but the scent was so subtle, it pretty much disappeared immediately on skin. I tried applying more of it from the sample vial, but alas, no luck. Oh well...

    If you are looking for cedar scents, I recommend you give Mona di Orio's Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver a sniff if you haven't already. It has a fantastic natural virginia cedar note in it that is an incredible complement to the vetiver.
    Thanks for that recommendation. I've been wanting to try some of Mona di Orio's line, but haven't ever been able to decide where to start. The other posts in this thread make LezNez sound compelling as well.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by laph View Post
    I have to say these are some pretty unusual scents from LesNez and they need to be worn fully.

    They really play on the skin and can actually get stronger as you wear them.

    LMPTL still might not work for you but it might be worth investing in a proper spray sample (available directly from LesNez) before judging.
    I have a spare atomizer that I can transfer the sample into. I know Doyen does have a habit of making scents disappear and then reappear as in another one of her LesNez releases in L'Antimatière, so maybe this is one more? I'll fill the atomizer and retry my sample today to see if things are any different...
    Current Top Favorites:
    1) Portrait of a Lady (EdP Frédéric Malle)
    2) Giorgio for Men vintage (Giorgio Beverly Hills)
    3) Dia Man vintage edt (Amouage)
    4) Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver (Mona di Orio) - tie
    4) Lalfeorosa (O'driù) - tie

    6) Anat Fritz Original Formula and Classical (Anat Fritz)
    7) Captain vintage (Molyneux)
    8) Tzora (Anat Fritz)

  25. #25

    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    Also at the top of my cedar list: Un Parfum de Sens et Bois. Completely used up my sample and madly in love with it.
    A big disappointment for me. Underwhelming to say the least...


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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Les Nez Let Me Play the Lion: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by laph View Post
    I have to say these are some pretty unusual scents from LesNez and they need to be worn fully.

    They really play on the skin and can actually get stronger as you wear them.

    LMPTL still might not work for you but it might be worth investing in a proper spray sample (available directly from LesNez) before judging.
    Well, after trying out using an atomizer and going with double my amount of usual sprays (6 this time instead of the usual 3) I was able to get more out of LMPtL... The opening was still like the first time... almost nonexistent, but as the day went on, the mild cedar/incense combo showed itself a hair more (albeit not much) and then a beautiful sandalwood and ambergris combo seemed to create a gorgeous dry-down that had a bit more authority then the opening or heart notes. That said, it was still very light and subtle on the whole with average longevity and minimal sillage.

    I guess I now would have to say I like LMPtL (especially the dry-down), but I still would not invest in a bottle, as it just is too light for my tastes. I stand corrected on my prior negative remarks, however.
    Current Top Favorites:
    1) Portrait of a Lady (EdP Frédéric Malle)
    2) Giorgio for Men vintage (Giorgio Beverly Hills)
    3) Dia Man vintage edt (Amouage)
    4) Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver (Mona di Orio) - tie
    4) Lalfeorosa (O'driù) - tie

    6) Anat Fritz Original Formula and Classical (Anat Fritz)
    7) Captain vintage (Molyneux)
    8) Tzora (Anat Fritz)

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