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  1. #1
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    Default Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    I got a decant a few days ago, so I figured I'd give my impression.

    At the most painfully insulting level possible, and my very first impression, it smells like 409 cleaning detergent and dirt mixed together. At the most profound level possible, it does smell like the ambiance of Africa, as marketed, both sterile and feral at the same time.

    The dominant note is vetiver, by far, and it's one of the best quality vetivers I've smelled. A lot of musk and incense. Some citrus and a little patchouli and cardamom.

    If you are used to mostly designer fragrances, you will find this challenging. As I got to try it out more, my opinion of it went from nuetral or even negative to positive. Don't just spray this on paper at the store and expect to love this. Give this one a few chances as it takes a little bit of time and an open mind to appreciate.

    I doubt this is good if you are fishing for compliments, but this is more of fragrance for a basenoter or a collector than the average man. A guy who is 30 and above may like it, but I'm not sure the younger people will like this as much. There's probably better choices for the laymen out there, but this is not a bad choice either.

    Originality - very original, but at the same time, not too bizarre
    Projection/Longevity - both good (not extremely high, but no serious complaints)
    Versatility/Wearability - can be worn on lots of occasions. it's much more versatile than most dirty scents out there. it's as versatile as it's genre of fragrances can be. The most wearable animalic I know of.
    Value - The price ($100 for 50ml and $145) is expensive compared to designers, but compared to niche, it's very affordable. And for what you are getting, it's well worth it, if you are into this genre. It's not urgent on my to-buy list, but I can imagine buying it at some point.

    If you like the dirty-clean dichotomy of fragrances like Kouros, but want something a little more wearable, this is a good option. I'd say that a fragrance collector who is a man should sample this at some point in his life. Personally, it's something I like a lot, but it's never a love. Maybe it will be, who knows. But this fragrance connects with me moreso logically than emotionally. I understand it to be beautifully composed, but it never makes me stop in my tracks or makes me helplessly fall to my knees.

    As of now, I think I'll give this, maybe, an 8 out of 10.
    It's a very good choice on both an artistic and utilitarian level.

    Your opinions?
    Last edited by noirdrakkar; 9th April 2013 at 05:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    I own it and like it a lot.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Not impressed.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    I revisited Timbuktu just a couple of weeks ago, so recent thoughts:

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    TIMBUKTU (L'Artisan Parfumeur / B. Duchaufor)

    A friend asked me to bang down my thoughts on this one, so great excuse to dig it out and ‘re-sample’ after a few years.

    I’ll be honest and say that Luca Turin’s review of this intrigued me enough to just go ahead and buy it – this was a few years ago when I got the ‘niche bug’, although it could probably be called the ‘what’s arriving from Luckyscent this week that I forgot I ordered’ bug.

    I was already a fan of Kyoto, having bought that the day it was released, so I wasn’t going in entirely blind – it was clear from The Guide that Duchaufor (along with Buxton) were pioneers of a sort and I wanted to find out more.

    The thing from the Turin review that really intrigued me was his comment that Timbuktu had a similar ‘effect’ as the grand-daddy of men’s fragrances, Fougere Royale. I have puzzled over this and think I get it now.

    My feelings about Timbuktu are the same today as that first week or so I wore it. It has a put-together crispness about it that while not ‘bracing’ like classic splash-ons of old, is incredibly satisfying. It has the same slightly moistened ‘snap’ to it that a glass of vermouth on a cool but sunny afternoon might offer.

    Opinions may vary about the woodiness, the booziness, even the smokiness of this one. It’s dry, in the sense of ‘sec’ as applied to vermouth or some wines, but it’s by no means arid – I personally flash on a boozy, aged dark woods texture that has maybe recently been rubbed with a fine alcohol / oil solution.

    I can’t help make a connection with Dzongkha, where it seems the DNA of this one has been used as solid wooden beams framing some cold stone or brick walls (courtesy of the iris) which really does evoke the interior of a Buddhist monastery I visited in Nepal (not Bhutan, but close enough) late one Autumn.

    The other thing Turin spoke eloquently about was the radiance of Timbuktu – I like the hi-fi analogy. It has a presence that is really satisfying to me – it seems no matter how much you want to apply it maintains a level that allows conversation . . . the mark of a good audio system, BTW. In the recording studio we would call this transparency, as in a transparent mix. I think this is where the Fougere Royale comparison is apt – it’s compellingly, consistently satisfying but never shouts. I should qualify that by saying that altho it is IMO a 'singular' scent it is by no means a 'one-liner'. There seems to be a bit of a trend to arm some modern niches with nuclear strength bases of vanilla, lavender and other synthetics to appeal to the 'longevity rules' set but Timbuktu retains a shifting airiness throughout that never leads to boredom - it's not loud and it doesn't speak in a monotone.

    Where it’s different from a fougere, of course, is that Timbuktu has a singular intensity about it as opposed to a three-tiered structure, (unless I’m missing a sleight of hand in the composition – which is quite possible). I think this is where it makes an interesting (and softly spoken) ‘presence’ that can easily entertain company – it has an incredible ‘openness’ to it. Dzongkha seems to me to be sort of Timbuktu + iris and I don’t doubt Mr. Duchaufor has toyed with other notes alongside, or inside, this idea – I’m really not up on his various works for other clients but my guess is that the idea has been developed elsewhere. I imagine there is at least some crossover in appeal for the whole Hinoki, Sequoia, Wonderwood clan and doubtless others, but Timbuktu has a purity that seems to allow it to stand apart from the other 'woods' out there.

    I would recommend this to anyone who is comfortable with a timeless transparent moistened dry woods idea who wants a singular ‘signature’ that is crisp and unadorned – there are no trendy ‘details’ here that will mark you as a fashion victim, and that’s a good thing IMO. Please dress accordingly ☺

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    ... At the most profound level possible, it does smell like the ambiance of an African jungle, as marketed, both sterile and feral at the same time....
    You do know that some of us here are Africans, right?

    While I find your review interesting your above comment is unnecessary. Timbuktu the place and the fragrance has nothing to do with jungles. As an African I am very tired of these images of Africa that people keep perpetuating. Please check some facts before attempting to add incorrect imagery to your review.

    Having said that, I think the fragrance is wonderful. Although I don't wear it, I bought it for my girlfriend who happens to be Beninese and I think the combination of vetiver and incense suits her very well. So on those two points I fully agree with you. It has a dry feeling to it which I think is more appropriate to the place after which it is named.

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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Isn't Timbuktu (the city) more of a dry-desert type of place?
    Last edited by morrison74; 8th April 2013 at 12:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Regardless of geography, my point was that some will describe a fragrance as an environment and some will describe it and compare it to cheap products. The truth lies somewhere in between.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    Regardless of geography, my point was that some will describe a fragrance as an environment and some will describe it and compare it to cheap products. The truth lies somewhere in between.
    You partly describe the fragrance thus: "...it does smell like the ambiance of an African jungle...." so it is you that included geography, I was merely irked by this nonsense.

    I take your point regarding the description of a fragrance and the possibility of comparing it to environments and cleaning products but my point was that your choice of comparison was very poorly thought out and offensive. Please refrain from spreading stereotypes of places you haven't even the faintest inkling of.

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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    My point was that there are both ways of interpreting a fragrance that can be too overanalytical and there are ways of interpreting that could give it much less credit for what it is.

    If I offended anybody or made any factual errors, I apologize and take full responsibility.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Whilst I own this fragrance and use it quite a lot, I have never found it to be particularly well blended. It seems to be very rough, with all sorts of notes flying off in all directions. On first spraying I get lots of harsh green, lots of Citrus, lots of Cumin (oh lots of Cumin) together with dry dusty, woody notes as well as softer Vetivert accords. There never seems to be any point or development, and the only common theme is a Castoreum/sweaty woody notes which is probably due to a high dose of Ambrocenide. I'm not knocking it; I enjoy what I smell, but I think it could have been put together more subtly. And it has nothing to do with any Fougere, Royale or not.

    More like a Pollock than a Rothko, I feel.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Nice conversation!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Whilst I own this fragrance and use it quite a lot, I have never found it to be particularly well blended. It seems to be very rough, with all sorts of notes flying off in all directions. On first spraying I get lots of harsh green, lots of Citrus, lots of Cumin (oh lots of Cumin) together with dry dusty, woody notes as well as softer Vetivert accords. There never seems to be any point or development, and the only common theme is a Castoreum/sweaty woody notes which is probably due to a high dose of Ambrocenide. I'm not knocking it; I enjoy what I smell, but I think it could have been put together more subtly. And it has nothing to do with any Fougere, Royale or not.

    More like a Pollock than a Rothko, I feel.
    I tend to agree -- it's not the smoothest ride ever. On this occasion though it forms part of it's appeal -- sort of crazy and lovely at the same time.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    I revisited Timbuktu just a couple of weeks ago, so recent thoughts:
    You don't need to be a guy to appreciate it. I've worn it a lot in the heat of the summer.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    To me it occupies similar space to Sycomore (Chanel), Encre Noir (Lalique) and Standard Artek (CdC) - all four being spicy, incensy vetivers.

    I like all of them, but decided to give away Encre Noir since it is the sweetest. I find Timbuktu a bit too incensy, so I retain Sycomore as my favourite best smokey vetiver, and Standard Artek as the second choice - with that pinewoody IKEA feeling.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    I'm either anosmic to most of Timbuktu or fail to understand something about it on a very fundamental level because I have never been impressed by it for good or bad. And so many of the notes that people mention when describing it are not there for me. I smell something that smells a little sweaty and maybe some florals. That's it.

    I've thought about revisiting it on the offchance there was something wrong with my nose the days I tested it. But it's not high on my list.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Very nice and thoughtful reviews guys. Whether Timbuktu is smooth or rough, has development or no development, it's timeless to my nose and I fall in love with it all over again every time I wear it.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    I own it too, but it's gone when I have left the room.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by Georgio View Post
    I own it too, but it's gone when I have left the room.
    Really? That's strange, it has very good longevity on me. Love this fragrance, thanks for the review!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Oh this is one of my favourites and most worn scents, i used 40ml so far within 1 year of owning it , among my other 20+ bottles:-)

    When i first tried it i thought its so original and subtle scent, ideal for summer heats, then on the 1st day i had it, i got compliment from a woman who is into fragrances a lot:-) ok i use 6 sprays minimum:-) ......

    I love it for that citrus note, for months it gave me impression of nice chamomile tea with lemon, its not clean but not dirty as well, it has a bit like sweaty note i agree and i noticed it only later .....and during the summer heat as well......on the other hand i categorize it as woody scent, it has lots of woody notes and this is the most original vetiver scent i know, it doesnt smell raw, its so well behaved, in contrast what other members said, i think its the most girlish vetiver there is:-) .....very unisex.....

    I had a phase when i thought i don't like it anymore, but its also very wearable, and versatile.....and doesn't smell synthetic to me, the one i compared it to was sycomore....which seams a lot more modern take on vetiver.......

    I think this sweaty note comes from karo karounde flower, i dont smell any musks! I think if its musky i would not like it:-)

    Its sweet woody citrusy chamomile vetiver scent for me:-) ....and like real vetiver has calming effect on me,'also i feel clean with it:-)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    The sweaty notes come from Cumin and Ambrocenide. I do not detect either Chamomile or Karo Karounde.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveHippo View Post
    Really? That's strange, it has very good longevity on me. Love this fragrance, thanks for the review!
    It amazed me too. I also have Tea for Two from the same brand and that lasts almost all day on me.
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Somebody on here, perhaps in a review, pointed out that it smells like bleach, and I am afraid that this is now all I get from it.
    Currently wearing: Great Jones by Bond No. 9

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    I revisited Timbuktu just a couple of weeks ago, so recent thoughts:
    Excellent and articulate review of one of my favorite fragrances. Thanks Mr. Reasonable.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    The sweaty notes come from Cumin and Ambrocenide. I do not detect either Chamomile or Karo Karounde.
    I don't get any cumin from this one at all. I think the vetiver itself likely gives it its sweaty quality. I've found vetiver in other fragrances can do that.

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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    The sweaty notes come from Cumin and Ambrocenide. I do not detect either Chamomile or Karo Karounde.
    Ok thanks, i am not familiar with cumin yet, have read on some places of that karo beeing part of Timbuktu, so i took that as a missing part for that sweet smell
    , and have googled Ambrocenide.....its an interesting woody chemical widely used in soaps, detergents,shampoos, bleache too lol and perfumes:-)
    And Luca Turin mentions cypriol....which i read also has relaxing effect....

    wanted to say how i always associated that scent with something mild and aromatic as chamomile, not that there is such note, the overall association i get is that...its never harsh or like its not well done:-) , probably because i love it since day one:-) to me its a calming scent......

    - - - Updated - - -

    Cypriol nagarmotha essential oil is employed in fragrances or bases of the woodsy, eastern type for a foresty note. Due to its minimum cost, it is also used as a fixative. In aromatherapy cypriol essential oil allows decongestive properties and is used to treat diarrhoea or problematical digestion

    Cypriol essential oil is used as a decongestant and a digestive tonic. It effectively calms digestive upsets and treats diarrhea. Cypriol oil improves circulation, promotes peace of mind and a encourages calm and restful sleep.

    Lol i was not so far away with my chamomile tea asociation:-) , i drink chamomile for the same issues....
    Last edited by iivanita; 8th April 2013 at 09:10 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    I remember trying this for the first time after reading Turin's review and buying Dzongkha instead.
    It reminded me of vinegar and old books ( perhaps the great library of Timbuktu was an inspiration.)
    To much of a challenge for me. However on second try I was knocked out by the vetiver dry down.
    I still prefer sycamore though.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    I didn't like it at all the first couple of times I tried it, but it grew on me and now it is one of my favorites, as evidenced by the amount my bottle has gone down, compared to most of my collection. It is a great spicy vetiver - I love Encre Noir and Artek too.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    On me it is an original and creative but wearable scent.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Have a sample of this as we speak. Too much incense, which I just don't find an appropriate note in male frags. Or any frag.
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    On me it is an original and creative but wearable scent.
    sums up my thought

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Timbuktu by L'Artisan (my impression and my thoughts)

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    Regardless of geography, my point was that some will describe a fragrance as an environment and some will describe it and compare it to cheap products. The truth lies somewhere in between.
    " The truth " lies somewhere in between describing a fragrance as a cheap product and an environment???

    You mean this particular fragrance or any fragrance?

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