I like leather perfumes in all of their many iterations. Whether it is suede soft or raw untanned skin I find the accords perfumers come up with to evoke leather one of the more interesting aspects of this style of fragrance. One perfumer who has evolved his leather accord over the last few years is Bertrand Duchaufour.
There have been distinct stages to M. Duchaufour’s leather accord and over the last few releases it seems like he has settled on one he likes best and tunes it to whatever effect he desires. Having followed this process there were a couple of the earlier rougher iterations I also liked. For his second perfume for The Vagabond Prince, Land of Warriors, M. Duchaufour takes all of his leather accords and combines them into a leather perfume lover’s smorgasbord.
The description of the notes for Land of Warriors lists three separate leather accords; vegetal leather, mineral and spicy leather, animalic leather, and smoky leather. Each of these by themselves are quite wonderful but in Land of Warriors they overstuff it a bit as the four accords clunk a little bit through the transitions. Land of Warriors is at its best when one of those leather accords is right out front. It gets muddled when a couple of them start to tussle for attention.
The first accord is the vegetal one. M. Duchaufour turns to three of his most-used ingredients to compose this; angelique seed, tomato leaf, and blackcurrant bud. The accord these notes form has the odor of well used leather gardening gloves as the scent of crushed green things mixes with sweaty leather. This is a very challenging accord as it has some rough edges to it. The sticky green of the blackcurrant stays just the right side of not smelling urinous but it is a close thing as the strength of the accord wants to drag it into the WC. It is a very bold choice to open with this especially when the second accord starts to appear. Again M. Duchaufour is working with some of his favorite ingredients like frankincense, davana, cistus, and saffron. The name promises mineral but I get mostly spicy on my skin. It should work better but the significant amount of oakwood absolute tilts this into woody spicy territory. My favorite of the accords is the third one the animalic accord. It is simple as M. Duchaufour uses castoreum and ambergris. The ambergris provides a neat bit of aquatic while the castoeum provides the primitive animal quality. The final accord is a typical styrax and birch tar accord. It is unctuous and I can feel the slow goopy bubbles quietly popping on the surface of the tar pot. The animalic and the smoky finish Land of Warriors on a high note.
Land of Warriors has 19-12 hour longevity and below average sillage.
I like Land of Warriors but this is a fragrance I feel like I should’ve loved. What is holding me back is the transitions are very distinct. I would have enjoyed a bit more of a nuanced transition instead of the punctuated phases. Even so there is a lot to like here for anyone who likes leather perfumes, not the least of which is the sort of Duchauforian master class on leather accords present. If you’re patient with the awkward moments the in-between moments are worth the effort.
Dsiclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by The Vagabond Prince.