For many years I waited for the entry of one particular luxury brand into the fragrance sector; Louis Vuitton. From almost the beginning of niche perfumery there was one rumor or the other that it was coming. It didn’t happen until 2016 when perfumer Jacques Cavallier began producing perfumes under the Louis Vuitton brand. I have mixed feelings about the first fifteen perfumes released over two years.
It is apparent that M. Cavallier is not finding himself bound to my expectations of fragrances which represent the brand. There are only two leather-focused perfumes, Dans La Peau and Nouveau Monde. The majority of the first fifteen have been high quality examples of safer perfume styles. Which is to say when I received the press release for the new collection called “Les Colognes” I was expecting more of that safe style of perfume.
M. Cavallier was inspired by Los Angeles and wanting to capture the sunny nature of Southern California. He partnered with LA artist Alex Israel for the packaging. In the press release M. Cavallier mentioned he wanted to make a fragrance with an “airiness”; which he does in all three. Sun Song is a blast of citrus expanded into that airy quality via white musks. This is a nicely done luminescent citrus perfume. Afternoon Swim also is expansive citrus over ginger and ambergris for the swim part of the equation. It is a nice aquatic which doesn’t rely on Calone. The one which I really enjoyed is Cactus Garden.
Many people think of the beach when it comes to thinking of LA. I am more drawn to the desert and Palm Springs. Cactus Garden is a fragrance which captures pool society in the desert. To do this M. Cavallier wanted to set up the dryness of the desert with the wet pulpy inside of the cactus. When I’ve been hiking in the desert scooping out the pulp of a cactus is refreshing. It is a contrast to the aridity of the atmosphere. Cactus Garden reflects this.
Just as the other two Les Colognes it opens with citrus, a big dose of bergamot. What comes next is that aridity in the ingredient of mate tea. This ingredient carries that kind of sharpness to it that I get from breathing in low humidity desert air. Along with that also rides a spiky green which is an ideal representative of the outside of the cactus. The pulp comes from the use of lemongrass. The slight citrus and green aspects tie back to both the bergamot and the mate tea as it all comes together beautifully.
Cactus Garden has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
I’ve probably been unfairly maligning this Louis Vuitton perfume collection for what it is not. I am coming around to believing that there are some really good perfumes which have nothing to do with leather. Cactus Garden has me channeling Glen Frey in his song “Get Over It” I just have to stop “all this whinin’ and cryin’, and pitchin’ a fit” and get over it. Cactus Garden makes it easy to do that.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Louis Vuitton.