Much of the fun of continuing to write about perfume is my confounded expectations. There are times that I think I am getting something only to find I am not. There may be no perfume brand which has done this more to me than Louis Vuitton.
For a long time I was told there was a perfume coming from the luxury leather brand. Finally in 2016 it happened. I remember getting my discovery set of samples in anticipation of a refined leather perfume, or two, or more in that box. Only to find none. Those who read my early reviews of those fragrances must have become weary of my “where’s the leather?” every time I wrote about it. Over the course of time they would provide me what I wanted. I finally realized there was an interesting non-leather aesthetic growing here.
Perfumer Jacques Cavallier has been behind every Louis Vuitton release. When his creations have worked for me it is when he subtly plays with existing styles and forms. Which brings me to the latest Louis Vuitton Etoile Filante. I get the press release days before I receive the sample. This press release told me this was a strawberry and osmanthus fruity floral. Before the perfume arrived, I was already planning on not writing about it. Once I received it, I found something very different than my initial thoughts.
Osmanthus is one of my favorite florals in perfumery but it has been recklessly crushed in too many fruity florals as perfumers seek to use the apricot nature of the floral to full effect. It usually makes me hold a test strip at arm’s length. I knew something was different when I first sprayed Etoile Filante. It wasn’t a fruit bomb. It was something I couldn’t have anticipated.
The difference comes in the first seconds. The strawberry M. Cavallier is using is not the ultra-ripe over-the-top version. This is the smell of slightly unripe strawberries. It reminds me of the ones I pick and let ripen a week or so on my kitchen counter. There is the characteristic strawberry scent, but it has a tarter slightly greener overall quality. This is the kind of fruit at the opening of Etoile Filante. When osmanthus meets up with that the apricot is given space to mix in a jammy kind of fruitiness. The leatheriness of osmanthus also provides a nice contrast. A creamy magnolia and fresh jasmine turn the overall floral effect into a spring-like accord. That is reinforced through a suite of white musks which add a lot of expansiveness to it all.
Etoile Filante has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I am not a fan of fruity florals, yet this one was enjoyable on the days I wore it. Just another confounded expectation. Par for the course.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by Louis Vuitton.