Before niche was even a thing, there was L’Artisan Parfumeur. Fact. With the hype around big-name niche brands, it’s easy to forget L’Artisan Parfumeur led the way and has a remarkable selection of classics and more recent releases for those with more discerning tastes.
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After founding the French beauty business Sisley in 1972, Jean-François Laporte went on to create the Paris-based house in 1976. From its first release in 1978, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mûre et Musc, its reputation for innovation and quality was sown.
While its founder is no longer with us and the brand now falls under the umbrella of the Spanish company Puig, it offers excellent value in a market increasingly driven by a race to the top (price).
The name of the perfumer is included in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
Our Top Picks For Best L’Artisan Parfumeur Fragrances
L’Artisan Parfumeur Mûre ET Musc EDT (Jean-François Laporte)
A brand’s debut should set the tone for future releases, and that’s exactly what this 1978 release did in original style. It’s a bona fide musk classic.
It opens with the bright citrus tones of lemon. The herbal aromatics of basil is also discernible.
The tart fruitiness of blackberry – then a novelty, but now a staple in perfumery – is enhanced by clean white musks in the drydown, while oakmoss gives it a dash of earthiness.
The 1993 version created by Karine Dubreuil-Sereni, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mûre et Musc Extrême EDP, with its blackcurrant and blackberry emphasis, is also worth exploring.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier EDT (Olivia Giacobetti)
The superb Diptyque Philosykos (1996) is seen by many people as the gold standard of fig fragrances. But let’s not also forget the first fig fragrance, L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier. Both were created by the same top perfumer, Olivia Giacobetti.
Launched in 1994, this EDT brilliantly captures its inspiration of lying under the shade of a fig tree in sunny Provence.
It begins in fresh, green style with a note of fig leaf that’s followed by ripe honeyed fig.
A delicious milky, woody ambience is created through a combo of almond milk, sandalwood and coconut notes.
What a classic, both in terms of its influence and timeless beauty.
The 2004 follow-up, L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier Extrême EDP, also created by Olivia Giacobetti, presents a more intense, sunnier variation on the original theme.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Méchant Loup EDT (Bertrand Duchaufour)
As their “perfumer in residence” for 10 years, Bertrand Duchaufour created beauties such as Timbuktu EDT (probably one of our all-time favourites), Nuit de Tubéreuse EDP and Dzongkha EDT for the brand.
Méchant Loup (French for “Bad Wolf”) can be enjoyed as a conceptual fragrance of sorts – Little Red Riding Hood’s journey through the woods. The sweeter aspects – honey, praline and myrrh – are given a suitable twist with dark accents of chestnut, liquorice and woods.
At first this 1997 release didn’t tempt us that much, but now we can’t get enough of it. It’s a gourmand with bite.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage D’Enfer EDT (Olivia Giacobetti)
L’Artisan Parfumeur’s well-earned reputation is based on top-quality classics such as Passage d’Enfer, which was released in 1999.
A tribute to the company’s original office and a play on words (“hell’s passage”), it makes the most of the religious connotations of the genre with pronounced notes of cedar and incense evoking a peaceful ambience.
Incense fragrances can sometimes be austere. This one avoids that in the drydown. White lily and an amber accord add sweetness to the mix, while white musk softens the edges.
For an EDT, this brilliant Olivia Giacobetti creation is surprisingly powerful stuff and lingers on the skin and clothing many hours after application.
L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Papillons EDT (Anne Flipo)
While perfume is not going to solve the world’s problems, it is a reminder of the beauty to be found in it.
We’re all for a floral lift and the wonderfully named La Chasse aux Papillons does just that in such a charming way (it’s inspired by childhood memories of chasing butterflies).
Launched in 1999, this EDT is a straight-up bouquet of white flowers that includes jasmine, orange blossom and especially tuberose. The latter is light and bright, not intoxicating and animalic.
Softly sweet, this enchanting scent is guaranteed to put a smile on your face whenever you wear it.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea For Two EDT (Olivia Giacobetti)
We can’t recommend this 2000 release enough. Twenty-two years after its launch, its beauty commands absolute respect.
From the first spray, there’s the rich woody smokiness of black lapsang souchong (a traditional Chinese tea).
Cinnamon, anise and ginger soften the initial intensity with mellow spice, while a note of gingerbread adds a gourmand aspect.
There’s more deliciousness in the drydown, courtesy of notes of powdery honey and dark vanilla.
Warm and welcoming, it’s the equivalent of an olfactory embrace. Just what we need in these turbulent times.
L’Artisan Parfumeur L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme EDP (Jean-Claude Ellena)
Why is perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena held in such high regard? This 2001 release will tell you all you need to know.
The 1993 original created by Karine Dubreuil-Sereni, L’Artisan Parfumeur L’Eau d’Ambre EDT, is a standard-setter in the amber category.
Billed as a more complex and potent version of the original, Ellena’s rendition is inspired by 1930s oriental opulence, so it has a vintage-y feel. This is a good thing in our books.
The vanilla-centric amber accord, musky powdery perfection, is complemented by warm spicy notes (nutmeg stands out in the mix) and Turkish rose. Earthy patchouli adds to the depth.
Old-school glamour at its very best.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu EDT (Bertrand Duchaufour)
Taking its inspiration from “wusulan”, a tradition whereby Malian women perfume their body and hair, L’Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu is a perfume like no other. Launched in 2004, this Bertrand Duchaufour creation has lost none of its power to captivate.
Right from the opening notes of green mango, pink pepper and cardamom, you’ll realise you’re onto something special with this scent.
Incense makes its way throughout the heart, which also features a textbook-perfect papyrus note, with its smokiness.
The woodiness and earthiness keep on coming with vetiver and patchouli in the drydown. They’re slightly sweetened with a dose of myrrh.
Want more delicious olfactory travels? Then hunt down the sadly discontinued L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversée du Bosphore EDP. Inspired by Duchaufour’s travels to Istanbul, this 2010 release features accents of fruit, leather, iris and Turkish delight.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Fou D’Absinthe EDP (Olivia Giacobetti)
A lot of boozy scents take the sledgehammer approach and let you know in no uncertain terms that you’re under the influence, so to speak. This 2006 release is not one of those fragrances.
Wormwood, the chief ingredient of absinthe, opens this EDP with its bitter herbaceousness. The aromatic effect is carried through to the heart with the addition of spicy notes such as earthy nutmeg and powdery star anise.
It settles on a woody base of pine tree needles and fir balsam notes, with the smoke of incense adding the finishing touch.
Instead of serving an obvious shot of absinthe, it cleverly creates a mood that’s full of intrigue and nuances.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Al Oudh EDP (Bertrand Duchaufour)
This 2009 release takes its cue from the perfumer’s travels to the Middle East, which partly explains the name of the fragrance.
It opens in powerfully spicy mode – notes of caraway seed and cardamom are prominent in the blend. With the sweet fruit of dates in the air, there’s no doubt you’re in for an oriental treat.
We wouldn’t blame you for missing the floral notes, including rose, in the heady mix of resinous oud, smoky incense and sweet ’n spicy myrrh.
It gets more complex and dirtier in the drydown with animalic notes of civetone and leather.
It’s exotic stuff, in the best sense of the word, and won’t be to everyone’s liking. If we’re being really fussy, we might have called it L’Artisan Parfumeur Al Spicy Oudh, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Caligna EDP (Dora Baghriche)
L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier is an undoubted fig fragrance classic and while this 2013 take on the fruit might not be as immediately appealing, it’s still worth sniffing out for its intriguing vibe.
An ode to Grasse (Caligna means “to flirt” in Provencal dialect, according to the brand website), it opens with the gentle sweetness of fig. A large dose of clary sage infuses the scent with fresh herbal muskiness.
A softly green interpretation of jasmine leads the way to the drydown featuring the woody aromatics of pine.
It’s not the usual scent but typically L’Artisan Parfumeur in its inspiration and execution.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Noir Exquis EDP (Bertrand Duchaufour)
Trust Bertrand Duchaufour to deliver a gourmand with a difference and without any of the obvious sugar overload in this 2015 release.
Taking its inspiration from a rendezvous in a French patisserie, it opens with the aroma of sweet and spicy glazed chestnuts gently infused with orange blossom.
Maple syrup brings toasted caramel nuances to the mix, while strong coffee wafts throughout.
Mellowing with vanilla and tonka bean as it dries down, it’s as darkly delicious as it sounds.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Mirabilis 60 EDP (Daphne Bugey)
The brand’s La Botanique Collection, with its appropriately shaped bottles, doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. So this 2016 release is our not-so-subtle way of drawing your attention to it.
On paper it’s a seemingly straightforward amber composition, but it casts a mysteriously sensual spell when wearing it.
That’s largely due to the olibanum, with its complex facets (from fruity and spicy to resinous). It’s blended with musk, Ambroxan and woody notes to irresistible effect.
Also look out for the range’s Arcana Rosa 9 EDP (thorny rose alert!) and Obscuratio 25 EDP (ylang-ylang meets patchouli), both created by the same perfumer.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Au Bord De L’Eau de Cologne (Fabrice Pellegrin)
L’Artisan Parfumeur added eaux de cologne to their repertoire in 2017 with impressive results.
Inspired by Claude Monet’s masterpiece Impressionist work, Au Bord de L’Eau takes us away to rural France, albeit fleetingly. It’s an eau de cologne, after all.
So it’s about clean and calming delicacy, from the fresh citrus opening notes of bergamot and lemon intermingled with strokes of herbal rosemary, powdery violet and aromatic cedarwood.
We also recommend Sur l’Herbe Eau de Cologne, inspired by Edouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, if you’re looking for a hit of sunny neroli freshness.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Histoire D’Orangers EDP (Marie Salamagne)
Perfumer Marie Salamagne had the pleasure of visiting the Souss Valley in Morocco, one of the country’s main agricultural regions, and this 2017 release captures that memory with delightful detail.
It opens with the slightly bitter citrus hues of neroli, with the greenery of tea in support.
And then onto the star of the scent show: orange blossom, softly sweet and its natural warmth enhanced by white musk and Ambroxan.
A touch of nutty tonka bean in the drydown evokes the fruit of the argan tree, which is endemic to Morocco.
Striking a deft balance between freshness and warmth, softness and sensuality, it’s the olfactory equivalent of taking a walk through an orchard on a sunny day.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarina Corsica EDP (Quentin Bisch)
A 2018 gourmand that’s well worth checking out. And this time, we’re in Corsica and in the accomplished hands of perfumer Quentin Bisch. Who could say no?
Inspired by a caramelised mandarin he tasted on the French island as a child, he captures the sensation of this candy by presenting different aspects of the citrus fruit: juicy, zesty and sunny but with more longevity than expected, and given the gourmand factor with notes of caramel and tonka bean.
A note of immortelle, with its sweet honey tones, adds to the edibility of it all, while soft floral notes of jasmine and orange blossom complete the idyllic picture.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Champ De Fleurs Eau De Cologne (Anne Flipo)
Did you say light and bright? Then this 2018 addition to the company’s eau de cologne range is calling your name.
It opens with fresh notes of pear and grapefruit, beautifully balanced between soft fruity sweetness and citric bitterness.
There’s more freshness from floral notes of jasmine and lily-of-the-valley and white cedar, while musk brings clean powderiness to the drydown,
With its spring inspiration, it’s perfect for those days when only subtle and discreet sophistication will do.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Mont De Narcisse EDP (Anne Flipo)
This 2019 release goes deep and dark, although you wouldn’t expect it from the subdued opening featuring the rosiness of pink pepper, with hints of crisp bergamot and spicy cardamom in the background.
It takes things up a notch with the appearance of a note of narcissus. Reserved at first and then increasingly animalic. Notes of osmanthus and plum bring a fruity aspect.
But what really makes this EDP stand out is the dense drydown with its smoky and sensual leatheriness.
Highly recommended if you’re looking for something dark and mysterious.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Bana Banana EDP (Céline Ellena)
If you’d asked us a month ago if we’d get a thrill from smelling like ripe bananas, we’d have said something like, “Not particularly.” But that was before we’d tried L’Artisan Parfumeur Bana Banana EDP.
Created by Céline Ellena (daughter of the legendary Jean-Claude Ellena and an accomplished perfumer in her own right), this 2019 release is fabulously flamboyant.
The opening is deceptively reserved, with spicy notes of pepper and nutmeg.
And then a rich and ripe banana effect through the skilful use of synthetics and naturals (including jasmine at its most fruity).
The skin and fruit vibe continues through to the amber accord drydown featuring tonka bean and musk at the fore.
Un vrai delice!