Review en Bref: L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada

As always, my Reviews en Bref are for perfumes that — for whatever reason — didn’t seem to warrant a full, exhaustive, detailed analysis.

L'Artisan BatucadaBatucada is a fruity-floral fragrance from L’Artisan Parfumeur which seeks to evoke the beaches of Brazil, the Caipirinha cocktail, and Batucada itself, a type of samba dance that originated in Rio. The scent was launched in 2011 and created by perfumers, Karine Vinchon and Elizabeth Maier.

I’ve seen a variety of different notes for the perfume, but the most complete list seems to be from Now Smell This which lists:

Lime, mint, davana, tiare, ylang, amber, benzoin, aquatic notes, coconut, vanilla, sandalwood, salty skin accord, patchouli, vetiver and musk.

Caipirinha

Batucada had a pretty opening. It was extremely effervescent, sparkly, fresh and bright  — lime, mint, sugar and fruity florals. The lime was the best part and very zesty. When combined with the sugar notes like those in cachaca — the sugar cane rum used the Caipirinha — it definitely evoked the cocktail (which I happen to love). In the background, there are hints of fresh coconut. It’s not unctuous, heavy or gooey, but it is a bit buttery and creamy, while still feeling light.

Soon thereafter, other notes start to appear. In addition to the lime, there are notes that are fruity, sweet, salty, rum-like, and with a flicker of subtle vetiver. The fruity notes are hard to place at first, but soon turn into the scent of apricots. I’m attributing that to the Davana, which a Google search tells me is an orange-y flower native to India and whose rich scent can apparently vary drastically from person to person. I’ve read olfactory impressions ranging from fruity-florals, peaches and apricots, to tea, raisins, rum-like accords, wine and vanilla. Here, to me, they evoke the soft, sweet scent of an apricot’s fuzzy skin.

Ninety minutes in, the perfume is all tropical notes. Buttery, rum-like, salty, and beachy with aquatic accords. The latter, unfortunately, have a distinctly metallic undertone to them which remains for much of the perfume’s development on my skin. There is also coconut which, along with the floral notes from tiaré (also known as frangipani), contribute to a buttery feel. It’s odd, the scent here is slightly indolic and, yet, extremely sheer and light. L’Artisan perfumes usually have that tendency, but it’s unusual to have an indolic, buttery scent not be heady or heavy.

Copacabana Beach in Rio. Source: The Guardian. Photograph: David Oziel/AP

The perfume doesn’t really smell of coconuts or suntan oil per se, but yet, there is definitely the impression of your body’s skin after a long day at the beach. You know that feeling of your sun-kissed skin that used to have suntan oil on it and which now just has the faint, lingering traces of salt and the sea? That’s what Batucada evokes in its middle to final stages. And, in its final hours, it’s just a musky, salty scent with a faint trace of fruity-florals.

All in all, the scent lasted approximately 6 hours on me and the sillage was incredibly low. The projection of Batucada dropped to almost nothing exactly 12 minutes into my test. For me, L’Artisan perfumes frequently take sheerness, lightness and unobtrusiveness to a whole new degree — but that may be a plus for many. This eau de toilette is no exception. The longevity, however, is not incredibly high and that doesn’t just apply to my peculiar, scent-consuming skin. Others have reported poor to moderate longevity.

To be honest, Batucada not a perfume I would ever wear. A small part of me likes the mental associations, but most of me feels as though my salty, buttery, tropical skin needs a post-beach shower. For some, that sensation may be too much and may turn this scent into just a novelty act that’s fun only for a one-time sniff. That seems to be the reaction of most reviewers: Robin at Now Smell This enjoyed it in that same way, but would never buy it; Freddie at Smelly Thoughts found it “pleasant” but struggled to “write about this as a serious fragrance;” and the Candy Perfume Boy thought there were much better cocktail and/or citrus fragrances on the market, concluding that “it is by far the most disappointing of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Les Voyages Exotiques.”

General commentators are slightly more enthusiastic about the scent. Slightly. On Fragrantica, those who didn’t feel “drunk and in desperate need of shower” liked it. But few would pay the price for a full bottle which is about $100 or $145 (depending on size) and available on the L’Artisan websiteLuckyscent and Parfum1.

I really struggle with scents from L’Artisan. I want to like them but — with the exception of the absolutely fabulous, fantastic Safran Troublant — the line simply hasn’t worked for me thus far. Batucada is no exception.

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12 thoughts on “Review en Bref: L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada

  1. This sounds really not to my taste. Scents like these are indeed better left to a delicious beachy cocktail, IMO. L’Artisan’s prices are reasonable enough, but I do agree that they seem to often be lacking, especially in the projection department. I haven’t tried a ton, but I find I often either haven’t liked them very much or they haven’t been to my taste. The sheerness thing is often a dealbreaker to me, I need something a little more commanding. 🙂

    • This is the absolute last scent that I see *you* in particular wearing. It would work for someone in the movie “Cocktail” or someone wanting a very buttery, but sheer, evanescent fruity, salty beach scent. It’s a perfectly okay perfume, I guess. I just happen to think that it is hugely over-priced for what it is. Beachy, fruity, tropical scents aren’t completely uncommon.

      As for the L’Artisan line, well, they have just SO many perfumes that, eventually, one of them is bound to work for me (and that includes STAYING on me). Right? Right??! Hmm.

    • I hear you on that general rule. So far, I’ve only liked one but that was true love. However, if one considers the fact that its 10 minute longevity on my skin means it’s not something I could ever actually buy/wear, then I guess the answer would be 0. 😦

  2. Actually, this sounds like it could be great for summer… or maybe it’s just that I’m ready for summer. I’m not going to run out and sample this, but I like a good citrus, sweet beachy summer fragrance!

  3. I tried this briefly and dismissed it as being too acerbic. I wonder if I am very quick to judge lime notes in perfume, for I wrote off Voyage d’Hermes – which gets a lot more love than this one – on account of its simlarly sharp opening. Hats off to L’Artisan for another funky name, though I keep wanting to call it Barracuda… Hold on, they bite, don’t they? Maybe it is a subliminal suggestion of the name.

    • Ha, I wanted to call it Barracuda too! And the problem with that is the damn song by Heart then starts ringing in my ears. *grin*

      How interesting that lime is a note you judge quickly in perfumes. I think mine are certain types of powder notes. I like the powder in Guerlainade and in a lot of Guerlain perfumes, but otherwise, it can be a bit tricky for me.

  4. I tried Batucada when it came out (you can see my review on my other blog here: http://www.secondcherry.com/1767) and I totally agree that it smells of the beach. I quite liked it kinda sorta but wouldn’t have bought it – I prefer chypres and orientals. But I ended up accidentally giving it away in any case! I lent it to a deaf friend to take a decant, thinking he would give me back the bottle, but he thought I was giving him the whole bottle and I didn’t have the heart to explain, since he loved it so much…. 🙂

      • Yeah, he is a pensioner on a restricted income, and he loves Eau Sauvage but can’t afford it now. He went through his Batucada double-quick, so I am now going to try him on Eau de Reglisse, as I think he would like the citrus in that. Actually, I found that most of my friends liked Batucada far more than I did – it is an ‘easy’ perfume, and I think I prefer difficult ones!

  5. I tried Batucada on paper but it wasn’t special enough to get a skin time at the store. Like many other L’Artisan perfumes, this one is nice and I wouldn’t mind using it if it landed on my lap but I doubt I’ll ever pay for a bottle.

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