Perfume Reviews: Vidi, Vici by Histoires de Parfums (Veni, Vidi, Vici Collection)

Caesar didn’t conquer everything. Vidi and Vici — perfumes from Histoires de ParfumsVeni, Vidi, Vici trilogy of perfumes in the Editions Rare Collection — reminds me more of Caesar’s tragic downfall than his stratospheric rise to power and victories. For all that I thought the first perfume in the line, Veni, was a triumph, I found Vidi and Vici to be significantly less so.

“Death of Julius Caesar” - 1798 - by Vincenzo Camuccini

“Death of Julius Caesar” – 1798 – by Vincenzo Camuccini

As yesterday noted in the Veni review, the 2013 perfume trilogy is a tribute to Caesar’s famous phrase (“I came, I saw, I conquered“) from the Gallic Wars. Each eau de parfum represents a different natural element: Veni focuses on the Earth; Vidi on the Wind; and Vici on the Fire element. Yet, they are all linked by one common olfactory thread: they all have cardamom. This review will focus on the latter two scents in the collection.

Veni Vidi Vici

VIDI:

VidiAs I explained yesterday, when I first saw the notes for the collection, I didn’t find them very appealing. They seemed odd, discordant, and a very peculiar mix, but Veni was so lovely, it told me that I shouldn’t pre-judge and I should keep an open mind. Nonetheless, as I stared again at the notes for Vidi, the second in the collection, I couldn’t help but swear. As compiled from both Histoires de Parfum‘s description and FragranticaVidi‘s notes are:

Top Note: cardamom, cucumber, ozone effects
Heart Note: plastic rose, cyclamen, water effects, saffron
Base Note: immortal absolu, musk, ambergris, vanilla, white wood

Cucumber and cardamon? Ozonic water effects? With maple syrup Immortelle and Cyclamen (which Fragrantica tells me is a pure synthetic meant to be a clean, fresh floral scent)? Plastic rose? 

I was determined, however, to keep an open mind, so I sprayed on Vidi and…… Holy Mother of God! Somewhere on a darkened Scottish moor and under a full moon, there are three, blind crones cackling over a cauldron of Vidi while Lady Macbeth frantically tries to scrub off a damned spot of the perfume. Words…. words utterly fail me. Nothing I say will truly describe the unholy hell that is Vidi, but I shall try. 

CucumberVidi opens on my skin with an overpowering, nuclear blast of antiseptic mixed with watery cucumber. The abrasive astringent is exactly like the cheap, drugstore acne medicine that teenagers use. Yet, the smell (and the ISO E Super responsible for it) is actually not the real problem. You see, within seconds, the watery, ozonic notes are joined by a shockingly discordant rush of chocolate-y cardamom. For a few minutes, the intensely odd mix of cucumber and cardamom-chocolate duke it out, egged on from the sidelines by an odd, synthetic floral note and by vanilla. It’s so revolting, you have no idea. The vanilla has an eggy quality which clashes with the metallic, aquatic notes as much as everything else. Underneath the whole thing is the cheap, drugstore acne medicine provided by ISO E Super.

ChocolateYet, despite all these individual nuances, the overall and primary impression is of watery, green cucumber slathered in thick, heavy chocolate. The synthetic quality to the perfume is profound. As noted, cyclamen is a synthetic, but I suspect that the musk and amber undertones in Vidi must be as well because the perfume starts to create a burning feeling high up in the bridge of my nose. It’s a consistent telltale giveaway for me for truly intense synthetics. As the moments pass, the discordant notes become even more jangly, for lack of a better word. The sweetness is now tinged by maple syrup, while the cucumber has a sharply metallic edge. The vanilla also feels sharp, yet there is some sourness lurking below everything. And the chocolate cardamom doesn’t go with any of it, but especially not with the cucumber.

Regular readers know that I will bear with almost anything for the sake of a thorough, full review — and for hours and hours at that. I will endure even notes that feel like urinous panther pee, synthetic, cotton fabric softener, or the ISO E Super that I loathe more than anything. But I couldn’t do it with Vidi. I tried my best but, 15 minutes in, I was actually dry-heaving after every sniff. When a scent triggers a gag reflex, it’s time to throw in the towel.

If you’re interested in other assessments of Vidi, you can try Fragrantica (where one person also gave up due to the almost 80% ISO E Super and Ambroxan, as well as the “plastic cucumber”), Lucas’ very ambivalent, dubious review for Chemist in The Bottle, or Ines’ assessment on All I Am — A Redhead. Normally, I would quote a few comparative assessments, but the mere memory of Vidi makes me want to gag. If you want my opinion, I would stay far away from Vidi.

VICI:

ViciIf Veni was meant to evoke the Earth and Vidi meant to evoke Water, then Vici is centered on the last element, Fire. The notes, according to Histoires de Parfums and Fragrantica, are:

Top Note: angelical roots [angelica], cardamom, pink peppercorns, basil, galbanum, aldehyde
Heart Note: rustic lavender effects, céleri graine [celery seed], iris concrete, osmanthus absolu, essence incense
Base Note: patchouli oil, musk, vanilla, cedar, raspberry.

dried green herbsVici didn’t evoke either fire or “victory,” in my mind. Instead, it felt like nothing more than the dark recesses of a very dusty, very old herbal shop lined with cedar and potpourri. Vici is an incredibly dry, acrid, dusty herbal scent, in my opinion, that evokes a landscape of desiccated green colours. It opens on my skin with incredibly arid, pungent, dry basil with heaping amounts of what smells like dried mint and dried tarragon, along smaller doses of dried angelica, dried violet leaves, and dried red fruits. If you sense a theme emerging, you’re not mistaken. Have I mentioned the word “dry” yet?

The overpowering impression is of dried green leaves from one’s pantry or kitchen cabinet, atop a base of musk, cedar and dried potpourri-like patchouli. Smoke flickers in the background, as does ISO E Super, though it’s nothing like the tidal wave blast in Vidi. Nothing in Vici evokes fire or richness to me; there is nothing that is either fresh and juicy like fruit, nor sumptuously molten like lava. It’s simply a desiccated landscape dominated by dry, green kitchen herbs.

Vici doesn’t change significantly with the passage of time. Thirty minutes in, the dried herbal angelica and celery seed notes rise to the surface, accompanied by what smells like dried green tea. I assume the latter stems from the osmanthus which can sometimes have a tea-like character but, here, it’s as dried as everything else. The remaining notes — like the violet leaves — have dropped away, leaving only an impression of vague, abstract woods. Thankfully, the ISO E Super has also retreated. In its place is a flicker of raspberry that pops up every now and then before flitting away. The whole thing is incredibly low in sillage and feels very thin. Less than an hour into Vici’s development, the perfume morphs into a very muted, amorphous, general sense of dried green herbs and lightly musked, peppered woods. The raspberry flickers occasionally, the ISO E Super is always there in the background, but the perfume is primarily abstract, dry, green and woody. Vici remains that way for a few more hours, becoming sheerer and more amorphous with every passing hour until, finally, about 4.5 hours later, it fades away as nothing more than abstract woody musk. 

Vici wasn’t a terrible perfume, but it’s not a great one, either. Frankly, I didn’t think it was very special, and it’s certainly not worth $175 in my opinion. Even apart from the sillage and longevity issues, it lacks great depth, body, richness and balance. There is little to counter the overpoweringly arid, almost bitter, nature of the perfume. And, frankly, I’m not keen to smell like the inside of my pantry’s dried herbs section. A greater sin perhaps is that the perfume was fundamentally boring, in my opinion. I can barely summon up the energy to describe it at greater length — and regular readers will know that I love details. But Vici leaves me feeling so utterly apathetic and disinterested, that I shall end this review here and now.

 

DETAILS:
Cost, Availability, & Samples: Veni, Vidi, Vici are all Eau de Parfum concentration perfumes from the “Editions Rare” Collection. They come in just one size: 2.0 oz/60 ml for $175 or €125. The perfumes are available directly from Histoires de Parfums with free shipping for all orders anywhere in the world for purchases over $130. As part of the special “Editions Rare” series of perfumes, it doesn’t seem that samples are available or that the perfumes are part of the Histoires de Parfums’ fantastic sample program. (6 samples of your choice whose $20 price goes towards the purchase of a large 4 oz. bottle. Further details are available here as to how the sample process works for general reference.) In the U.S., Veni, Vidi, Vici are available from Luckyscent or MinNY along with samples. I can’t find this collection listed on either Aedes, BeautyHabit or the Perfume Shoppe. Outside the U.S.: I couldn’t find the Editions Rare collection or Veni, Vidi, Vici at either Roullier White in the UK or Jovoy Paris which normally carries Histoires de Parfums, so I’d check in-store. Furthermore, only Vici is available at First in Fragrance which sells it for €125 the 2 oz/60 ml bottle, not the other two. However, Histoires de Parfums vast Store Locator that lists retailers from South Africa to Turkey, the Netherlands, Sweden and Kuwait. I’d check there for a store near you and hope that they carry the Editions Rare Collection. Samples: You can find samples at the retailers linked to above. Surrender to Chance has samples of each of the 3 fragrances starting at $7.99 for a 1 ml vial, or the full set of 3 fragrances for $21.99.

24 thoughts on “Perfume Reviews: Vidi, Vici by Histoires de Parfums (Veni, Vidi, Vici Collection)

  1. Oh my Gosh! You said yesterday that Vidi and Vici smelled bad on you but I didn’t expect it’s going to be this bad. A watery cucumber with chocolate? That sounds totally bad.
    Sorry to hear that these two were total misses for you but at least I’m glad you could try all three and that actually Veni is something you could wear I think.

    • The cardamom was crazy in Vidi. So potent and unusual; it went far, far beyond the usual nutty, dusty, somewhat sweet cardamom that I’m used to and that was in Veni. Instead, it was really and truly more like chocolate. And that eggy vanilla, along with the acne astringent, and the painful synthetics…. Gah!! It actually gave me a headache.

      That said, I’m genuinely glad for the opportunity to try all three and to satisfy my longstanding curiosity about them. I appreciated so much the chance to try something new and to explore! A very big thank you, my dear!

      • This is so fascinating how the same perfume smells totally different on different people. Glad you liked Veni at least. Do you think you could wear it regularly or at least once in a while?

        Sure, exploring new scents is fun. I’m happy I could be the one to satisfy your curiosity for Veni, Vidi and Vici.

  2. In the case of Vidi, that sounds positively abysmal! I think Vidi is the one I tried and liked, but we clearly had divergent experiences! Yikes! With all that said, now I’m really tempted to try Veni because it sounded so mouthwateringly good. I’m sure if I liked Vidi that I’ll enjoy Veni much more, as it’s more aligned with my tastes.

      • You are going to positively laugh at my idiocy and not being able to keep the names straight. I just dug through my samples – Veni was actually the one I tried after all! Then I guess it makes sense that I liked it but don’t remember it smelling like cucumbers! I can’t abide by these similar sounding names – I’ve to you my mind is a sieve and there’s no way I can ever keep them straight!

        • HAHAHA, how funny! You’re still mixing them up, too, as Veni is the first one and the carnation one that I liked. Vidi is the cucumber, metallic, water perfume with chocolate. And Vici is the dry, dry, dry, dry, DRYYYYYYYYYY green herbal one.

          So, bottom line, you liked the one I did and now you don’t need to get samples of it, since you already have it! LOL. Phew, I was actually becoming quite alarmed to think that you — whose tastes so closely align with mine — would like a water, ozonic, chocolate cucumber scent! You have no idea how my eyes bulged at that thought. Thank God, you cleared it up!

          • Truly, I’m a lost cause! LOL! And yes, my eyes were bulging too when I thought I had liked the “chocolate pickle” one you found so objectionable! I feel a bit more self-assured in my taste now. But really, the best news is that I still have an almost full sample – so I can revisit it! It’s been a few months, so I’m eager to try it once again! 🙂

          • Can’t wait to see what you think of VENI this time around and if you get a version closer to mine or to the other two, totally divergent, different experiences that the other bloggers had. Fingers crossed that you get a rich floral!

  3. I love your review of the watery cucumber cardamon atrocity otherwise known as Vidi. Thank you for going into the trenches to test that one so I will never have to smell it. It sounds unattractive enough from the notes – plastic rose indeed.
    I had a scrubber that I was trying this evening that used watery accord. Vile, vilest, violet

    • Hi Killerrabbit, love the posting name!! Thank you for stopping by and you’re very welcome for my self-sacrifice. *grin* Now, do tell about *your* scrubber! Water accords and violets?

      • Long time reader, first time poster here Kafkaesque. I was wearing violets and rainwater by Soivohoe which I have tried before without such a full dislike rearing its head. I was also wearing Kingdom at the same time as it was the night of challenging smells so maybe the clash was just too much.

        My name is from Monty Python….

        • I’m so glad you decided to come out of lurkdom and join the party! 😀 I’m trying to imagine the juxtaposition of a Soivohoe violet scent alongside Alexander McQueen’s famous Kingdom with all its skank. I’m grinning as I write this. I love an adventuresome perfumista! As a fan of Monty Python, do you like Eddie Izzard? He has the same very irreverent approach to things. His “Dressed to Kill” is one of my favorite things ever! And feel free to call me, Kafka! 😀

          • Why thank you Kafka, I would say the same but Killer doesn’t have such positive connotations 🙂

            Eddie Izard is fantastic but my favourite modern comedian is Ross Noble as he is so unscripted. A bit like the Kingdom/violets and rainwater pairing.

          • LOL! Killer certainly wouldn’t be a good short-hand nickname. 😉 😀 I will definitely have to look up Ross Noble! I’ve heard the name but I’ve never seen anything of his. Thank you for the suggestion.

  4. Cucumber and chocolate? What in the name of Chanel were they thinking? *shudders* Just the thought is revolting.

  5. “Somewhere on a darkened Scottish moor and under a full moon, there are three blind crones cackling over a cauldron of Vidi while lady Macbeth frantically tries to scrub off the damned spot of the perfume” this is an amazing quote and it made me laugh 😀 . You also made me want to go to Scotland with that phrase even though I know you meant it in a bad way. For a niche fragrance this sounds very synthetic like something you would find from a brand like BeYu, Ozonic water? What is that supposed to smell like? Plastic Rose? The description doesn´t sound appealing. Vici doesn’t sound so bad since I like spicy, green and woody notes but it may not be original enough for the price tag it has, while it could be ok if it retailed for $40 and was a commercial fragrance. So I guess for you it was ” I came, I didn´t see, I was defeated”. 😛

    • It is very high in the synthetics for a niche perfume, Vicky. And that sort of thing always pisses me off a little because, at niche prices, it seems like you’re being cheated to get something with such cheap, artificial ingredients dominating the perfume. You know, I talk about price a lot more than bloggers but the bottom line is that you should be getting what you pay for. There was a Ramon Monegal perfume made exclusively for Neiman Marcus and retailing for $200 which feels like it is almost 100% synthetics (and one of the most nightmarish ordeals I went through earlier in the year). There is no way I could ever recommend something like the Ramon Monegal for the price. You pay more for niche not only to get more different or original fragrances, but also to get the more expensive, luxurious ingredients.

  6. I have really, really tried to find something in the line that clicks with me, but nothing. Nada. Neil recommended Tubereuse 1 Capricious not too long along and was so intrigued that I ordered a sample. We’ll see, but I have low expectations at this point.

    • I liked Casanova which is saying something for me given my issues on both lavender and slightly gourmand fragrances! And, to my disbelief, both my parents adored it. LOL

      • I think I have read too much Casanova to like Casanova…

        But that’s awesome that your parents approved. I’m currently trying to figure out what I want to smell like while I’m at my parents. Part of me doesn’t want to offend my mom with anything too musky and too spicy.

        But the rebellious part of me wants to pack Musc Ravageur and a Parfums d’Empire cumin-bomb 😉

  7. Pingback: #200 – Lists, Favorites, Stats & Oddities | Kafkaesque

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