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.