Turtle Vetiver

Turtle Vetiver started crawling my way in 2008 and didn't make it here via snailmail in 2009. It was a surprise addition to the samples of Manoumalia that I was really hoping to try before the end of the year (it would have made it to my best-of-2008 list but I guess that will need to wait to the next roundup.

The sample vial was labeled "Exercise 1", so at first I thought that this is not the finished perfume but a first mod in a perfume in progress (it is described on LesNez as "Outlaw Perfume in Progress"). However, as it turns out - Turtle Vetiver is an ever changing Eau de Toilette that Isabelle makes in small batches as contribution to the creative network titled Turtle (I'm still trying to figure out the actual connection to turtles).

Turtle Vetiver it is an interestingly bold vetiver and already got my attention not just because of the quirky name, but also because it is just in-your-face dirty and gritty vetiver roots before the soiland sand grains have been rinsed off. It opens very shapr and bold, with a certain peppery darkness to it and a coolness that can only be likened to heavy wet sand that is slightly bound by flossy rootlets of seashore plants. Once it settles on the skin it reveals the cool, clean, fresh and soft Haitian vetiver which I can only guess is the main ingredient.

I'm curious where else will Isabelle Doyen take this vetiver interpretation. There is hardly a lack of vetiver scents on the shelves and I'm always surprised at how original vetiver fragrances can still remain even though there are already so many. I am starting to think that vetiver is like tea... The differences are subtle, but make the world to those who can notice and appreciate them.

Samples can be ordered from LesNez website.


LesNez is a new niche perfumery from Switzerland, founded by René Schifferle. It launched just recently, with three scents, all created by Isabelle Doyen, the Nose behind many Annick Goutal beuties, such as Eau de Sud, Ce Soir ou Jamais, Grand Amour and others - including my current love Songes.

All three scents have the dreamy, fragile, perfectionist quality that can be found in many of Ms. Doyen’s creations for the house of Annick Goutal – I find all the three LesNez scents to be softer and easier to wear. They do not have the somewhat sharp greenness of the other creations.

I found it interesting that two of the three perfumes have reminded me of fantasy books in some way or the other. Following this post are reviews of all three scents. They can all be obtained from the LesNez Online Shop.

The image is of "In The Wind", a sculture by Gillian White. A limited edition of 200 bottles is presented within this sculture.


An invisible ink that leaves a trace,
Foreseen rather thanfelt,
Yet whispered,
Like a creased bed linen scent wandering along your curves...
(Isabelle Doyen)

L'Antimatière is the most innovative, yet the most easy to wear (for me, anyways) of the trio. Initially, it seem simple. Once worn, the simplicity works a spell in the shape of the softest angora sweater just coming out of the drier. It’s probably shrunk, but it smells great. A clean musk scent, with an unmatched warmth that resembles ambergris tincture. It’s there but it isn’t... After dry down the reason for its charm is revealed – there is vetiver in the base, and the woods add depth and interest and turn an everyday routine to an out of the ordinary sensation.

Flawless, invisible, I don’t think I could describe this better than Ms. Doyen did herself in her minimalist poem. I think the fact that this scent is so functional (i.e.: wearable and flattering to the skin) makes it even more artistic. It’s like a breath of whispered inspiration floating around, comforting with its presence. It’s like a muse, a spirit, one sneaky warm breath-of-wind in the middle of winter.

l'Antimatière is so versatile and flawless you could make it anything you want it to be… It can be easily mistaken for one’s own skin. I imagine it will layer very well with other scents if desired. It has the potential and versatility for becoming a signature scent or at least a wardrobe staple.

Although this perfume did not remind me of a fantasy book, this scent is fantasy. If The Unicorn Spell is wondering around the forest in search for a unicron, l'Antimatière is petting the unicorn's soft plumage on its pure white nose.

Image credit: Antimatter, by Nicolas Lloyd

Let Me Play the Lion

Scents of dusty trails,
Of lightly sweetened ochre,
Of sun-weathered wood,
Of silence swept by mild breezes,
Of skies open like an endless azure cut oozing signs of the coming storm.
(Isabelle Doyen)
Let Me Play the Lion is the warmest and spiciest of the trio. It opens with a burst of cayenne pepper – dry and warm, notes of burning cedar and dusty frankincense. It can be compared to other perfumes that contain cayenne pepper – i.e.: Piment Brulant, Poivre Samarkand – only softer. My associations run between a dusty, temperamental desert lion, yet with a mane so soft you want to sniff it; and than I am reminded of a secluded cabin in the forest where the fireplace is burning with fragrant cedar and I am meditating with frankincense incense…

The lion association reminded me of a favourite chapter of one of my most favourite childhood books: The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It reminded me of the lion Grograman, the king of Goab, the Many Colour Desert.
Image credit:
Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater, Negeve Desert, Israel), by David Haberlah
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