Perfume Review & Musings: Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur


Dzongkha is a Bhutanese word meaning the Bhutanese language and is the name given to one of the two latest L'Artisan Parfumeur creations, the other being Fleur de Narcisse. Dzongkha was composed by Bertrand Duchaufour and is a reflection of the nose's impressions while visiting the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan located between China and India. Duchaufour also created Timbuktu, Méchant Loup, Patchouli Patch, and Piment & Poivre from the same house. Dzongkha is the third fragrance issued in the L'Artisan travel series.

Dzongkha is an exotic leather scent further described as a woody chypre and contains the notes of lichee, peony, cardamom, Chai, incense, cedar, vetiver, spices, Indian papyrus, iris, and leather...

The perfume starts off leathery and green, making one think of green-colored leather or of a pile of freshly-cut grass accidentally to be found on a leather skin; the green cardamom is quite prominent coloring the first instants of the perfume. It may evoke to some the mountainous pastures of Bhutan with freely-grazing horses moving about in their leather trappings. The leather note realistically smells like freshly tanned leather.

The perfume then proceeds to become rounder and sweeter developing the spicy milky accord of Chai tea. Fruity and floral notes discreetly show through the gentle comforting cloud of milk. Later, a subtle swirl of incense arises from the concoction suggesting an incense stick burning in a darkly-lit, smoky, and slightly dusty Buddhist temple.The sweet gourmand Chai accord unfolding further calls back one's attention to the secular pleasures of this world.

A hazy green iris softens down the fragrance at the beginning of the drydown and a lovely fruity and plum-y peony note emerges, solitary and delicate, in the middle. There is the lasting impression of a sophisticated, elegant, and perfumey chypre accord of exotic florals and fruits resting on a slightly camphoreous woody background accented by iris, evoking an exquisite antique Chinese still life painting representing centuries-old furnitures with symbolic fruits and flowers laid down on them. To my nose it the iris that gives an antique feel to the perfume. The longer drydown smells of vetiver.

People who love travel and Asia will obviously appreciate this evocative scent. It realistically conjures up a series of atmospheres and places inviting the mind to travel to distant places of memory and imagination.

I have only one reservation: the top notes tend to be sharp to the point of evoking cheapness. My advice would be to apply the fragrance several times. This operation will allow the base notes to linger on and to round off the scent from the start. The initial sharpness might be justified by the desire to make the scent behave like an assertive chypre but it is not fully satisfying in my opinion.

The fragrance is available at Luscious Cargo, $75 and $110 for the 50 ml and 100 ml flacons respectively. In Europe, it is available at First in Fragrance for 60 Euros and 85 Euros. It does not appear to be listed on the L'Artisan site yet.

Photos: Fashion Mag 



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8 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I really loved this one, but I agree about the top notes, some of them were just bitterly sharp, but luckily they didn't last long on me, and the rest of it was just wonderful.

  2. Hi Patty,

    Just saw you reviewed Dzongkha too. I was taking some time off so didn't visit as usual. There are indeed some beautiful moments in this fragrance but I am bothered by some of the harsh notes that persist.

  3. This was my big fall lemming. I am still very much looking forward to trying it.

  4. Hi March,

    I hope that Dzongkha won't disappoint you:)

  5. Thanks for another great review. I am pleased this one is weird even if it's not wearable. Did you like this perfumer's other creations like Timbuktu?

  6. Hi Cait,

    Nice to see you and thanks for the compliment. I only have a vague spicy recollection of Timbuktu which I just sniffed anyway.

    But I just went to my sample of Méchant Loup and now that you are bringing it up, I must say that it reveals the same sharpness that I dislike in Dzongkha.

  7. Thanks for another fine review. I'm going to have to try this one.

    Strange Accord
  8. Strange Accord,

    You're most welcome. The footnote to all my reviews is that people should form an opinion by themselves given the mysteries of the human soul and body chemistry:)


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