Sisley Eau d'Ikar (2011) {Perfume Review & Musings} {New Fragrance} {Men's Cologne}



Sisley launched a new man's fragrance last year dedicated to the sky as the symbol of men's unreasonable artistic aspirations. The tag line for Eau d'Ikar, named after Icarus, is "A fragrance poised between sea and sky." The brand also muses that "It is about about both frailty and courage, about a man ready to start on the path of an adventure while being conscious of the fragility of all human ambitions." That man "is not afraid to look at the heavens"...


The fragrance was composed by Vincent Ricord of Expressions Parfumées working in collaboration with the d'Ornano family. The nose is known for two other compositions in natural perfumery, Bois contre Soi by Senke and Isabel Derroisné Jardin de Sicile. Eau d'Ikar is not wholly natural but has a great dose of naturals.

The material mastic or lentisc was made to run throughout the eau de toilette, giving it coherence - if only from that standpoint - as it was incorporated in the head, heart and base notes. A typical resinous note from the Mediterranean coastal region, it is an homage to the Corsican maquis. The island is described here as the land of the ancestors of the d'Ornano family, who founded and own Sisley. 

Eau d'Ikar opens on an original accord of green mastic, soft iris and bitter orange. The blend is herbaly, aromatic, fruity. It is woody too, but in a strange way. The carrot seeds add that offbeat nuance of wood from the top notes. We are miles away here from your common preconception about a woodsy fragrance for men. There is nothing coded here to clamor masculinity from the get-go although the brand claims that the base notes are "very masculine" as well as "powerful and seductive." My definition of "very masculine" in perfumery is better exemplified by other scents I know. 

The perfume is vaguely reminiscent of some familar impression, which I can't quite put my finger on. Well, I just wrote that, and the next thing is that I suddenly remember what it makes me think of. It smells very much akin to the über lovable and über confidential V'Tae Green Grass and Sunshine, which is now discontinued.

In 2006, I listed that scent under my "Favorite Summer Wood" in My Favorite Summer Scents Part II. Both perfumes have this sappy green-blade-of-grass quality mixed with a happy sunshiney accord smelling a bit of lemongrass, and some unconventional woody nuances. Here, the reed note (roseau) might be adding this understated, exotic nuance. The heart features notes of lentisc absolute, iris, jasmine, orange pekoe tea, reed, leather, woods and spices.

Since the myth of Icarus calls for a reference to a scorching sun, it is not surprising to feel this waft of Mediterranean aromatic herbs served on a tray of sunshine. But closer to home, the personality of the scent seems to have been inspired in part by their own Eau de Campagne by Sisley, a grassy, citrusy affair with a delicious note of tomato leaf and peppery undertones. Eau d'Ikar uses some of that template, but adds suave woods (iris, sandalwood, vetiver roots...)

Another reference that comes to mind is the sparkling citrusy quality of Signoricci by Ricci.

As the eau de toilette dries down, one senses better the clear contrast of citruses and iris. The base notes are soft, creamy, smelling of iris and sandalwood, with a floral leather nuance. The notes officially inserted here are "lentisc coeur", green cistus, sandalwood and vetiver. There appears to be a clever effort at covering up some of the synthetic iris blended with some real one. Of course, the carrot seeds would contribute to the iris accord, as it is often used as an illusonist's trick to enrich an iris accord which cannot be offered in its top-grade form for reasons of unmanageable costs.

The fragrance is a true eau de toilette, fresh, with a warmer base, but not trying to be lasting. I find that the base is influenced by the style of 1 Million by Paco Rabanne, its tonka-bean sweetness and creaminess.

Eau d'Ikar prefers to offer plentiful natural essences, and invites you to reapply rather than decides to stay on thanks to, say, white musk. Given the genre of this perfume, it remains credible within the context of the story it tells of lightness, frailty, ethereal aspirations. But it is bound to create frustration in a number of perfume wearers.

While I cannot but note that the fragrance offers originality and quality, I find it overall less interesting than Eau de Campagne and would recommend the latter over the new one, all things considered.

You can watch the commercial for the fragrance,

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