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Vie de Chateau Intense – A Modern Love Story (October 21, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo - Wikipedia - Chateau de Cheverney by Jean Christophe Benoist

Do you ever think of fragrances as “she” or “he”? I firmly believe that scents shouldn’t be labelled as feminine or masculine – people can wear whatever the heck they want – but some scents to my nose just have distinct genders, and then I can’t help but conjure an image of them and start writing their story.

For example, Bottega Veneta, the new floral leather chypre which I wrote about on October 7th, is definitely La Femme – sleek, elegant, refined, dressed to perfection, a woman raised in luxury, living the exceptionally "good life". She probably owns not just one, but several Bottega Veneta handbags....but is she really happy? Is she a wife, or a mistress, or is she on the hunt, looking for “the one”? I can’t decide, but I’m getting a vibe that makes me think her life is too perfect, too contained – she’s ready to break out, have some fun, start really living. She needs a soul mate.

Let’s give her a little help. I know! – how about Vie de Chateau Intense? They have similar backgrounds... they’re both soft leathers, she’s a floral chypre, he’s a fruity chypre (that doesn’t sound QUITE right but I’ll press on...) which is a good start. They’re both rooted in the countryside – she’s from Venice, he’s from the Loire Valley – I hope the Italian /French thing isn’t a problem! Let’s find out more about him.

Vie de Chateau, the original EdT version, was created by Patricia de Nicolaï in 1991, commissioned by the Comte de Cheverney (see picture of his little chateau, above). The Vie de Chateau Intense version was released a few years ago and the notes are listed as grapefruit, hay, tobacco, patchouli, musk, fern, cut grass, oak moss, vetiver, and leather. Sounds like we’re off to a good start.

Well, Vie de Chateau has a wonderful start which really IS fruity – tart sweet grapefruit mixed with crisp green notes, which soon burn off to reveal buttery hay and dry tobacco notes, with just a hint of soft sueded leather. His scent feels alive, bright and warm, and after a few minutes the patchouli and musk warm it up even more - as in Bottega Veneta, the patchouli is clean, more woody than wet earth. The greens come up again, fern, vetiver and oakmoss, adding a slightly cool herbal vibe, but the leather remains quietly in the background through the dry-down, giving Vie de Chateau a tweek of romantic sophistication.

Vie de Chateau Intense is a chypre –he’s complex, but understated, and like almost every scent from Patricia de Nicolaï, is perfectly balanced, perfectly executed. He’s a great match for Ms. Bottega Venata, who’s also perfectly balanced and sophisticated, but is also quite reserved. Monsieur has a cool  exterior and a passionate heart, he has a twinkle in his eye, he’s generous, he’s traditional but has a modern style, and you get the idea that life with him in his little chateau could be kind of fun.

I think that’s just what Ms. Bottega Veneta is looking for... sophisticated luxury with a soul. Let’s introduce her to M. Vie de Chateau Intense. It could be a marriage made  in perfume heaven.

Today, we’re adding Vie de Chateau Intense to our decant sample offering. Samples are $4.00.