L’Artisan Timbuktu – Fragrance Review


Ok.  Timbuktu (2004).  You can certainly go read the marketing material accompanying this fragrance.  Supposedly inspired by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour’s travels to this old African city in Mali and a magical love ritual…blah…blah…blah.  That being said, I do have to admit the name Timbuktu does have a certain appeal and allure to it that cannot be dismissed.  I doubt I would have taken quite the interest in this fragrance if it were named L’Artisan #4 or something bland like that.  While I am making confessions, I must also fess up I do tend to gravitate toward several of these African & Middle Eastern inspired blends:  Timbuktu; L’air du Desert Marocain; Poivre Samarcande; Ambre Sultan; Fumerie Turque; Aoud Cuir d’Arabie.

I do recall Timbuktu being one of the very first niche fragrances I had read about, and therefore one of the first niche fragrances I ever sought to try.  I remember smelling it at Barneys in downtown Seattle.  I also remember it was not a love at first sniff.

Timbuktu claims notes of:  green mango, pink pepper berries, cardamom, karo karounde flower, incense, papyrus wood, patchouli, myrrh, vetiver.

It is a well crafted fragrance and has no single note standing tall over the others.  Having access to the note listing makes describing this fragrance immeasurably easier.  Timbuktu is considered a woody fragrance, however I would not be surprised if a lot people who smell it would not even realize this.  I find the pink pepper to show itself more than some of the other notes.  It’s a little green.  The patchouli & vetiver add earthiness.  The myrrh adds a slight medicinal effect with a bit of anise.  The incense, papyrus wood, and perhaps some sandalwood combine to give it a smoky woody base.

After reading that description most would assume that it is a heavy winter use only type fragrance, but on the contrary it has a bracing freshness to it.  It is dry and fairly transparent which makes it work beautifully in warm weather and can be worn in most thinkable scenarios.  I love wearing dry fragrances in the summer as an alternative to citrus or oceanic fragrances.  You’ll really stand out too as an added bonus.

One thing I have avoided in this review is imagery.  I could have spent three paragraphs telling you that you will feel like an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, an ultra suave Frenchmen, a Middle Ages spice trader, Hindu temple priest…You get the idea.  This is a timeless fragrance.  It’s beautiful actually.  This fragrance has lived many lives and has many stories to tell.  It is very human.


Feel free to leave any comments or questions that you have.

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