Wednesday, July 06, 2011

L’Artisan Parfumeur-Dzonkha

From the very first time I smelled Dzonkha nearly five years ago I 1) adored it, and 2) had a different visual than the one portrayed in L'Artisan's backgroung material about this 2006 Bertrand Duchaufour creation.

It's not that I don't get that it was inspired by the perfumer's travels to Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas, where he experienced the smell of the stones and incense of the Buddhist temples. I understand it, but yet I don't, having never traveled there. I smell the very dry iris, the incense and the gray stones. There's a lot of beautiful vetiver entwined in all that and sweet cardamom. More vetiver- perhaps my favorite thing about Dzonkha (and several other L'Artisan perfumes is the way vetiver is used to illuminate, contrast or complement other notes). So, yes, I smell it.

But the image I have- now as well as when Dzonkha first came out- is of the stone and metal of Midtown Manhattan. I'm not saying that I always see NYC as a spiritual experince (well, other than Bergdorf Goodman), but it's a place that instantly makes me feel. There are those moments you stand among the buildings and their shade, the wide pavements, the air is cool and smoky, then you look all the way up, your neck straining and above all that glass and concrete there's a small piece of perfect blue sky, a wisp of white cloud and the sun is shining brightly and reflecting in those huge windows. And you smile.

Notes (via the Perfumed Court): peony, lychee, cardamom, tea with milk, vetiver, incense, cyprior (a grass used to make papyrus), cedar, leather and iris

Dzonkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur ($95, 50 ml EDT) is available from any of the usual suspects: MiN NY, Aedes, Henry Bendel (NYC), Barneys, Beauty Habit, Luckyscent and Blue Mercury. Most of them also sell online and offer samples.

Art: Light And Shadow by Pierre Pellegrini, 2009.


  1. Right. Seeing New York's steel and asphalt as a spiritual experience would be rather a stretch!

  2. lady jane greyJuly 07, 2011 1:45 PM

    Dzonghka was the invitation to niche parfumery for me. After the first sniff of Dzongkha I never again wanted to smell like fruity floral anymore. For me it's a very mediattive scent (being buddhist myself) - I feel earthed and wrapped in a warm blanket...

  3. I went out of my way to try Dzonghka because I thought it was 'so me' from the descriptions and note listings.
    I did like it, but on my skin it smells exactly like a good single malt whisky. Lovely, remarkable, but not what I want to wear.
    Strange how scents can evoke something so strongly you can't get past it.

  4. See for me Dzongkha puts me in mind not of a Buddhist temple and not of NYC but of autumn. Something about the mix of warm and cool, that distinctly Earthy smell that's almost damp in a way, the spices - it all makes me think of bright orange leaves turning a light brown, crisp air and rain-soaked foliage, all with that hint of something almost sweet.

  5. Dzonkha is totally evocative of the Brutalist architecture movement. Perfect.


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