Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince

Let's put one thing out of the way: Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince is a fruity berry fragrance much more than it's foresty, woody or enchanted. But it's a pretty and quite grownup berry scent that doesn't smell like anything out of Bath & Body Works. While my personal taste usually keeps me away from blackcurrants in perfume I do like the way a real fruit smells, and I think Enchanted Forest is as close as it gets.  So where does that leave us in regard to Enchanted Forest?

It's complicated.

The Vagabond Prince is a new perfume house from the owners and founders of Fragrantica (fragrantica.com). This means that the people behind The Vagabond Prince and its first offering, Enchanted Forest, have a true passion and love for fragrance as well as an intimate knowledge of the online perfume community. They weren't going to send out into the wild a juice that smells like half the stuff at Sephora. Instead, they went all the way in: hired Bertrand Duchaufour, designed an impressive bottle (I held that thing in my hand. It's heavy) and packaging, and rolled down a massive marketing campaign where it counts: among the fragonerds online who're always searching for a new indie/niche line.

The result is a very congenial perfume that offers enough hooks and little twist not to bore even the more jaded among us. No one can deny that it hits with a massive basket of blackcurrants on the head and in your face again and again and again, but Enchanted Forest isn't syrupy or cloying in the traditional sense. It also keeps the fruity musk away until the later part of the dry-down, so it's not as predictable as one could fear. And the best part is that the fragrance does offer quite a bit of prickly green leaves, broken stems and crunchy evergreen needles on the forest floor-- that's my favorite part of Enchanted Forest. This forest may be a bit too clean, though. While patchouli is listed among the many notes and I can smell it when I put my nose to it, there's not much earthiness, dirt or decay on the floor of the enchanted forest (maybe that's the whole point). But there's also no pixie dust or magical light penetrating from above.  The berry bushes have taken over a lot of the surface and the seem to be multiplying right in front of our eyes, bearing an incredible amount of juicy and luscious fruit.

So, yes, Enchanted Forest smells good and far more natural than most fruit-centric perfumes from big and small brands. It's also incredibly long lasting and very concentrated, high in quality and crafted with care and thought. The thing that makes it less desirable for me is that eventually I do get tired of the endless blackcurrant (my skin tends to play it up and amplify it to high heaven) and I want something more. The smooth vanillic dry-down doesn't give me enough balsam and wood as I would have liked. I keep wishing it were heavier and darker-- that eventually the forest itself would become thicker and more mysterious-- to keep my full interest and attention for the full lifespan of the perfume on my skin.

See other reviews on All I Am A Redhead and This Blog Really Stinks.

Top notes: pink pepper, aldehydes, sweet orange, flower cassis, blackcurrant leaf, hawthorn, effects of rum and wine, rosemary, davana.
Heart notes: blackcurrant buds absolute),  blackcurrant, Russian coriander seed, honeysuckle, rose, carnation, vetiver
Base notes: opoponax resinoid, Siam benzoin, amber, oakmoss, fir balsam absolute, patchouli, castoreum absolute, cedar notes, vanilla, musk

Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince ($180, 100ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent, MiN NY, and directly via vagabondprince.com. Samples for this review were acquired at the Elements Showcase last month.

Picking Berries by Joyce Ann Vitek
Fairytale: Fairy Folk by Yelena Bryksenkova


  1. I put this under my man's nose (he's so innocent bless him!) and his first word was "pine!" and "thats really nice!". I get the fir and pine- and yummy blackcurrant- it lasts an lasts for many whirls across the forest dancefloor. Beautiful bottle- they must have had so much fun designing it! I remember Zoran showing me pictures of his "love" (as well as going on and on about Elena!) ~ a gorgeous natural forest ~ this was years ago. its so lovely to see this perfume come to life, I am sure it is very meaningful to the two of them and a labor of love.

  2. Dear Gaia!

    It has been pleasure meeting you in person on the Elements Showcase. I am glad you found time to explore Enchanted Forest and give this review. It is interesting to see people writing about our creation. That's part of the art... when artist ships his work and leave it to live own public life. I guess anybody who created something dear and put peace of own soul in it feel twinge in heart like mother sending own child out in the world. Anyway, the real pleasure is to see that our creation wins hearts of people who are able to connect with it and enjoy it. Enchanted Forest lives it's own life now and becomes part of other people lives and for many it brings hit of happiness and optimism that we certainly put in it and surrounds them with love and care that product had in every stage of the creation.

    1. Dear Zoran,
      You guys managed to keep my nose to my wrist and my interest engaged even with a style and a main note I usually don't wear. That in itself speaks volume for the craft and quality that were put into the perfume. I wish you and Elena much success and await eagerly for the next perfumes you'll dream up.

  3. Hi Gaia, I'm wondering if this post is part of a joint blogging event with All I am A Redhead and This Blog Really Stinks? Linking only to two blogs who had a perhaps similar dislike of a perfume and to none of the blogs who very much liked the perfume seems a curious anomaly.

    1. Monica, this wasn't a joint project (I would have said so if it were). I linked to reviews that I found interesting for a unique point of view that has nothing with liking or disliking the fragrance. For the record, neither Ines and Jen nor I "disliked" the perfume. We're just not likely to be buying a full bottle of it.

  4. My first impression (and what I'll talk about a bit later in a blog post, or not) "You have to be kidding me?!"


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