Bastide Perfume Review
Merry Christmas, dear ones! I know it’s a strange day to release a new blog post, but this whole year has been strange for me and my family is taking a break from celebrating the holiday season. It’s so wonderful to be able to relax without the stress of gift giving, tree decorating, etc. Sure, our house could definitely be a bit more festive, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that what really matters is being present. And that is the greatest gift of all.
But let’s talk perfume, shall we? I’m so grateful to each and every one of you who took the time to comment on my last post (it was all about Petite Histoire! Read my review of their line here). I went on a short rant about the industry, but today I thought I’d share a commercial brand that’s actually doing things RIGHT… Bastide. :) We all know how rare that is! As an ex-perfumer and forever perfume junkie, Bastide is a brand I’ve had my eyes on for ages. They are widely respected in the fragrance community for their own signature twists on simple, classic scents. Not to mention their instantly recognizable, gorgeous packaging, and the world renowned noses behind the scents...
First I want to apologize because it has been SUCH a long time since I shared a perfume review! It’s not for lack of interest on my part. I have come across some really sub-par fragrances this year and it’s hard to get excited reviewing products like that. 90% of what’s out there is pure laziness and marketing from a perfume standpoint, which is why I’m always so thrilled to discover a perfume house doing it right, like Bastide! As a world renowned brand from Aix-en-Provence, France, they provide luxurious beauty products and exquisite perfumes for every human (and something for every taste). I’m so grateful I could sample 3 of their incredible scented gifts… from candles to perfume.
Figue d’ete candle* - this scent is SO unique and stunning. I rarely feel curious while smelling new compositions... it is so easy to become bored when you can immediately identify the major aromachemicals being overused in 90% of the perfumes coming out today (aka ISO e super). This, however, is a completely unique and curious composition and I was overjoyed when I smelled it. The cold throw of this candle is incredible!
The opening is incredibly unique. Your nose is met with phenyl acetaldehyde (like woody, green sap with a honeyed clover note), and acetate c-8 (damp, green, mushroom, notes). At first this candle smells like a mix between galbanum and the milky sap that comes out of plants when you squeeze them or cut them open. Figue d’ete is extremely nostalgic in that sense, and conjures up memories of being a child and dissecting plants in the summertime. There is a hint of rose and honey notes, but it remains (for the most part) a genderless, savory scent with only a hint of sweetness. It’s a leafy, green composition that’s unlike anything else on the market right now. The top note is actually bell pepper-like but WITHOUT the familiar pungent bite in the dry down. It’s smooth and green in the best possible sense!
Following the galbanum top notes you’ll find peppery, powdery, woody, and much more airy notes. Figue d’ete is a gorgeous fragrance that captures the smell of warm grass, leafy greens, juicy bell peppers, green olives, ocean air, freshly cut wood, & dry arid landscapes. In natural perfume terms it’s heavy on the galbanum, opopanax, buddawhood & rhododendron leaf notes (though I very much doubt that any natural materials were used). Still it smells “natural” and organic in the best of ways... like something out of a gorgeous Mediterranean landscape...
To be honest, the only thing I don’t resonate with about this candle is the description. It mentions notes of milk, figs, warm woods, etc. But there are little to no lactonic (milky) notes, fruity (fig) notes, or balsamic (warm) notes. The scent is airy, fresh, peppery, green, light, and entirely unisex. If you’re drawn to the aroma of freshly picked leaves crumpled in your hand, cut grass, cucumbers, orris root, sweet clovers, powdery yerba mate notes, etc - you’ll ADORE this!
It’s not a crowd pleaser necessarily but it’s a gorgeous, layered yet simple scent that is odd enough for me to absolutely love. ☺️ I can’t wait to light the candle and yet dread it at the same time because the scent is so transportive and the cold throw is so intense! I never want to run out!
Ambre Maquis Eau de Toilette* - I was honestly speechless when I first smelled this. It is the exact amber perfume I’ve been searching for my entire life and couldn’t find… until now. Since most commercial ambers are extremely linear, I expected a straightforward caramel-like benzoin note, with not much else, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Ambre Maquis is the most complex, layered, sensual amber I’ve ever come across. It starts with bright top notes of elemi, bitter orange, and bergamot. There’s an unusual green-ness and freshness to the opening, almost like a burst of pepper and the smell of a freshly cut lemon. But quickly the scent turns into a blend of styrax, cistus, and labdanum. It is layered, spicy, sweet, animalic, musky, sharp, and herbaceous… just like a quality amber should be. Complex in every possible way while still allowing the notes to merge together in a complimentary fashion. If you like dark, sweet, musky, heavy, and soulful scents this is for you.
After the intiial blast of citrus and elemi, Ambre Maquis melts into a prominent styrax note with a peculiar and intoxicating styrene topnote and a resinous, animalic, amber-like undertone. Other prominent notes you’ll find in this scent are labdanum – a rich sweet balsamic aroma with herbaceous backnote… along with cistus – a diffusive musky herbaceous amber-like scent. The styrax, labdanum, & cistus notes are incredible, complex, and very complimentary to each other. I also catch notes of bitter orange, bergamot, tonka bean, frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, vanilla, black pepper, moroccan rose, and ginger. There is a coumarin undertone from the tonka that is very much like the raw material – it’s creamy and gourmand, and blends beautifully with the sandalwood notes. Ambre Maquis is everything I love about amber, incense, and woody notes which blend together exquisitely. As you can imagine, this is a VERY layered perfume and complex in every possible way.
The citrus top notes lift the scent and keep it from being too heavy but it remains at its heart, a sensual, romantic, warm-blooded scent. This is by far, one of the best fragrances I’ve come across all year and I’d repurchase it in a heartbeat. It’s incredible, and I’m so impressed with Bastide’s ability to transform classic scents into something magical. For $130, this fragrance is STRONG. One spray will be enough for the entire day, it lingers on your clothing. I’m actually so impressed with the price point, strength, projection, and drydown of this scent. 3.4 oz will last me years with daily use, which makes it an incredible deal.
Neroli Lumiere Eau de Toilette* - this is supposed to be a floral, woody take on Neroli blossoms. I find it to be a light, citrus-heavy scent which is fairly true to the flower as far as commercial scents go (though nothing is exactly like true French neroli except the essential oil itself). In this perfume nerolidol shines and takes center stage, followed closely by crisp bright lemon notes, grapefruit, and a hint of alpha ionone, lisylang, limonene, & linalool in this classic composition. It is happiness itself in a bottle, the citrus notes are intense and lingering… reminding me of summertime, happiness, and citrus groves. As the scent progresses, the floral notes come out but it takes a few minutes before they appear.
There is a surprising phenyl ethyl alcohol-like, warm, honeyed-rose drydown to this which is much sweeter than I expected from a neroli perfume, but subtle enough to blend well with all the citrus notes. I even catch a hint of pear in the drydown but it remains elegant throughout and doesn’t turn into a fruity perfume. Neroli Lumiere Eau de Toilette* is an exceptionally wearable perfume, and very elegant despite the fact that it’s linear, with only 2 main notes (white flower blossoms/neroli and citrus/lemon). It’s uplifting, bright, feminine, and smells like spring. I would have loved to see more jasmine and neroli notes here, as it’s mainly citrus heavy. But it’s still an absolutely gorgeous scent that I find myself wearing often. I wouldn’t necessarily repurchase for $130, as there are a few more interesting compositions from Bastide I prefer. But the quality & simplicity is impressive!
All in all, it’s very clear that Ambre Maquis is my favorite of the 3 Bastide products I’ve tried so far. But I loved the Figue D’ete candle and Neroli Lumiere fragrances as well… they’re each so unique, so complex, and so beautiful. Wearable, classic compositions with a twist. I’m rarely impressed with commercial scents (lately I’ve been leaning towards natural or mixed media indie perfumers) but this is amazing stuff. I can’t wait to try more.
If you’d like to try Bastide, you can get 10% off at checkout by using the code: LAVIEBASTIDE (it’s not an affiliate link, and I don’t make anything off the purchase. It’s just a discount code the brand shared with me).
What are some of your favorite perfume discoveries of 2018?