L’Artisan Safran Troublant fragrance review

L'Artisan perfumes advert

I'm sure many of you have had this experience. You find a new perfume. You love it. You wear it a few times, and the love fades. You decide it isn't you at all, and you give it away to a more deserving home. Then....it keeps popping into the back of your mind — perhaps it really was all that after all? You get another sample or bottle, decide your original doubts were on target, it just isn't right for you, so you give it away again. And then...

Such has been my relationship with Safran Troublant. I gave away my original 15 ml bottle, and since then, I swap for new decants and then give them away again on a semi-regular basis. Safran Troublant was released (along with yesterday's Piment Brûlant and Poivre Piquant) as part of the L'Artisan Les Epices de la Passion trio in 2002. It was created by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti, and the notes include saffron, sandalwood, rose and vanilla.

Safran Troublant starts off with an explosion of spices: saffron, maybe cardamom, maybe ginger, a pinch of clove, who knows what else. It is a heady mixture for a matter of some minutes, then the spices dissolve into a milky cloud and the whole thing gradually turns pale and transparent, as you would expect with an Olivia Giacobetti creation. The dry down is a creamy, very soft sandalwood sweetened with a touch of vanilla and accented with soft spices. The saffron itself is quite distinct but subdued, and the rose seems to float in and out of the composition. There are times when I wear it and never notice the rose at all.

Of the three scents in the Les Epices trio, Safran Troublant strikes me as easily the most foody; it is also probably the sweetest, but it isn't overly sweet and it is a far cry from your usual heavy gourmand. It wears almost like a skin scent, with a sort of golden glow (it was originally called the Gold Philtre; Piment Brûlant was the Red Philtre and Poivre Piquant the White Philtre). It is as likely to please a sandalwood-vanilla fan as much as a spice fan, and perhaps that is the problem: maybe I'd like just a dash more spice to liven up the dry down? I'm not sure. I'm wearing it at the moment and it is lovely — I really do need to buy the coffret, don't I? — but I won't be at all surprised if it lets me down next week.

Safran Troublant is an Eau de Toilette, and the lasting power is so-so. You can buy it with Piment Brûlant and Poivre Piquant as part of the Les Epices coffret (three 15 ml bottles for $75), or you can buy it on its own in the standard L'Artisan 50 and 100 ml bottles. For buying information, see the listing for L'Artisan under Perfume Houses.

Note: the L'Artisan advertising image is via Parfum de Pub.

Tomorrow: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Cimabue

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You hit the nail right on the head with the on again, off again attraction to certain fragrances. I like Safran Troublant, but once my 15 ml bottle runs out, I probably won't buy another bottle. The saffron in it reminds me of paella, and I'm having trouble shaking the image. That said, I think I'll spray some on now. Who knows? Today might be another of those days I really like it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    That's very funny. I did that with one of the Bvlgari teas. I wonder if the problem is this: for those scents that are kind of less-is-more, maybe we go through min-phases where we keep expecting more oomph. I finally decided the Bvlgaris are exactly perfect for what they are. (I don't even care much for the Green Extreme, which in theory was more what I wanted.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    My dearly beloved Safram Troublant, seeing it reviewed makes me so happy. It is true love for me, no on and off stuff. I do have relationships like that though, with scents like Sacrebleu and Vanille Tonka. We are in the On period now :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Funny, I've seen other refererences to paella — and some to Indian rice pudding, but although ST does strike me as foody, I don't actually think of food when I wear it. Maybe I'd like it better if it did call up paella, LOL…and now I'm hungry :-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps that is it, I want more oomph. The Bvlgari teas, agree, are very much less-is-more, and that is usually the sort of thing you expect from OG, but here she seems to be flirting with something deeper and richer and not quite going there.

    And yes, the Green Extreme just isn't as good as the original!

  6. Anonymous says:

    M, actually I am sort of surprised that you adore ST. I would have thought it too light & transparent for you? It is odd that it is too light & transparent for me, come to think of it. Maybe I've got it pegged all wrong somehow…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. I don't find it transparent or light. Well, it's not heavy and robust, but not really ethereal either on me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have this trouble with SMN Citta di Kyoto: somedays it just seems to straightforwardly duvet-like and then somehow I order another sample.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have much the same problem with ST. It lasts a long time on me, and intrigues and repels me as I catch different facets during the day. Sometimes I think 'Wow! This is some creamy juice!”, and sometimes I wonder if I have something on the sole of my shoe. Sometimes it's foody and paella-ish to the point of mild revulsion, and sometimes it's rich and golden, just as you describe. I tested West Side recently, and it seemed to me it had the same 'feel' as ST – maybe the sandalwood used? – but without quite so much of the cooking nuances. I wonder if others get the same resemblance (first spotted by a MUA reviewer)?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh, that's Giacobetti! OK. You know, I find Safran Troublant friendly but not interesting, if you know what I mean. Affable, so you don't mind saying hi once in a while, but a touch boring, so you wouldn't want it to be an everyday sort of thing.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I'm so jealous of people who can wear this – I love the idea of it, but on my skin it's just…unspeakable. I had several friends smell my hand while I was sampling it, and it was universal EW.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yikes, the grammar and spelling! “Some days” and “too” of course.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I havent tried this one, but with my experience with previous (watery & diluted) L'Artisan potions, I am not really looking forward to it. From one note wonders like Tea for Two (“Tea”) to Mechant Loup (“hazelnut”), to the patchouli blast that is Voleur De Roses, I havent really warmed up to this house (except for Dzing!). There are a few others which I found quite irritating, but I will stop here because 'tis the season to be jolly and forgiving :P

  14. Anonymous says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I love Safran Troublant and have no problem with it, but there are others I *want* to love and even talk myself into *believing* I love, but when I get them home it's another story. One that comes to mind is TDC Rose Poivrée. I keep forgetting how noxious I find that initial pepper blast. I guess the fact that a full bottle has never found its way into my collection should be the most reliable indicator of how I truly feel about it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Love “straightforwardly duvet-like” — that is perfect.

    And grammar and spelling don't count in comments :-)

  16. Anonymous says:

    How interesting, West Side is surely the last thing that would have popped into my mind when thinking of ST. Will have to try them together now.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well now, I adore Giacobetti…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Interesting how many people have that reaction. Now I'm almost looking forward to the next time it *doesn't* work on me…this time I'll take notes so I can remember why.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If you found Tea for Two and Mechant Loup one note wonders, don't bother with the Safran! It will do nothing for you at all. Quite agree with the “patchouli blast that is Voleur de Roses” though.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why we want to love them, when there are so many other fish in the sea? I am thinking it would make more sense to have a small bottle than not to, if only to remind me from time to time why it is that I don't love it. But oddly enough, I can still smell it from this morning on my sweater, and it is still lovely.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely LOVE that image on your post and would love to have it as a poster! It's certainly suitable for framing. Any leads on where I might be able to purchase it–that is if it's even available in that format. I've already checked eBay, being the fantatic that I am, but alas, no luck. Exquisite art direction from an exquisite fragrance house!

  22. Anonymous says:

    It is gorgeous, isn't it? Check out the other L'Artisan ads at Parfum de Pub too (link at bottom of post above), there are several nice ones (listed under A for Artisan Parfumeur). But no idea how you can get one. So far as I know, these were just magazine ads. Might be worth emailing L'Artisan to ask?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for turning me on to that website. I've never seen it before. L'Artisan does indeed have some fantastic advertisements. Working for Macy's I've aquired many fragrance posters over the years, but I'm always amazed at the sophistication–and boldness–of European ads. They are quite difficult to acquire. And I suppose it's not really a boldness of Europeans, but more of a restraint of us prudish Americans….me NOT included of course! We must be careful not to offend anyone, right? Anyway, I suppose that's a topic for another discussion.

    One more thing….I just want to thank you so much for what you do and your passionate dedication to your website. I read it religiously and look forward to your postings everyday when I come home from work. I don't comment much, but I've gained so much knowledge of fragrances and the industry because of you and your readers. Your hard work is deeply appreciated!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I am curious about their source too – I thought L'Artisan didnt advertise.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I like it. I have an unlabelled sample vial which regularly tricks me like this: I take it out, say to myself, 'What's that?' and pour a little on the back of my hand. I find it impossible to know, for the first two or so minutes and then suddenly wham! I realise. And I though olfactory memory was quick!

    It's comforting, but somehow sickening at the same time, almost as though you can sniff it for a couple of minutes but then feel the need for a change.

  26. Anonymous says:

    That's it — comforting but sickening at the same time is exactly how it strikes me at times, although not when I wore it yesterday. I think that is my objection more than the lack of oomph in the dry down.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Parfum de Pub is great, and you might also want to check out this one if you haven't already:


    Agree that European advertising (and Asian) is much more interesting than what we get here, but the bigger divide that I see in the perfume arena is between niche and mainstream brands. The L'Artisan ads are just works of art. The average mainstream brand just throws up a scantily clad, vaguely drugged-out looking woman.

    And thanks so very much for the nice compliment!!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Possibly they were in-store promotional materials then? I really have no idea.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I may be in the wrong place, I was wanting some help/suggestions from anyone out there about a specific fragrance. Is the the right forum? Thanks!

  30. Anonymous says:

    This is a blog, not a forum. You can post your question and perhaps I or someone else can help you, but you'd probably get more responses by posting at one of the fragrance forums. You can find a list of forums at the bottom of this page:


    Hope that helps!

  31. Ajda says:

    I know this is an old review, but I am testing ST today and it’s l.o.v.e., spicy, but creamy soft. I can’t wait to wear it to dinner at my mother’s later today. Happy Holidays!

    • Robin says:

      Late reply, but hope you had a lovely holiday too!

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