L’Artisan Batucada ~ fragrance review

L'Artisan Batucada

Many of you will remember that niche line L'Artisan Parfumeur used to do a limited edition unisex summer fragrance every year. Usually, it was something fleeting and happy meant for hot weather wear, packaged in a whimsical bottle and sold at a slightly lower cost per ml than the regular L'Artisan line. If the fragrance did well, sometimes it ended joining the regular line. So far as I can tell, they haven't done one since 2006, when they released Mandarine Tout Simplement.

Batucada, L'Artisan's latest fragrance, is not a summer limited edition. It might be the latest in the travel series, I'm not sure — and it doesn't really matter: the point is, it doesn't get a fun bottle and it costs about the same as the rest of them. It would have fit right into the summer limited edition line-up, though: it's cheerful and summer-y, and light-hearted in a way that we haven't seen from L'Artisan lately.

It was inspired by the Brazilian samba style of the same name, and by Brazil in general. The opening takes its cues from the caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil — cachaça,1 sugar, lime. (Batucada adds a whole slew of other fun-in-the-sun stuff, cocktail and otherwise.2) The top notes are juicy sweet citrus, quickly coming into focus on tart green lime. Coconut, a reference to the  fresh coconut water sold by vendors on Brazilian beaches, joins in the mix early on, but it's only strong for a brief while, after that, it's a milky undertone; it never really mimics suntan oil.3 The heart is tropical florals with mildly fruity undertones, but they're done with a very light hand —  if you're after a heady feminine tropical floral, you'll need to look elsewhere, as Batucada is too light to qualify, and it's entirely unisex (to my nose, anyway).4 The dry down is a dry-ish blend of pale woods and "salty skin warmed in the sun". The aquatic notes, thankfully (for me) are mild at most. Some wearings, I noticed a vague bit of melon here and there, some wearings, I didn't.

Batucada is more sophisticated than your average cocktails-on-the-beach fragrance, but still, it's fun. It's a perfect winter antidote for those of us who detest cold weather, and it has just enough depth and lasting power to hang on despite the chill — it's not a powerhouse, mind you, but it's nowhere near as fleeting as some of the summer scents L'Artisan has done in the past. I'd think it would wear quite nicely in warm weather too, but sadly, I've no way to test that right now. Will I buy it? Probably not. It's extremely likable, but it's not my favorite of the summer-y L'Artisan fragrances — and I'm so far behind on my buy list that I haven't even bought Vanille Absolument or Traversée du Bosphore yet. For the umptillionth time, I am wishing that L'Artisan still sold everything in 15 ml.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada was developed by perfumers Karine Vinchon and Elisabeth Maier. It is available in 50 ($100) and 100 ($145) ml Eau de Toilette.

1. Cachaça is fermented sugar cane, and is similar to rum, which is usually (but not always) made from fermented molasses. More caipirinha: Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Bahiana, Frederic Malle Outrageous, Nina Ricci Nina.

2. The notes, more or less (as always, reports vary): mint, davana, tiare, ylang, amber, benzoin, aquatic notes, coconut, vanilla, sandalwood, salty skin accord, patchouli, vetiver and musk.

3. Suntan oil, to varying degrees: Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, André Gas Ensoleille Moi, Sean John Unforgivable Woman.

4. Feminine tropical florals (that a man can certainly wear if he wants to; we are not laying down rules here): Annick Goutal Songes, Ormonde Jayne Frangipani or Chantecaille Frangipane, Serge Lutens Datura Noir.

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41 Comments

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  1. Ari says:

    Hmmm. It does sound fun, and I would like to try it, but it doesn’t sound too far up my alley. I don’t really like tropical drinks… too reminiscent of my freshman year at the University of Bad Choices.

    • Robin says:

      :-)

    • AnnieA says:

      I know an alumna of The University of Bad Choices! She said her major was a Plethora of Men…

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Does than include a concentration in The Walk of Shame?

        • Elle Golbane says:

          The minor includes coursework in I-don’t-remember-what-I-did-last-night…

  2. moore says:

    Funny drawing: Rio de Janeiro. Not as beautiful as it really is of course… maybe lacks some sea… There’s even the classic Copacabana’s sidewalk! Hey, but that green people seem to be Spanish flamenco dancers!!!??? The man looks like a toreador! By coincidence I’m listening Jorge Ben Jor and Gilberto Gil’s song Filhos de Gandhi that sings about carnival! By the way, I love Datura Noir!

    • KateReed says:

      The little green guys are playing drums for the dancer, it seems.

      • pyramus says:

        Yeah, they’re part of a samba band (I used to play in one): the big bass drum is a surdo and the other guy looks to be leading with a snare drum.

      • moore says:

        OOOHHH! Lol! Lol! Let me describe what I saw before you telling me: I saw green man in the extreme right playing something like a castanhola and the green one on the left as a woman dancing!! My eyes are playing me jokes!!! I haven’t noticed surdo or any kind of percussion until now: I thought it were some part of their clothings!

        • That works, too. After all, if it’s about the samba, it’s about dancing! I might have to try this. I have purchased every bottle of Ananas Fizz I could find–it was perfect on me. But I am scared of their musks which get huge on me. So I’ll have to try this carefully.

    • Robin says:

      It is not my favorite L’Artisan illustration…but ran out of time to find something else :-)

      • moore says:

        I understant! It’s not your fault at all!

  3. pyramus says:

    It’s been nearly a decade since L’Artisan released anything I felt I had to own (2002′s L’Epices trio, of which only Safran Troublant was FBW). In truth, I gave up even trying the line after Havana Vanille and Al Oud both disappointed me. But at least I have bottles of Vanilia and Eau du Navigateur to remember the line by.

    • Robin says:

      Sounds like they suit me much better than they do you…I like a large percentage of what they make.

  4. Janice says:

    I’ve been wanting to try this. So glad to hear that you don’t get a lot of melon from the aquatic notes!

  5. victoriaf says:

    Gosh, L’Artisan seriously needs a better graphic design or ad design person….

    I smelled it briefly the other day and it reminded me of Mimosa pour Moi for some reason–that milky, honeyed floral note.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, it might well be like…I don’t know MPM well since I don’t much like mimosa.

      They usually do such nice graphics, too. I think this was just a mistake.

  6. jlee16 says:

    Oof, the prices just pain me. I seem to remember them being about 75 euros for 100ml in 2006, and the summer editions were the same price. I remember getting Oeillet Sauvage on clearance for 30 euro and Bois Farine with the watercolors for 22! I’m scared to try them for fear I’ll fall in love. I miss the playful L’Artisan; they filled a unique spot in the niche world but I don’t think they’ve been there for years. For some reason I still shell out for Serge Lutens; I think it’s because I’ve always associated that with prestige and thus felt the price was somehow justified. Anyway, now that I live in a subtropical climate, I still may break down and try this one. Great review.

    • Robin says:

      It’s very true, the prices aren’t as reasonable as they used to be. I don’t hold a grudge since that’s true of most brands, but seems like they axed the 15 ml bottles just when the economy got really bad, which is a shame.

      Serge, these days, is the bargain in the niche world.

      Seems to me they stopped being playful around 2007/2008, or maybe even earlier…they started making the harvest scents and then stopped making summer scents, and then they did the Mon Numero, etc. They need to do more fun stuff. Wish they’d done this one in a different bottle.

      • Meg says:

        Lol… the reputation of your disdain for L’artisan bottles may soon be on par with you feelings on winter.

  7. Nile Goddess says:

    Will definitely try this – in memory of my beloved Ananas Fizz.

    Oh to have the note of unripe pineapple in any fragrance – they were on to something there and they discarded it.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, I’m a huge fan of Ananas Fizz, and its cousin Bahiana. I don’t like this quite as well, although it’s nice, and it’s probably much closer to seasonless than either of those.

  8. halimeade says:

    I’m actually very excited to try this. the first time I saw the notes listed I was like “oooooohhhhhh.” I’m from a semi-tropical place (Florida) currently living in a place that actually has a dreary winter (Oregon) so the idea of a cheerful ode to summer is very appealing at the moment I guess I’d better order a sample and figure it out. : )

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      You say “dreary,” I say “refreshing”! ;)

    • Robin says:

      Worth a shot then!

  9. Alyssa says:

    I remember loving the MpG Bahiana but never buying it because the price seemed too high for something “fun.” Suspect I will feel the same way here, especially with aquatic notes, but it definitely sounds worth a sniff.

    • Robin says:

      I never bought it either, but hesitated over it any number of times. Maybe if I hadn’t already bought Ananas Fizz? But yeah, it was really nice but too expensive for what it was.

  10. sniffmeallover says:

    I really like Batucada but for me it is in the same category as Azuree Soleil, nice to spray on in the morning before doing the school round or some chores around the house. Fresh, sweet, yummy, a real nice pick me up scent, very light.
    Now somebody please help, how do I spray Lutens into a 1ml vial to make a sample for swap. The Lutens atomisers are barbarian, I can hardly fill half the vial, the rest just sprays back! Please help!
    (Chanel atomizers are the BEST, I can fill a vile to the brim without a drop of wastage, but have no idea what to do with SL)

    • Robin says:

      Two choices.

      1, give up on spraying, take out the atomizer and use a straw or pipette.

      2, wedge the vial in something like a piece of clay or styrofoam (to free your hands) and use a small metal (not plastic) funnel.

    • Joe says:

      I find the key is to position the atomizer between my thumb and forefinger and press down gently (rather than with my finger on the top and pushing all the way down). It’s hard to describe, but it allows me to slowly control the depression of the atomizer mechanism and get a slow stream rather than a full-bore spray. I hope that helps.

      With Lutens, remember you can unscrew the atomizer and fill a vial with a cocktail straw or something like that (or small pipette).

  11. Lammy says:

    on my skin, i smelled nothing but LOUD fresh lime.. and it simply stayed that way.
    i wish i cud detect some coconut.. but didnt happen. i was really disappointed with this one, as i love lartisan and always look forward to their new releases. :(

    • Robin says:

      Interesting — the lime doesn’t really last all that long on me, so of course I’m your opposite: I wish it would last longer!

  12. Joe says:

    Hi Robin. I just sampled this over the weekend. It’s a fun and lighthearted scent.

    I think you’re correct in writing, “more sophisticated than your average cocktails-on-the-beach fragrance” … but just barely. It did strike me as smelling very “youthful” and something I wouldn’t be surprised to smell from Escada (in truth, I haven’t smelled anything by Escada). While it’s “fun” and fairly wearable, I couldn’t help feeling just a little disappointed by it I think — as if L’Artisan had lowered its standard a bit by trying to appeal to the cocktail-quaffing youth set. Not that there’s really anything wrong with that. Maybe there’s something amorphous that’s not totally to my taste — I’m sure there are other “cocktail” scents that appeal to me, or maybe I prefer my beach cocktails to be drunk and not worn.

    • Robin says:

      On the one hand, I know what you mean, on the other, hey, you need to spend some time with the Escadas, LOL…they are mostly fruity sugar bombs. It’s like comparing Koolaid w/ rum to a Caipirinha. I’ll take the Caipirinha!

      This one, to me, compares to something like Ananas Fizz, although I like AF better. But historically, L’Artisan did a range of stuff, from serious to playful, and I miss that.

      • Joe says:

        Yeah, I definitely like a line that ranges from serious to playful. I’m with you in enjoying Ananas Fizz more than Batucada. This is sort of an idea beach vacation/holiday scent — certainly suits me more than Bronze Goddess. Ever-shortening October days may have not been the ideal time to sample this.

  13. Haunani says:

    I will be visiting a warm clime soon and will take this sample. I promise to report back. I did sniff the top of my little decant, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it a lot!

    • Robin says:

      I am jealous — hope you’re going somewhere fun!

  14. Tom Smith says:

    I’m wearing Batacuda right now (there’s a ful L’Artisan boutique right by my work) and man, this one is a big surpriser. I left it on a card all day and it was relatively linear, strong lime with light melon/aqua and maybe a tiny hint of a floral accord.

    But on my skin, this thing is a nuclear sandalwood bomb. I smell like a [profanity removed by editor] incense store. I dunno what’s going on here, but the lime was roasted off in an hour and the wood accord is so strong it’s almost ashen and smokey. And there’s even something sweet to it – like a tonka bean base or something.

    Super weird. And not “fresh” at all, despite what it smells like on the card/in the bottle.

    • Robin says:

      That is weird. It is not an incense store on me by any means, although I wouldn’t mind so terribly if it was.

  15. KRL says:

    I finally sniffed this yesterday and snagged a sample as well. So far, I’m really liking this. This might be a buy for me –

    Thanks for the review!

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