In one of my favorite reviews in Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, Luca Turin tells of seeing a busty woman on the London Underground wearing a tee shirt that read “All this and brains too.” He compares that “vulgar-but-wily combination” to Lancôme Trésor.
Trésor’s apricot-tinged rose is the pulchritude, and the vetiver is the intellect. I get it. But to me the rose is more Dinah Shore than Jayne Mansfield, and the vetiver doesn’t quite rate Mensa. That’s o.k. Trésor is entering its third decade not because it’s a sensual shock, but because it’s a crowd pleaser.
Perfumer Sophia Grojsman created Trésor. It launched in 1990. Lancôme’s website calls Trésor a floral oriental and lists its top notes as apricot blossom and rose; its heart as lilac, iris, and peach; and its base as amber, sandalwood, musk, and vanilla. Grojsman’s oeuvre is heavy with mouthwatering combinations of flowers and fruit, including Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse, Bill Blass Nude, and Prescriptives Calyx. Trésor fits right in.
Trésor is primarily a rose fragrance. Although it’s a peach-inflected rose, it isn’t the juicy, dizzying rose-peach of Guerlain Nahéma. It’s a drier, old fashioned rose dusted with chalky powder. Don’t think of the classic rose-violet combos, though. Trésor doesn’t smell like face powder or lipstick. Its amber and vanilla are reined in. Clean musk, a hint of jasmine, and rooty vetiver steer the fragrance away from Crabtree & Evelyn territory and give it a modern feel.
Not too modern, though. That’s Trésor’s beauty. Trésor feels familiar and comforting with its pale, fruity rose, yet too clean and vaporous to smell like drawer liner. Somehow I’d guess both Queen Victoria and Anne Hathaway might wear it happily. Trésor must be a magic ticket for thousands of people each holiday season as they search for a bottle of perfume appropriate for their grandma, aunt, girlfriend, mother-in-law, or pet sitter. It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking the fragrance — or, at least it’s hard to imagine anyone actively disliking it. The bottle is gorgeous, too.
The flip side is that it’s hard to imagine anyone struck with wild passion for Trésor. After wearing it for four days straight (o.k., I cheated a little on evenings), I have the same enthusiasm for it that I have for a pleasantly scented shampoo. It’s nice. But if I never wore it again, that would be all right, too.
Trésor Eau de Parfum has moderate sillage and lasts four or five hours on my skin. My samples were a mini that is at least three years old and a sample I made from a tester at Nordstrom this week, and I couldn’t discern a difference.
To twist an old saying: One girl’s meh is another’s Trésor. Are you passionate about Trésor one way or another? Maybe you love it — or hate it. Let us know.
Lancôme Trésor is available at most department stores and comes in Eau de Parfum (30 ml to 100 ml, $49 to $89), Eau de Toilette (not easily found in the US; 30 ml to 100 ml, 44€ to 90€) and Extrait de Parfum (7.5 ml, $87). You can also find body lotion, body crème and shower gel.