Sometimes marketing just gets in the way of a fragrance. L’Art de la Guerre by Jovoy Paris is a scent where the marketing behind the name is superfluous and unnecessary. Luckily, the fragrance doesn’t need it.
Moving right along while intentionally ignoring the name, L’Art de la Guerre is classified as an oriental fougere, and rightly so; oriental fougeres typically use sweet notes—often vanilla or amber—to both compliment and contrast the fresh masculinity of the fougere accord. To some extent, this genre is populated with a vast array of derivative and decrepit scents that combine titanic doses of lavender and vanilla with not even the slightest hint of ingenuity. It is a breath of fresh air when a fragrance comes along that doesn’t fit that very traditional mold, and perfumer Vanina Muracciole deserves artistic credit for managing to revitalize a rather stale genre.
What makes L’Art de la Guerre unique is its playful exaggeration of a few elements of the oriental fougere style. The fresh, bracing opening that is characteristic of this style is further enhanced with sour apple and crisp rhubarb, which persist throughout the top and the mid of the fragrance, providing beautiful contrast with darker and deeper notes. Past the opening, lavender, violet, and nutmeg are heavy hitters, bringing to mind the extremely traditional style that inspired this fragrance. And the base is somewhat traditional too, with characteristic patchouli, oakmoss, and woods.
However, like the bracing elements in the opening, the base notes of L’Art de la Guerre offer a wonderful surprise. Leather, also used in many oriental fougeres—such as Creed’s Aberdeen Lavander, which provides to the reader a great example of the more traditional oriental fougere styles—is used here in L’Art de la Guerre. However, instead of combining the leather with the expected sweet amber or vanilla, the perfumer boldly selected the much more powerful—and, well, bold—note of immortelle. As expected of the ingredient, the immortelle note gradually emerges and becomes more powerful as the fragrance dries down, until it eventually (many hours later) becomes a runaway train on the skin, smothering the conservative fougere accord with dark leathery facets, brown sugar, and maple syrup.
The result is magnificent, and the performance just as laudable. L’Art de la Guerre offers beastly projection and sillage, and due in part to the tenacity of the immortelle, it easily lasts more than 24 hours on my skin.
Would I buy it?: Absolutely. This fragrance is easily worth the price, and I’d suggest it to fans of both the traditional fougere and oriental fougere styles, as long as they sample with the understanding that they will be in for a bit of a wild ride.