Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let me Play the Lion by Les Nez: fragrance review

"Scents of dusty trails, of lightly sweetened ochre, of sun-weathered wood. Of silence swept by mild breezes, of skies open like an endless azure cut oozing signs of the coming storm". Thus is how Isabelle Doyen, perfumer for Les Nez (parfums d'auteurs), a niche brand from Klingnau, Switzerland founded by perfume lover René Schifferle, presents Let me Play the Lion (introduced in 2006).

The playful name is inspired by a phrase appearing in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke say 'Let him roar again, let him roar again" (Act I, Scene 2). And playful indeed is the treatment that Isabelle Doyen, famous for her delicate, graceful watercolours for Annick Goutal, is saving for the composition in question.

Let me play the Lion starts on a spicy, peppery orange warmth, a subdued pomander note pettering out to scents of pure frankincense smoke curling lazily upwards towards a serene sky and of seared woods. If you are familiar with Poivre Piquant or Poivre Samarkande, the spiciness is on the same wavelength. Cedar is prominent among the woods, a touch which should appeal to lovers of Gucci Pour Homme, while the incense is its own recommendation for those belonging to the incense-loving sect. However by no means is this a gothic, dark incense; the note reminds me more of the French curiosity Papier d'Armenie ~little aroma-infused booklets redolent of benzoin which are burnt to make their scent waft~ than the mould-infested crypt. It's sunny and fuzzy. There is also a mossy, dry, almost dusty feeling upon finish, while the overall tone is warm and with an ever so delicate touch of sweetness that makes the composition fit for both sexes. Let me Play the Lion lasted exceedingly well on both my skin and on the blotter with the volume turned down: this lion's roar is vibrating on the lower frequencies!

Let me Play the Lion is available as a 50ml/1.7oz Eau de Toilette, directly from the Les Nez website, through Aus Liebe zum Duft or Luckyscent.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Les Nez fragrances, Incense series.

In the interests of disclosure I got sent a carded sample of each fragrance from Les Nez as part of their sample giveaway upon launching Manoumalia.

Art photography Nick Brandt Lion before Storm, via young gallery photo.
Cat photograph © by Helg


  1. I happily found Let Me Play the Lion in a most unexpected way; was all about trying The Unicorn Spell, and LMPL as another samp from the line.

    Intriguingly, I happened to try Tauer L'air du Desert Morocain the same morning, because I had been reading about it. So: was expecting to fall in love with Unicorn Spell, find out about L'Air, and Let Me Play the Lion was just a crazy wild card.

    Of course, LMPL came out the day's winner, I saw the relation to the Tauer, and puzzled about the Unicorn even as I enjoyed the Lion's drydown. I had no idea...but very much enjoyed the learning!

  2. Mmmmhhh, a great review, helg, and also a great pic of the lion above!

  3. S,

    wild cards sometimes prove to be very interesting! (also like the other two you sampled, L'air is truly a great scent I think.)

    PS. Have you received my mail about the things we were talking about before? I haven't received a reply, you see or notification and was wondering.

  4. N,

    hi! hope you're very well :-)
    Yes, I like that lion photo a lot myself! Thanks for the compliment, honey.

    Have a great day!

  5. Wow that is SUCH a great name. It sounds very intriguing too. I like the idea of a less dark incense smell.

  6. Another fabulous review and you make everything sound so enticing! My wallet is vibrating in a scary way, you're dangerous!
    Would you say this is comparable to Passage d'Enfer?

  7. E,
    Sent a reply a week ago...let me re-send. Will look for a confirmation reply.

  8. K,

    it's quite wearable. Yes, the name is very pretty, very playful. I liked it the best out of the three (the name, I mean).

  9. Sue,

    thank you (I guess? LOL).
    I'd say that it's in the same subdued genre, but without the soapy-floral not, instead imagine a little spice (but not agreesive). Hope this helps a bit.

  10. S,

    I have just checked and got your mail now. Thanks! (will reply in two secs)

  11. (thank you for juxtaposing these two pictures: I actually dreamed of our two cats in the role of mountain lions tonight! :)I love the name of the perfume, and (especially) the picture of the domestic cat, plus your way of presenting this scent. The scent sounds intriguing too!
    Wish you a nice weekend!

  12. stella p09:59

    ps: sol = stella p

  13. S,

    that's a great dream actually!! I always think of cats as little lions, especially when they play around or with their young. Glad you liked my picture.
    It is an interesting scent to be sure: A spicy, yet delicate incense.

  14. Aparatchick00:31

    This sounds intriguing and is going on my "must try" list.

    Love both cat pics - is the kitty yours?

  15. Aparat,

    it's sample-worthy! Looking forward to your impressions.

    No, the kitty is not mine, but she's in the neighbourhood and was an interesting subject (I love kitties).


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