Vie De Chateau by Parfums di Nicolai
In a little red barn on a farm down in Indiannnaaa….I’m gonna rest my back on a stack of new mown haaaaaaay.
Vie de Chateau* may translate to “Castle Life” but as I am immediately transported to the farm of my childhood, I am reminded that the French and Midwesterners have far more in common than either side wants to admit.
There is a burst of sunshine in the opening of Vie de Chateau. Not to get too nostalgic or pie-eyed but there is a moment on a farm morning (and I would assume on a Chateau as well…but I cannot confirm) when the sunshine hits the dew on fresh cut grass and everything smells fresh and new, yet with an underpinning of rich loamy soil. This is the first moment of Vie de Chateau.
Vie de Chateau is typically classified as a masculine and I get the briskness that implies, but there is no gender to a summer morning and thus I wear this comfortably, if not a little mournfully, at my desk wishing I was out experiencing that very thing rather than just approximating it on my wrist.
As we move into the heart, I believe a fresh saddle has just appeared on our farmy morning, warmed with the sun.
I mentioned Cristalle as having an air of Carpe Diem, and so does Vie de Chateau. In Cristalle, we are accomplishing much in the realm of career. In Chateau, it’s a day of active leisure.
Vetiver shows up a little after the warm leather. It’s really nicely composed as I seem to be generally a little sensitive to vetiver’s raspiness. This one is smooth. Woven. I suspect it’s because it is blended with the warmth of tobacco which sweetens it and calms it’s respiratory flyways.
So we seem to have a freshly shaven farmer, sitting atop a saddle with an unlit pipe, ready to head off to Sunday services. So it may not inspire sexy thoughts, but nonetheless it is comforting while never ever sliding into the world of gourmand.
This is what I call a church morning perfume (as is Nicolai’s gorgeous Odalisque). I don’t mean to imply it’s conservative or staid. It’s just it would smell great with coffee, toast, shaving cream, and wouldn’t fight with other similar scents amongst the freshly scrubbed pews. (IE I could see letting my Dad try this one on.)
Hay is one of my favorite perfume notes. It is sweet, green, herbal and happy if something can smell happy and I feel it can.
A true barnyard perfume would have a bit of indolic heft to it, and this is not it. While I admit I have a bit of affection for greener, ah, manure. (I guess there’s no getting around it, but the fact is rabbit and horse poop ain’t that bad.) This is not a present element in Vie de Chateau. As I said, this isn’t a farmer on duty. This is a farmer heading out for awhile. It’s a day full of possibility and camaraderie, not routine.
There are a couple bottles in my home that find themselves variably on either my dresser’s or my husbands. I sneak Aqua di Parma. He grabs Lush Dirty. (I suspect Eau de Navigateur will find it’s way to my side of the room as he has tired of it.) I could see Vie de Chateau having two homes as well.
I would recommend this perfume, in particular, to people who appreciate classic colognes but do not enjoy orange blossom or heavy citrus (if citrus can be heavy).
Ther is a hot second in the top notes where a rasp caught my breath. I think it was just that first flash of vetiver that settles down quickly into the basket weave I mentioned above. The drydown is a very clean musk that manages to avoid hissing. It maintains just a hint of that cut grass quality. I’m getting sheets drying in the breeze.
If you need the perfume equivalent, be it French or Midwestern, of a country morning transitioning to a nappy afternoon, well friend, Vie de Chateau is the perfume for you. Castle Life. I agree. For what is more luxurious that an outdoorsy nap on a summer day?
Ultimately, Vie de Chateau smells good. Very very good.
*Whistling “In a Little Red Barn” as I meander away down a country road.*
*My sample is older and so I cannot speak to the new “Intense” version although judging by my research it is very similar.