Autoportrait by Nathalie Lorson for Olfactive Studio 2011


Post by Jordan River


Autoportrait by Olfactive Studio 2011

Autoportrait by Nathan BranchPhoto Taken by Nathan Branch

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot and elemi
Heart: Benzoin, incense and musk
Base: Oak moss, cedar and vetiver.

Boys, here is one for the 21st century man, not a flower petal in sight. The brief to the perfumer was a photo – create a fragrance inspired by the picture below. I first encountered this scent in December at World Beauty. When I trial a new scent I make sure not to read reviews or the even the notes on the packaging. February came and Autoportrait was still wafting through the scentmills of my mind. Back to the shop for another spritz. Back to the shop twice in a day. On my fourth visit the SA read out the marketing notes before I could protest. When I heard the words Nathalie Lorson I swooned as the attraction made sudden sense.

Autoportrait LUC LAPÔTRE olfactive studio

The photo that inspired Autoportrait. Photographer: Luc Lapôrte

Natalie created one of my best-loved ‘fumes, the warm masculine vetiver that is Encre Noire from Lalique. Autoportrait is Encre Noire released from the woods and flying above the clouds. The vetiver smells like the roots have been washed by a waterfall leaving a clear hint of something that is usually more vegetal.

Let’s take a quick side trip to the Moonlight Waterfall in Issan. Will you stroll with me? There is a path behind the waterfall. The waterfall will be an olfactory reference.

Sang Chan Waterfall Issan

Sang Chan Waterfall


Sang Chan waterfall

Sang Chan Waterfall

Sang Chan Waterfall, Issan, Thailand Photos: Jordan River

Back to Autoportrait: A tonal quality like a chime is what wafts from the bottle. Back in the office I sprayed this new delight. My Social Media Manager said “I’ve tasted that scent”. He was saying he had eaten elemi berries from the Phillipines. Resin from the elemi tree make up the top notes along with lemon and orange. We are seeing a lot of berry notes this season; the blackcurrant Co2 extract and absolutes hidden in The Enchanted Forest is another example of this direction.

After 30 minutes the scent becomes nice and dry. This is a skin scent meaning that you have to be reasonably but not intimately close to smell this. Your skin ++. Benzoin resin from Thailand, incense and oak moss or more likely a well composed synthetic substitute with a tiny drop of oak moss, are the other notes which all evaporate on me within 4 hours. No worries there, just top up.


Autoportrait is smooth with a clean feel but not in the laundry musk or American sense. Maybe clear is a better word. It’s not about the notes; this is a harmony of composition. A beautiful blend by a woman I admire.

Nathalie Lorson

Perfumer Nathalie Lorson

Love your work Nathalie. But this is not really work is it? This is an artistic expression which moves the vetiver story higher into the fragrant stratosphere. Next I am expecting vetiver in outer space.

Careful if you wear this: someone may want to eat you if they move close enough within the first 30 minutes. I know I like to taste everything.

Perfume Fridge

Center shelf, a welcome addition to the fridge

Autoportrait from Olfactive Studio is an EDP available in 50ml and 100ml.

Céline Verleure

Founder and Creative Director of Olfactive Studio, Céline Verleure

The photo is included in the box. My solution to flatten the curl of the cheap paper stock is to frame the photo for my office. At this price point ~ $US145, €85 (50ml) a higher gsm would be appreciated to carry this beautiful piece of art.

Further Information
Elemi is a berry tree from the Philippines. You can taste a dried version of the fruit at most Asian food stores.
Luc Lapôrte photography
Olfactive Studio website
Picturing Perfume – The Olfactive Studio story by Denyse Beaulieu

What Men Should Smell Like – Clayton Ilolahia

Olfactoria’s Travels – Olfactoria

The Non-Blonde – Gaia Fishler

15 comments on “Autoportrait by Nathalie Lorson for Olfactive Studio 2011

  1. Madeleine says:

    Hey Jordan,
    Beautiful review of a beautiful fragrance! My better half wears this and his first entree into niche. We bought this together and I sometimes sneak a bit when he’s away.


  2. brie says:

    It was you, my dear, and your review that desperately made me want to try this entire line (although samples are no longer shipped to the States) as well as inspired me to create the oil blend that has all of these notes… of these days I WILL get my hands on Autoportrait!

  3. Nice addition to your collection in the fridge Mr River!

  4. Hey Jordan,
    Is this then your favourite of the Olfactive studio works?
    Portia xx

  5. lorraine says:

    Great review. Will now try Autoportrait again with your images in mind.

  6. solanace says:

    I loved reading your review of Autoportrait! And being such a waterfall freak, now I’m craving a swim myself!

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