This is the first YSL fragrance in my collection and what an introduction!
The boy got this for me – he said he thought I’d like it and I do! Fragrances are a personal taste and so far, the boy has not gotten it wrong even once. It seems he knows exactly what my nose is going to be tickled by.
The classic packaging gives away the branding intent of this being a “luxury fragrance”. It’s a solid box that stands tall and you have to push it quite hard to close it securely over the bottle. The cap of the bottle has a magnetic snap to it and feels solid. I would’ve chosen a better typeface for lettering the “Caftan” on both the glass bottle and the outer box but apart from that, the packaging is solid.
The fragrance has decent longevity – not as much as Hermes Absolut but almost there. Sillage is wonderfully medium – there’s a whiff of something in the air that might lead someone’s nose closer to you or they might pop a delighted smile on their face and carry on with the rest of their day. The sillage is non-intrusive and not overpowering.
Opening notes are slightly sharp – it’s a unisex fragrance and it smells quite different on my skin and on the boy’s skin, which tickles my nose even more. How delightful to witness a demonstration of a fragrance interacting with pheromones right under my nose! Makes me smile endlessly. It stays sharper on the boy’s skin and has more longevity. On my skin it gets a little warm in the same amount of time. Mellow. Like amber. The first time I sprayed the fragrance on my skin, the only word that lit up in my head was “incense”. Then I closed my eyes and imagined how the fragrance made me feel and where it transported me :
“It feels like a place, indoors, made of wood. Centuries old wood that has turned musky with centuries of incense burning inside it’s walls. A small, cosy room with a warm, yellow glow. Somewhere in the hills. No snow but some rain. A bit of damp outside but crisp and dry indoors. There’s a lot of green outdoors. Pine trees and centuries old woods. A place of calm and strength. Love and warmth and cosy comforts. Not a monastery but a place of peace.”
Caftan is dry to the touch on my skin. When I sniffed it, I assumed it would feel silky and would be ideal to wear in the winters but nope. Can wear it in summers without feeling hot. There’s a certain crispness to it that could come from the intended citrus and pepper. The fragrance is supposed to have opening notes of citrus : grapefruit and tangerine and pink pepper. But my nose got “incense” all the way. So a bit of sharp benzoin and musk is what my nose got. I definitely recommend trying out this fragrance during the Indian Monsoon – if you’re feeling especially damp with all the rain, this fragrance balances that out with the sharp dry smokiness of incense but not in an overwhelming way. ( I burn a LOT of incense around the house and it’s very difficult to find good quality incense that doesn’t burn my nostrils with just “smoke”. When I nosed this YSL Caftan for the first time, I thought, “Wow! Now if someone could make actual incense smelling like this!” )
Mid notes stay pretty much the same but the fragrance loses the sharpness and gets slightly warmer. So, warmer incense. Caftan uses Olibanum, which is a resin extracted from a tree so that’s probably where I’m getting the “room made of wood” from. I also get a bit of caramel / chocolate toward the end but not cloyingly sweet – slightly powdery.
Mid-notes onwards, the notes stay pretty much the same and the fragrances continues to get softer and softer. It stays longer on the boy’s skin though. About 5 to six hours on mine and it’s still distinctive. By hour eight it is all but gone from my arm but stays on fabric longer. The fragrance has a distinctive Middle-Eastern vibe when I nose it – I’ve read the press releases and they clearly say “Moroccan”. Some of you might get “vanilla” too but I’m not a fan of strong Vanilla so I’m guessing there isn’t much in it that my nose wants to recognize.
Yves Saint Laurent presented its new collection of luxury fragrances in November 2015. Le Vestiaire des Parfums, which includes five new releases: Caban, Caftan, Tuxedo, Saharienne and Trench. The “perfume wardrobe” collection is inspired by the iconic pieces of Yves Saint Laurent clothing. Calice Becker of Givaudan is the parfumier behind Caftan. I have not nosed the others in this collection.
#FragranceOfTheMonth is a monthly feature about the newest fragrance I’ve discovered or one of the old classics that are still stunning. YSL Caftan is #FragranceOfTheMonth for July 2016. A little later than I’d usually publish the monthly feature – I blame Dubai!