It’s so strange to me which “Destination Inspirations” keep repeatedly showing up in perfumery. If you made maps based solely on perfume inspirations it’d only consist of the Mediterranean, Hawaii and some vague Spice Route that encompasses whatever Europeans think isn’t European. I’m not really complaining about these inspirations, they’re beautiful places and I enjoy many perfumes with these inspirations. I’m just saying there are so many beautiful places in this world that are underrepresented in the world of perfumery (or at least perfume marketing). It’s like perfume companies want to use materials from regions (i.e. Haitian vetiver or Madagascar vanilla) but rarely ever make a perfume inspired by that location.
Raw Spirit has not one, but two perfumes inspired by Haiti, one of those underrepresented olfactory destinations¹. Haiti has been presented (and is presented) with so much political and environmental turmoil. So much so, that it seems like many people only know Haiti from their bad news. This is a shame because Haiti is a beautiful place with a strong spirit and great people. Citadelle is named after the Citadelle Laferrière and is inspired by the “strength and spirit of the Haitian people”². Bijou Vert is inspired by “The Jewel of the Antilles” and a cool summer morning.
Notes listed include Haitian vetiver, marigold, pear, tagetes, bergamot, lemon, spices, amberwood, musk and cedarwood. Launched in _. PERFUMER – Harry Fremont
Citadelle is a fresh vetiver but it also has the sort of smoky undertones that I love to have in a vetiver fragrance. The opening is bitter but not in the same way as Bijou Vert, which is more like a bitter vetiver. Citadelle’s astringency comes from marigold. It’s like an aromatic tarragon meets bitter lemon peel. As it wears, Citadelle is like a smoky but somehow still fresh (what witchcraft is this?!) vetiver with a peppery musk. As it dries down, it’s like a modern amber (something like ambroxan), spicy musk and woods. However, it has a sheerness while still being dense. It reminds me of fog. Overall, Citadelle is drier and more woodsy than Bijou Vert.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Vetiver fog. I absolutely love this one enough to buy a bottle (haven’t bought a bottle but I like it that much). It’s just a really good vetiver and I need more really good vetivers in my collection.
Notes listed include Haitian vetiver, grapefruit, mandarin, geranium, lotus flower, black pepper, patchouli and cedarwood. Launched in 2013. PERFUMER – Harry Fremont
As we already discussed, Bijou Vert is a vetiver fragrance. This is a bitter, green vetiver. There’s a black pepper that adds woodiness and spiciness. In comparison to Citadelle, Bijou Vert is “brighter” and dewier. Bijou Vert reminds me of a water garden covered in green lotus. There’s almost a jungle-like aspect to this fragrance – wet and green. As it dries down, it becomes more woodsy with an astringent cedar and fresh, leafy patchouli.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Jungle vetiver. I like it but I prefer Citadelle over Bijou Vert (on my skin). If you like fresher vetivers, you’re probably going to prefer Bijou Vert over Citadelle.
Both fragrances wear close to the skin with longevity being average. They wear for more than 6 hours on me.
²Why the brand would say this and then use white model/s in their campaign, I don’t know. This is tone deaf in my opinion.
Want more reviews? Try…
The Scented Hound – Review of Bijou Vert only.
A perfume review is arguably not the right place to do this, but if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice that I talk about Haiti every now then. I’m a public health graduate student. I probably annoy a lot of people that follow me just for perfume, but there’s more to me and my life than perfume. The topic that I talk about a lot is the cholera epidemic in Haiti brought to the country by the UN and ignored by major government and health agencies (article here). People are dying and there’s an effective oral vaccine for the disease. If you’re the donating type, let me suggest two organizations that have a proven track record of success in Haiti: Hope for Haiti and Madre. They accept donations as low as $5 and $10 online.
*Sampled provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. Product pics from the brand. The other is from Free Images. My opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.