Fragrance Review – Autoportrait by Nathalie Lorson for Olfactive Studio

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.

Autoportrait LUC LAPÔTRE olfactive studio

The photo that inspired Autoportrait. Photographer: Luc Lapôrte

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.

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.

Photo: Nathan Branch Autoportrait Olfactive Studio

Photo: Nathan Branch

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.

Autoportrait box Olfactive Studio

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 ++.

Autoportrait Olfactive Studio Luc Lapôrte

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

Note to Céline Verleure at Olfactive Studio – It’s about the photo 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

Sang Chan waterfall

Coming up on The Fragrant Man
– Aishah in Malaysia shares her fragrant thoughts

– a chat with Dr O in Vienna and a look at his private collection

– a visit to Medina in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to explore the Islamic world view on fragrance and its cultural relevance

– The Science of Smell Vs The Quantum Unicorn Accord

– Daniel returns to Malaysia after a cologne shopping spree in Paris and Rome. He really needed to update his wardrobe from designer-label-mainstream-generic to niche. We have a look at his choices before and after his trip.

16 responses to “Fragrance Review – Autoportrait by Nathalie Lorson for Olfactive Studio

  1. I love this idea of not reading reviews or notes prior to trying a fragrance for the first time! Unfortunately I have read rave reviews on all scents from this line and I was already intrigued! Vetiver is a new note for me to love after having been challenged by my friend Neil to wear the e.o. alone on my wrist (like I do with patchouli and sandalwood). Elemi is a note I have always loved and this idea of being “edible”…even better!
    The photos are gorgeous…I need these visuals now as NY is bracing for another sleet/snowstorm and my psyche is worn out from this cold weather and too much shoveling 🙂 ! Loved this, Jordan!

  2. Now this really has The Dandy thinking.
    Vetiver is a note I adore, but often have issues with berries and ‘air’, yet your review has entranced me.
    Only one solution I suppose, to seek this one out.

    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy.

    • Seek and you shall find…. a cornucopia. So much to choose from. This may too minimalistic for you. Definitely try it at a store to see how the vetiver dances so lightly. Vetiver soul!

  3. Lovely review and particularly lovely photos, Jordan! It sounds like a very interesting perfume but how hard it must be to create a scent merely from a photograph! I’m glad you clarified that it’s not a clean scent in the American sense because those…. *shudder* Thank you for taking me on a trip to Issan. 🙂

  4. Jordan what a scrumptious review! I have to get my hands on this and let it take me for a flight. Lovely photos too. Thanks so much for your thoughts on Autoportrait .

  5. What a fantastic review! I smelled this at the Elements showcase, but didn’t have the Isaan waterfall as a olfactory reference. Thank you for the stroll, Jordan. I really enjoyed it!

    • There is a legend about that waterfall. Let me get back to you with that. Thanks for strolling with me. Thinking of a strut down Bottega Veneta boulevard next.

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