Van Cleef by Van Cleef and Arpels: Is it a Cliché to Say It’s a Gem?

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I’m a big fan of First by Van Cleef and Arpels and I was more than happy when I stumbled across a sample of Van Cleef by Van Cleef and Arpels. (Have I said Van Cleef and Arpels too much in one sentence?  It’s hard to stop!)

Image I realised I wanted it badly, and I also realised that apart from some Oriental-lites (Cacharel LouLou, Jesus del Pozo Ambar), I do not have an Oriental bottle in my collection.  Yes, it’s very much a First World problem, but I have to put this right and soon!

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Gratuitous photo of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery for me to drool over

Van Cleef smells a lot more expensive than it is.  I couldn’t figure this out until those clever articles in Fragrantica pointed out that Cedar, used liberally in Van Cleef, is also a bit of a trademark of many Serge Lutens scents. This may explain my feeling that Van Cleef smelled like a good niche scent.  Add to this some bitter Galbanum and a miasma of Sandalwood and you have a rather lovely all season Oriental.

I don’t really find this very floral, despite the presence of Marigold, Roses, Jasmine, Neroli and Orange Blossom.  What I smell more than anything is Oriental Spice and Cedar and all things piquant to the point of bitter, but just stopping in time and bedding down into a rich, Ambery cloud. (NB There is no Amber in this, but crikey it smells like it!).  All in all, this is very reasonably priced at under 35GBP for a 50ml EDP and longevity is loooong at around nine hours.

 I’m adding it to my Wish List. It will be mine. Oh yes.

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Original Van Cleef and Arpels  Catalogue cover from 1924

4 thoughts on “Van Cleef by Van Cleef and Arpels: Is it a Cliché to Say It’s a Gem?”

  1. You have no orientals? Well we shall have to sort that one out pronto! I shall bring you a dribble and a splash of Miller Harris’ Fleur Oriental when I drop off that bargain bottle of La Pluie the lovely gent from London has sent for you. Oh yes, it is here! 🙂

    1. Well I have a gazillion in sample form but no full bottles for those moods when you want your perfume to say Ooomph! I did have a sample of Fleur Oriental and it was lovely, but I truly love those cough mixture/woody/incense numbers for cold days.

  2. I’ll have to find a sample of this. First was miles beyond my personal soapiness limit, but I love a spicy oriental, and also a bargain.

    1. Hi Laurels, as much as I love First, I had to spend a few days alone with it to really appreciate it. It’s great on cold skin in winter, but different in the heat. I think the Van Cleef and Arpels range is surprisingly reasonable. I was expecting to be charged a lot more, so they’re going on the Wish List!

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