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


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!

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.

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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