Whatever else one could say about Sienne lHiver, you cant fault it for lacking a concept. This is as valid an expression of winter in a bottle as one is ever likely to get. How you feel about that is something else.
I find SH engaging, even fascinating, on an intellectual level. Im still working out how that translates to my desire to wear it. The main issue I have is a note others have flagged as olive, though no such note is in the pyramid. While not the all-out vinegar assault of Bois dOmbrie, it still keeps me at an emotional arms distance, more so than the olfactory coolness achieved without camphor or conifer. I probably wont shell out for a bottle, but I might return to the sample the next time I get nostalgic about snow. So, a conditional thumbs up.
Uber-dry iris, both soapy and lightly yeasty, married with discreet, similarly dessicated chypric greens and hay tones. The big surprise about this one is that, despite its elements seeming as if they were about to crumble to scented dust, its expression is silken and creamy. As time goes on, things get plumper and moister as the violet leaf comes into its own , casting a cool, sweetish green shade. A subtle thing, not particularly autumnal at all, that puts me in mind of just bathed, gurgling babies.
Reviews (elsewhere) had built this one up high; I half expected a misconstrued, ahead-of-its-time masterpiece. Upon trying it, I see no originality, alas there is still nothing new under the sun. Its iris is a carbon copy of Dzongkha, with very little to differentiate, throughout the drawn-out opening. I'll downplay the "olive/truffle/celery" accords...maybe I was expecting it too much based on other reviews (it's there, although I didn't find if off-putting or over the top). I enjoy the dry down most; I get a tastefully austere amber and wood, and this part seems to last, yet not project much.
Reading its description, I held high hopes for Sienne d'Hiver. Smoke, liquor, leather - what's there not to like? The opening fed my optimism, since the smoke and leather were right up front, along with some mysterious green notes.
Then, about a half an hour into the development, I started catching a conspicuous sour note that I couldn't quite place. What could it be? I went back for a look at the note pyramid, and there it was: olives! Green olives, with pimientos in them. The effect was sharp and jarring, and soon began to remind me of Tabasco sauce - the way it smells when you stick your nose right up to the bottle. As for the truffle, if it's in there it gets steamrollered by the green olive/Tabasco accord. Too bad, because black truffle, used correctly, would be one heck of a fragrance note!
Sienne d'Hiver left me baffled and disappointed. I see no reflection of the beautiful old Tuscan city in this brew.