Yatagan fragrance notes

  • Head

    • lavender, wormwood, petitgrain, artemisia, Bergamot, Galbanum, Oregano
  • Heart

    • geranium, Jasmine, Carnation, pine needles, vetiver, patchouli
  • Base

    • leather, castoreum, styrax, Olibanum, Labdanum, Musk, Oakmoss, Amber

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Latest Reviews of Yatagan

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Exactly when or where would you wear this? While not unpleasant, it was nothing that I would expect from a Caron product. Maybe I'll wear it while jousting or axe throwing at the next Rennaissance Festival...yes...it would be at home there....
1st November 2022
I don't smell the celery, I don't smell anything "dated", and I certainly don't understand what anybody could find objectionable here.

What I do smell is possibly the most beautiful fragrance I've ever tried, a green chypre that is redolent of cypress trees, camp smoke, leather, and fun. It makes me feel good, and it makes me feel young. This is not an "old man" cologne. This is for anybody who wants to smell like the best parts of the outdoors, all day long.

And I do mean all day long.
4th September 2022

Ahhh, Yatagan, one of my true loves. One day, a number of years ago, I walked into the legendary Colonial Drug in Newton, MA (formerly in Harvard Square, Cambridge for decades). Here I would get my education on the classics, whether they be household names or those that were unsung. The owners have impeccable taste and have recommended so many of the scents that I now hold very dear to my heart. During that visit, I saw their display of Caron men's fragrances, and there stood Yatagan, with that sepia-tinted juice. It was calling out my name: "Joseph, I was meant for you..."

I sampled it, and to my disbelief, it ignited all the pleasure synapses in my brain in a way no other, perhaps besides Habit Rouge EDT, ever had before. Have I found my own personal holy grail? The opening is redolent of pine, camphoraceous herbs, dirt, with that undercurrent of castoreum. This is the rare instance of a fragrance to my nose being simultaneously sensual, primal, AND cerebral. It is one of just a handful of scents that just floods me with memories, actual and uncertain. It's an effable sensation that gives me a yearning of that which is out of reach, which isn't as sad as it may sound: it actually motivates the spirit to experience more.

I know for many this is a lot of waxing poetic for a 40+ year old Caron fragrance that pre-dates whimsical niche scents by decades. Well, Yatagan just seems to transcend most of them for being unadorned, by not trying to be a concept or a thought-provoking experiment. It just IS Yatagan. As I write, the dry down is moist primeval pine forests and the filtered sun hitting understory growth. The dry down is fur, musk, velour, and golden tree resins. There is not a drop of fustiness detected. I must also mention that I am of the firm belief that all fragrances are unisex (if you look at my other reviews I am not averse to often taking a dip into the perfume lady pond to find that many are quite unisex). However, Yatagan has a masculine energy; I would theorize that it would be best suited for the Ph of men's skin. It likely brings out the best of a man's own body chemistry. I could be full of it—it sure wouldn't be the first time, but I just get that sense.

As far as current formulations versus older and all that business, I can't really report, yet at least. For now, I am getting back up bottles and seeking out an order formulation for reference. What I can say is that the current formulation is breathtakingly good and impresses me more than most niche would these days. I also refuse to be swayed by the cynics and fragrance pedagogues. Furthermore it's worth noting that I would be curious to sample ELDO Eloge du Traitre, the alleged modern interpretation. For now, Yatagan has won my heart and soul.
8th March 2022
The unshaven beard, cap hat, backpack, and the face that's frowned on almost throughout the film, automatically show the character of a fighter who has reached the end of the line. This is Gregory Peck in 'Behold a Pele Horse' (1964). Yatagan is a dark green cologne for men from the 70's. It was one of my dad's fragrance and his friends, brings a lot of great memories. It brings to mind a cloudy day in spring, just after the rain; when the leaden sky makes the new growth look fluorescent green by contrast. You are riding a horse down a muddy country road.

It opens with a strong mixture of pine notes and something pleasantly sour and green. I noticed artemisia here, supplying it's nettling bitterness. As it enters the middle stage where it joins in pastoral scents of oakmoss and galbanum. There's patchouli which itself is herbal and smoky and adds an edge to the spices and greenery. Finally the scent dries into asmelly, dirty leather, like the filthy saddle, that result is both fresh and dirty, and most definitely outdoorsy scent. This is definitely one for mature guys who still carry the vigor and confidence of their youthful heyday. Masculinity in a bottle.
7th April 2021
Well, unless I'm wrong the first Guide to Perfume by Turin & Sanchez nailed it describing this classic outcast scent--one that I won't wear often but would never want to be without. On a man, it's Paul Bunyan utterly; on a woman, well, a bit agressive but only slightly more than say, Chanel No. 19. Very...boreal, primeval, great stuff!
24th January 2021
Caron Yatagan (1976) is a perfume with a reputation, a rabid cult following that has admittedly dimished in size over the decades as the scent ages and falls further out of relevance to the mainstream, and the one bit of legitimately challenging work in the rather docile lineup of masculines the storied house has conjured over the years. The original Pour Un Homme (1934) is a gold-standard exercise in lavender, tonka, vanilla, and musk that set a precedent for simple, clean, and confident no-frills men's fragrance, based on preceeding lavender colognes which proved incidentally popular with men; but some 42 years later Caron was less one Ernest Daltroff and in need of a successor to the aging Pour Un Homme. The 1970's was a time of massive green perfumes for both masculine and feminine tastes, with heavy animalic musks just starting to become mainstream into the 1980's, and Yatagan was at the forefront of that movement. This scent is night and day from Pour Un Homme, and indeed every other Caron masculine since, but yet still isn't quite considered the black sheep of the family like the much later L'Anarchiste (2000). I suppose this has more to do with Yatagan fitting better with the trends of the day than L'Anarchiste did when released, even if I personally find Yatagan far stranger in design. I was warned about how polarizing this scent is by people who dislike it, and the infamous "celery note" floating around in its construction. I assumed most negative reactions would be from the inclusion of castoreum and styrax in appreciable quantities, but to my surprise, they're only bit players here when compared to a proper powerhouse like the later One Man Show by Jacques Bogart (1980), or Chanel Antaeus (1981).

The opening indeed hits you in the face with castoreum right away, adding wormwood, artemisia, oregano, galbanum, and petitgrain in a bitter herbal charge. Lavender here sweetens the deal and oddly calls back to Caron's past, and the bit of odd sweetness in this opening blast links to perfumer Vincent Marcello's other benchmark Halston Z-14 (1976) released in the same year. The heart adds more indole to soften and musk up the sharp greens of the top, with jasmine, carnation and geranium performing a do-se-do around pine and vetiver to the tune of a lumberjack stooped over a roaring fireplace. There's patchouli warmth to join the castoreum and styrax in the base making this feel just a bit like Givenchy Gentlemen (1974) from a few years before; but unlike that masculine icon, Yatagan lacks the urine from civet o the richness. It's actually weird to see a Caron perfume without immaculate blending, as it is a hallmark of traditional French design, but here we are with a masculine that has an amalgamated "celery note" comprised of multiple green components just poking you in the eye with a stick, while the animal musks and patchouli just form a sort of bisque that acts as a backdrop to the green assault, never fully merging into a whole. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the sour isobutyl quinoline leather note and oakmoss chypre base underpinning it all, but you really don't feel it until very near the end. Yatagan cuts like the knife it was named after for the duration of the wear, albeit not with the animalics, and rather the sharp food-grade kitchen herbs in the top. One friend joked I smelled like chicken soup when I entered their personal space doused in Yatagan, if that gives you any idea of how this can be perceived. Wear time is about 7 hours and sillage is moderate, but projection is surprisingly low. Again, this is not a true powerhouse, just a precursor to the style.

The person who really wants to wear Caron Yatagan in the 21st century had better use it in cold weather and like culinary green notes, as that "celery" did indeed prove to be the most challenging aspect of the fragrance. Perhaps I'm so accustomed to animalics after my exploration of ouds and civet that I was tuning out to them and instead picking up the things I wasn't used to, which is why I made sure to take my time before gathering my thoughts. Obviously it needs to be said that older bottles have better ingredients due to no restrictions on oakmoss, eugenol (carnation), and bergamot, plus slightly better blending due to the decades spent macerating in the bottles; but there isn't enough difference between Yatagan with or without some slight rounding of the corners to change my mind on this. I've reached the conclusion that I can respect and appreciate this artistically for being so daringly different (although arguably not so different in 1976 as it must seem to be now); but Yatagan isn't something I'd call a masterpiece, since I've tasted better-blended uses of both the castoreum and the balsamic notes on display here. Repeated use does make this grow on me as autumn in a bottle thanks to the compost vibe it gives me, and I may have tomatoes thrown at me from the die-hards for this; but Yatagan is really good, just not on the same level as Kouros (1981) in terms of being provocative. I don't regret adding this to my collection, and I do recommend people curious about the missing link between 70's coniferous masculines and 80's musky alpha male fragrances to give this a sample; but I implore you not to rush in if you catch a bit of hype from someone who's already been in love with the stuff for years. My love for ozonic Y2K fragrances is equally unjustifiable and I'd likewise never send someone in blind to grab a bottle of Dior Higher (2001). Thumbs up
6th December 2019
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