Friday, October 24, 2014

Histoires de Parfums - Vert Pivoine (perfume review)

Being new to the wonderful world of perfume, I sought to grow my sample base as quickly as possible. I found that one of the easiest and cheapest ways to do that was to buy sample packs offered by perfume houses. I started with the 10 piece L'Artisan Parfumeur sampler (awesome!) and quickly followed that with a Histoires de Parfums sampler. 

The L'Artisan sampler comes packaged with 10 pre-selected scents, but the Histoires de Parfums sample program allows you to choose any 6 of their scents for 20 USD. Each sample is 0.07 oz, or just over 2 ml. Since I'm pretty clueless when it comes to perfumes, I chose my 6 based off of the descriptions and what I thought I might like note-wise. I also checked out their reviews on Luckyscent. I received the samples about 2 weeks after ordering them and have chosen not to re-read the descriptions prior to sampling to avoid influencing my perceptions of each scent.

The glass vial samples came packaged in a little paper box with paperwork describing the scents.  The kit was mailed in a small bubble envelope.

I've read that perfumes can behave differently when sprayed or dabbed on, so I started by transferring all 6 scents into plastic atomizers. After the transfer, one of the first HdP scents I tried was Vert Pivoine - which translates to Green Peony. I'm no perfumista, so bear with me here as I try to describe my experience.

Photo from Histoires de Parfums Press Downloads
I applied approximately one and a half sprays on my left wrist/forearm. Before I could give Vert Pivoine a chance to dry and then sniff, I was bombarded with a very green (as advertised in the name) opening. The scent was distinctly recognizable but it took me a minute or so to place it - and unfortunately it wasn't peony. To be fair I'm not actually sure what Peony smells like, so maybe I'm wrong. Nonetheless, for me Vert Pivoine opened up with pickles. Not a mere suggestion of pickles dancing amidst a bouquet of beautiful flowers - peonies if you will - but straight up, 100% pickles. More specifically, these were not the vinegary Vlassic jar pickles (which I would have preferred), but the deli pickles you get quartered on the side of your deli sandwich or on a Chicago hot dog. I've never liked these pickles. 

That being said, the pickle opening did have a certain effervescent energy to it. Perhaps the refreshing essence of cucumber was shining through? In fact, my 5 month old son promptly awoke from his nap - filled with an unusual vigor - the moment I sat down beside him post-spritz. (This is probably another ping against the fragrance in my book...)

After 5 minutes or so, the screaming pickles faded down to... well... pickle perfume. I'm not really sure how to describe it. Vert Pivoine definitely had a classic (dare I say "old-lady") perfume-y base above which floated the distinct and enduring pickle. It must be something in my chemistry, because I simply can't imagine that peonies smell like deli pickles, and if they DO, I can't imagine that anyone would want to smell like them.

About two hours later the pickle may have faded away completely. I did feel as though I was still smelling it, but I'm not sure if it was really there or if my brain was stuck on pickle. At this point however, Vert Pivoine was becoming unpleasantly sharp - the kind of sharp that clings to the inside of your nose and burns. Not unlike the ammonia in cat pee. Of course it didn't smell like cat pee, but that's what it felt like in my nose. Pungent and headache inducing. I wondered if babies get headaches and worried that I was subjecting my poor Walden to a headache as well.

By the three hour mark I could bear the torture no longer and tried washing it off with tea tree oil hand soap and then again with lavender hand soap. While I couldn't get all of the fragrance off of my wrist I did mute the scent enough for my headache to go away. A sniff of the wrist still imparted a faint pickle scent and at that point I was tempted to go to the store and buy some pickles (the Vlassic kind, which I do enjoy).


My rating of Vert Pivoine:  1.5

1  -  -X-  -  2  -  -  -  -  3  -  -  -  -  4  -  -  -  -  5
 Nausea/Gagging           Meh       Decent       Great         Olfactory Elation 


Vert Pivoine as described in the Histoires de Parfums Press Kit:
fresh floral; fem.

Peony is considered as the queen of flowers in China, expressing elegance and wealth. Its colored roundness and exquisitely fresh floral vapor trail is an ode to femininity.

Top Note: Peony, Ivy Leaves, Rose water
Heart Note: Peony, Rose, Mimosa, Gardenia, Rose Berry
Base Note: Peony, Cedar, Sandal, Musk 

Perfumer: Gerald Ghislain


The reviews of Vert Pivoine on Luckyscent make it sound oh-so-floral, but unfortunately I didn't get any florals - except perhaps in the old-lady perfume scent in the drydown. (I'm not sure what notes comprise the old-lady perfume scent.) I can agree, however, that the scent was green, fresh (pickles are fresh, right?), and on the revitalizing side. I may have to give this one another go in the very distant future to see if anything changes. I'd love to experience this as a fresh and feminine floral.

Have you tried Vert Pivoine? If so, I'd love to hear your take on it!


  1. I love peonies, just love them, and someone recommended Vert Pivoine to me. But I hated it.

    No pickles (I love those big kosher dills, btw, though I'd find that smell disconcerting on my arm), but a lot of screech. Bleargh.

    Didn't like Blanc Violette either. Actually, I don't think I've liked a single HdP perfume so far, out of the handful I've tried.

    1. Hi Mals! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I love me some pickles too, but pickles on the arm was pretty terrible. :)

      I haven't really found an HdP perfume that I really enjoy that much either. I haven't tried a ton (a couple of the tuberose, 1804 George Sand, Moulin Rouge) and I didn't really care for any of them either. Moulin Rouge was one I liked the most, probably because it wasn't screetchy or flimsy feeling. 1804 was okay, but I think I just can't handle pineapple in my perfume. Are there any peony scents you do like?


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