Today, I wanted to take a quick look at Incident Diplomatique, the new masculine vetiver-patchouli fragrance from Jovoy Paris. As always, my Reviews en Bref are for fragrances that — for whatever reason — didn’t seem to warrant my usual in-depth, detailed analysis. In this case, the reasons will become soon become apparent why I’ve opted for that approach.
Incident Diplomatique is an eau de parfum that was released around March or April of this year. I find its official description to be nonsensical hyperbole without any relevance to the actual scent profile with lines like “We brush by it, we risk it, without ever thinking about the consequences…” or “Just as we might give into a staggering impulse too strong to resist, it declares its urges, teasing tension to the breaking point…[.]” I’ll leave you to read it on your own if you’re interested.
The fragrance notes, according to Luckyscent, are:
Mandarin orange, haitian vetiver, java vetiver oil, nutmeg, patchouli, sandalwood.
Incident Diplomatique opens on my skin with a two-prong blast: smoky, dry, woody, and peppery vetiver combined with faintly earthy but super dry, brittle patchouli. Mandarin orange is sprinkled on top, smelling as though the oil had been squeezed from the rind then rendered even more bitter than usual. It’s followed by a light pinch of pungent and equally bitter dark spiciness. Running through the base underneath is a smoky, dry, and purely synthetic-smelling sandalwood.
I’m not keen on any of it. First, it’s an aggressive, butch, testosterone-laden bouquet that is reminiscent of 1980s designer men’s cologne, but not in a good way. This brings me to my second reason: it’s not smooth, rich, or deep. Instead, the materials come across as harsh, screechy, shrill, rough, and thin (but loud).
Even if none of the first two elements were an issue, and quite separate from both of them, is the third problem: Incident Diplomatique simply isn’t very interesting, in my opinion. It’s a largely linear scent without much complexity, nuance, or layers. For its first 60-90 minutes, it’s primarily a dry, smoky, and intensely peppery vetiver, followed closely by a painfully dry, strongly synthetic patchouli with some bitter orange and bitter spice tossed in. After that, the two central notes change place, and the increasingly woody patchouli takes the lead, this time accompanied by an immensely synthetic, aggressively dry, raspy sandalwood. The vetiver and spices sit on the sidelines. The drydown is essentially dry, smoky, woody aromachemicals with some spiciness layered within.
It’s simply not interesting, in my opinion. I have no problem with either linear scents or soliflores if they are smooth, rich, deep, and filled with tiny nuances, but that is not the case with Incident Diplomatique on my skin.
I tried the fragrance twice on skin, and I scrubbed it off both times. I had a bad physical reaction to the materials on both occasions: headaches whenever I smelled my arm up close for too long in addition to my throat seizing up, feeling painfully sore even when I wasn’t sniffing nonstop. The first time I tested Incident Diplomatique, I lasted roughly 5 and half hours before the parched, harsh, immensely grating faux “sandalwood” and patchouli became too difficult to bear. The second time, I lasted even less time, about 2 hours. Eventually, I tested the fragrance on a scent strip, smelling it intermittently. My primary goal was to see how the scent developed after the 5th hour, but there was nothing noteworthy or interesting in the later hours, merely the same smoky, screechy patchouli-wood combination that eventually turned into a simple woody aromachemical bouquet.
It’s disappointing. As a “Patch Head,” I was excited when I heard that Jovoy was doing another fragrance in the genre. I loved their ambered Psychedelique, even if it was a little too quiet and discreet on my skin for me to buy a bottle for myself. It’s a fantastic patchouli. If the balance of notes in Incident Diplomatique had skewed primarily to the vetiver side, I still anticipated positive things because Jovoy’s earlier Private Label was a great, strikingly bold, nuanced, and interesting vetiver infused with smoke and leather.
Both of those fragrances stood out in their respective genres; Incident Diplomatique does not. To me, it’s boring, unremarkable, and uninteresting. If you’re looking for a patchouli with vetiver and woody notes, there are many on the market which, in my opinion, are smoother, more nuanced, better done, and more appealing, like, to name just one, Lorenzo Villoresi’s Patchouli. If you’re looking for a woody, smoky vetiver without the leather of Jovoy’s Private Blend, then you can try Chanel‘s Sycomore (with sandalwood) or Sammarco‘s exceedingly dark, multi-faceted, high-quality Vitrum (with incense and rose). If you’re looking for a super masculine, bold, woody fragrance, then Nasomatto basically leads the niche market on butch fragrances with testosterone aromachemicals, but at least they usually have some layers, nuance, or … something… which makes them stand out on average. Incident Diplomatique is merely… there. A generic drone trudging through an overly routine life and commonplace landscape. The only thing remarkable about it for me is just how unremarkable it actually is.
Disclosure: My sample was provided by Luckyscent. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.