The tart, refreshing briskness of citruses that turn creamy and sweet from jasmine and rose in a blend that is nestled upon a bed of woody musk– that is the essence of Vol d’Hirondelle from LM Parfums. Vol d’Hirondelle is an eau de parfum that was released in 2012, and created as a tribute to a friend of Laurent Mazzone, LM Parfums’ founder. I suspect it’s meant to be a loving gesture in memory of the Mona di Orio who was a very close friend of Laurent Mazzone and who died in late 2011. The perfume’s name means “Flight of the Swallow,” a delicate bird who I think is meant to symbolize the later perfumer.
LM Parfums describes Vol d’Hirondelle and its notes as follows:
Inspired by a painting, Vol d’Hirondelle is a precious tribute to a close friend of Laurent Mazzone.
– Top Notes: Hespéride, Lemon, Bergamot, Mandarin, Paraguay Petitgrain, Rosewood, Davana.
– Heart Notes: Rose, Jasmine, Orange tree, spices
– Base notes: Vetiver, Musks
Vol d’Hirondelle opens on my skin with a blast of crisp, chilled citruses in a sea of yellow and green that is infused with flecks of bitter petitgrain, woodiness, vetiver, and clean musk. The perfume feels thin but extremely potent, cool and refreshing, but also clean. The tangy, green, extremely tart lemon almost verges on a lime, but is countered by a richer bergamot. There are light hints of a sweet, syrupy jasmine, a dash of apricot davana, and a smidgeon of orange. The whole thing is nestled in a very woody, twiggy embrace that is thoroughly infused with a sharp, clean musk.
Some of the elements are very pretty. I’m a sucker for davana, which I think is sorely underused in perfumery. It is a rich, opulent flower from India that has the smell of juicy, warm, sweet apricots. Here, the note has a faintly tropical, floral feel as well which contrasts sharply with the cool, almost icy, tart lemons. Piquant, bitter, lightly peppered petitgrain weaves its way through the citruses which feel very concentrated in nature, almost as if their absolute essences were used. The jasmine adds a light touch of sweetness, but the main focal point of Vol d’Hirondelle’s opening is definitely the hesperidic notes and aromatic woodiness.
There are other aspects that I find less enchanting. I cannot stand white musk. At all. And I always think renders a perfume quite commercial in feel. Here, the note doesn’t smell soapy or cheap, so, thankfully, the combination with the lemon doesn’t evoke lemon dish washing soap, but the clean musk is still far too strong for my liking. It doesn’t help that my skin really amplifies the bloody ingredient, which is perhaps why it smells so sharp, potent, and intense in the case of Vol d’Hirondelle.
I also have to confess that neither citrus fragrances nor citrus woody musks do much for me as a general genre, so I’m not hugely enamoured by the overall combination here. It’s pleasant, and I like the davana, along with the growing sweetness from the orange, but Vol d’Hirondelle is simply not one of those fragrance categories that moves me much. Honestly, I’m blaming most of it on the white musk which is something that I simply cannot move past.
The perfume starts to shift a little after 5 minutes. The citruses feel warmer, heavier, and deeper, losing some of their crispness. Vol d’Hirondelle feels less thin, green and watery, more yellowed and sunny. The vetiver begins to flex its muscles, smelling both fresh and somewhat mineralized. Whispers of orange dance around, next to a tiny touch of warm rosewood, while the musk loses some of its early sharpness.
After 20 minutes, Vol d’Hirondelle turns smoother and creamier. The lemons, bergamot, and orange feel inundated with a velvety richness, probably from the tropical, lush davana mixed with the sweet jasmine. Yet, the perfume never reads as a floral scent at this stage because the citruses continue to dominate and be Vol d’Hirondelle’s main focal point. The petitgrain, vetiver, and woody notes work indirectly to anchor the tart, brisk, hesperidic elements, but they generally feel abstract on my skin and are not clearly delineated in a significant, individual manner.
The florals finally burst onto center stage at the end of the first hour. At first, it’s just a light touch of rose, but by the 90 minute mark, Vol d’Hirondelle is thoroughly imbued with a jammy, rose sweetness. In its trail is a slightly peppered, woody note that resembles cedar. The sweet, pink rose mixes with the warm citruses, bitter petitgrain, and white musk to create the dominant bouquet. In their footsteps is the sweet jasmine, a subtle spiciness, creaminess, and an abstract, amorphous woodiness.
Vol d’Hirondelle remains largely unchanged for the next few hours. The notes occasionally rearrange themselves so that some of the secondary players are more noticeable, but the perfume’s core essence never swerves from being a floral, citric musk with some woodiness. All that really happens is that the perfume turns more abstract, the notes blend into each other, everything turns a little hazy, and the sillage changes. From the start of the 3rd hour until the beginning of the 6th one, Vol d’Hirondelle’s primary note is rose infused with creamy citruses. After that point, the jasmine takes over, but the perfume is such a seamless blend that the end result really just translates to some “floral, woody musk.” In its final moments, Vol d’Hirondelle is a simple smear of creamy jasmine with some white musk.
All in all, Vol d’Hirondelle lasted 10.75 hours on my skin with generally good sillage. Using 3 small sprays from an actual bottle, the perfume initially projected 3-4 inches above the skin in a very concentrated but airy, sheer bouquet. At the end of the 2nd hour, the sillage dropped half that amount. Vol d’Hirondelle was almost a skin scent at the 4.5 hour mark, but was still easy to detect and strong up close. It became a true skin scent after 5.5 hours, and remained that way until its end. When I used a smaller quantity of perfume, amounting to 3 smears from a dab bottle, Vol d’Hirondelle became a skin scent on me at the end of the 3rd hour, the sillage was softer, but the perfume lasted close to the same amount of time. Again, my skin amplifies perfumes that contain white musk, and clings onto them like mad, so you may experience a softer, lighter fragrance.
I think Vol d’Hirondelle is nice, but I find it hard to shake off the feeling that it is really an upscale version of a designer scent but with more expensive ingredients and a slightly more refined touch. I have a huge soft spot for LM Parfums, especially as it makes the scent that is my absolute favorite modern perfume in existence, Hard Leather. It is the first scent has come close to matching the instant, unbridled intensity of my reaction the first time I smelled vintage Opium. No other modern perfume has captured my heart so instantaneously in that same visceral way and to quite the same degree. And I’m mad about Sensual Orchid as well, a perfume that was my first introduction to the LM Parfums line and essentially set the bar for everything that followed.
As a result, I expect a lot from LM Parfums, but Vol d’Hirondelle is not it. I realise that is unfair and that it is partially a personal issue in this case, given my indifference to citric fragrances or floral, woody musks. Yet, there have been perfumes in both genres that I have somewhat enjoyed. I think the problem here is that Vol d’Hirondelle represented an earlier LM Parfums, one that was finding its feet as a new house and without the guiding hand of Mona di Orio who created many of its original fragrances. I think LM Parfums has a much clearer, stronger, bolder identity now with a very different sort of perfume aesthetic that suits me much better. I realise all those things, but I still think that Vol d’Hirondelle smells largely generic. A safe, nice, refined take on a designer scent, yes, and even pretty on occasion with the nice creaminess that ensues — but generic nonetheless.
On Fragrantica, the majority of commentators like Vol d’Hirondelle, though there are only 4 reviews in total at this time. Some of the comments, all of which come from men, are as follows:
- Green,citrusy, slightly powdery,very generic. I have smelled before.
- i wear it in springtime and can’t get enough of it!
- reminds me of lighter version of Ververine James Heeley
rly good! man can weare it to
The longest assessment of Vol d’Hirondelle is a very positive review which reads:
Tried it, tested it and bought it today [.][¶] Fell in love with the brand this summer. Really wanted the Sensual Orchid One but at £195 way over my budget. (worth every penny though)
This one is a fresher yet dense and complex concotion of all kinds of citrus fruits, rosewood, vetiver and that green petitgrain. Very nice rose note in there as well.
To me probably the best citrus themed fragrance that has an unusual and exotic complexity that is hard to achieve with a construction of citrus.
Superb and long-lasting. Not too heavy and not flighty either.
A brilliant and very exclusive product that very few people wear.
For the fragrance lover that is hard to impress.
Eh, we shall have to agree to disagree on a lot of that. From his entire review, the only sentiment with which I fully concur is that Sensual Orchid is fantastic and worth every penny.
On the other hand, Vol d’Hirondelle is a much easier, more approachable fragrance than many in the LM Parfums line. It is safer because it is largely generic, and not as interesting, bold, or intense. It lacks the quirky uniqueness of something like Patchouly Boheme; the ripely opulent, over-the-top, tropical and boozy headiness of Sensual Orchid; the unusual bites or contrasts of Ambre Muscadin. It’s hardly as refined, smooth, or expensive-smelling as Black Oud. And it’s in a completely different galaxy entirely from Hard Leather.
Vol d’Hirondelle is more wearable on a daily basis than all of those perfumes. It is one of those scents that may be perfect for Spring, if you’re looking for something simple, uncomplicated, or pleasantly pretty. If you love citrus scents that are infused with florals or basic floral woody musks, this would qualify. Vol d’Hirondelle is generally unisex for the most part, though the more floral stage skews slightly into feminine territory, in my opinion. Obviously, however, there are men on Fragrantica who think otherwise.
If you want something pleasant, give Vol d’Hirondelle a sniff.
Disclosure: Perfume provided courtesy of LM Parfums. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, my opinions are my own, and my first obligation is honesty to my readers.