Celine Rimbaud review



Arthur Rimbaud as portraited by Ernest Pignon-Ernest in 2017 (inspired by 1871 Etienne Carjat’s famous picture), holding a Celine Rimbaud bottle – Arthur Rimbaud portrait via musée Arthur-Rimbaud, bottle ©Celine – montage ©Emmanuelle Varron.

Many perfumistas remember the 2004 release of Dior Bois d´Argent (Annick Menardo), Cologne Blanche and Eau Noire (Francis Kurkdjian), under the artistic direction of Hedi Slimane who was at Dior at that time. Three legendary fragrances which were lauded for their originality and their olfactory mastery. Fifteen years later, Hedi Slimane as the Artistic Director of the Parisian fashion house Celine oversaw nine perfumes for the “Haute Parfumerie” collection: Parade, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Cologne Française, Dans Paris, La Peau Nue, Eau de Californie, Reptile, Black Tie and Nightclubbing.

I think I was one of the first visitors to the new boutique located in Paris at 390 rue Saint-Honoré in November 2019. Of course, I wanted to discover everything. And it was love at first sight for me, as this collection was perfectly produced and mastered. I had a few favorites, of course, but most striking was the consistency between the nine creations, linked together by orris butter as the star raw material. A real feat when one knows that three different perfumers have worked on these fragrances, and that their collaboration with Hedi Slimane resonates like a single voice, making them instantly identifiable.  Besides, don’t ask me who these three perfumers are: it is undoubtedly one of the best kept secrets of world perfumery.

Celine Haute Parfumerie 390 Rue St Honore

Celine Rimbaud is joining the nine other fragrances of the Haute Parfumerie collection created by Hedi Slimane – Celine Haute Parfumerie Paris rue Saint-Honoré flagship ©Emmanuelle Varron

This collection is so perfect that it took me a year to choose my favorite and have it offered to me for Christmas 2020. There was a top 5, then a top 4.  It took me six months to decide. La Peau Nue is ultimately the tone I chose (and which I briefly wrote about in a previous article).

Nine fragrances were released in 2019, it was already planned that two more would follow. The pandemic put a halt on new perfumes and now three years later Rimbaud, the tenth will be launched January 21, 2022 (the eleventh and last one has not yet an official release date). Simply baptized Rimbaud, it is of course a tribute to the famous French poet Arthur Rimbaud, to whom Hedi Slimane admires since his adolescence:

I have always wanted to create a perfume that evokes utopia, the very essence of youth, illustrating that picture of Rimbaud, or the photos of thousands of young men and women I have made over the last 30 years. In an olfactory manner, I had to define the grace, the soul-searching and the spleen of adolescents, to distill the quintessence of youth.”- Hedi Slimane quote from his “Journal Olfactif” ©Celine

I had heard that Celine Rimbaud puts the emphasis on lavender. Knowing the previous creations, I had already imagined what this new fragrance could smell like if it remained on the same artistic and olfactory track. And I was not wrong … but I was surprised nonetheless.

Celine Rimbaud is the new 2022 perfume in the Haute parfumerie collection


Celine Rimbaud in all its facets – all pictures ©Céline – collage ©Emmanuelle Varron

Lavender is present, it is undeniable; sophisticated, slightly dry as if freshly picked from a field in the heart of Provence. As if it had spent the night in a cabin: a slightly woody but with youthful sweetness. Its association with orris butter (common to all the fragrances in the collection) enriches it with powdery and rounded notes, and pushes its chic character even further with a touch of femininity. You have to let a little time pass for the skin to warm up, so that the lavender – orris butter duo makes room for the neroli, which lends its tangy and sweet tonality, and then it becomes more and more sweet over the minutes. Lavender is woven throughout and dressed in white flowers. Still in this mastered setting with haute-couture accents, the powdery notes of orris butter have gained in intensity (Celine communicates on a wheat accord, which perhaps explains this impression), without taking over lavender, which over time has become softer and more rounded. But my biggest surprise was after about thirty minutes, Celine Rimbaud reveals a very delicate vanilla facet, without a hint of syrupy gourmand, giving new life to the classic lavender-vanilla accord so often interpreted in perfumery, but here with an aristocratic dimension the scent of skin… with a discreet trail but with superb longevity.

Celine Rimbaud

Celine Rimbaud artwork – ©Celine

Celine Rimbaud is without a doubt at the level of its nine predecessors and of an astonishing sophistication despite a “traditional composition” on paper, using raw materials of exceptional quality and benefiting from the  dest skill of the “goldsmith” (I call her/him the mystery perfumer). Having tested many beautiful perfumes over the years, it is seldom that I have encountered such a perfect collection. Artistic Director Hedi Slimane has created a symphony of perfumes that are as similar as they are different.  The DNA of Celine is in each and every one. The term “Haute Parfumerie” was perfectly chosen as the name of these remarkable fragrances, and Celine Rimbaud is the poem that was well worth the wait.

Notes: lavender absolute and essence, neroli, orris butter, wheat accord, musk, vanilla.

Disclaimer: An “immense merci” to Celine for the Celine Rimbaud bottle provided for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Emmanuelle Varron, Editor and Paris Brand Ambassador

Available exclusively at Celine Haute Parfumerie flagship rue Saint-Honoré, then from January 21, 2022 in Celine boutiques and Celine department stores corners worldwide.

Follow us on Instagram @cafleurebonofficial @monbazarunlimited @celine @hedislimane


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