Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels 2016


Post by TinaG


Standing at the Van Cleef & Arpels counter at Heathrow Terminal 3, I did something that every seasoned perfumer swears off doing. I bought a full bottle based on a sniff from a sprayed card, in the shop. But I was so taken by the strong buttery iris notes that I thought I was on a sure thing.

But now after coming home, the fragrance seems to be elusive and jumping around on me a bit. I’m having trouble working out whether it’s the fragrance, or if my nose has been tortured from the aircon on a long haul flight. I’ve been testing and testing this week but it’s no clearer…. So I’m looking for a bit of help.

Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels 2016

Collection Extraordinaire

Moonlight Patchouli Van Cleef & Arpels FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Cacao, patchouli leaf, woodsy notes
Heart: Iris flower, Bulgarian rose
Base: Fruity notes, leather, suede

The fragrance is Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels, their newest in their Collection Extraordinaire. My opening impression of this is of a coca-induced buttery floral iris with a clean patchouli lightly placed underneath. Loving the iris! Loving the butteriness! The iris burns off over the first half hour and the fresh green patchouli steps up with a dry white wood. Reviews of Moonlight Patchouli so far seem to mimic the press release, hinting at light & dark aspects of the fragrance – similar to a full moon behind forest trees. For me it is warm vs cool – the iris & patchouli are cool, woods and coca/cacao being warm. At first this felt quite linear and seemed to disappear at 1/2 hour, but then there are flickers of resurgence of the iris and patch.

It’s at this point I wonder if I’m getting fatigued as the patch takes on a different tone, one which I can only describe as deep green and salty, firstly reminding me of seaweed then perhaps salt-chlorination. There’s a personal skin note in there as well, and it’s consistent – I’ve found it three times on different days. Interesting.

Moonlight Patchouli Van Cleef & Arpels Swimming tropics PixabayPixabay

At around 4 hours the whole composition sweetens, I get musk lollies and lemon blossom & some fruitiness. The musk is both prominent and subtle – sounds contradictory, right? Not really – it’s like panning for gold. At first the sand looks homogeneous but give it a few swirls and it starts to separate, quartz sand, black sand, and teeny gold flakes saying ‘here I am’. The musk isn’t in the notes but with ‘skin-scents’ and sweet lolly I’m pretty sure there’s at least two.

At 8 hours an equally subtle leather appears, so gentle that I try to work out whether it’s the fragrance or if I’m getting scent transfer from my handbag. The sweetness has dissipated by this time so what we’re left with is a soft warm suede which is really lovely & snuggly.

Harrods has £126/75ml

Below there is a great way you can try & reply about Moonlight Patchouli
Can you help me work this fragrance out? Overall I think it’s beautiful and wearable, but I’m interested in your thoughts.

I’m giving away 5x 2ml decants of Moonlight Patchouli below, with a request for some feedback please!

Looking forward to it! Thanks!
Tina G xx




Moonlight Patchouli GIVEAWAY


This week we will have 5 winners who will receive:
1 x 2ml decant Moonlight Patchouli by VC&A
P&H Anywhere in the world


Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me so I know. Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged.

You must tell me how you follow APJ


Please tell us you’ll be involved in the fun if you win



Entries Close Friday 1 July at 9pm Australian EST and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winner will be chosen by
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.


*Winners will be asked to provide a mailing address to me on the email address apjfeedback (at) gmail (dot) com.
* Within 2 weeks of receiving your decant, please write to the email address apjfeedback (as above) providing a one-paragraph review of your experience testing the frag.
* Let me know your screen-name as I will use your feedback in a future article.

47 comments on “Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels 2016

  1. Gina Tabasso says:

    via email and FB

    I have never tried this scent but love iris. Not a big patchouli fan but like it as an element rather than the main player.

    The only Van Cleef that I have tried is Midnight in Paris. Not a big vanilla fan; so, I want to try others in their line to fall in love with.

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Gina, yes the patchouli in this, for me, is more of an element with the Iris being the stand out. But the brief on the frag is that it’s showcasing patchouli, so I’m not sure. I love Iris so this one was an instant hit.

      You’re in the draw. Thanks!

      Tina G xx

  2. Jaybee says:

    Happy to join the fun! This sounds an unusual fragrance – I’m wary of patchouli, but I like iris and suede. Which side would win? Follow by email. 🙂

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Jaybee, the suede is pretty fab, wonderfully subtle. Kind of reminds me of Cuir d’Ange in a way. But which one would win for you? Hope to see!

      You’re in the draw!

      Tina G xx

  3. cookie queen says:

    LMAO. Great post. DNEM though.
    Bussis. xxxx

    • TinaG says:

      Haha! Thanks Val. 🙂

      I’m fairly sure my nose is a bit broken though. You know what I’ve started smelling in this? Rose! Weird. I’ll get there though.

      Love xx
      Tina G

  4. Koyel says:

    I would be thrilled to give feedback in return for a sample of this! I have adored all of the VCA CE scents I’ve sniffed. Despite your initial negative response, your review makes it sound delicious and like something I would quite enjoy! I am wearing a doughy iris today and would love to further explore this note. I follow by e-mail!

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Koyel and thank you! My hesitation was mainly because I just don’t trust my nose 100% right now, but it is a fab fragrance. Delicious is a good word, it’s quite yummy & comforting. I think it’s been done well, I wish I could find who the perfumer is.

      I like Iris very much – what’s the doughy one you’re wearing? Curious! 🙂

      You’re in the draw!

      Tina G

      • Koyel says:

        Wow, how weird–I just spent a few minutes trying to find the nose behind it and came up with nothing >.< However, someone did list rose as a heart note, so maybe your nose isn't that weird after all 🙂

        I'm wearing Le Labo Iris 39, which is lovely but not lovely enough to justify the price and hype behind the brand for me.

      • TinaG says:

        (Hope this ends up in the thread…)

        I had the same problem – the most likely place to find the perfumer was their website but the frag is too new to have been listed yet.

        Iris 39 sounds great, I’ll try it next time I’m in the city.

        Tina G

  5. Tara says:

    Hey Tina!

    I will be flying out to Barcelona from Terminal 3 this Friday so will be wary of making an impulse purchase 🙂

    I’ll see if I can spray a bit of Moonlight Patchouli on skin and give you some feedback.
    Tara recently posted…Behind the Rain, Tears of Eros and Cirebon by Paul SchützeMy Profile

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Tara, Barcelona!! Fantastic! 🙂 would love to hear your impressions on this one, that would be cool. Thanks. Have fun & will chat soon.

      Lots of love,
      Tina G xx

  6. australianperfumejunkies says:

    hey Gorgeous!
    Loving the travel, the stories, the adventure.
    DNEM but it sounds really good. Maybe you’ll wear it next time we hang out?
    Portia xxx

    • TinaG says:

      Hey Portia! Thanks for letting me do a fun little giveaway.

      I’ll bring the bottle for sniffs! It’s a lovely black heavy glass with a oily-slick feel to it, that has a click-magnetic cap. Quite nice in itself.

      See you soooooon.

      Tina G xx

  7. This scent sounds just fab! I love all the scent combinations and just know that I would enjoy this! I follow via email!
    Angela Pritchard recently posted…Two New Blogging U. Courses Available On DemandMy Profile

  8. Neva says:

    Thanks for reviewing this one and for the giveaway Tina G. I’d be happy to share with you my thoughts of this perfume.
    I follow APJ via email.

  9. Ellen Covey says:

    I follow APJ via my own blog. I’m always more than happy to give an opinion on a fragrance, and haven’t sampled this one. Thanks for the drawing!

  10. Robert H. says:

    Hi Tina! Great review, and I feel your pain. Sometimes it’s a good idea to give the nose a rest and come back to it later. I love Patch and Iris and we’re off to the city (Seattle) tomorrow for a day so I’ll test it! DNEM, but glad to put this on my list….. Again thanks!

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Robert! I’d love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to drop me a line on the competition email. Hehe…I do hope my review does it some justice, at least! I enjoy wearing it.

      Tina G xx

  11. Azar says:

    Hi Tina!

    Such a fun and inclusive way to review a fragrance. DNEM, though. I loved your post but will wait to hear what the winners have to say before I try this one.

    Oh Yes! Your review taught me something totally new and gave me a good laugh too. In the US we don’t have musk lollies and at first I envisioned a musk pod on a stick! Eeeww – really. I checked it out, though (never guess, look it up), and was happy to discover that no deer are or have ever been harmed in the making of musk lollies!

    Azar xxx

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Azar, OMG you must have thought I was nuts talking about musk lollies!!! Haha! That’s so great. Has Portia got a mailing address for you? Happy to post you some! I’m not sure how to describe them well, it’s a sweet light candy musk. The closest thing I can think of is, maybe, pink marshmallows?

      I had a similar discussion with Tara recently trying to describe Spearmint leaves. Another type of lolly/sweet/candy – I ended up taking some over for her. 🙂

      Tina G xx

    • TinaG says:

      PS I had a similar ewwww moment some years back when a Canadian friend was raving about eating beaver tails. it didn’t make sense, arnt they protected?!? Haha! No, it’s a sweet pastry. The things you learn…

      T x

      • Azar says:

        Hi TinaG,
        I would love to try musk lollies 🙂 Thank you so much! Portia has my mailing address. Oh and the Canadian beaver tail thing is new to me too! It is possible that I’ve tried them under a different name, though. Have you tasted bear claws?
        Azar xxx

      • TinaG says:

        Bear claws, yes! Too much for me though, I’ve got a sweet tooth but a small tummy. 🙂

        I’ll get in touch with P. xx

        Tina G

  12. Bridget says:

    I follow via email and I would love the opportunity to trial this interesting fragrance 🙂

  13. pats133 says:

    I like Patchouli if its not paired with anything too sweet. This one sounds like a bit of a shapeshifter with a lot going on. I would love to take part and give some feedback (though i’m really not very good distinguishing notes etc… ). Anyhow, thanks so much for the chance. I follow by FB, blog and email.

    • TinaG says:

      Hi pats33 – I’d be happy to receive any thoughts, whether it’s notes or impressions or if it is (or isn’t) your kind of thing. It did jump around a bit on me but I’m not sure if that’s ‘cos my nose was popping in and out of fatigue mode.

      Thanks, you’re in the draw!

      Tina G xx

  14. Fazal says:

    I have two from collection which are bois d’iris and oud. i love iris but not impressed with oud one which i find inferior to black orchid that it resembles. Wonder whether this will be a love or hate one since I love some patchouli creations but not impressed by some others. i follow APJ through email and FB

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Fazal, I’d like to explore the line more so I’ll keep those two in mind. My boss wears Black Orchid every day… Which is great but I can tell when she enters a room! It’s got a bit of throw…

      Thanks, you’re in the draw.

      Tina G xx

      • Fazal says:

        I actually love Black Orchid but not Cleef’s Oud which comes across as thinner and is missing something. On the other hand, i love Cleef Iris which also reminds me of Bois D’ Argent from Dior

  15. I like fragrances with suede notes so would be happy to try this one. I follow APJ on WordPress and would love to participate in giving feedback!

  16. M. says:

    I’m very interested in part-taking in this experiment 😉

    I follow via the blog
    & yes, I will partake with my feedback 🙂

    Thank you.

  17. Connie says:

    I know it’s not a popular opinion but I really like a number from this line. Rose Velours is probably the favorite, but I’m sad that they discontinued the muguet. Bois d’Iris is also really nice, if a bit too sweet for me. I have to admit to not being a huge fan of some of the others. I’d love to try this one. It sounds a bit like Coromandel, with the chocolate and iris and patchouli.

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Connie, happy to enter you in the draw, just need to let us know how you follow the blog?

      I’m planning (somehow) to get to know this line better, I don’t have easy access to it but my sniffs at the airport gave me the impression they each has an interesting factor. Ambre Imperial was the other that nearly came home with me.

      I’m going to need to retry Coromandel now! 🙂

      Tina G

  18. Greg says:

    I can sympathise Tina. I’ve bought blind in airport Duty Free before, being a little rushed. Sometimes I’ve regretted it (JHAG), sometimes not (Prada Infusion Vetiver).

    Happy to give my opinion. I follow via email.

    • TinaG says:

      Hi Greg, this one was luckily a winner for me overall, I find it easy wearing but can’t quite work out the way it jumps around. So thanks, you’re in the draw!

      Tina G xx

  19. AnnieA says:

    VCA Miguet only and I was a scrubber. APJ via the blog.

    • TinaG says:

      Hi AnnieA, awwwww, sorry to hear. Let’s see if this one is better! You’re in the draw.

      Tina G xx

  20. Ems says:

    Mmmm iris. Musk and leather too… Would love to write something up – have never done a full paragraph before (just notes to myself) but it sounds like a fun challenge.

    Follow by email.

  21. Rene Groyer says:

    I follow by e mail,Facebook and twitter.VCA fragrances are a way to have fun really because different notes appear at different stages and what can be more fun than the unexpected

  22. lena says:

    Tina, this is an intriguing one! Even though, as you say, iris and patchouli are both cool, for some reason I think of them as juxtaposing ingredients. So I’d be interested to see how it smells to me, were I one of the lucky winners.

    I follow by email. Thanks for the draw 🙂

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