Free Spirit – Review: Vero Profumo Kiki Voile d’Extrait

By Tara

Vero Kern is steeped in the classic fragrances from Guerlain and Caron which she wore for many years before becoming a perfumer. This knowledge, love and appreciation of old-school French perfumery comes through in her artistic creations time and again.

It’s wonderful to have someone making perfume today that draws from that rich heritage and yet brings something so entirely new and exciting to it.

kiki voile

This approach is exemplified in Kiki Voile d’Extrait which is Vero’s homage to Paris.

It takes its name from Alice Prin, known as Kiki de Montparnasse. She was an artist and artist’s model who symbolised the bohemian, creative soul of the city. Kiki was visual artist Man Ray’s companion for much of the 1920s and posed for his famous surrealist photograph “Le Violon d’Ingres”.

ingre-s-violin-1924

Kiki Voile d’Extrait was launched in 2013 and is a lower concentration of the Extrait, suitable for spraying. It includes notes of bergamot, cassis, lavender essence, geranium, lavender absolute, caramel, opoponax, patchouli and musk.

I am not usually a lavender fragrance fan but Kiki soon charmed me and my pre-conceptions melted away. By the second time of wearing, I was hooked.

Vero enlivens distilled lavender in the top with fruit, while below she accentuates the burnt sugar facet of lavender absolute with caramel. In this way she creates a seamless continuum which deepens and recalibrates over time.

When you first encounter Kiki Voile d’Extrait you are met with the familiar cool breeze of lavender; green, herbaceous and very smooth. It’s matched with tart fruit (bergamot, cassis) and this gives it such a great kick.

After starting out prim and proper, our Little Miss Lavender becomes almost tantalisingly edible.

Leaving work at the library, she’s wearing conservative clothing and sensible shoes. She then stops off at her Paris apartment, emerging sometime later as a saucy gamine. On arrival at the cabaret club that evening, she is unrecognisable from the girl we all thought we knew.

The drydown of Kiki Voile is nothing short of glorious. The lavender is now liberally dusted with caramel. Not thick and syrupy the way I had envisioned, but beautifully soft and powdered.

At this point I am reminded of the vintage Jicky I experienced at The Osmotheque fragrance conservatory in France. It was so loaded with vanilla it made me smile.

I also detect a connection between Kiki Voile d’Extrait and Shalimar. In the Voile the vanillic/ambery caramel is blended expertly with patchouli, musk and opoponax, making it feel like a lighthearted, lavender-hued twist on the Guerlain classic. It’s marvellously moreish but not quite gourmand.

I now believe the legend that says Shalimar came into being as a result of Jacques Guerlain overdosing Jicky with vanillin.

ALICE-PRIN-MODELLA-BOHEMIEN-PER-MAN-RAY

Kiki de Montparnasse was an eternal optimist, even in the face of adversity. She once said –

“All I need is an onion, a bit of bread and a bottle of red [wine]; and I will always find somebody to offer me that.”

The Voile d’Extrait is equally carefree. For a worrier like me, it is a joy to be around.

I could learn a lot from Kiki.

How you do feel about lavender? Do you have a favourite fragrance from Vero Profumo?

You can read Olfactoria’s reviews the other Vero Profumo perfumes here (Kiki, Rubj, Onda, Mito, The Eaux de Parfums) as well as Tara’s take on Rozy.

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30 Responses to Free Spirit – Review: Vero Profumo Kiki Voile d’Extrait

  1. Sandra says:

    Kiki has become one of my favorites Tara! I really look forward to seeing what new facets warmer weather will bring forward. I also love Rubj in all concentrations. Xo

    • Tara says:

      It’s a real grower isn’t it Sandra? I look forward to seeing what it’s like in warmer weather too. Thanks for sharing your love of Rubj!

  2. Vanessa says:

    Oh this is a wonderful description, especially the mutation of Kiki’s persona through the day, which had me chuckling. And though I am familiar with that image, I had no idea the nude was called Kiki! Am wearing it today in honour of your post, and because someone compared me to Kiki the frog the other day, hehe. Not feeling the lavender stage, but I know it will be glorious shortly.

  3. cookie queen says:

    Seriously, this is such a fantastic review Tara. I received the Extrait as a gift last year and it opened a previously shut part of my brain, namely the lavender box. 😉 It took but a couple of months to then get the Voile. Today I am wearing the EdP, central heating in the winter. I want this too – patchouli rich and decadent. A favourite VP? No. See you soon. Screeeeeech! xxxx

    • Tara says:

      Hearing you like the review means a lot because you know Kiki so well. It really does unlock the lavender box!

      I would never expect you to choose between your Veros 🙂

  4. Asali says:

    Amazing review Tara. You clearly love this one. I have only tried the edp, and remember it being too much lavender for my immediate liking. I think Onda was the one I fell for, but which I need to try in its different versions. However, You’ve made me want to try the this version of Kiki too, who doesn’t want to have moments of carefreeness and I like the Lois Lane kind of development she undertakes too 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Thanks so much Asali. The first time I tried this I really didn’t think I was going to get past the lavender but the second time round I was sold. I need to try Onda. It sounds fascinating.

  5. WOW! You are all giving me HUGE and MULTIPLE Vero lemmings.
    You girls a a Holy Vero Alliance, spreading the word and recruiting.
    Tara, I love your reviews, you write beautifully.
    Portia xx

  6. Lady Jane Grey says:

    In fact I love my lavnder, and every single note in Kiki is rather liked by me, but the total of them results in a big no-go, sadly. But I’m a big fan of Jicky.

  7. Ines says:

    I think we could all learn a lot from Kiki. 🙂
    I love lavender, and yes, I totally believe the story about Jicky and Shalimar, and especially love that you see a connection to Shalimar. 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Doesn’t she sound amazing Ines? I don’t think you need to learn much from her though. You sound like you’re doing pretty good to me.

      I hope I haven’t overdone the Shalimar thing. It’s not a smell-a-like by any stretch of the imagination but I do notice a connection with that and Jicky.

  8. Lavanya says:

    I sniffed KiKi years ago because i was a huge fan of Tauer’s Reverie ( which is also a lovely lavender). I also must have tried Rubj but it was at the scent bar and I was sniffing a million things. I have been wanting to sniff the whole line again including the newer Rozy. Vero’s perfumes sound like they’d be right up my alley – i really need to live with them. I almost bought decants unsniffed but resisted. Maybe soon. Your review as usual is amazing and makes me want to douse myself in Kiki ( when i find her)

    • Tara says:

      Hi Lavanya!
      You know, I agree that Vero’s creations seem to be perfect for you. However you’re right, you do need to live with them for a bit. They have such strong personalities and are so complex that a quick sniff is never going to do it. I hope you can try the whole line soon.

  9. Suzanne says:

    Tara, you personified Kiki so perfectly! I only know the parfum version of Kiki, but yes, there is a serious side and then a quirky, funny sensuous side to it as it develops on the skin, and I can quite envision it as the sexy librarian you describe so intriguingly.

    Btw, to answer your question, I usually don’t get on with lavender. But similar to Lavanya, I quite liked the Andy Tauer lavender fragrance and I really like Kiki, too. I think both could win over lavender-phobes.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Suzanne!
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on lavender perfumes.
      Vero’s scents really lend themselves to personification.
      It’s good to find fragrances in a genre that you previously thought was not for you. I think if Kiki can win me over to lavender, then it could do that for anyone.

  10. Michael says:

    I’m with you Tara in not being a lavender fan in perfumes. The clean cool lavender in Kiki seems to hit the spot though. A full bottle of this is on the horizon I’m sure.

    • Tara says:

      Michael, I normally dismiss lavender fragrances out of hand so I’m lucky Val sent me a decant or I might never have got to grips and fallen for Kiki. Hope you get your full bottle before too long.

  11. Brooke says:

    Great review! I didn’t think I would love any lavender. I like Santa Maria Novella’s lavender soliflore but it only lasts a short time and isn’t half as complex as Kiki! I love Kiki extrait! I haven’t tried the voile de extrait and must remedy that asap. I’ve tried the edp and found the passionfruit note to totally take over and dominate. It’s related but a totally different perfume to my nose. My very favorite Vero though is Rubj extrait!

    • Tara says:

      You’re quite right, Brooke – the edps are a different formulation to the extraits/voiles. I hear the extrait is amazing and hope to try it at some point.

      It’s great how Kiki can convert those who didn’t think they could ever love a lavender frag.

  12. Pingback: My Favourite Bottled Lavender – Kiki Extrait de Parfum by Vero Profumo | A Bottled Rose

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