Puredistance „AENOTUS” – sensual freshness of the southern wind

It took the perfumer Antoine Lie almost three years to reach the fragrant place where Jan Ewoud Vos wanted to go. During the work on the new perfume Puredistance, both creators repeatedly reached the creative wall. The vision of the owner of the Puredistance brand turned out to be so difficult. To materialize it the perfumer had to increase the concentration of the fragrance to  unprecedented nowadays 48%, which means that AENOTUS is technically an extremely concentrated perfume.

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Originally conceived as a signature perfume for Jan Ewoud Vos, AENOTUS was supposed to be the perfect combination of refreshing freshness with sensual depth. The smell was – according to assumptions – not to dissapear after a fresh opening, but to remain on the skin for a long time in the form of a sensual skin-scent. After the countless attempts to complete these assumptions, Vos decided to include AEONTUS in the Puredistance offer. That’s how it happened and the latest fragrance of one of the last truly luxury perfume houses was launched this very month.

Aenotus Lie

The opening of the scent is sparkling, refreshing citrus with an accent shifted to its green side.

My first associations ran towards the essence of bergamot and lime, but – to my surprise – neither one nor the other in the official list of notes will be found. So probably the ingredients that build the heart (above all the essence of green currant buds and petit grain – the essence of the orange tree leaves) add this crisp, green character. The refreshing nature of AEONOTUS is certainly influenced by cleverly added mint. This citrus-green accord turns on the skin into a very pleasant signature. Deepened by patchouli and oakmoss in the base and fixed by a solid dose of musks (which appear in the scent quite early, because just a few minutes after the application, just to later left where they belong – in the background) it sits on the skin for a very long time, slowly warming up and developing into the sensual, musk-wood-moss base. A bit of a chypre one.

For one thing man must be prepared when testing AENOTUS. It’s a perfume consisting essentially of two acts, the first of which is shorter and expressive, and the other is long-lasting and quiet. That one lasts for hours, but has a very subtle, close-to-the-skin character.

I am almost sure that the fragrance will be even more appreciated during warm or hot weather, because of its construction, which should not only resist high temperatures but also allow the full aroma to bloom.

16-Founder-Jan-Ewoud-Vos
Jan Ewoud Vos

Jan Ewoud Vos notes, and I fully agree with that, that AENOTUS stays incredibly long and almost unchanged on clothing. His signature fresh-sensual chord seems to last there forever …

At the end, a few sentences about the intriguing name, which in the first moment can resemble to all the fans of the male perfumery a masculine bestseller of recent years…).

AENOTUS took its name from Aeolus – the mythical god of winds, which brings coolness and refreshment to Southern Europe. In AENOTUS cool and crisp notes are combined with the delicate, sensual warmth of this geographical region.

Despite the rather traditional content, AENOTUS certainly distinguishes itself with its form, saturation and intensity and above-average durability (after all, 48% concentration is already the real scented Himalayas) and in fact a rare combination of freshness and depth, refreshment and sensuality. It adds new content to the Puredistance perfume offer, while continuing the traditional quality for this house. It is – as usual in the case of Puredistance – a proposal for the most demanding scent lovers.

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main accords: citrusy, green, musky

head notes: orange, tangerine, lemon, yuzu

heart notes: mint, black currant buds, petit grain

base notes: oakmoss, patchouli, musks

rok premiery: 2019

nos: Antoine Lie

rating: scent: 5,0/  long lastiness 5,0/ projection/ sillage: 4,0 –> 3,0

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Parfum d’Empire „Le Cri de la Lumière” – cry of light, smile of a woman

The latest perfume proposal from Marc-Antoine Corticchiato – Le Cri de la Lumière – is a very feminine and sensual perfume, at the same time surprisingly modern as for the rather classic style of this talented perfumer. It also amazes me with its unusual construction and delights with distinct evolution on the skin.

Le Cri de La Lumière (Cry of light – what a poetic name!) is made of five essential notes/ ingredients. Intro owes its unusual sound of ambertte seed known as vegetable musk. This essence from the seeds of Indian hibiscus (Abelmoschus moschatus) has an unusual, slightly botanical, slightly musky and at the same time subtly fruity character, which can be smelled in its full splendor in Peruvian Ambrette from Essenze Zegna series. Also here, this note is expressive and smells very natural. Forwarding it to the head phase of the fragrance was a rare and brave step. This ingredient usually builds a perfume base – like musk – deepening and fixing the main note. Here it plays its main role at the beginning what can make the opening of Le Cri de la Lumière surprising and quite demanding. We immediately know that this is a perfume addressed to more sophisticated users, as is the entire Parfum d’Empire offer.

For an untrained nose, this aroma may be an obstacle that cannot be overcome. Well, that would be a shame, because Le Cri de La Lumière – like a well-written book – reveals its next chapters over time. The further, the more beautiful they are and lead to a truly charming finale.

Parfum d'Empire Le Cri 03

Ambrette has been combined here with a very natural note of iris that matches it naturally. This extremely precious ingredient adds seriousness and sophisticated elegance to the initial phase. Iris is unique in its kind, refined, powdery-floral-earthy. In a word – amazing, immediately introducing the aura of chic, refined elegance and distance. After next two quarters nostrils begin – quite unexpectedly – smell the aroma in its provenance as classical as the iris but given in a much more contemporary way. From now on, Le Cri de La Lumière gradually loses his serious face and begins to smile flirtatiously…

Parfum d'Empire Le Cri

Here, in its heart a beautiful and stunningly fragrant Turkish rose was planted. It was then poured with a large portion of musk on a subtle wood foundation, approaching to the signature of one of my absolutely favorite women’s perfumes – For Her from Narciso Rodriguez! Say what you want, but this work by Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian is a genius perfume and completely timeless in its overwhelming femininity! It is true that Corticchiato presented this wonderful, extremely feminine and sensual chord in a slightly less spectacular and more cautious manner, but still very beautiful.

If someone did not survive ambrette and iris intro, she/ he will not be lucky enough to experience the beauty of the heart of this scent. Therefore – I beg you – do not judge this perfume after the head notes or even after the first 3-4 quarters, because in this case that would be an essential error!

Le Cri de La Lumière was created for you to slowly, step by step, contemplate and admire its changing aroma. The aforementioned charming rose-wood-musky chord persists on the skin for quite a long time, slowly fading out, not being, however, for a single moment clamorous or intrusive. Elegance and moderation is here above everything.

Le Cri de La Lumière enchanted me. This perfectly designed perfume contains various faces of femininity – from the somewhat wild, uncouth, through proud and intimidatingly beautiful to the romantic, passionate, sensual and smiling. The last one is in its majority in Le Cri de La Lumière. And that’s probably why I like this perfume so much…

Parfum d'Empire Le Cri 04

main notes: ambrette seed, irys, turkish rose, musk, woods

 

launched in: 2017

perfumer: Marc-Antoine Corticchiato

“Lapis Lazuli” by Olivier Durbano – the scent of ultramarine

This is the twelfth stone in a fragrant interpretation of Olivier Durbano, to the enjoyment of the fans of this extraordinary artist’s talent, including me personally. Many times I have already highlighted the uniqueness of the Parfums de Pierres Poemes collection. Every perfume lover who enjoys original and sublime beauty of perfume should know it. Period.

olivier-durbano

This time the inspiration was Lapis Lazuli – a stone with a beautiful blue color. The word “blue” not entirely reflects the unusual color of the stone, which was widely used in the Renaissance to obtain extremely valuable pigment – natural ultramarine. This inspiration, of course, is reflected in the beautiful color of the perfume.

Connoisseurs of precious stones assign to Lapis Lazuli mental properties as: supporting in the fight against melancholy, positive impact on the serenity, harmony in dealing with other people, a sense of security. Lapis Lazuli is to strengthen willpower, concentration, intuition, self-confidence, creativity, courage and leadership.

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Lapis Lazuli is Durbano I like the most. Cool, mineral, mystical and absolutely different from everything.

The initial smell is a combination of dry woody wormwood (well known to us in a very expressive and raw edition in French Lover by Frederic Malle), with coniferous cypress, tea tree oil and a hint of green herbal thyme spiced up by clove. Rose oxide gives these components a not exaggerated, but clearly perceptible rosy-metallic glow (a stronger and more rose centered one can be found in the phenomenal Opus X Amouage.) So the oxide imprints its mark, but not in an extent to deal here with the aroma of rose, but only with its metallic green memory. The base has woody character and it follows the heart in a very natural way, while still maintaining the main theme of the scent. This is important, because according to me Lapis Lazuli smells at the end almost the same as in the beginning, and the occurring changes – although present – are minimal.

The perfume projects very nicely, without exaggeration but in a noticeable way, sticking on the skin for over eight hours, which completes my high rating. According to me, this is one of the most interesting and one of the best fragrances in Olivier Durbano’s collection. The longer I test it, the more it delights me… Bravo Olivier!

durbano-lapis-lazuli

top notes: wormwood, cypress, rose oxide, cloves

heart notes: thyme, wheat, iris

base notes: vetiver, cedar, amber, elemi, tolu balsam, musk.

launched in: 2016

perfumer: Olivier Durbano

 

 

Puredistance SHEIDUNA – a marriage of oriental sensuality and Parisian elegance

Is perfume luxury a term that still means anything nowadays?

At a time when brands considered to be a luxury are releasing sometimes several fragrances a year, often confirming the age-old rule that more does not mean any better (and actually it is usually an opposite), the creator of the Puredistance brand Jan Ewoud Vos since its inception cares about it to be seen as a synonym for true luxury. It is not only about the juice itself, which is in that case always of the highest quality, but also about everything that comes with it – from an unusual bottle, through luxury accessories, limited distribution, respectively high price to the frequency with which the brand launches a new fragrance. Puredistance launches it once a year or less and only because of that fact the brand is one of the few exceptions. Recall: in 2007 there was the first perfume Puredistance I. In 2010, the brand presented two scents: female Antonia and male Puredistance M. In 2012 appeared Opardu, in 2013 Black and in 2015 – White. For 2016 an unique launch was announced …

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Admittedly, the launch of the new fragrance was this time extremely carefully prepared and carried out. The advertising campaign served in the electronic media long before the premiere resembled campaign of a new film by a famous director. At the beginning, it was only known that Puredistance had been preparing a new fragrance. With time, the company revealed its name giving its letters gradually one by one. Once we had learned that its name was SHEIDUNA, representatives of the brand became literally silent.

Company was dosing the tension to such an extent that even during this year’s Esxence trade fair in Milan its representatives refused to disclose any details about the announced autumn release. Even the fact to whom this time Jan Ewoud Vos entrusted to compose the perfume remained a mistery…

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Jan Ewoud Vos came up with the name of the perfume combining words SHE (She) and Dune (Dune). It reflects the nature of the scent, which is a combination of Parisian elegance and oriental sensuality.

After some time the name of the perfumer (Cecile Zarokian) was revealed, then SHEIDUNA  was presented in New York before the official launch, where it provoked positive reactions. Zarokian herself participated in the presentation. The fact that it was she who translated  Jan Ewoud Vos’ vision into a mixture of fragrant molecules thrilled perfume industry and critics. Cecile has been very creative in recent years and with SHEIDUNA she once again proved that he has a lot to say in perfumery and that despite of a relatively short career, she have already worked out here own style. Her fragrances are often works of perfume art (Epic Woman Amouage, Mon Nom Est Rouge Majda Bekkali, Tango Masque Milano, Aqua Sextius Jul et Mad, Patchouliful Laboratorio Olfattivo, to mention just the best).

Work on SHEIDUNA lasted about a year, and the world premiere took place in September 2016 during the Pitti Fragranze event in Florence. According to representatives of the brand the aroma created there a real sensation. Reactions of the audience had been captured on numerous pictures:

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SHEIDUNA smells very natural from the first to the very last second. The top chord appears as an aromatic blend of citruses (mostly lemon and tangerine) reinforced with aldehydes and juicy green black currant. Under that fresh aroma gradually emerges the heart of the fragrance, built with a key essence – that of Bulgarian rose. It has been traditionally combined here geranium and patchouli and subtly spiced up with cloves. The heart is at first rosy-spicy, but with the passage of time it turns into a very sensual and very complex aroma, where rose is still present, but it changes its surroundings. The smell is getting warmer and the nostrils begin to smell a scent which is a kind of Cecile Zarokian’s signature when it comes to floral-oriental aesthetics – a blend of amber, resins, vanilla absolute, Tonka and musk with a floral dominant (here it is obviously rose). The effect is similar to what we smell in Mon Nom Est Rouge for Majda Bekkali and – to some extent – also Tango Masque Milano. SHEIDUNA, however, is in its nature more balanced, harmonious and subtle. Less experimental and more classic. Goes off the skin very slowly, being a long-lasting skin scent where traces of rose are attached to the skin with a solid dose of musk. Durability is here also a result of a very high concentration: with 27% SHEIDUNA is basically an extract de parfum.

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SHEIDUNA projects noticeably, but subtly, which also makes it different from the previously mentioned fragrances composed by Cecile which power is not always acceptable for everyone. Honestly though, I expected SHEIDUNA to smell somewhat more robust and intense. On the other hand, if I remember other Puredistance fragrances correctly, none of them belong to the titans of power, and the brand apparently prefers scents that are not olfactory bombs, which of course does not diminish their value at all.

In my opinion SHEIDUNA is – in spite of a female targeting – a unisex scent with just slightly female inclination. Devotees of oriental scents of both sexes can fall in love with it. As an oriental fragrance with a rose dominant SHEIDUNA is a very well done addition to the Puredistance’s scented offer.

Will SHEIDUNA meet the expectations of perfume connoisseurs, as was the case in New York and Florence? We will probably find out soon. The fragrance is now hitting the shelves of the stores cooperating with Puredistance.

P.S. My wife is getting a lot of complements while wearing it which doesn’t surprise me at all as it smells really magnificent on her. 

sheiduna-01

main ingredients: lemon, tangerine, blackcurrant, aldehydes, Bulgarian rose essence, geranium, clove, vetiver, patchouli, amber woody, incense, benzoin, myrrh, tonka bean, vanilla pods and musk

launched in: 2016

perfumer: Cecile Zarokian

 

 

Chanel Les Exclusifs „Coromandel”

Coromandel refers to Chinese lacquered decorative folding screens of which mademoiselle Coco Chanel was a big enthusiast and collector (and which came to Europe from China in XVII century through ports located on Indian Coromandel cost). Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake created this remarkable scent in 2007 and added it to the boutique and exclusive Les Exclusifs collection. Of course, the inspiration lies here only in the name as the scent does not consist of any wooden, paint or varnish notes, which I myself consider as an advantage.

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I remember my first reaction to this smell – I was entranced. I saw a movie about Coco Chanel the next day featuring lovely Audrey Tautou and at the same time I tested the scent on my skin. The experience was exceptional. Synaesthesia worked perfectly. Till this day I am spellbound to it as Coromandel is really a special perfume and despite my proficiency it is really hard to describe it accurately enough. I will try my best nonetheless – still, this is what this blog is actually about.

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Coromandel belongs to a woody-balsamic family of scents in which the main role plays patchouli together with resin (benzoin) and incense (olibanum) notes, accompanied by a subtle note of white chocolate. The effect of this composition – made with true perfumery mastery – is utterly resplendent. Patchouli is very charming in itself and can do perfumery wonders if used with moderation and intent. It likes to dominate the whole composition but it also has one magical property: despite its characteristic, bit mouldy, camphor, sour-earthy notes, it perfectly pairs, as it might sometimes seem, with uncommon partners (such as for example caramel ethyl maltol – thanks to which – in simple words – chocolate was achieved in famous Angel by T. Mugler). Polge and Sheldrake took this bit more culinary course but they achieved the balance, they soothed the patchouli oil sharp character with excellent quality resins and balms and – as I think – vanilla. The accord of white chocolate will cause palpitations to every perfumery aesthete and stands as a great counterpoint for patchouli. Luckily Coromandel does not boil over with sweetness. The authors did not overdo with anything apart from exaggerated beauty – this I cannot deny.

 

 

Coromandel has this “something” in it. Truly not many perfumes cause this kind of reaction in me. Maybe it simply reminds me of something that I really like or maybe it is just that perfect. The scent evolves slowly, over time the dominant patchouli note retreats, making space for amber note (but what kind of a note!). The patchouli note can still be smelled somewhere in the background though. Not much is happening here but that is good as what we have is absolutely sensational. Without any doubts this is the most beautiful scent with dominant patchouli I know and at the same time I have ever had a chance to wear and test. Absolutely top-end product.

In the Internet Coromandel is compared to Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens, the difference between those two is that in the first one we find white chocolate note and in the other one dark chocolate note. I cannot say much about this as I cannot remember Serge’s composition that well (I tested its micro-sample long long time ago). Still, taking into consideration fact that Christopher Sheladrake took part in the creation of Coromandel, those two scents might indeed be quite similar. I will check that soon enough.
When it comes to quality and usage properties, Coromandel proves perfect here as well. The strength, projection, sillage and finally the lasting-power. Same as it was with Sycomore, we deal with a unisex type of a perfume. Personally I think they are even more for men than for women.

I waited with this review for a long time, being abashed with Coromandel’s beauty. This scent is perfect in every way. It smells luxury – that is for sure, at the same time it stands as an example of quality and moderation. For me everything is ideal here. People more familiar with Channel’s exclusive series name Coromandel as the best one from the whole series. I myself can only compare it to Sycomore and can say that if Polge/ Sheldrake had used in the same brilliant way vetiver as they did with patchouli in Coromandel, surely I would be down on my knees and stay like that from the delight. I must admit that this is what I actually expected as I put my hands on Coromandel first. On the other hand I would not like to diminish Sycomore as it is a great perfume as well.

Wearing Coromandel is an authentic pleasure. Pity that the availability of this scent is so limited, even though that we live in the era of Internet shopping and absolutely no boundaries whatsoever. Well almost…

coromandel-bottle

 

main notes: patchouli, white chocolate, benzoin, vanilla

launched in: 2007

perfumers: Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake

Aedes de Venustas „Grenadille d’Afrique” – the smell of ebony

Grenadille d’Afrique means as much as “black wood” in Latin. Dalbergia melanoxylon. The tree from which the wood is obtained known as ebony. This ebony and the natural environment in which there were the inspiration for the creation of New York’s latest fragrance by Aedes de Venustas, which had its premiere at this year’s Pitti Fragranze in Florence and soon to appear in selected perfumeries worldwide. Grenadille d’Afrique was created by Alberto Morillas (as Palissandre D’Or from 2015). So it is the second perfume which the Master has created for gentlemen Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner. Interestingly, both smells really woody and has wood in the name.

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The woodiness of  Grenadille d’Afrique comes down to his vetiver dominant. Vetiver is present from the beginning, although at first for a short period “refreshed” with the bergamot and eventually supported by juniper, violet and lavender. At the base you can still smell mostly Haitian vetiver, set on a dark, almost charcoal in its character chord composed of vanilla and labdanum. Besides its evident woodiness the fragrance has also a distinctive mineral aura. The just mentioned ingredients accompanying to vetiver work here on the final result, without “taking control” individually. They have been subordinated to the vision of the creators, which in one sentence characterizes Alberto Morillas:

Fossilized wood rubbed in a vanilla accord

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Alberto Morillas

When testing a perfume, I am always looking for comparisons with other fragrances to let the readers not knowing the scent imagine its nature. With Grenadille d’Afrique there is a lot of such to compare. But the most adequate seems to be Encre Noire by Lalique (eau de toilette). Alberto Morillas work reminds me precisely of the cult perfume composed by Nathalie Lorson in 2006. But of course there are differences. In Grenadille d’Afrique we will not find – to my delight – sour notes of Encre Noire and that big dose of cashmeran. The juniper took here over the role of the cypress. Morillas work smells fresher, it s more stylish and seems to be more pleasant and easier to wear, at least for me. It projects politely and lasts on the skin over 8 hours. As a whole, Grenadille d’Afrique convinces me even though it is not so original as Palissandre d’Or and not so mesmerizingly beautiful as Iris Nazarena. Nevertheless, it is a very solid position not only in the portfolio of Aedes de Venustas but also in the family of vetiver centered fragrances.

aedes-grenadille-bottle

main notes: bergamot, lavender, juniper, vetiver from Haiti, cistus (labdanum), vanilla, musk

launched in: 2016

perfumer: Alberto Morillas

 

Amouage “Journey Man”

“At first smell” Journey Man seems like a typical Amouage scent – having this woody-spicy and incense character. It is not the first time when the brand uses pepper, incense, musk, ambergris and lots more of other used in this recipe ingredients. It has to be admitted though that the Sichuan pepper essence smells stunningly beautiful, aromatic and vibrating here. Still the start-off would not be like it actually is if it was not for a quite big dose of cardamom, which in this amount appears for the second time in the Omani perfumes (previously, fans of this intense fragrance could be satisfied like that in 2010 when Opus IV was launched). This quite intense and ruthless pepper-cardamom start-off has been coated with a mix of bergamon and neroli. The heart incorporates vibrating molecules of juniper berries, which link the spicy pepper with dry-woody cypriol, smoky incense and strongly present note of tobacco. According to the list of notes we can find also here pure geraniol, subtle rose-smelling molecule that in nature appears, among others, in ripe tobacco (worth noting, cigarette manufactures use geraniol to scent their products). It is clear then that perfumers decided to strengthen and in a way to ripe the tobacco note by adding geraniol. These procedures that consist of mixing the natural aromatic essence with one or more aromatic molecules, which in fact are present in nature but in limited amounts, to strengthen chosen aspects of natural fragrance are quite common in modern perfumery. For the surprisingly strong note of tobacco we have to wait though. In my case it appeared after 3-4h after settling and when there is no more pepper and cardamom going on in the air and the smell itself starts to get more dry, rough and woody-incense. At this stage cypriol can be vividly smelled. This, as it turned out, became my favourite aromatic molecule responsible for this dry, powdery woody tones present in such smells like Opus VI by Pierre Negrin and Dora Arnaud and also Opus VII by Negrin and Alberto Morillas (the same duet that introduced Journey Man), Timbuktu by L’Artisan or deeply regretted Gucci Pour Homme. Nonetheless, Journey Man is partly penetrating similar olfactory regions as Michael Almairac’s perfume so I recommend this scent to all those keen on Gucci.

christopherchong
Christopher Chong

The base is quite characteristic, mixing sweet and bitter note of strengthen with geraniol tobacco with a characteristic dry and woody note of cypriol. Everything intensified by tonka, musk and ambrox. During the last stage Journey Man resembles some other perfume which I reviewed earlier but unfortunately I cannot recall the name now. Anyway, the smell gets masculine, elegant and intriguing. It is really good. With every next try I come to a conclusion that the tobacco note is the dark horse of the whole composition. The note has been put into the whole smell perfectly, so when it comes to the fore, it smells incredibly – realistically but not in the negative way of course, at the same time it is intriguing and sensual. Above all it is purely masculine.

The so called working parameters of the scent can be classified as very good. Sillage is very good. The smell as a whole is strong and vivid and during the first few hours projects around the bearer within a couple of meters and can be easily noticeable by interested environment. It has been 7 hours after I sprayed it onto me and I can still smell it quite vividly; the smell itself can last more than 12 hours.

I have no doubt that Journey Man is yet another great fragrance introduced by Amouage that is slowly becoming one of my favourites of this brand, right next to Opus VII and Interlude Man. Having it on me is a pure pleasure. It makes me feel really special. In fact that is the quintessence of this hobby…

amouage-journey-man

main notes: Sichuan pepper, cardamon, bergamot, neroli, juniper berries, incense, geraniol, tobacco leaf, tonka, cypriol, leather, musc, ambrox

launched in: 2014

perfumer: Alberto Morillas/ Pierre Negrin

Etat Libre d’Orange “La Fin du Monde”

How will the end of the World smell like? Each of us has their own different idea (I am guessing that many of those ideas would be influenced by Hollywood productions). Quentin Bisch had had a very untypical imagination of the smell, which had been then transformed into perfumes, which in 2013 Etat Libre d’Orange – a niche perfumery brand added to their portfolio. Bisch is a young and promising perfumer, known to those who have seen Perfume series at BBC. In the show Bisch, as a young Givaudan perfumery school adept, with tears in his eyes tells us how his dreams are coming true to become a true perfumer. This touching the heartstrings scene shows us how sensitive and full of limitless passion are perfume creators and how important these traits are in this remarkable profession. The founder of Etat Libre d’Orange – Etienne de Swardt – had known Bisch even before he joined Givaudan. Bisch had been regularly visiting flag perfumery shop EldO in Paris and introduced himself as a big fan of the brand and de Swardt’s perfumery conception. So when Etienne decided to create a scent inspired by book ”The End of the World Filmed by the Angel of Notre-Dame” Bisch was the first one that came to his mind. La Fin du Monde was the first solo and fully commercial composition made by Quentin. With this smell he proved his undeniable talent. I will say more – he got off to a very good start – as it was a very strong debut!

quentin-bisch
Quentin Bisch

The start-off stuns with exquisite and at the same time very present-day version of iris (which resembles the one used in Dior Homme), which was skilfully enhanced by carrot seeds that harmonize with the iris perfectly – this was already proved by Rosine Courage in Nirmal for Laboratorio Olfattivo and Bertrand Duchaufour in Bois d’Ombrie for Eau D’Italie. Cumin and sesame brilliantly fulfill the innovative and very eloquent popcorn cord that lends a kind of surprising and intriguing aura(we can also smell the characteristic popcorn butter theme there as well). Popcorn was Bisch’s first idea for the smell. During one of his talks with de Swardt, Bisch tried to convince him that every idea for the end of the World comes from different movies, American movies mostly. Popcorn was an ideal ingredient for this how perverse conception… Ingenious, is it not? I myself like and admire such ideas very much.

popcorn
With time this very intense at the beginning scent looses its power but is well present within the next couple of hours. It gains warm sensuality due to sandalwood and ambrette, which together enrich the sensual and physical base of the smell(the essence from ambrette seeds was used earlier by James Heeley in cool as Autumn rain Iris de Nuit). The base of the smell is very characteristic and it engrosses as well as stages of the smell. As we can see here La Fin du Monde as a whole smells surprisingly pleasant and at the same time very intriguing as it is very familiar and alien at the same time.

irys

La Fin du Monde wins me over to itself from the very first second till the very last one (the distance is quite far by the way). It is a fantastic fragrance that presents pure perfumery ingenuity. I have not had a chance to wear this kind of scent – created with great passion, inventiveness and fresh look for a long time. Bisch skilfully made a use of well-trodden paths and at the same time found new ones. With great courage he connected uncommon notes in one absolutely convincing whole, that makes fully operational – and what is even more important – wearable perfume, which is far from those niche ”freaks” but perfectly matches the style of Etat Libre d’Orange which is known for its original ideas and brave pushing of boundaries of what is known as perfumes. Quentin Bisch has created fully original, modern and with avantgarde taste fragrance, that is worn with pure pleasure and satisfaction, the one that you have when you wear special perfume.

I do not think La Fin du Monde is either female or male. I would rather say it is bit more masculine only because it lacks archetype female notes, and present iris is totally served as unisex. I would say that more female is Dior Homme, especially when we talk about Intense version of the smell rather than La Fin du Monde, which I think of as an important flask to test not only by those who admire Dior Homme.

lafindumonde

main notes: popcorn, carrot seed, cumin, sesame, black pepper, freesia, vetiver, sandalwood, ambrette, iris, styrax, gunpowder

launched in: 2013

perfumer: Quentin Bisch

 

 

Frederic Malle “Portrait of a Lady”

Perfumer Dominique Ropion, and Frederic Malle get on with each other quite well, which can be proved by 5 scents from the serie Editions De Parfums: Carnal Flower, Geranium Pour Monsieur, Une Fleur de Cassie, Vetiver Extraordinaire and the most popular one among the true connoisseurs of perfumes Portrait of a Lady. Those who are more familiar with Frederic Malle’s offer know that most of Ropion’s scents are usually those graded the highest and the most marketable ones from all the others launched by this exceptional and exclusive brand.

Frederic Malle
Frederic Malle

Both gentlemen admitted that balancing Portrait of a Lady needed a lot of time and hundreds of trials. Their actions though, of which the starting point was Geranium Pour Monsieur, brought up a rose-cantered smell, which for me is undoubtedly the best I have ever tried out. Ropion combined in this smell rose essence with patchouli note, which is not that revealing after all but highly efficient and effective – as both those components get on together as any other components in perfumery. The characteristic smell of patchouli has been cleverly modified by cinnamon and frankincense in a way that it does not dominate that clearly – the lack of dominance also concerns other used here components, apart from the previously-mentioned rose. The components create a coherent oriental theme that entwines the rose essence. The base of the scent is strongly musky with some sandal wood and benzoin. The top accord, to be clear, consists of black currant and raspberry. Still, the beautiful warm and balanced rose dominates here most of the time.

lady
Despite the name which might indicate feminine nature of the smell, the scent proves very well on man’s skin which I tested many many times. With its oriental rose nature the smell does not differ much from Cartier’s Declaration d’Un Soir , even though it is much heavier, saturated and thick in comparison to very successful scents by Mathilde Laurent. Other similar scents based on a modern connection of rose and patchouli are earlier reviewed Hippie Rose by James Heeley and Lumiere Noire Pour Homme by Francis Kurkdjian.
Portrait of a Lady is very clear, strong and lasts over 12h. The smell is perfectly constructed in its every aspect. It presents a modern way of a rose that is not that overwhelming, perfectly balanced and beautiful. It is a great smell, that gives a lot of satisfaction. I highly recommended it.

portrait-of-a-lady-100ml

top notes: black currant, raspberry

middle notes: turkish rose, cinammon, clove, patchouli

base notes: sandalwood, ambroxan, white musk, benzoin, incense

launched in: 2010

perfumer: Dominique Ropion

 

 

Costume National Homme – a modern classic

An Italian clothing brand, under the leadership of Ennio Capasa successfully entered perfumery market by introducing five very well-done scents for women. The perfumer behind them, Laurent Bruyere, tragically died in 2008 (he was 43), was self-taught and fascinated with legendary scents from the past (he even had a tattoo saying “Guerlain Mitsouko”!).

ennio-capasa_-official-portrait
Ennio Capasa

 

Laurent-Bruyere 3
Laurent Bruyere

Bruyere worked in IFF together with his mentor – Dominique Ropion, a perfumer well-known for the fragrances made for Frederic Malle. After death of the young artist all the following Costume National fragrances were made by Ropion alone. It was also he that composed the first Costume National Homme for men.

Homme is a warm spicy scent based on dominant notes of cinnamon, clove and sandalwood.

The scent as a whole is – without any doubts – perfectly composed, perfectly balanced, very elegant and at the same time bit audacious. The fragrance opens with a cardamom lifted by citruses.  The smell is culinary-like at this stage and somehow milky. There are people who smells fennel note at this stage, although I am not among them. The heart is spicy with clove and cinnamon duet in the foreground. The base is quite warm due to the dominant note of labdanum, sandalwood and patchouli. Spices can be smelled till the very end. Distant end, as it is worth mentioning that Homme lasts more than 8 hours and has a solid manly projection. Homme is considered, by experts in the field, as similar to other two Ropion’s creations made for Kenzo: Jungle L’Elephant and Le Tigre. I myself dare to put it between first Comme des Garcons eau de parfum (when it comes to the head and heart) and Jubilation XXV Men by Amouage (the base).

dominique-ropion
Dominique Ropion

The bottle of Homme is ideal. Its shape is economical and quite original. We can find on it a minimalistic and tasteful sign, and a cap which makes the impression as if it was not there. Also the atomiser’s tube is so transparent that it is barely visible inside the essence (actually it IS invisible as long as it is submerged in the liquid). The bottle is just like the smell itself – elegant, chic and classy and will also stand as a nice decoration on man’s bathroom shelf.

Costume National Homme is just perfect. Harmony, grace, charm, chic and a bit of a mystery. Elegance without pomp. First class. It is a scent that perfectly underlines a style of an elegant man from sunny Italy. Ropion’s masterpiece became an absolute bestseller in Italy and was (or maybe still is) one of the best selling perfumes for men – which should not be a surprise actually taken into consideration that Italian males have quite a sophisticated taste.

At the end I have to mention something about this truly very small fly in this ointment. While being really charming and of really high quality it is also very correct and safe. There is no craziness in it whatsoever. Still, this might be good, but also bad at the same time. It all depends on our tastes and expectations. There are many occasions where we need such a safe smell. A smell that will not mislead all around us. A smell that will let us stay in the crowd and also make us feel special at the same time. That is exactly what Homme is like. I myself wear it with genuine pleasure.

cost-homme-1

top notes: grapefruit, bergamot, cardamon,

middle notes: cinnamon, thyme, clove

base notes: patchouli, sandalwood, labdanum

launched in: 2009

perfumer: Dominique Ropion