Sunday, 23 April 2017

Cologne Indélébile Review


If Geza Schoen were to ever include in his Molecule line a dilution of Habanolide/Globalide, the complementary Escentric composition could well smell like Cologne Indélébile. Constituting half the formula, the distinctive starchy, metallic, hot-iron signature of the 11/12-pentadecen-15-olide isomers dominate this blend from top to bottom, relegating the hesperidic (orange blossom, bergamot, lemon) and floral (Hedione, narcissus) notes to mere supporting roles. 
Having transferred some from my skin to my jumper sleeve by accident, I understand why this is called indélébile - even after a laundry wash, I can still smell it over whatever musks are in my detergent :/
For a more pleasant take on the Nu Cologne genre, cf. Alexandra Kosinski’s work for ELd’O.

Nose: Dominique Ropion
House: Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, lemon, jasmine, narcissus, orange blossom, neroli, musk. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Superstitious Review


When the director of a perfume line drops names like Arpège in the same breath as their new launch, it’s generally safe to put the whole thing down to exuberant marketing and  move on. Unless, that is, the director happens to be Frédéric Malle and the perfumer behind the creation Dominique Ropion. 
Conceived in the lineage of the great aldehydic florals that dominated feminine perfumery from the 1920s (No.5, Arpège etc) through the 1960s (Madame Rochas), Superstitious not only reads as a modern hermeneutic but links to André Fraysse’s totemic creation through the creative input of former Lanvin artistic director Alber Elbaz (who, incidentally, also re-designed Arpège’s packaging back in 2009 for the house’s 120th anniversary). 
In contrast to the self-styled retro chypres released by several indy outfits in recent years which are characterised by a heavy-handed use of animalics and muddy blends of natural extracts, Superstitious displays a resolutely modern aesthetic of precise, minimalist architecture and sheer radiance. 
Softening the harsher facets of the aldehydic high notes is a floral heart dominated by a classic combination of rose+jasmine+a Lilial-type muguet note and diluted with Hedione for brightness. This is balanced with a long-lasting, sweet peach/apricot note of sunny disposition that recalls those specialty ingredients that usually have ‘nectar’ in their name. Ionones meanwhile, serve as a customary bridge to the woody base notes of which sandalwood and Haitian vetiver are spoken of in the official description. Absent are the strong nutty associations carried by the latter, suggesting Ropion here perhaps followed Arpège’s model of using just a small amount of the oil to fill out a larger dose of the topped-and-tailed acetate. With a similar de-emphasis on vanillin/coumarin, the composition finally dries out to a very elegant blend of modern musks and a somewhat ambrox-y feeling amber(gris) note. 

Nose: Dominique Ropion
House: Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
Release date: 2017
Notes (per Fragrantica): jasmine, rose, vetiver, patchouli, peach, incense, amber.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Civet Review


Conceptually, I like Shelly Waddington’s approach to the brief which alludes to the programmatic note without (to all intents and purposes) actually featuring it. 
A fruity-floral chypre, the composition features a lactonic peach note that, given the context, can’t help but recall Mitsouko which made famous Firmenich’s Persicol base. Where Jacques Guerlain’s masterpiece however, contrasted the sweetness of gamma-undecalactone with the austere dryness of vetiver oil (10%!), Civet links the fruit to a very dense, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink floral heart that undoubtedly contains a lot of quality naturals but doesn't leave much breathing space. 
Beyond the vintage allusions, Civet humorously conjures its namesake with a Kopi Luwak (civet-poop coffee) note that leads down to the sort of heavy, balsamic, blond woods+musk=tobacco note base which has become a sort of byword for niche perfumery. Needless to say, longevity is not an issue. 

Nose: Shelly Waddington
House: Zoologist
Release date: 2016
Notes (per Fragrantica): begamot, black pepper, spicers, tarragon, lemon, orange, carnation, frangipani, heliotrope, hyacinth, linden blossom, tuberose, ylang-ylang, canadian balsam, civet, coffee, incense, labdanum, musk, oakmoss, resins, russian leather, vanilla, vetiver, woodsy notes.