Friday, March 27, 2015

The very perfume of fashion world

1996 Inez & Vinoodh by Byredo

With smallest knowledge of aesthetics even, it is hard to pick one of their snaps from a whole cause their art is arguably and flawlessly artistic and all in an aesthetic integrity.
Vinoodh Matadin and Inez van Lamsweerde (aka Inez&Vinoodh); a photographer couple merely known for their fashionable style in photography and video for famous celebrities of fashion and music world; are the faces who deserve to be devoted for such great olfactory masterpiece which was at first exclusively designed for them and some in their environment that subsequently agreed to be launched to public. The artists have a thick portfolio of works in a high level that many artists have been just dreaming about, like what Andy Warhol was for a bunch of downtown attic-dweller abstract-expressionism painters.
1996's inspiration concept is a photograph taken by the artists titled "Kristen 1996" which the Sherlock Holmes inside me is telling me that itself has its concept from a disappeared girl named Kristin Smart; who's missing since May 1996 (it's all my guess and not approved). The photograph shows a luna-faced teen girl with pomegranate vermilion glazed innocent yet lascivious lips and languid eyes loosely half shut with rapture by an unknown aura.

From the opening 1996 makes marvels. It exhibits a mass-pleaser tangy smell pattern of juniper berries and pepper emerging tonic/gin cocktail smell, twisted with unusual creamy orris that provide intriguing semi-aquatic/leafy splash to the opening. Orris underlines every single element and attribute all to the main theme in an enchained integrity.
Beside orris which rules for the opening and the heart layers, vanilla and amber are prominent and responsible for the base. The leather is pretty infused by this duet. The vanilla is reminiscent of Margot Elena's vanilla in Tokyo Milk series, especially Arsenic.
1996 is a perfect perfume, all the notes are measured and balanced in appropriate volume. The layers are masterly edge-faded overlapped. 1996, both on skin and paper blotter, is satisfyingly strong in both longevity and sillage, It's stable till the end with more than arm length projection. But with these all, 1996, is not a perfume for everyone and every skin. It's of those hate-or-love perfumes (hate-or-dislike is a better phrase)!

Carpe Odor!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recalling that splendor charm

Rosée des Jardins d'Ispahan by Chaugan

It's a pleasure for me to be the first or one of the first who reviews this brilliant floral; although I don't know exactly where Chaugan comes from and who's the nose behind. All we know is that once in The Exclusive Perfumes Wave that took place on Carla One yacht in October 2013 in Cannes, the brand first showed up beside Xerjoff, Jovoy, and D'Orsay.
First to say the name of the brand took my attention; Ghaugan; (or chawgan, literally means polo sport in Persian language) is the royal sport of Persia during Safavid empire (1501-1736 AD) and to clarify the concept, it was parallel to tennis to the Grand Britain. Although some sources mention chaugan's history back to ancient times with debatable referees, it owns its fame officially from 16th century by Shah Abbas I (1571-1629) during his reign in his new capital; Isfahan. However, the origin of the sport is still unveiled while some believe that it came from mid-Asian cultures, some mention India and some believe that it's an original Persian game.

A Persian miniature illustrating the poem Gouy-o Chawgân ("the Ball and the Polo-mallet") from the Safavid era

Rosée des Jardins d'Ispahan is the first perfume introduced by Chaugan that interprets the perfume with the concept taken from Āli Qāpu palace in Naqsh-i Jahān garden of Isfahan; in ancient Persia; where ceremonial plays and rituals used to occur and the royal family and ministers were watching from the open terrace of the palace.
Rosée des Jardins d'Ispahan is a floral fresh woodsy fragrance that bears the concept and air from dreamy Persian gardens and their opulent wealth and comfort. Beside many architectural modules designed to provide comfort and welfare in semi-harsh climatic condition of the Middle East, Persian gardens are quite famous and used to be subjects of admiration by the western travelers especially Sir John Chardin who traveled through Persia (1673-1677) and wrote a precious book in this field, or Donald N. Wilber (American writer and spy) who has a specific research book on Persian gardens (Persian Gardens and Garden Pavilions). Isfahan (back in days Ispahan) is perhaps the most famous city in Persia and it owns its fame for its charm and mystical beauty, and of course its gardens and flowers, one of which is Ispahan rose; a sub-variety of Damascus rose.

The front facade of Āli Qāpu palace in Naqsh-i Jahān square or garden in the center of Isfahan, Iran. There are four main structures in the square: two mosques, the actual palace and the portal building of great bazaar of Isfahan. Āli Qāpu palace was the ceremonial building for watching rituals like Nowruz holidays and polo games.

Rosée des Jardins d'Ispahan is a modern take of an ancient story. It opens with slight pepper-infused pink grapefruit with fizzy floral yellowish ylang-ylang/rose twosome in the following (all the notes I mark are assumed to be, since there's no official source for them. Fragrantica has named some of them which all are clearly noticeable).

Hasht Behesht garden in Isfahan

The opening is somehow yummy and happy, elaborately accented by a fresh watery touch of lily of the valley plus sweet sexy honey. Magnificently the floral layer of the opening lasts till the end however it deforms in this long path and loses its semi-fruity vibe. In the middle phase a woodsy carnival joins this floral stream with gauiac, cedar, jasmine and rose (the main players) all stamped by patchouli who masterly draws the fresh floral trail to fluffy sensual warm leather/sandalwood/vanilla base soothed with orange blossom. And this is so admirable that this heavenly intoxicating composition last more than a day.
Now with such masterpiece I'm impatiently waiting for their next and next releases with deep passion and curiosity!

Carpe Odor!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A sweet bomb

Ore by Slumberhouse

Ore was my dirtiest blind buy! Last year I aimed to do a daring blind buy upon a "weird" fragrance so I contacted my other reviewer friends and I set a tread on Fragrantica forums with poll question in which Ore was includes. But after several suggestions I finally places an order. I'm not still sure that I'm happy or regretful cause Ore is apparently a distinct type of fragrance, very hard to review, very intense sweet and very comprehensive to analyze.
The notes listed are:
Oakwood, mahogany, Peru resin, guaiac wood, dittany of crete, vanilla, whiskey lactone,  and cocoa
I own a very hard to review fragrance. So this is not gonna be so long as usual. For me, the first impression when I received the parcel and smelled Ore for the first time, it was like a grenade or super fuel made of chocolate and woodsy resinous notes with hints of caramel and patchouli. It smells like  melancholic artists trying to be so social and urban but the fragrance he's wearing on his irregular cut suit is radiantly unfit and bombastic.

Sort of immense warm damp cacao absolute with magma inside that melts down snows! A whiskey mate fragrance, not so dark but still considerably is, not so creepy as Slumberhouse is famous for but still it's weird, seriously weird and criminal.
Ore is a typre fragrance you can only wear on skin and not dress. Not only because of the color stain it lefts on fabric or because of long performance on textile which you might hardly get rid of; but exactly for its skin-mate abilities and treats. Ore plays exactly marvelous on skin, intimates with skin chemistry, merges and results in a very enigmatic monster smell with peculiar sweetness that is not happy-ending at all!
I said it's almost hard to review but I really like to share a Fragrantican's review on Ore that exactly hits the nail:
Brings to mind an image of a chocolate scented air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror of a pimp's dirty, humid Cadillac Circa 1972, Los Angeles. An intentionally vulgar, and accurate, period piece.
Yes that is what exactly Ore does! It's unurban, dense, bewitched, straight, bold and punchy.

Carpe Odor!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy birthday to our lovely Earth!

Nourouz (Tamarind-Paprika: Holiday Edition)
by DSH Perfumes

Today is our dear planet's birthday; the mother earth; and I take this apt time to say a big happy birthday to all and also to talk about a ceremony for such blest day; Nowruz.
This might take a long text but it deserves to talk about. Nowruz; literally; is the name of Persian new year that happens at first day of spring (and the first day of Aries in astrology) and lasts for 13 days of happiness and ceremonies till the night of the 13th day when the evilness and grief is expelled. Although it is more known for being an Iranian ceremony, people from different ethnics celebrate it and its territory is vast from China to Turkey and it is registered by UNESCO for world intangible cultural heritage to safeguard for the following countries: Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

Haft-Seen (seven elements starting with letter S) is the table prepared for Nowruz and must be refreshed till the end of the holidays.

I can't precisely tell where the concept of Nowruz comes from and how ancient civilizations knew where the planet enters its new year and when the spring begins while there was no telescope nor developed mathematics and astronomy! Written sources reveal the first mentioning of the term Nowruz in inscriptions of Persian literate while there are archaeological evidences in Persepolis to prove the age of the ceremony back to Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) and probably far beyond.

People from different nations and social classes bring gifts to the emperor and animals to sacrifice for the ceremony, Persepolis, Shiraz, Achaemenid era.

Anyway, etymologically, Nowruz is a composition of two words: now (or nou) + ruz. Now comes from ancient Persian Nawa or Nava which is akin to the same meaning in other members of Indo-European languages: New in English, Nouveau in French, Neu in German, Nuovo in Italian, and so on. Ruz in Persian is literally Day; a 24 hours spinning of the planet around its polar axis. So in overall Nowruz means new day which indicates to new year and new life loop.
To talk about the ritual I have to write all day long so let's skip over it and talk about NourouzIt was a long time I was curious about the fragrance cause it simply ties to my culture!

Nourouz is an oriental spicy fragrance devoted to Persian festive season which occurs at the beginning of spring according to astronomical calculations of new year.
I'm astonished and disconcerted in a way for Nourouz and its tepid alluring sonata in the beginning.
The fragrance initiates with piquant blast of pepper infused tamarind and pomegranate which is not actually the fruit, it's like pomegranate paste which is a fix member of Persian cuisine. It's jammed and dense sour-sweet smell of traditional pomegranate pastilles. Actually it smells like small shops in rural areas that sell the pastilles, exactly smells like the shops. Beside this gourmand magic I feel a familiar vibe or wine which I know from another masterpiece (Blask by Humiecki & Graef) shimmers and stays skin-mate which itself dies under stream of tobacco nuances.
The fragrance is not that comprehensive as it includes many of notes. The middle phase is on sort of floral rose/osmanthus/tobacco with side vibe of wine again yet from this layer on the scent sits right on skin with almost no sillage and it's sad for such beauty.

Nourouz is quasi-smoky resinous gourmand winy fragrance with dusty earthy grown up beginning and tamarind ensemble as focal point.
Nowruz is full of passion and happiness, full of colors, tastes and smells. How wonderful is creating a perfume granting it to spring-seizing ritual of Nowruz. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz already nailed it all the way! Wine, tasty smells, happiness and all; although; Nourouz at the first step is more like "the longest night" ceremony in Persian culture than Nowruz and to be honest it's not exactly what Nowruz presents but since each civilization has its own story to tell, it totally fits the idea! Foods, flowers, nuts, pastry, cookies, boiled eggs, fruits, wine, happiness and poems! There's no certain smell for Nowruz cause it's simply a full orchestra of scents and feelings that you can't encapsulate all in a fragrance.

Ps: Nowruz is a ceremony to show human's regards to his mother nature, to promise that he safeguards it, although, unfortunately he always forget. The table prepared for the ritual; Haft-Seen; is to wish health, wealth, land fertility, and long happy life. Maybe it's a good time to remember where we are now, where we stand, and on which future we walk today? Maybe it's a good opportunity to think again what have we done until today to our shelter, our home and the only home we do have! Maybe it's a nice excuse to rise hand in hand and preserve our environment for the future, for our children. It's never too late :)

"Cloudbursts have washed the tulip's face,
Nowruz beckons, you rise, be awash in wine.
This garden is yours today,
Tomorrow's green grows from your dust."

Omar Khayyam

To Lillian Betts Holloway!

Carpe Odor!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Handsome heart of perfumery!

An interview with Neil Morris

I don't know what he hides behind his evergreen smile but for sure Neil Morris is the most lovely man in perfume world and you can see from every interview and review about Neil and his fragrances that how everyone loves him! However, this is not all I love about Neil Morris, as it must be, his talent in perfumery is on focal point of my interest. These last months all by coincidence and suggestion by a friend I encountered Neil and I found strong similarities in taste of smell without even talking on it.
I temporarily lost my sense of smell nowadays for flu and I found this nice opportunity quite appropriate to fulfill a mandatory task that I've been dreaming for a while; an interview with dear Neil.

Me: Neil, thanks a lot for the time you speared for this interview! For the beginning let's start with the cliché question: how long have you been making perfumes? I know you started to sell out Neil Morris fragrances since 2003 (if I'm not mistaken). Would you please tell us how and when it began. Did anyone help or motivate you?

Neil: Hi Keiwan! Thank you for taking the time to interview me! Yes, I started NMF in 2003 with my then business partner, David. David was a prime force in getting things started. I wasn't much of a business person (though I’m more so now) and that was David’s forte. I preferred focusing on the perfume creation. We would chuckle and say that he was the brains and I was the nose! 
I started making perfume when I was 19 years old. I had always been a scent lover and when I was 19 I started collecting some scented materials. I played around with blending and it led to my launching NMF in 2003 with David. But it was Paula Goldstein of Desana Fragrances, which used to be on Newbury St. in Boston, who gave me the push I needed to get me started with creating my own perfumes. That was in the mid 90’s. I will be forever in her debt.

Me: I find your perfumes very subjective to deep emotional source; although; they are considerably strong and immense. Can you tell about that? Can you tell how emotional a dense perfume can be?

Neil: I love all kinds of perfumes but I do love exploring the darker, deeper, more intense side of perfumery. I love scents that I would consider bewitching! All perfume types can be emotional. It all depends on the person’s “scent history” as to how they respond emotionally to a given fragrance. My mom would wear Chanel No.5 or Emeraude when she and my father were going out to have some fun. As a result, I always associate the scent of Chanel No.5 with having a good time! I also have great memories of Halloween when I was a child so all the dense, warm scents of autumn in New England have a strong emotional impact for me. Hence my perfumes October and Chasing Autumn.

Me: Every try of your olfactory arts increases my power of imagination, I start to write and the finger go on keyboard like Chopin on piano! What happens when you're working on a perfume?

Neil: Thanks so much for saying that, Keiwan! What a wonderful image! Different things happen at different times and with different perfumes. When I focus on creating a new perfume it really takes over my psyche. With some perfumes, I know exactly where I’m going to take it and which materials I’m going to use. I may get the basic scent impression in just a few tries; then taking more time to “tune” it until it’s the way I want it. With other scents it is more complicated.

Me: You often spend a long time on your perfumes. Takashimaya took 8 months; so as Chasing Autumn.Which one is the most time-taking one?

Neil: Neil Morris for Takashimaya. When the elegant Takashimaya on 5th Avenue in New York asked me to create a scent just for them, I took it very seriously - how to combine the sophistication of 5th Avenue with the serenity of the Japanese vibe you would encounter the moment you walked through their doors. I worked day and night on this project till I thought it would drive me mad.
So, I called my dear friend and fellow perfumer, Sarah Horowitz, because I knew she would understand what I was going through. She calmed me down and told me to take a complete break from it for several days, which I did. When I came back to it, I went to sit in the Japanese Garden at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I sat there all afternoon, even through a thunderstorm, and after the rain I smelled a special aroma from the wet garden and I suddenly knew where I was going to take the perfume. I had several versions of it and asked dear Ida, David and my friend Catherine to help me choose which one I would submit and they did.

It took me 8 months of constant obsessing to complete Neil Morris for Takashimaya, New York. It was a great success and I’m grateful to Sarah, Ida, David & Catherine for their help and encouragement.

Me: I know you made a lot of perfumes devoted to specific places; Izmir, to give a name. Why places and memories of them are that important to your perfumery? Generally what sort of places attract your olfactory attention?

Neil: For me, perfume is all about storytelling. When I create a perfume, I am trying to tell you about something I care about or have a happy memory of. I want to invite you into my memory by using scent to convey the message. That is how I choose the places I use in my creations.

Me: You have a long category of perfumes in a series named The Vault; what The Vault stands for?

Neil: When we first launched the website, we had our Signature Collection of 8 fragrances available. They were very popular but I soon discovered people were looking for more variety so I decided to delve into some of the other fragrances I had created over the years that didn’t make it into our Signature Collection. I went into my “Vault” of perfumes, so to speak. That’s how the name was born.

Me: Some people call synthetics, some say man-made. You once called "art essence" why? Do they give significant identity to your perfumes?

Neil: Yes, they do. And I believe they are art-essences. The term “synthetics” sounds so cold and impersonal and many of them are so much more than that. Don’t get me wrong, I love natural scents. But I find in my work that natural essential oils alone are limiting; it limits the perfumer’s palette. Chandler Burr says: “Creating a perfume without synthetics is like painting a picture without blues or reds.” I agree with him. I use what’s called mixed media – essential oils and synthetic/art-essences together, maximizing the strengths of both. 

Me: Everyone likes to make profit of his/her talent and business; however; being an indie niche perfumer, among this mess up in "niche" market, is so precious. What is the advantage of being an indie niche and small house?

Neil: The advantage is that I can create what I want, when I want. I don’t have to pay attention to current trends if I don’t want to. I can create a retro perfume and know that there are people out there who will love it. It doesn't have to be 10 million people because the perfume doesn't have to support a giant company. This gives me tremendous freedom to express myself.

Me: Why you don't go with advertisements? Or it's me that i haven't seen any?!

Neil: I've found over the years that the internet, with its perfume blogs and perfumistas writing about niche perfumes and perfumers, has been a great way to get the word out. I’m so lucky to have so many friends and fans that love my work. It’s quite humbling and gratifying.

Me: What is your personal type of fragrance?

Neil: There are  many types of fragrances I like. It all depends on my mood. Most of the time I prefer scents that are unique or unusual in some way. Other than my own creations, I like to wear M7 and Terre d’Hermes. In spring and summer I enjoy my Clear and Un Jardin Sur le Nil, created by Jean-Claude Ellena.

Me: You once mentioned in an interview that you feel great affinity to Jean-Claude Ellena, if we're gonna pick a perfumer. It's interesting cause I see a big contrast in context of perfumeries, can you tell more about?

Neil: Jean-Claude Ellena, to me, is the perfumer’s perfumer. He was initially brought to my attention when I discovered his perfume; Firstthat he created for Van Cleef & Arpels. In my opinion, and many others agree, it is a masterpiece. From then on I became very interested in his work and when he became the perfumer for Hermès, I knew we were all in for a treat. He created Un Jardin Sur le Nil, the creation of which Chandler Burr wrote about in his book The Perfect Scent. A wonderful book, by the way.
What I most love and admire about Ellena’s work is his ability to create scented masterpieces with minimal ingredients. Now that takes talent!

I am also a fan of Olivia Giacobetti.

Me: What do you think about new rose/oud movement of Arabian perfumes?

Neil: Arabian perfumes?
I love both rose and oud, though I think the oud trend has run its course. It seems to be everywhere in perfumery at the moment. I can understand it because oud is such a rare, rich scent that lends itself to blending with almost anything.

Thank you Neil :)

Thank you so much, Keyvan! Fragrant Dreams!

Carpe Odor!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Ballad of Moon

Noir de Mars by Scent on Canvas

...Closer comes the horseman, drumming on the plain.
The boy is in the forge; his eyes are closed.
Through the olive grove come the gypsies, dream and bronze,
their heads held high, their hooded eyes...

The Ballad of Moon
Federico García Lorca

What is your expectation of an oud fragrance? What senses oud supposed to evoke? For many of us it's almost the most challenging sense to describe but we all are common in one concept: exotic oriental.

First of all don't let the title fool you! It's not gonna be an unduly burnt smoky darkness falling down from out of the ozone. It's just borrowing a conceptual name to evoke the inherent senses enfolded in the fragrance; however; it is adequately dark and exotic to carry the name. The concept is fulfilled with intimating two arts: visual arts (merely paintings) plus aromatic arts. This concept is; less or more; employed by Olfactive Studio combining and explaining perfumes by photography.

Top notes: agarwood. guaiac wood, sandalwood, yellow nusedge (I have never even cared about this grass and now I see some people use it in diet)
Heart notes: myrrh, leather, gurjun balsam
Foot notes: amyris, amber

Noir de Mars begins with promising and satisfying dose of immense woodsy orchestrated myrrh and leather that smells like new old-school leather bicycle saddle! The woody accords itself is on intense patch of woodsy nuances, injected in agarwood. This combination of oud and guaiac is now pretty familiar. The oud (it's Laos oud) plus guaiac provide seriously humid air which is even amplified by sandalwood and its mellow milky mood. This dampness is reduced by myrrh and amber.

Flamenco dancers in black, isn't just magnificent everything with Spanish musical culture? I adore that dances but to be more even precise to what I see in this perfume referring to Spanish music I strongly recommend you to watch this video link from Jim Jarmusch's movie: The Limits of Control. Mind-blowing etude performance.

The first layer's more on wood-majority and for that it's rather impressing and draws you in. Quickly it travels into second layer with smoky myrrh that evokes the tragic mysterious and exotic dark nuances of oriental arts. Noir de Mars is one of those few examples that delivers the original oriental feel with its premium myrrh. Instead of malls and luxury houses in Dubai and Doha I'm just imagining original flamenco dancers in black, I'm just dreaming a walk in the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the bulls and the guitars, olives and cheeses and wines of warm south Spain, I'm just dreaming floating in Lorca's poems and Francisco Goya's etchings.

Astonishing Lobb arches and lobbed interlacing arches of the Great Mosque of Cordoba; the honorable bride of Islamic architecture and pinnacle of arch decoration geometry.

That is surely leather in the middle of the first layer on that emerges those dark artistic feelings. The leather here is more like a catalysis that intensifies the darkness without being so prominent; only some creamy wet aromatic soft animalic accord in the back refers to the leather accord; however; the combination is still arguably leather infused.
Now the sun is setting behind remote hills of grape farms. After about 3 hours; less or more; now the oud aged down much after sandalwood that was dead much before. The leather is still resisting with myrrh that is all alive there and borrows woodsy air in.
Noir de Mars is a modest local lovely perfume on oud and myrrh combo with fair sillage and higher than moderate longevity.

Carpe Odor!

Monday, March 16, 2015

An unknown synthetic revolution

Eau de Froehliche No.3 by Erik Kormann

Now it's time to unveil another hidden indie niche house abd its almost-most-famous creation Eau de Froehliche No.3.
This perfume rings a bell of that awkward moment when you realize the art side of perfumery has no sit among widespread niche and notorious wallet suckers such as Maison Francis Kurkdjian and pretentious Clive Christian that occupy the remaining shelves that vast army of glimmering barbies of Montale and incessant expansion of Bond No9 have left.

Top Note: Black Currant, Lemon, Pink Pepper
Heart Note: Cassyran, Green of Leaves, Rosemary, Geranium, Rose, Fruity Notes
Base Note: Frankincense, Cashmeran wood, Savory, Cedar, Sandalwood, Ambergris, Musk
All the beauty behind No. 3 is for its black currant buds and leaves knitted with cashmeran wood and incense-faced cedar. This series potentially is a cross point of two distinct category of perfumery in high contrast; berries or herbal notes clash with mysterious incense; and this is the major factor behind their success.
No. 3 is; to be exact and brief; an unusual twist of super natural accord with prominent synthetic vibe; a savage springy fragrance. Savage springy, yes, two opposite concepts as the scent itself suggests, as well as feedback I obtained: smells strangely like aromatic tea, smells like crushes leaves, smells like greens grown in a lagoon, smells like ivy and tea leaf, et al.

It opens with highly mentholated cassis and black currant; very deliciously, gassy, sparkling, fresh and green with rainy metallic feel that emerges from Cassyrane; a synthetic captive replacement for real cassis note; probably much stronger and stable; as far as I understood. And for that the black currant note is tuned up and accentuated. Through the time, the performance tends more to woody side with fresh young cashmeran wood smell: fluffy, velvety and blond that blended to opening vibes it plays earthy and dusty with strange persistent petroleum shape of smell in background injected throughout the fragrance.
No. 3 is a smart, simple and brilliant intense springy release with enormous longevity and strong sillage on my skin.

Carpe Odor!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gourmand and nothing else

Sweet Memories by CJ Scents

This few last months (by coincidence or by searching or any possible way that I don't know what to call but it is absolutely chance) I encountered several small and not-so-famous indie niche perfumery houses with talented noses behind. One of these tiny lovely single-parented houses is CJ Scents; a lovely American independent brand by Candice Jurko; manager and the nose behind; whose concept of establishing her brand hit me in heart: I started CJ Scents when I couldn't find certain combinations in commercial/niche scents. I just started making my own. Soon, people were asking to buy them.
She also has been a restaurant manager for considerably long time and that gives me a strong feel of trust that like always as I concern "talent shines where the need of money is not a prime matter".
During a very friendly and cozy chat at the beginning of being friends; because I aimed to introduce Sweet Memories on my blog; Candice talked about the background of the perfume, the notes and so many other precious hints which I'm so appreciated for. If you think such modest houses usually stay narrowly known only in their local, you're totally wrong! Wrong cause Sweet Memories is actually a bespoke perfume for a customer from Sweden that took over 6 months to construct! Of course a big part of this period is for distance and appointments but I think this is enough to make one curious to think "there must be something that a customer trips all the way long and back every time to try and finalize his order" level! And for having it now on my wrist I have to thank him, as well, for letting the perfume to be openly published.

I had found this picture last week and it greatly influenced me the way "Sweet Memories" does. It's a rural Swedish house. In this charming picture the low window and where it meets the ceiling eaves is like Alice's mirror fro me! photo fromSkansen Museum archive.

Notes she enlisted for Sweet Memories:
Amber, tobacco, rhubarb, vanilla custard, vanilla, sandalwood, almond and coffee cake
OK, let's do it live! I have it right now on my wrist and it's probably the tenth; or more; this month cause this perfume in spite of its simple and modest manner has a deep elusive side that must be inspected step by step; however; there's no shifting in common term and the changes from hello to dry down are on slight steep line down with completely blurred edges. I'm gonna write/draft it till the post is ready.
The first layer of Sweet Memories is apparently a weird and adorably twisted sort of gourmand which implies to no specific time. It's like a perfume from a century ago while it's free from any classic composition and it's pretty modern. So how does it smell in the opening?
It's obviously an arrangement of highly usual materials allied in a very unusual way that the whole opening smells oddly beautiful. Smells like old canvas textile saturated by too old linseed oil. It's a kind of floral or let's say sweet damp sandalwood in majority with maybe tobacco (?) and vanilla. I guess, strongly guess, that the oddness of the opening vibe is exactly from almond cause I somehow have the same intriguing stream in Loukhoum by Keiko Mecheri. This familiar/odd intro quickly slides into custard cake and vanilla smell with tiny but radiant rhubarb bed that adds springy sourness and joy to the composition.
I seriously admire the perfume for its middle-to-foot performance with unusual cake tobacco smell and sepia picture moods! It evokes happiness and nostalgia together, it smells milky sweet and bitter slight fluffy that's like Christmas time and shopping for new year gifts!

Sweet Memories is under oriental vanilla category but I like to shrink and fit it in gourmand family, nevertheless, I'm pretty aware term "gourmand" in perfume world is somehow a synonym of "silly", mostly because of several inexpensive low level designers and celebrity launches these recent years. But I really want to reminds that there are some sort of "artistic" gourmands in this range that are not lesser than woody sexy blah blah masterpieces, and personally I'm fond of such gourmands. 1969 Parfum de Revolte is one of them!
The only untold fact about the actual perfume is the projection and power. I'm afraid but I have to say with almost moderate power on my skin Sweet Memories could be a better perfume if it would play louder and longer a bit. Or maybe it's not simply for my dark skin cause I see it drives better on feminine porcelain skins.

Carpe Odor!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mesmerizing Morocco

Ayour by Neil Morris

A good fragrance brings you back to a place, a moment, makes you imagine and build up places and conditions in mind. Makes you leave your sit, walk and think about it. A good fragrance delivers the most submerged and forgotten emotions up again. And Ayour must be the fragrance.
The common DNA of Neil Morris fragrance is that all of them (or at least those I know) cruise me to a particular imagination or place that tied up with my deepest emotions and memories! And for such perfumes the worst part is when I don't remember where the smell embedded to my olfactory memoir, who smells like this, from where and when I know the scent? That makes me walk and think, think and think.
Ayour is a perfume that make me thrilled and crazy for. I asked Neil about the idea behind Ayour and what Ayour means, he replied:
"Ayour is the Berber word for “moon.” I have a friend who is Berber and from Morocco and I told him I wanted to create a perfume that smelled of the Moroccan desert at twilight, during a full moon. That’s when he told me the Berber for moon is Ayour."
What an arty concept! Berbers are known for their warriors and coarse climatic condition of north African deserts; however; they're also known for their specific music, beautiful eyes and their costumes. Considering harsh Sahara condition and picking "moon" out of it; how deliberate can be extracting a delicate poetic concept out of roughness?!

 Henri Rousseau, The sleeping gypsy (La Bohémienne Endormie), 1897

Ayour, is not a distinct kind of smell, specially the incense employed is pretty knows in some other niche creations; yet the matter of admiration is the quality and ensemble of notes used to create the concept artistic and emerge delicacy of dreamy moon dance in freezing nights of Sahara from the enigmatic Berber air. Yes, Ayour is enigmatic, is boldly exotic and authentic. I have tried several pseudo-mideastern fragrances which tried to imitate Arabian air; some are disappointing but Ayour's success point is its originality unashamed cultural representation and brilliant incense play.
Ayour's notes are:
Elemi resin, aldehydes, pomegranate, fig, French narcissus, Iso E Super, Tibetan musk, ambergris, Texas cedarwood, oud, Arabian frankincense, and cypress.
The fragrance opens with very bold portion of fig-charged pomegranate bitterness. The pomegranate looks unreal and strange cause of intervention of a note that is considerably underrated in Fragrantica: aldehyde. The aldehyde note implemented in Ayour is so bold and members rated the incense. I can even say this is most probably the same aldehyde formula enlisted in Andy Tauer's 14 Noontide Petals. The smell of roasted lamb liver comes from this aldehyde and we have that smoky taste bolder in Ayour. Yet, it's not an aldehyde-dominated fragrance while all the notes are immersed in incense and it overpowers entire performance.
Anyway, the pomegranate gradually fades down into smoky cedar beating smell (a good example of such cedar is Comme des Garçons Standard). The incense and aldehyde combo in the first step of the middle phase provide acrid and tarty taste in dense smoky; odd smoky; pattern. It's like something is burning in an African kitchen, something leathery or woody-leathery.

To be honest, the fragrance reached its foot after several hours and I don't get the oud yet. Just I draw some elemi resin with its fresh resinous pine/citrus terpenic aura out from the immense cedar/incense/aldehyde trio.
Ayour is dense, exotic, smoky, tasty, oriental chyper, slightly skanky (in lovely meaning) and leathery, original and authentic. A real masterpiece in incense range.

Carpe Odor!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tea for Tradition; Russian Tea by Masque Milano

Russian Tea by Masque Milano

Tchaikovsky violin plays in radio. Home, carpets, some frames of lubok paintings, family pictures, and probably a Repin's print. No one speaks a word, dragon exhale steam sound of a fat brass samovar tells everything. Tea and some cakes ready for afternoon…
Outside; woodpeckers on birches - the worried slender beholders of forests - and winter is almost come, no leaves left for trees to hinder the expansion of remote sounds of woodpeckers towards all entire woods. Birches evoke the sense of security and safe with theirs virgin white color in contrast with frowny face of a forest invaded by autumn.
A tall man, golden beard, walks in with cut trunks of wood for fireplace. Smell of tea spread through home. Vapor mist of samovar dew on glass frames of some nearby pictures above table by the wall. Glass cups, cakes and beet sugars are on table. It's tea time...

When I was a kid I used to believe the eyes on birch bark behold us in woods!

I know several perfumes with absolute composition of birch and leather; usually treat warm and thick; but this one is a different case for its marvelous opening and so on.
The notes are:
Black tea, black pepper, birch wood (a kind of unfamiliar dusty birch), magnolia, cistus ladanifer (a variety of labdanum), mint, leather accords, immortelle, raspberry, and incense (Luckuyscent suggests one extra: everlasting flowers).
Russian Tea has deep cultural root into Russian tea tradition which I'm pretty familiar to since we have been influenced by Russian culture during first world war. Drinking tea in teacup saucer and having sugar beet cubes with it!
How can't I admire the perfume (not necessarily the concept behind) while all the performance is highly tied and overlapped with my culture and rituals and life? How can't I love this perfume (even considering many thumb downs from many great reviewers)? How can't I sniff and enjoy the deliberate smell of leather and black tea, smell of birch which reminds me the best days ever? Bad or good, cheap or expensive, whatever you call, Russian Tea, is highly chained to my emotions and I really can't draw it down; but; I try my best to be a good judge out of prejudice!

Russian Tea initiates very pungent with modern theme of black tea, a reminiscence of retro teas in tin can before widespread distribution of flavored tea bags of Earl Grey! I know birch bark and wood smell very well and I get the wood smell right from the intro. It's savory and sheer with considerable amount of synthetic side (I'm not good in this range so better to not struggle on it) obscured behind the notes. The very minutes the opening shifts to the settled middle step; which is like someone applied a bold mentholated tea leaf fragrance on black leather jacket and the jacket is spotted wet for over apply; is when the marvelous opening totally changes and it may be a little disappointing. The leather, here in Russian Tea, is somewhere between soft designer formula and not-that-immense like those in artistic creations of Soivohle and Neil Morris. It's on the edge to be urbanized and wearable, however, potentially it's richer than expectation and seems it's watered down or better to says gentled by immortelle and raspberry (this fruity vibe owes the famous leather emblem: Tuscan Leather). Russian Tea with no feature in common reminds me the famous pinnacle of modern perfumery devoted to Tsar Nicholas II: Houbigant Fougere Royale; not the same type of smell, yet it rings that it's an extension of that remarkable heritage.
Back to the topic of leather and birch with their mutual friend; labdanum; and their impact on black tea note; a paradoxical intersection of two different realms in dialectical way and how charmingly Julien Rasquinet illustrate this scenario into liquid form. Although Russia is not the major house of tea culture while southern countries like Turkey, Iran, Arabians and its origin; India and neighbors; have ultimately engaged with the drink much deeper culturally; yet; Russian Tea is a perfect and successful expression of a cultural activity by which people come together and it is tea that firmly enchains the structure of the basic foundation unit of society: family.

Perhaps he's not that talented like Repin or Shishkin but in his paintings, Bogdanov greatly represent Russian culture, tradition, and lifestyle.
Nikolay Bogdanov, New Owners Drinking Tea, 1913

Now the perfume is about to sunset! Hours of pleasant brilliant performance on my skin that brought me passion and pleasure. It's now on smoldering leather and faint birch wood with persistent strawberry and mellow incense that hasn't found opportunity to say hello before this. Russian Tea is in fact very pleasant and jovial perfume, very delicate and strong in longevity and sillage.

Carpe Odor!

A traveler in Arabia

Une Nuit a Doha by Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777

From the day tobacco with its exotic smell has been subjected for perfumery until today it has not lost its attraction. In this range; of course as long as the aroma is not an organic ingredient; the winner of competition is who makes the best accords and who apply it the best to create the most realistic tobacco smell. From designers to niches, from natural perfumes to synthetic ones, everyone has a touch in this field. Burberry London for men, several releases of Thierry Mugler, and on and on, till it comes to niches and one of the best in tobacco category, perhaps, is Une Nuit a Doha if we consider reality in smell.
Une Nuit a Doha unveils with mellow and pleasant sweet waxiness of vanilla infused tobacco but it is not an usual tobacco as in Gucci by Gucci or some sort, rather it is exactly; I repeat exactly; aromatic Arab hookah tobacco. Enough to take a walk in traditional part of an Arab city like Doha or Dubai when the fever of cruel sun is cooling down and the realm of merciful moon and night is beginning, so as to nightlife and cafés. People are smoking hookah and the smoke is enveloping the entire place with its cozy and captivating gourmand aura.

But it's not all, Une Nuit a Doha actually has a bold private and VIP face that comes from its fluffy vanilla and rebel mimosa and the relaxing theme underneath this layer. It illustrates the luxurious lifestyle of women in palaces.
The gourmand dry fruity side it presents is like nothing else. It's literally realistic and very clear with real dried fruit shop smell and hookah café and this means it's not for me at all, no matter how beautiful and how elaborate the balance of smells is measured; I'm not a fan of realistic smells and I'm not gonna smell like a hookah café garcon! Yes, to be honest, the fragrance is king size but this is my point of view and it evokes from my obsessions! Now, if anyone loves it I hope she or he enjoys it and I suggest you if you're looking for real; I second that loudly: real; smell of hookah, this is the exact point you're looking for.

Carpe Odor!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

When you see all the beauty in the world...

Réglisse Noire by 1000 Flowers

Surfing among the topics of many perfume forums like fragrantica you definitely find treads like "what smells do you like" and it indicates to smells that are not encapsulated in perfume form (I'm wonder if there's any Demeter hasn't worked on!) and you find many interesting answers: "car smog in the first minutes in winter morning", "freezer icy vapor", "swamp", "newly constructed building", etc. One of those I'm seriously in love is the smell of fish restaurants in Turkey that serve booze and this mixture of booze, fish, and meze (booze-mate small dishes of appetizers) is hilarious. I really love to sniff through. The booze itself smells great though many people tolerate it when they drink! It's Rakı; the famous Turkish distilled anise-flavored spirit from grapes with approximately %40 vol. I'm crazy about its smell cause I simply adore anise's smell. Also beside this a famous variety of Greek sibling booze is Ouzo which is again an anise flavored beverage from grape skin.

Two bottles of Altınbaş Rakı, my favorite brand!

Of course a beverage contains high level of alcohol which is apparently different to that of a perfume, yet, Réglisse Noire has strong similarity to the beverage and it's because high drench of anise to it; a tiny but strong common point.
Réglisse Noire is the first official attempt that Jessica Buchanan introduced to perfume world which for being an artistic indie-niche creation it's pretty unknown, however, it has own great fans.

Although it's named "Black Licorice" yet it's full of exciting feelings.
Licorice, shiso leaves, star anise, mint, white pepper, ozone, vanilla, cacao, patchouli, ginger, vetiver, and musk.
What I adore about Réglisse Noire opens with zesty mentholated slightly sour anise and peppery notes that transforms into more developed platform: cacao blossoms and it gives sort of minute sweetness (technically balanced, disciplined and very elaborate) and then licorice with its realistic bitterness empowers. Boy, I fell I'm having licorice sticks! I strongly believe Réglisse Noire is the the most natural licorice smell I've ever encountered and even though I'm not a fan of realistic notes in perfumery I seriously cannot deny its beauty. When the perfume sunsets it actually stays on skin with heavenly animalic musky vibe juxtaposed with silky vanilla with kind of marine air.

Réglisse Noire is a simple composition in fact but this level of masterly using of notes without any parasite is only happens by endeavor. It's a monotone sheer spicy woody oriental fragrance with zesty top and fluffy vanilla foundation. Of course line all perfumes it consists some man-made ingredients but the reality level of natural ingredients is much much bigger than to be compared even to the synthetic side. This is its livelihood and optimistic spirit that makes me in love. I imagine wearing white linens and walking in evening in coastal towns on south of Turkey and watching how azure Mediterranea turns to dark. I want to have Réglisse Noire on me for my next trip when I feel the sea's divine breeze streaming in my shirt.
To deliver it better maybe this does help if I example Réglisse Noire's live and extrovert manner to vivid colors of David Hockney's art and exact ratios and proportions of Caravaggio's paintings; yes, it's a liquid painting, a liquid rhapsody.

The feel this painting inspire is so great, it has a live atmosphere that I sense the same in Réglisse Noire.
David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967

Réglisse Noire is not royal nor sexy nor supreme niche "oh my god" scent. It's modest, peaceful, homey, cozy and straight. You may have a lot of alternatives in mind for any category you like to wear but Réglisse Noire is a mandatory perfume you don't need to think twice if you're in licorice and anise. And as the artist indicates Réglisse Noire is about bridging two worlds: high-tech synthetics with ozonic accords (Helional) at one side and natural notes at the other; and how masterly Jessica merges these two!

Carpe Odor!