Saturday, October 31, 2015

African Leather; African Leather by MEMO

African Leather by MEMO

Recently the Parisian perfume house of MEMO has announced for their latest release and the fourth member of Cuirs Nomades collection: African Leather. This is MEMO's fourth leather-oriented perfume created by Aliénor Massenet of IFF; the same portrait behind the most part of MEMO's portfolio. Formerly the house had released Irish Leather and Italian Leather in 2013 and French Leather in 2014. Eventually they just released African Leather which is available in some distributor boutiques.
African Leather is about westernized spicy effervescent leather. Just like the other three members of Cuirs Nomades collection, I predict the same reactions for this last creation. Some perfumistas believe MEMO fragrances are mediocre, some believe they are unique and not another replica, and made by high quality ingredients. For some creations as Jannat, Italian Leather, Lalibela and Shamd Oud, I join the second group and one aspect of African Leather that makes it outstanding and puts it in the house's number ones is high virginity of essential oils that deliver full HD quality of smell.

With a prelude of intriguing spicy charm upon cumin, cardamom and saffron, the fragrance blooms. This elixir is juiced and freshened by bergamot and soon, upcoming green floral toothpaste-like smell of crispy geranium appears.
A premium patchouli play infuses in, and the yummy spicy theme gradually merges into wild warmth of patchouli and leather. I expected a hardcore leather smellscape upon the title but leather in African Leather is so genuine and dandy. It's soft and not so dark, not so aggressive, totally unisex, a bit bitter and sweet and creamy. It's a soft and wild yet chic theme to amplify the warmth and velvety base. In the very deep base, you will capture the basic performance of oud and vetiver, and see how the concoction is orchestrated to begin with fresh spicy ancient theme and settle in warm fluffy subtle base.
African Leather has great longevity and higher than average projection. But what mesmerizes me is premium quality of few notes composing a nice complete fragrance.

Carpe Odor!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Eight centuries of experience; Melograno, Peau d' Espagne, and Acquadi Cuba by Santa Maria Novella

Melograno, Peau d' Espagne, and Acquadi Cuba
Santa Maria Novella

The regretful part of my trip to Italy was skipping over many local Italian perfume houses that occurred for no reason but ridiculously dense tour agenda that stinted least free time to get around. I'm an architect and I carry my passion and interest everywhere.
While in Firenze we didn't visit the famous Santa Maria Novella church which is a great pity for me, as sad as not visiting the famous ancient pharmacy and apothecary house of Officina Farmaceutuca di Santa Maria Novella: a house of pharmacy and perfumery which I've learnt more about when I left it unvisited.

A picture I took while passing by the church, Opus Quadratum masonry and ornaments that signify gardens and ponds.
Anyhow, by kindness of Florin - a dear friend from Paris to whom I owe my career in perfumery - and also by the kind supports of the house in Firenze, I prepared this review on three random perfumes of the house I found the most debatable in my collection plus, of course, a brief history cause talking about such perfumeries, is all about history and experience.

As the official describes, the first historical traces of Officina goes back to 1221 when the Dominican friars, arriving in Florence, built their monastery just outside the city gate and soon after they began to research and experiment aspects and abilities of herbs planted in their gardens next to the monastery.
In 1612, when the hearsay of quality of the material produced in the monastery reach outside world, monk Fra Angiolo Marchissi opened the pharmacy to the public and started their commercial activity towards pharmacy, perfumery, elixirs, healing waters, etc. that acclaimed publicly. During 18th century the fame and products have been brought to far lands beyond boundaries of neighbor kingdoms, even to Russia.
In 1886 after the confiscation of the church property by the government, for the first time the control passed in the hands of a layman, Cesare Augusto Stefani, nephew of the last Dominican friar who had been the director of the Officina.
In 1991 Eugenio Alphandery approached the Officina, “tradition and innovation” has been since then his motto.

Perfumery was not and is not the only talent of the heir of the house, however, only their history of their perfumery shines like a diamond with honors as delivering Acqua della Regina (the world's first known celebrity perfume for Caterina de Medici, the crown queen of France). The Officina produce many other ancient recipes include Liquore MediceoAlkermesElisir di ChinaAceto dei Sette Ladri, and Acqua di Santa Maria Novella (for controlling hysterics). After 400 years of uninterrupted business in the building situated in Via Reginaldo Giuliani, the house still relies on apothecary father’s artisanal procedures, thought modern technology is employed.

Acqua di Colonia Melograno

Melograno means pomegranate and it summons warm, welcoming sensations and truly signifies the tree. The pomegranate tree spread from Persia (pomegranate was the symbol of fertility, pregnancy, and symbol of divinity in ancient Persian myths) throughout the Mediterranean. It embellished many ancient Egyptian tombs. 
Melograno is full of surprises. A brilliant touch of mossy notes and pomegranate and opoponax (just try it to see how deliberately the fruit and the resin marry to each other) with gourmand vibes of ambery notes including labdanum and vanilla, charged with sweety tobacco. A lush and first class modest floral throne safeguards the delicate and sensitive seeds of the fruit and ephemeral joy of the resin.
The base of Melograno is powdery and mossy with dominant floral layer and it doesn't look like a perfume composed for aromatherapy, it is a perfume for the sake of olfactory.
Very masterly, minimalistic, and straight-to-the-point type of chypré with average longevity, average sillage, pure class.

Acqua di Cuba

Acqua di Cuba is named after its ingredients’ place of origin. This perfume is a custom blend of aromatic notes mingled in bitter orange and bergamot. This top layer is subdued by highly spicy honey that smells like a handmade medicine for an illness. The heart of the fragrance shows the tobacco dominantly. Still honey and shades of lavender live and it delivers more sweet waxy theme but it is rendered by citruses and woodsy notes which lurk at the back. Honey in this composition is the key and it keeps tobacco up. However, with this all Acqua di Cuba is not a regular tobacco heaviness and it presents the note in a cologne format with animalic honey.
Lasts about 6 hours on my skin, with great sillage.

Peau d'Espagne

Peau d’Espagne is a very old fragrance, originally formulated as far back as the 16th century, as an essence used to scent leather. It is a masculine fragrance, with a rich, exclusive bouquet of resinous and spicy notes. This is my type. I dig for leather, birch, and animalic nuances and when they gather in a cannon it brings me an olfacotry orgasm!
Peau d’Espagne opens with punchy powdery carnation and leafy notes. It is thick and slightly dark and rustic with sort of freshness at background. Then striking curtains of leathery birch appears. I love the way birch duplicates leather. This wood deserves much more than being burnt in fireplace!
The base of Peau d’Espagne shows hints of animality. Collaborating with birch and dark leather/petroleum aspects of violet, this seriously elevates the composition to a real award winning state. Strong longevity and beyond average sillage.

Carpe Odor!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Patrician leather; Homme XJ 17/17 by Xerjoff

Homme XJ 17/17 by Xerjoff

I wish I had great vocal chords to sing opera in tenor with glory of this perfume! This is not what happens as usual in perfumery even in artistic class of niche perfumery.
I got a sample from a friend and gave it a go. My first impression when I tried Homme was arranging a new shopping list and put it immediately on top, however, I shall think twice for the astronomical price of 520€ stone label 100ml flacon (or 15ml attar oil Murano glass for 550€ and quartz flacons)! This is Xerjoff's most exclusive and extravagant perfume collection.
Just as straight as its name, the scent also shouts for dashing masculinity but not as in aggressive fougère "Mr. way too much cologne wearer" type of testosterone manly perfumes of 70's and 80's. It's an exceptional gem that appears on shelves once a century; a genteel leather with intrigant inner-vision.

Murano flacons, aren't they just desirable?

One fact before I go on is about the name of the brand and I should indicate many people still pronounce this brand's name incorrectly. It's pronounced Serjof not Zerjāf or Zeryāf and it's named after Sergio Momo himself. Xerjoff is an eminent umbrella company working in the industry since 2003 and during this not so long-term career the house achieved remarkable successes and presented truly high-end maximalist fragrances racked in several collections. Homme is a member of lavish collection of XJ 17/17.

I see the lights and darkness contrasts of Homme in Caravaggio's art
Caravaggio, The Taking of Christ, 1602

Homme initiates so shiny and vibrant with citrus and un-twisty leathery notes that is, in the first steps, under clove's cloak. A spicy and fresh zesty accent, cooperates lavender and citrus. Gradually clues of powdery leather fades in and the composition suddenly releases out the yummy air and segues into leather and the fragrance becomes giant and solid. With a quaint smell of roller pen ink, the leather accord gets rather darker than as expected. The inky smell which source is unknown for me adds Persian indigo atmosphere to dark gray leather and makes royal out of its sculptural facet.

I said rollerball ink but I found this picture fancier. There's no smell of artist ink in Homme

This is the most cruel Cesar-size leather perfume ever made. I emphasize that Homme is not a stronger or most brutal leather, it's a birch tar leather composition and by far the most elaborate one.
Beside everything, there's a familiar smell of petroleum in Homme and those lured by famous petroleum leather smell of Dior Fahrenheit (the earlier versions, the fragrance went under a bad reformulation genocide and lost its charisma aftermath) would immediately mark it. Kain has started his brilliant review with the same idea: "Did you miss the strong, smoky and kind of petroleum-like smell of original formulation of Dior Fahrenheit?!" He also indicates to Knize Ten as an olfactory parallel which I have not tested yet and as a leather worm it's a shame! This heavy runner petroleum powdery accord gives me equanimity that someone is faithful to originality of leathery compositions.
Homme's heart is dark, prominent masculine, immensely powdery and softly soapy. I'm not a fan of soapy fragrances at all, but this type is so genuine. It's like fine handmade soap in a granite bathtub, very special and very luxurious. Luxurious, I said. My vocabulary is not that advanced to emphasize the correct term but luxurious would fit the idea.

It is also compared to some other first class leather compositions like Puredistance M and Cuir Ottoman. Puredistance M is a perfume with leather inside and Homme is leather itself. Cuir Ottoman has a very close powdery leather but, though I do love Cuir Ottoman, comparing to Homme is a silly joke!

The dry down gets out of rigid leathery accord and meets some amber accords and vetiver that make it round and dusty. Yet, the result doesn't go so far from the imperial powdery leather and the fragrance is still there like Stonehenge!

Homme is literally an extraordinary composition, not for special people but for special customers! I may not be able to purchase a bottle someday unless plan a bankrobbery in Switzerland, but believe me this perfume deserves a Cannes festival award. It's a homogeneous, rich, wealthy composition for almost cold weather and formal occasions. Smells like leather seats of a Maserati - if this delivers the idea of smell and vibe. 
Homme presents so massive and bold but very calculated and not overpowering. Strong longevity, over 8 hours of solid performance on my skin, plus huge projection with mellow trail of smell behind wearer.
I don't know who's the nose behind this jewel, and I don't ask the house since they don't reveal such information, but bravo Sergio Momo and bravo to the nose whoever s/he is.

Carpe Odor!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fidelis by Histoires de Parfums

Fidelis by Histoires de Parfums

Histoires de Parfums began fifteen years ago in 2000 with the first member of the library perfumes - 1740 Marquis de Sade - and followed the trend with subsequent perfumes for exceptional individuals. In 2011 a conceptual trio (white gold) has been released under Éditions Rare collections, which continued by another trio (yellow gold) in 2012. The house has announced for their latest creation and a member of the third collection; pink gold: FidelisThe notes introduced by the house are: cardamom oil, Guatemalan coffee, saffron, cumin oil, rose absolute, raspberry, patchouli, amber, Laotian oud.
"Gold is wedded to copper, the metal dedicated to Venus, the goddess of love and seduction....A lingering kiss in the hollow of the wrist from coffee, saffron and spicy amber. Thus love, born in the heart of a rose entwined with patchouli, surrenders to the delights of intoxicating oud."
A week ago I received a sample of Fidelis and immediately gave it a quick try, and by a very subjective impression I found it spicy woody intense perfume. But within next and next tests, I found more and more facets till I finally discover that this is not a simple perfume, it's a 3D polygon.

Photo by Richard Mosse

Although they are completely irrelevant in composition, for some aspects I link Fidelis to Amouage Opus IX and it is for sharp angular opening.
The opening of Fidelis is sparkling, soil-like, semi-floral - as in violet-oriented fragrances - and kind of vegetal yet so pungent. This is a beginning of a perfect composition on oudwood and appetizing spicy floral patch. As expected from the notes, saffron and cardamom are so bold. Julien Rasquinet (the nose behind this perfume who has my admiration from his masterpiece; Russian Tea) masterly employs coffee to give the spicy theme a crisp and dry pseudo-woody/smoky dimension, however, this characteristic intensifies by cumin, for which the whole composition highly incline to some of Serge Lutens', specially Serge Noir and those orchestrated by cloves and cumin. Cumin, cardamom and saffron are entwined together and formed a spicy integrity with gigantic effect on wet medicinal aged Laotian oud.

This is one very interesting composition. I can't say I love it like it or hate it, but it amuses me. It challenges me to discover it, extract its essence and find the gold from a mess. It's a geometrical game for my architectural abilities.
The core of the fragrance is so spicy and floral, stinks a little, and scratches your nose as smelling fresh ground pepper. What makes me take my hat off for Rasquinet's intelligence, is his smart use of four elements of an ordinary so-called oriental perfume on which many brands make silly things: rose, oud, saffron, and patchouli. He elaborately identifies it in a different way and shows the abilities of oudwood, and not been affected by marketing fever.

Fidelis has very robust longevity and punchy projection. Once sprayed on my wrist and it occupied whole the room. This of course can hardly be feminine but let me assure you that this is not a mere masculine one. It's heavy, rustic, so special and so spicy. If you love Amouage Opus IX, then you love Fidelis too.

Carpe Odor!

Monday, October 26, 2015

An expression of an olfactory hallucination; This is Not a Blue Bottle by Histoires de Parfums

This is Not a Blue Bottle by Histoires de Parfums

Just few weeks ago French niche perfume house Histoires de Parfums announced for their latest creation which will hit the markets by the end of the current year. A solid Klein blue colore bottle named "This is Not a Blue Bottle". This ironic title immediately rings a bell and reminds Marcel Duchamp's famous anti-art installation which is an porcelain urinal rotated 90 degrees and named Fountain which was a very challenging installation delivering a provocative statement behind: Art is something you piss on. More than Fountain, the perfume title fits to Réne Magritte's graphical painting The Treachery of Images. The artist painted his pipe realistically with a sentence written below the picture which emerges a paradoxical meaningful concept: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" meaning "this is not a pipe", comes to mind. Both artists has strong claims for their conceptions. Magritte uses a realistic trick so common in surrealism and suggests "This is not my pipe and you can't stuff this pipe. This is picture of my pipe and if I write "This is a pipe" I lie."

Parallel to this upcoming release, in the world of perfume, there are some smash hit releases, not for the fragrances, but more for their provocative titles. Not a Perfume by Juliette has a Gun gained all attentions since the perfume was composed on one substance. The Sexiest Scent on the Planet, Ever, IMHO by 4160 Tuesdays and What We do in Paris is Secret by A Lab of Fire are the most frequent controversial titles. Christopher Brosius's perfume house, CB I Hate Perfume, evokes the same intriguing sense. Regardless to how the smells of these perfumes are, they are trying send a message and they are so successful in sales! Gérald Ghislain describes about This is Not a Blue Bottle:
"I have always felt that there is no rhyme or reason how scent makes us feel. It's a magnetic and primal sense... I made This is Not a Blue Bottle as a pre-concept, something that is only emerging, whose story does not exist until it is on the skin."
This is brilliant, Is it abstraction? Not only a perfume, A chorus of elementals, Blue tattoo on your skin, Bottle with a message.

Anyway, more than everything the medium itself is the most important part. How does it smell and how the smell delivers the message of BB (let me call this long title only by two initials of Blue Bottle).
The beginning made me rolled eye. You say this is that outstanding? No in fact this is that ordinary type of smell you skip over while in department stores, with shopping bags in hand, when have no clue to try a perfume from designer shelves or not. This is that awkward moment in chess when you can't move anything but the king who has no ability to defense! A perfume with no particular story behind, no concept. It's a smell which story begins on your skin!
The resemblance of BB to frequent "sport" spring/autumn masculine perfumes released over million in a batch, makes me rather intrigued. Why HdP with that portfolio releases such easy perfume? What it tries to say? If it is an easy going perfume you neglect easily, why is all this pompous ad campaign for? A fragrance with radiant blue color that insists to not be called so, however, people rely on their first trustable sense - vision - and would call it the blue one; in a probable dialogue with sales person. So there is something in the spirit of the perfume, something seemingly common but identified quite personal. The house suggests it reveals once opened on skin.

The fragrance opens so fresh and balmy, with boozy dimensions. Musk-oriented, aromatic, and bitter orange opening which promises for round warmer heart. Gradually hints of honey and crisp metallic geranium appear. According to the house's catalog there must be aldehyde note in the opening which I honestly can't get any. I'm not so good in chemistry and don't know too much about aldehyde but as far as I know this olfactory family has specific floral-like soapy smell.
BB has more than average longevity and enormous sillage. Very surprisingly, I've gained many positive feedback in just a couple of hours; roll eyes, Oh!s, Wows, and even "it's so sexy"... This is so strange. A perfume which resembles many random designer fragrances you can buy with about $40, but the feedback are about a super niche perfume! I can't certainly tell whether it's good or bad or whatsoever, but maybe it's all about skin... You should discover it.

Carpe Odor!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Half chemistry and half music; ROOM 1015

ROOM 1015

Being a musician, Dr. Mike (Michael Partouche) also holds a PhD in pharmacy but what draws him into perfume world was always his knowledge in chemistry and interest in fragrance and cosmetic world that shone, and they came together in his indie-rebel house of perfume; ROOM 1015; with his passion in music (he has also his band Rodeo Massacre).
I really wanted then to mix my knowledge of chemistry, my passion for cosmetics, and my musician skills which are quite opposite, and I thought that fragrance was the perfect mix.
As he continues about his brand and etymology of ROOM 1015 he adds that this was the room in Hyatt hotel in Los Angeles during 70's, that was the most trashed room in the story of Rock n' Roll, and many bands like The Who, the Rolling Stones and so others used to party in the room after the scene.

Three fragrances, highly fashionable, revolutionary, postmodern and electronic, all are delivered in collaboration with Flair lab in Paris and by efforts of Amélie Bourgeois and Anne Sophie Behaghel (the famous duet behind many of Mendittorosa perfumes) in 2015.

Electric Wood

Ambroxan, cedar, oak, resins, iris, nutmeg

Spray it on your wrist and it immediately makes a déja-vu. Electric Wood is probably the most searched fragrance, primarily, for its intriguing title, and for the smell itself. I seriously can't tell this is good or bad but this is outrageous. totally modern composition that goes to illustrate the smell of new guitar in its case that refers to Dr. Mike's first experience of it. However, I don't feel myself on the scene but it brings the Adventure Time cartoons to mind! Kind of plastic accented, 3D virtual, pseudo-woody fragrance with carrot smell (Persefume has nailed this carrot smell perfectly). Carrot and maybe something seriously earthy. The nearest guess is iris as listed but it can't be only iris. It's so juicy, fresh purple, earthy and wet just as in Byredo 1996.

Electric Wood opens with crispy woody cedar pronounced by strange semi-citric air, and powdered by ambroxan, carbonated, postmodern and earthy. then shades of oak give it real appearance to look like wood but it still is synthetic and that does not mean it is bad cause the aim of the house is to deliver so.
I personally can't rate Electric Wood cause I found it to be a very personal fragrance and everyone has to discover it on skin, not mine though. It has moderate longevity and moderate sillage, but sharp smell that in first molecules sits on memorial units of olfactory part of brain!


Bergamot, lemon, citrus and watery notes, cardamom, black pepper, resins, saffron and castoreum

Artamental is a familiar smell in the opening. Montale perfumes, they have a range of such juicy saffron oud-like or leathery compositions that replicate rosy vibe. Bearing 
the concept of tattooed skin, Artamental immediately rings a bell: smell of ink. But this ink is not pure and acrid black. It is sweetened, watered and dirty. 
The perfume opens with pseudo-rose air of saffron, pepper and citruses that collaborate with aquatic accords. This opening is subjective and it rapidly ages down, dense and dark. A battle of saffron/cardamom and watery notes begins. Dampness at one side calls animalic nuances, saffron/cardamom at the other, intensify it. The composition gets its overall form and the perfume reaches its persona. Sweet, slight dark, dirty animalic, slight gourmand spicy and outrageous.
Artamental is absolutely out of my style but let me say if you love Montale perfumes you definitely go for this one too.
Longevity of Artamental is not that impressive; almost 2 hours and it fades down in bold Iso E Super and castoreum that smells like newly shaved pencil and is totally in contrary to the opening. So as power, the projection is also a mess.

Blomma Cult

Lilac, bergamot, cashmeran wood, iris, patchouli, cinnamon, vanilla, white musk

Too much vanilla baptized with citrus and lilac but still vanilla in high dose. Blomma Cult is a strange composition. Much electric and postmodern to be considered a perfume. I swear I even smell shades of insect-killer spray and spoiled perfume in it. I couldn't imagine a transformation of violet flowers (iris and lilac) and cashmerean wood can be this outlandish. This is the core of the fragrance after about half an hour what happens between opening and core is just intolerable for me.

I do believe the chief character of ROOM 1015 perfumes is minimalism which occupies Electric Wood and Artamental but Blomma Cult is even less than minimalism and is like a formula left in the middle of process.
Longevity and projection factors are both mediocre but the texture of smell is pungent and keeps it bold.

Carpe Odor!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A barnyard rose; Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior

Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior
Photo from
Manouchehri Hotel, Kashan/Iran

The first time I heard about how Oud Ispahan smells, was upon my friend's statement who called it a cloying replica of Mide-Eastern compositions without having seen a Mid-Eastern society. Well I took this without testing cause nowadays this trick is widespread. So many western houses getting involved in eastern styles, naming after a city, a cultural ritual, etc. and this really dishearten me. But My first own impression was in fact in contrary to what I have heard, and you know how objective the first tries are!

Oud Ispahan is a 2012 delivery by Dior's in-house perfumer; François Damachy; under Christian Dior La Collection Privée series which has started since 2010 after Chanel's Les Exclusifs line. The collection until today (at this time Fève Délicieuse is the latest release of the collection) has 17 perfumes, five of which  are discontinued cause this collection should always be twelve perfumes. So be aware, if you adore one from this collection, purchase backups cause by each new release one goes retired!

The house describes the concept behind the fragrance:
"The young Christian Dior was amazed to discover, far from his country, the profusion of shimmering colours and intoxicating scents of the orient. It was an extremely sensorial world, which he remembered, once he had become a couturier-perfumer and enjoyed using richly embroidered fabrics and composing exceptional perfumes..."
Also attached to the house's introduction, the perfumer tells about the perfume:
"The enchanting encounter between the woody strength of oud and the power of labdanum absolute, tempered by Damascus rose. This fragrance captures the orient. The enchanting encounter between the woody strength of oud and the power of labdanum absolute, tempered by Damascus rose. This fragrance captures the orient."
Oud Ispahan is named after infamous rose of Ispahan; a local Iranian type of Damak roses usually found in the Persian gardens since 16th century. There's thorough detailed descriptions about Persian gardens and roses of Isfahan during Safavid empire (1501-1736) by Sir John Chardin. Also Donald Newton's research book "Persian Gardens and Pavilions" has very notable details about Persian gardens and their plants.

The opening of Oud Isfahan is the same to many other's of the category: juicy delectable rose, with marginal portion of spicy dimension, and promising hints of semi-barnyard animalic nuances of labdanum and patchouli. The opening is not totally occupied by rose. I'm not sure if I'm getting lemon patch right or it's just an illusion, seems the floral beginning is attributed to juicy fresh lemon.

One thing about rose/oud compositions socks and it's their nigh resemblance to rosewater and rose essences utilized in Islamic rituals; which has a plain and sweet metallic smell and I call it nothing but frustrating and disturbing. And if you say "well, what the hell of this socks" I then invite you to a funeral somewhere in a Middle Eastern country and you'll see why it socks! I don't have any problem with rosewater as a juice, even I like in dessert or confectionery but once it echoes in perfumes it turns to disaster! For the very aspect, some like it, as you can see the passion in other bloggers' reviews and perfume addicts' new purchase posts in Facebook, around rose/oud fragrances.

The rose itself is dry and vibrant but it is zested by something fresh like lemon or so. Right few minutes later Laotian oudwood appears and gives woodsy animalic boosts. The animalic vibe intensifies by sweetness of patchouli and labdanum and it's that big that you might think of use of castoreum or some dark musky accord in the core. From now on, the perfume goes out of zest and get's shades of barnyard.

As it grows, the barnyard animalic nuances develop and the composition goes brutal, yet the sweetness is the fix aspect of the perfume from A to Z.
The oud part of Oud Ispahan is medicinal and mellow, not so punch-in-your-face, nor so weak. It's somewhere in the middle to render rose effects and it is floralized by fresh touch of Iso E Super that says hello later in the base. The bottom of the performance is more to woody and rose, in a simple and plain format, and this is what I do not like about rose/oud slew. They are as plain as Mark Ruthko's canvases to deliver the quickest impression and I don't like such perfumes. This is what a huge part of oud/rose compositions suffer from and it's unseen part of Middle Eastern compositions' character: the introvert part. One neglected factor that collaborates oud in the very dry down, when rose is vaporized, is olibanum. As far as I know, no one indicated to the note, yet I apparently capture hints of smoky spiritual tones of frankincense in the deep dry down beside Iso E Super and oud.

Isfahan and its famous azure domes, Shah Mosque, Isfahan/Iran

For me Oud Ispahan is the same to typical and constant launches of oud/rose-oriented fragrances that you see everywhere from deepest designers to exclusive niches; and I really don't suss out how western markets don't get bored of this all. To be honest, Oud Ispahan is a great composition technically, but comparing to its siblings, it's smell of bourgeois people in a very crowded religious ceremony in which everyone attain. I'm a Middle Eastern guy, and for my nose oud and rose smell so, no matter if it's olfactory parallel to wealth in western point of view. I clearly understand that rose is a cornerstone of perfumery and a key note for many structures, but this comes from originality and believes and I can't do any further.
Corresponding to its massive projection, Oud Ispahan, presents for very long period of time and you get better feedback on skin than on shirt. It is presented in 125ml, 250ml, and 450ml flacons.
My review finished but I still don't understand why the perfume is named after Ispahan and it includes Damask rose?!

Carpe Odor!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Postmodern chypré ethos; Antonia by Puredistance

Antonia by Puredistance

Julius Kronberg, Nymph and Fauns, 1875

There are perfumes you may love to smell, love to inhale and do not exhale it yet you never dare to wear, or let's say, you don't mind to own cause there's something baffling in the composition that doesn't fit your personality and this of course doesn't decrease any from the value of the fragrance; Antonia is such a perfume for me. In overall, a green creamy floral and a pseudo-chypré composition which is so personal. Antonia is the house's second fragrance and the architect behind this 2010 fragrance is Annie Buzantian (the same nose responsible for the first of the house; Puredistance I) and it is named after the name of mother of the founder of the house; Jan Ewoud Vos.

In just few years of activity, Puredistance has established a strong column in the industry with remarkable powerhouses delivered by most prestigious noses, and this is the main concern and concept of the house to pull all their effort to deliver true perfumes; as they declare. Puredistance's perfumes are both classic and modern, a sort of artistic postmodern take on classic and original compositions by referring the noble compositions of the past. The key  in creation of Antonia is the image of a strong, positive, and gentle woman and a harmonious composition with jasmine, rose essence, ylang-ylang, orris, ivy, galbanum, vanilla, and vetiver delivers the idea of the perfume.

Antonia initiates with green sparkling and fat sweet tone resembling shampoo and butane gas, both, infused in indolic jasmine and freshly cropped ylang-ylang. This results is a special way with flowers. Ylang-ylang is a strange note, it's like a mature woman, so common and mass-pleaser as well as it makes compositions private, type of hippy aura it gives, yet it marks for decent luxury fragrances of 70's and 80's. This paradoxical manner brings valuable complexity. I also feel smell of marigold and probably geranium, however, they are not listed. This green floral opening is supported by galbanum to emerge slight smoky resinous air up.

Olle Hjortzberg, Meadow flowers in midsummer, 1948

The interesting part is orris that stays deep without a bright hint and this give more opportunity to floral patch of the fragrance. Antonia has a specific floral facet.
For the very first beginning Antonia is akin to all paramount chyprés and I believe it could be a chypré fragrance with postmodern inclinations, as mush as it firmly holds its classical reputation with two hands and that's why it illuminates a retro fancy sexy grown woman in her mid-30 like as Monica Bellucci in Malenai; a femme fatale.
Antonia's heart is lush and enticing and in contrary to its opening, it is not fizzy or vibrant. Once settled, it trims the fat vibe away and crawls in dry, powdery, enchanting essential sweet and earthiness. It also gets rid of the pseudo-chypré classic theme it exhibited in the beginning. Honestly, I don't like the beginning cause it's so personal like a bespoke fragrance and it smells like a perfume on significant body smell of someone. But the core of the fragrance, as it dries out, is more common, astonishing and mesmerizing. Fluffy divine jasmine and rose, cured with rounded vanilla and crispy verdant side of ivy; reveals brightly; and resinous galbanum. A perfect touch of Haitian vetiver (probably, it smells dusty and floral) in the dry down, gives smell of dust and soil and enriches the resinous side. And you should try it to see how luxuriously it presents the core. For green side of Antonia which is prepared by the ivy, I feel a resemblance to Puredistance I.

Tenaciously, Antonia is a floral green fragrance with very potent creamy camphorous side that keeps on classic theme and evokes sentimentality. It's very strong, very delightful and well-composed. One thing that I love about Antonia is its minimalistic arrangement of notes. Although it's a classic concept and supposed to hire lots of notes, the nose delivers the message with least possible notes to shows up straight and frank kindness and originality like a mother's heart.

Antonia has considerably strong longevity, the fragrance is higher than %25 perfume extrait and for that you seriously need to careful about application. The sillage is moderate and not as expected from classics. A 100ml flacon costs $485 and 60ml is $270, while the house offers 17.5ml official purse spray for $160.

Carpe Odor!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Kamasurabhi by Lorenzo Villoresi; the scent of pleasure

Kamasurabhi by Lorenzo Villoresi

The last spring I was amused with Teint de Neige from the house and trying to connect to the perfume that maestro perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi has released his latest creation Kamasurabhi which has an interesting name. I don't know if the term is still in use in modern Indian languages but this doesn't look so ancient! Villoresi's take on oriental themes is a bit different to these showy oriental and oud releases you see nowadays. He has his own story and style and this style is original and ancient, and intriguing as in Alamut.

Notes: exotic flowers, jasmine sambac, rose, orange blossoms, tuberose, ylang-ylang, narcissus, sandalwood, musk, amber, leather, patchouli.

Kamasurabhi (translated from Sanskrit: perfume of pleasure) is a gaudy floral amber fragrance and homage to colorful flowers of India. It is flamboyant as oriental fragrances are famous for, but it has an introvert manner that recalls for mystery and complexity. 

The fragrance has resonant touch of familiar but hard to decode smell. One particular smell that I found myself this last months to be a fond of, is labdanum, that is the core of Kamasurabhi. By the name and the definition, before I try the perfume, I thought this role must be played by the tuberose to stress carnality and "joy". But although the blend suggests a very potent seducing aura, it has not the efficient sexuality as in tuberose-oriented creations. However, labdanum has its own erotic dimensions.

The fragrance starts with giant floral patch enveloped in dusty and powdery smell of indolic jasmine and dry rose and some sort of tickling-to-figure-out type of floral composition that I feel I know but can't remember! This beginning instantly remarks for noble sandalwood/ylang-ylang creations of 80's and 90's but there's a smell of rug or something like this that separates the perfume and says "no I'm unique".

In spite of its huge-pronounced start up, the fragrance has humble and friendly appearance that invites you, to a party, to a new world and this world is India itself with all its exotic trees, animals, colorful flowers, smells and people in lavish-colored dresses.
The core of the fragrance is still floral and dry. I guess Villoresi has again approached a new blend of materials to identify the perfume and named it exotic flowers. And I can now clearly smell hibicus among the package of flowers, as clear as I get coumarin ambery notes, ylang-ylang, milky sandalwood, muddy earthy labdanum, and lustful patchouli, as mush as I get that smell of carpet which is driving me crazy and I can't tell it apart.

Kamasurabhi has great longevity on my skin, it stays for about 8 hours each time I try. Corresponding to such favorable longevity it has average sillage which is not bad. I'm thinking in case of greater projection the smell could be irritating.
One thing I don't understand is the mass of dislikes on this perfume on Fragrantica! People in that forum are getting strange! Is this perfume that bad and I don't see? Kamasurabhi is a simple and modest composition but a nice ambery floral blend you can reckon on to fit a particular style.

Carpe Odor!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Robust delicacy; Chypre Palatin by Parfums MDCI

Chypre Palatin by Parfums MDCI

Recently, through my journey in classics - which I have abandoned unaccomplished a couple of years ago - I encountered many notable creations for which I should remove hat. No need to introduce. Chypre Palatin is a prominent modern/classic composed with large row of materials employed to result in a harmonized integrity one may hardly decypher. I would call it an "everything" in chypre dressing orchestrated by a four-hand creator. Chypre Palatin is one of the hardest perfumes to describe specially in the matter of emotions, and I first fell alexithymic by its complexity. Bertrand Duchaufour is famous for two identical signatures: his comprehensive structures, and yummy themes he pastes in his creations. And Chypre Palatin is indeed one of the most complex perfumes I have ever seen. It's like a thick piece of hardened steel and at the same time weightless like ball of cotton, like a long literal sentence underlined in just one word.

"Classic" is the common term referred to all perfumes of this house. The house's head, Claude Marchal, dreamed his concept in mid 90's when; as he declared; "the market was flooded with ugly mass-market products, in the same bland bottles and someone had to do something about it." Instead of finding financial sponsors to materialize his idea, he established his own brand Parfums MDCI (Marchal Design and Créations Indépendantes). Establishing such prestigious perfume house and collaborating with world's elite noses such as Pierre Bourdon, Bertrand Duchaufour and others, is an easy plan to dream but not an easy one to organize. And as difficult as managing such business, is releasing first class compositions and of course hand made flacons and sculpture caps on which Mr. Marchal works personally to guarantee the result is exactly what he wants.

Chypre Palatin is mainly discussed for its so-called resemblance to Roja Dove Diaghilev. Well chypres are siblings after all for their basic compositions and rigid manner of presentation of oakmoss, peach or whatsoever they have in common. But let me assure you if Diaghilev is neoclassicism's rigid symmetric order, then Chypre Palatin is romanticism's emotional charisma. It's full of passion, details, happiness and flexibility, while Diaghilev is rigid, stony, and serious. It is for their rigidity that usually chypres are matter of hate or love but if you're not a fond of chypres even, you really don't refuse Chypre Palatin.

Giambattista Tiepolo, The Glorification of the Barbaro Family, 1750

How can I describe Chypre Palatin without referring it to pure art? This liquid treasure is divine figures in Tiepolo's ceilings, is yellow in Matisse's canvases, is Michelangelo's Mosses, Paganini's violin, and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. It is art in liquid form and it sends a message, a legacy and pure beauty. It's a perfume made by Swiss watchsmakers' precision.
Chypre Palatin starts out with fruity woodsy blend with bold hints of chypré as necessary to identify the main spirit of the fragrance. From just beginning what you concern about such perplexing enigma and charisma is notes. The house partially mentions the notes this way:
Hyacinth, tangerine, cistus, galbanum, thyme, lavender, rose, jasmine, iris , prune, gardenia, benzoin, styrax, castoreum, leather, tolu balsam, vanilla absolute, oak foam.
Fragrantica; just to give an external reference; suggests:
lavender, labdanum, hyacinth, galbanum, sage, clementine, aldehydes, iris, jasmine, gardenia, rose, plum, styrax, benzoin, tolu balsam, vanilla, castoreum, leather, costus, oakmoss, and immortelle.
Regardless to who's right and who's not, the fragrance itself tells everything and nothing! A floral, sweet peachy floral theme in the opening invites you to a late 18th century palace with luxurious furniture. At one side it is so European and tied with Baroque pageantry, at the the other side it recalls for luxurious 16th century Middle Eastern pomp and solemnity of textile art; specially Safavid brocades ornamenting heavy cloaks weaving on silk shirts.

The scent is followed by soar smoky vibes of aldehyde with its stony marble-like smell. It's rigid and firm like doomed angel encrusted in hardest stones. However, Duchaufour knows how to weave flexibility inside out a tight skeleton, it's his skill. Hyacinth beside powdery iris and dramatically smoldering galbanum dance around the aldehydic throne like long seaweeds waving on surface of ocean; like there is no future nor yesterday.
Unlike somber Mitsouko and mature old-school Diaghilev which present oakmoss in highest level, Chypre Palatin accentuates on its floral resinous performance and brings hyacinth, labdanum and galbanum up. And unlike those virtuous landmarks with their grown ripe peach, Duchaufour employs plum prune to deliver the capricious and young mood he dedicated for. This; of course beside leather for its dandiness,  rose for its romance, mandarin for its youth; makes it the most young, futuristic, modern/retro, and happy chypré ever seen.

Mahmoud Farshchian, Birds and Hyacinths
Once settled, Chypre Palatin donates luxurious beauty a perfume can deliver. A spectacular olfactorial sorcery of premium galbanum plus fat powdery tolu balsam mingled with castoreum; the darkest of animalic realm; and the result is still soft and refined and it's all provided by hyacinths. It is so fascinating to see animalic notes sweetened by resinous and floral accords. It's like a diamond! A tender vanilla/labdanum-oriented amber accord supports the composition at the end. Talking about notes one by one is one applicable by Duchaufours or a dog's nose cause this perfume is not going to reveal the inside and it plays with you all the time.

Chypre Palatin is a soft and elegant perfume, a discrete self-confidential formal and high-end fragrance for both genders, for fresh season (not cold nor summer). If you care for your style, care for classics, and you like to get compliments this is yours. You definitely attracts attention however, Chypre Palatin has not massive punchy sillage. It plays around you like a mist. But for this mellow projection, it has great long lasting continuity.

You can order with $250 for 75ml and $375 for the same size with porcelain bust cap with frown portrait of Emperor Caracalla!

Carpe Odor!