Thursday, June 23, 2016

Safeguarding her legacy: Bohea Bohème by Mona di Orio



My major is restoration and conservation in architecture which has always granted me specific vision to judge and safeguard physical or intangible assets. Few years ago a debate about a development in the incomplete tenth symphony of Ludwig Van and firm objections of orthodox musicophiles against the project was topic of our session. The argue happened around extending the legacy of an artist after his death and there were two main ideas: it is guilt because no one can deliver the exact feeling of the opus but the artists himself, or it is development in music. I opened the review with this intro to give the clue about possible vistas around Bohea Bohème.


The house of Mona di Orio, a couple of months ago, has announced for a new perfume named Bohea Bohème which is the fruit of collaboration between Jeroen Oude Sogtoen (the house's director) and Fredrick Dalman whose portfolio surprisingly is that empty that Behea Bohème is allegedly his official debut.

The idea of creation comes from traditional pine-smoked Wuyi tea of northern Fújiàn province in southeast China, which is trademarked as Bohea and is globally know with the trade name. Wuyi teas cover a vast variety from black tea to traditionally heavily fired oolong tea and for that they have sharp smoke flavored taste and smell. The leaves are cured generally by conifer smoke to permanently protect the products from biologic attack like moths during long way transportation.

Men carrying tea, Ernest Wilson, 1908

From the first whiffs Bohea Bohème promises for smoky heart. The top layer spins around chamomile and coniferous atmosphere intimated with cardamom/bergamot to freshen the smoky and frown semi-apothecal chamomile/fir. To give the comfortable air of tea, Dalman adds tea, laurel and juniper to the top. By the rise of honey, nuances of animality imparts but it's not all. You may now have realized how crowded the beginning of Bohea Bohème is. Let me add some extra: you also get extreme woody dimensions of poplar and oak that amplify smoky patch. Personally I like the poplar in the first phase. It gives a birch tarry boost to tea that I die for as I do for Masque Russian Tea.


The fragrance has a very bright and showy opening, promising and extravagant arrangement of notes but every element of composition is finally doomed to decline. Surprisingly the core of the performance meets a hollow fuliginous aura with spicy and murky scent. An almost unidentified accord of smoke; acrid, bitter, dark and spicy with cooperation of cardamon. The fragrance loses power in dimensions and the extravagant opening reaches to monotone smoky theme that pertains somewhere between experimental apothecal smoke of indie perfumes, and exceptional woody spicy gems of designer groups that appear once a decade and never relaunch again. Anyway, it looks so masculine with bold opening, mediocre longevity and almost unfavorable performance.

Now, apart from the discussion of olfactory, an intangible part starts a hot argument just like all other discussions on similar cases: legacy of an artist. Jerome Oude Sogtoen has probably shaken hand with Fredrick Dalman to guarantee the young infamous nose has less tendency to leave his own track in the perfume so this way the heir of the maison can preserve Mona di Orio's signature. This is what exactly happened in Robert Piguet's house of perfumes with Julien Rasquinet.
Mona di Orio's creations are famous for a common persona that is a chiaroscuro tone of odor; a battle of dark and light shades that runs all her souls. This clair-obscur render is mostly attainable in Vanille and Vetiver which is clearly absent in Bohea Bohème. The actual perfume not only lacks the strong heart as her works used to own, but also lacks her heritage; lacks identity. It's a smoky fragrance that could be released by anyone else but Mona di Orio.

Carpe Odor!

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