New Perfume Review Parfum D’Empire Corsica Furiosa- A Flash of Green

Growing up in South Florida I spent many sunsets on a boat in the water. Watching those sunsets I saw a distinct phenomenon called a “green flash”. As the last sliver of sun starts to drop below the horizon you can see a green halo form right at the top of the curve which grows in intensity as the sun drops and just as the sun disappears the sky will light up with a flash of green. I used to love watching this from the bow of my boat as it felt like the sun was building up a verdant charge before letting it flare across the sky. It wasn’t something I would expect a fragrance to remind me of but ever since I sniffed the new Parfum D’Empire Corsica Furiosa it is the image which keeps coming to my mind.

flash of green

Marc-Antoine Corticchiato hasn’t had a new release for Parfum D’Empire since 2012’s Musc Tonkin. For me that was going to be hard act to follow as I named Musc Tonkin my best new fragrance of 2012. Oftentimes when following up something as good as that perfumers can fall into a number of traps. For his follow-up to Musc Tonkin M. Corticchiato chooses to go away from the deeply animalic and instead explore the nature of green in perfume. Corsica Furiosa is built around a spine of lentiscus, otherwise known as mastic resin, which gives a lemon tinged viscous green nucleus to start from. M. Corticchiato then swirls in all kind of shades of green to interact with the resin and just as it builds in intensity it releases in an olfactory flash of green that fills the senses before finally settling into a leather base to relax.

marc-antoine-corticchiato

Marc-Antoine Corticchiato

There is a lime component in the top notes which is perfect to pick up on the lemon tinge of the lentiscus. It makes the early going tarter and I see tart as green so this is where the first layer of green appears. A bit of balsam adds a woody facet of green and turns this more forest glade before another turn and a cut-grass accord turns it into open field. Then here is where a particularly beautiful transition takes place as the green grass dries out into a sweet hay accord where some honey is used to amplify the sweet dried grass aspect of the hay. This is where Corsica Furiosa all of a sudden releases a ball of energy as moss and labdanum seem to cause this perfume to go from tightly focused intensity to diffuse sheerness. It is an arresting transition on my skin and in my mind’s eye the olfactory sky has just gone entirely green. A leather accord forms the base notes and the lentiscus is still very present but now it seems as if it has spent all of its energy and needs to sit down in a leather armchair for a rest.

Corsica Furiosa has all-day longevity and above average sillage.

Green_flash

Corsica Fruriosa is a more than worthy sequel to Musc Tonkin it captivates me in an entirely different way. Corsica Furiosa leaves me on the bow of my boat waiting for the moment of breathtaking beauty to come and knowing it will be there every time.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Parfum D’Empire at Esxence 2014.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: The Nose- Searching for Blamage

The very last event I attended at Esxence 2014 was a screening of the documentary “The Nose-Searching for Blamage”. Director Paul Rigter followed perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri of Nasomatto around as he designed his tenth, and final, Nasomatto fragrance. Sig. Gualtieri wanted to call this last fragrance Blamage which is loosely translated as mistake. The opening of the movie shows Sig. Gualtieri talking about how some of the more famous perfumes in history were improved by adding too much or too little of an ingredient. For this last fragrance in the Nasomatto line he wanted to leave it all up to chance what he would use to create Blamage. He had his assistant blindfold him with a plaster blindfold and then walk him over to his wall of raw materials where six random ingredients were selected. These would form the core of Blamage.

gualtieri motorcycle

After the blindfold was removed and Sig. Gualtieri saw what he had chosen he exclaims, not for the last time, “Cazzo!” The subtitle translates it as “shit” and for the rest of the film when the word is used it goes unsubtitled. What is great about the way Sig. Gualtieri uses the word is its meaning is all dependent on the tone of his voice. When he is looking at sandalwood in Delhi, India it is said with weary disgust at the cheap materials. When he is smelling one of the mods of Blamage it is said with a smile and suppressed laugh as his task at meshing these six disparate notes is proving difficult but also fun.

Throughout the almost one-hour running time we watch Sig. Gualtieri as he visits Milan for Esxence in 2012 and goes throughout the city leaving little altars of scent, as seen in the clip above. His visit to Delhi, India on a search for raw ingredients has a funny turn as he walks by a store with a knockoff of his Black Afgano. His reaction is priceless as the artist assesses the knockoff.

blamage

By the end of the year Mr. Rigter had to stop filming before the final version of Blamage was finished. At Esxence 2014 the bottle was on display and at the movie showing a bottle was given away to a lucky attendee who was surrounded by many to get a chance to smell the result of this intentional mistake. Mr. Rigter has captured much of what is special about Sig. Gualtieri in the world of perfumery. His irreverence coupled with his serious love of making unusual fragrances comes through via Mr. Rigter’s lens.

For anyone who loves Nasomatto I think The Nose-Searching for Blamage will make you appreciate the perfumer behind your favorite perfume. If you’ve never tried a Nasomatto fragrance I’d be surprised if you aren’t a little interested in trying one after spending an hour with Sig. Gualtieri on film. The Nose- Searching for Blamage is a wonderful insight into one of our most iconoclastic perfumers.

Mark Behnke

Editor’s Note: The Nose- Searching for Blamage will be shown at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, Canada on Apr 26, 27, and May 3, 2014. For more info click on this link.

Welcome to the Colognaissance!

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One of my favorite pop culture terms is the one used to refer to actor Matthew McConaughey’s reinvention of his acting career which lead to him winning the Best Actor Oscar, for Dallas Buyer’s Club, a month ago. The term for the winning streak he has been on is “McConaissance”. I like it because it succinctly describes how this lightly regarded romantic comedy actor more known for being People’s Sexiest Man alive in 2005 has become this respected dramatic actor without really changing much of anything but the acting roles he has chosen.

As I was walking around Esxence 2014 I began to realize there is a sort of a fragrance equivalent going on. It started to hit me after spending time with Luc Gabriel of The Different Company talking about the seven fragrances which make up the L’Esprit Cologne Series. It became a little more solid while chatting with Jean-Christophe Le Greves of Thirdman. It finally became a fully formed idea when Etienne de Swardt of Etat Libre D’Orange showed me his new release titled simply Cologne. Yes I’m going there; we are in the midst of a Colognaissance.

matthew mcconaughey stetson

For far too many years cologne was seen as the perfume equivalent of wine in a box. No discerning lover of fragrance would be caught wearing a cologne. Those were the out-dated smells of our fathers who likely wore too much of something like Faberge Brut or Dana English Leather. The cologne was turned into a trifle and a punchline and it pretty much stayed that way for forty years in the US. Even Mr. McConaughey was enlisted as the celebrity face behind Stetson Cologne. This devaluing of cologne never seemed to take place anywhere else in the world. Things got so bad that cologne became synonymous with cheap fragrance. What was needed was a group of creative minds to turn this around.

Sylvie-Ganter-Christophe-Cervasel

Christophe Cervasel and Sylvie Ganter

Just as Mr. McConaughey found a way to be cast in roles with more heft Creative Directors and owners of Atelier Cologne, Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel, created a “new” version called cologne absolue. The cologne absolue was a higher concentration version, pushing 20% perfume oil. What this addressed was one of the perceived issues around colognes, their lack of longevity on the wearer’s skin. By upping the oil percentage and finding a way to retain the cologne architecture and balance Atelier Cologne rapidly began to pick up converts. Atelier Cologne has continued to push the envelope on what a cologne can be, even choosing heavier keynotes like leather or amber and still managing to make a fragrance identifiably a cologne.

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Thirdman Cologne

Perfumer Emilie Coppermann working under Luc Gabriel’s creative direction took some of the finest ingredients never found in colognes previously and throughout the seven L’Esprit Cologne Series showed they could be turned into luxurious luminous compositions. Jean-Claude Ellena at Hermes has added four new Eau de Colognes to the original Eau de Orange Verte. Each of these explore a specific duality of two notes and are among some of the best work M. Ellena has done while at Hermes. One of the most recent lines to join the Colognaissance has been Thirdman, under the creative direction M. Le Greves, which has made completely modern colognes meant to be splashed on liberally and often. I kept my bottle of Eau Monumentale in the refrigerator so I could catch a cool splash in the summer.

All of these lines are worth exploring if you have not tried them up until now. I have all of them on permanent rotation once the mercury soars as they all refresh the spirit as a good cologne should do. What is nice is that along with the refreshment there is also a wonderful spread of styles and aesthetics to choose from. As we finally leave winter behind start thinking about joining the Colognaissance the choices have never been better.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Parfums DelRae Wit- The Truth of Nature

I admire a Creative Director who takes their time and won’t release a new fragrance until they consider it done. Since 2010 I would infrequently inquire of DelRae Roth of Parfums DelRae if there was something new coming soon. The answer I received was that she and perfumer Yann Vasnier were working very hard to make this next fragrance perfect. When I would press a little further she would let me know it was based around a flower which is a harbinger of spring and that’s it. It was with a lot of joy I received my sample of the new release, Wit, because this winter has left me wanting something to get me through these last few days of cold. Wit absolutely fits the bill as Ms. Roth and M. Vanier’s labor has paid off in an extraordinary green floral based on the flower Daphne.

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DelRae Roth

Ms. Roth tells how she came to want to use Daphne as the core note of Wit in the press materials, “I have always loved to walk. Regardless of where I am, I love to be able to walk from place to place. I discovered the gorgeous, beguilingly fresh Daphne on one such stroll many years ago. It was late February and I was stunned and captivated by the small, intensely fragrant flowers. Daphne is one of the first flowers to bloom in early spring. Its delicious lemony, neroli scent is such a surprise and delight in the chill and gray of winter.”

daphne

Daphne

I had never encountered Daphne before but I was able to get a sniff of it after trying Wit for the first time and Ms. Roth accurately describes it as a hybrid of neroli and lemon. There are some indoles around and there is a tingly tartness to the bloom. M. Vasnier turned to the Givaudan proprietary ScentTrek technology to acquire an extract of Daphne Cneorum and he also employed a ScentTrek Meyer Lemon note on top. What is special about these raw materials is they are extracted in the wild and when they are used properly they are the familiar rendered as something more vital.

yann vasnier

Yann Vasnier

The beginning of Wit is that ScentTrek Meyer Lemon acting as a ray of sunshine banishing the early morning chill. M. Vasnier allows the lemon to own the early going and supports it with mandarin and angelica. The lemon remains as the flowers start to respond to the light as a bit of laurel begins the floral ascendency. The Daphne arrives next and because it is a ScentTrek version it feels very much like a simulacrum of the real bloom. There is the bit of waxy lemony quality which is complemented by the remains of the Meyer Lemon. The indolic nature is slightly amplified by using narcissus and jasmine. Mimosa and ylang ylang accentuate the neroli quality. All of these notes serve as the figurative black velvet for the ScentTrek Daphne jewel to shimmer and sparkle against. What I like about Wit, as a spring floral, is this almost photorealistic heart as it never gets too flowery or fresh as the lemon and the indoles keep this from being that common over the top floral perfume. The base notes add a bit of midday warmth with amber, vanilla, and musk providing the glow at the end.

Wit has all day longevity and average sillage.

If you need an example of what uncompromising principles and hard work can produce Wit is a fine Exhibit A. I can definitely tell there were a lot of mods that were close but just missing something. I am very thankful that Ms. Roth and M. Vasnier stuck to their guns and after four years produced a beautiful new floral fragrance which will easily take its place among the best of Parfums DelRae’s collection.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Parfums DelRae.

Mark Behnke

Perfume Mythbusters Love Potion No. 9?

One of the more pervasive fallacies when it comes to fragrance is the idea that there is a magic elixir that when worn will cause the object of your desire to fall madly in love with you, or in lust with you. I can’t say I am immune to the sentiment as the first bottle of perfume I owned was Jovan Musk. Why? Because at the age of thirteen the ads intimated that women were crazy about men who wore musk. Of course Hai Karate intimated I would need a black belt to fend off the women if I wore that. What I found out pretty quickly was it wasn’t the way I smelled that lead to success with women it was a lot of other things of which fragrance was just a component.

lepremierparfum

For many years this always seemed like a concept held exclusively by men, and women were above this kind of simplistic thinking but the recent release of Le Premier Parfum changes that. Le Premier Parfum allows the chakra associated with sex to open and in their press materials they flat out say, “Le Premier Parfum is not merely a fragrance, but an aphrodisiac.” So much for the more evolved gender. The two women behind the brand have been giving interviews urging women to, “wear it responsibly.” I guess that is their version of safe sex. This is as nonsensical as the idea of Creed Aventus causing women to lose their senses and drape themselves on the man wearing it.

control-male-pheromones

The truth of this is there is not one scientific study which has ever shown any particular scent to immediately cause the object of one’s desire to go weak in the knees and let their chakras do the talking. A lot of the confusion comes from the idea of pheromones. In the insect world pheromones have been well studied and proven to exist. These substances are used to convey a lot of specific primal information from alarm, to a trail to follow back to food, and yes, sex. So because the bees do it the suggestion is so should we humans. Except there has never been any human pheromone identified to do what it does in the insect kingdom. Of course that doesn’t stop perfumes from claiming they have the magical non-existent pheromone in their fragrance. The bottom line is there has been no unequivocal scientific proof that a human pheromone exists and there are certainly none in the fragrances which claim to have them in them.

When it comes to scent and how we perceive others there have been some interesting studies which show when a woman wears grapefruit fragrances she is perceived as much younger. A very recent study has shown the smell of cedar has the opposite effect when it comes to men with people seeing a man as older than his age when wearing a cedar fragrance. The real point is that fragrance does have the ability to shape our opinion of others but not to cause them to go all googly eyed and become one’s fawning acolyte for a night. That is why when searching for the mythical Love Potion No. 9 instead look for the fragrance which complements your personal style. It is the complete package which is the real attraction between people and your fragrance is part of that package but most of the rest of the work is up to you.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Esxence 2014 Final Wrap-Up Part 2- The Top 10 New Fragrances I Tried

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By my count I tried 68 new fragrances over the three days I spent in Milan at Esxence. This doesn’t include the ones I had already tried before Esxence like the nu_be Mercury and Sulphur, Neela Vermeire Mohur Extrait, or Maria Candida Gentile Finesterre all of which probably would have made the list if this was the first time I had tried them. Keep in mind these are all the most initial of impressions as I rationed my skin space like I was Scrooge McDuck. Over the upcoming weeks you can expect much more detailed reviews of all of these because these are the perfumes which have me the most excited to wear over the next few days. In alphabetical order here are my Top 10 New Fragrances from Esxence 2014.

Ann Gerard Rose Cut by Bertrand Duchaufour– Rose Cut refers to the name of a jewelers cut of a finished stone. The fragrance Rose Cut displays itself like a brilliant jewel with sparkling facets and reflective depths throughout. Right from the start, M. Duchaufour mixes an opening accord of aldehydes and rum which sparkles and mesmerizes simultaneously.

architects club

Arquiste The Architects Club by Yann Vasnier-Creative Director Carlos Huber sets the place as 1930’s Mayfair in London. M. Vasnier first sets the mood by embellishing the clubby aspects of dark woods and leather which all changes in a flash of citrus, juniper, and cardamom. The Architects Club goes from staid to wanton in the blink of an eye and the olfactory transition is as dynamic as lemon twist added to a dry martini.

David Jourquin Cuir Altesse by Cecile Zarokian– David Jourquin has followed up his two 2011 releases with two more leather focused creations. Cuir Altesse was probably my favorite fragrance by Mme Zarokian in the entire show and considering how many fragrances she had on display that is not faint praise. The cardamom opening flows into a magnificent cumin and jasmine heart before going all leathery in the base. Cuir Altesse strummed all of my fragrant pleasure centers.

Humiecki & Graef Abime by Les Christophs– Abime is meant to be the perfume of pain. Les Christophs use an overdose of narcissus to achieve a perfume equivalent of that tightness I feel in my forehead when I am fighting off the dull throb of aches. Once again Humiecki & Graef’s creative team of Sebastian Fischenich and Tobias Muksch allow Les Christophs the freedom to create something which exposes the beauty of every facet of “la condition humaine”.

Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius by Cecile Zarokian– The story of creative directors Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica’s relationship is the story of Jul et Mad perfumes. For Aqua Sextius we visit Aix-en-Provence where a wedding will take place. Mme Zarokian sets up an altar of green and citrus notes draped over a woody frame. It feels like a summer day in Provence full of life and love.

Le Galion Whip– If I wanted to make this list easy I could’ve just listed the nine fragrances in this collection and added one more and been done. Le Galion was easily the most buzzed about line at Esxence this year, justifiably so. Owner and Creative Director Nicolas Chabot has resurrected this perfume house which went out of business in the 1980’s. With the blessing of the surviving daughter of the family of perfumers behind the brand M. Chabot has, perhaps, made the best Retro Nouveau re-creations yet. Each of these feel like perfume the way it used to be done but with some added modern twists of current materials. It adds the Nouveau to the Retro and it has been done exquisitely across the line. Whip’s spiced citrus leather concoction grabbed me the most but this truly was the booth I walked away from with the biggest smile on my face.

Naomi Goodsir Or du Serail by Bertrand Duchaufour– Naomi Goodsir Parfums impressed me with their first two releases but the third completely obsessed me. Ms Goodsir was the very first booth I visited and the strip of Or du Serail I walked around with all day got sniffed over and over. M. Duchaufour, under Ms. Goodsir’s and partner Renaud Coutaudier’s creative direction, created the most textural perfume I tried with tactile depths and olfactory wonders which languidly unfolded delightfully over hours and hours

ombre indigo

Olfactive Studio Ombre Indigo by Mylene Alran– Creative Director Celine Verleure gave perfumer Mme Alran a picture of a person of indeterminate gender wading into shadowy water (seen above). The resulting perfume which also carries the deep blue liquid to go with the picture is a study of shadows. Tuberose, saffron, vetiver, papyrus, and leather form a shadowy conclave of mysterious beauty.

Parfum D’Empire Corsica Furiosa by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato– It has been over a year, since the brilliant Musc Tonkin, for perfumer M. Corticchiato to dazzle me again. With Corsica Furiosa he seems to gather every shade of olfactory green together to form a pastiche that continues to plumb the depths of what it means to be green.

The Different Company Nuit Magnetique by Christine Nagel– Creative Director Luc Gabriel assures me this is Mme Nagel’s last fragrance before taking up her new position at Hermes. She delivered it to him on March 4th and started her new job on March 6th. If anyone wonders why I think she is so special Nuit Magnetique might convert some doubters. The top note pairing of ginger and blueberry is captivating only to be followed by another weird but wonderful pairing of jasmine and prune in the heart. Nuit Magnetique exerted a pull over me I couldn’t shake.

There were so many good fragrances at this year’s Esxence that I had a very hard time narrowing it down to ten. Full reviews of these and many others will be coming over the following weeks. Leave a comment if there is one you are particularly interested in and if there is a consensus I’ll move it up the list.

Mark Behnke

Part 1 of my Final Wrap-Up can be found here.

My live wrap-ups for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

Colognoisseur Esxence 2014 Final Wrap-Up Part 1- The People

It has been about 48 hours since I left the Triennale di Milano for the last time. Since then all of the scents and sounds of the weekend have been macerating in my memory. I am going to split my final wrap-up of the 2014 version of Esxence into two parts. For this first part I’m going to go through the people who make writing about perfume so much fun.

michael edwards

I have to start with my interview subject of Saturday morning, Michael Edwards. The opportunity to work so closely with Mr. Edwards was a very special honor for me. He is an invaluable resource to the perfume community and it was a lot of fun watching him have the SRO crowd in the theatre leaning forward to listen to every word.

bertrand duchaufourcecile zarokian

When it came to the perfume on display it seemed like there were two perfumers who were the unquestioned stars of Esxence 2014; Bertrand Duchaufour and Cecile Zarokian. Both of them were circulating among the many different perfume lines they produced new releases for. As it seemed I couldn’t walk two or three steps without running into one of them or one of their creations I realized there was something very similar about both of them. As independent “guns for hire” they both seem to excel at meshing their personal style with the brand aesthetic of whoever they are working for. While M. Duchaufour is, and has been, a known quantity I reiterate what I said earlier this year; 2014 is going to be a breakout year for Mme Zarokian. I suspect we will look back to this 2014 version of Esxence and realize it was The Bertrand and Cecile Show.

The very lovely Sarah Colton, the Paris Correspondent for Beauty Fashion, introduced me to perfumer Thomas Fontaine. M. Fontaine is the perfumer responsible for reformulating the classic Jean Patou perfumes and we had the opportunity to talk about what’s next. In response to what he was working on he told me it was a new version of Vacances. I am very hopeful that he is the right man for the job not only for what he has done for the first three Jean Patou re-releases but also for the work he has done recreating another old perfume house Le Galion. The Le Galion line was the most buzzed about new fragrance collection at Esxence as Roja Dove and Michael Edwards both called it out as one of the best things they tried. You can add me to that list, too.

I met Etienne de Swardt of Etat Libre D’Orange for the first time and I admired the passion which he still has for his perfume line. Many perfume lines have come and gone since 2006 but M. de Swardt keeps ELDO going strong with an engaging smile and a laugh. I wish more people exuded as much joy as he does.

naomi goodsir1

I renewed my acquaintance with Naomi Goodsir and Renaud Coutaudier of Naomi Goodsir Parfums. As we spoke about their latest release Or du Serail they told me they let their personal instincts help them decide when M. Duchaufour had finally delivered a finished mod. So far this method has produced three very individual olfactory statements and I know that they will keep allowing their line to develop based on these instincts.

I don’t speak French and perfumers Marc-Antoine Corticchiato of Parfums D’Empire and Anais Biguine of Jardins D’Ecrivains don’t speak English but my body language and large smile communicated my pleasure at their latest releases without any language barrier.

This barely scratches the surface of everyone who I spent time talking to. Some of these conversations planted some seeds which I hope will sprout into some future stories for Colognoisseur.

For Part 2 tomorrow I’ll let you know what I thought the top 10 new fragrances were that I tried at Esxence 2014.

Mark Behnke

My daily live wrap-ups can be found here for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

All photos courtesy of Esxence Facebook page by Michele Dell'utri

New Perfume Reviews Jo Malone London Rain Collection

I was of mixed emotions when the news was released about perfumer Christine Nagel heading to Hermes, to join Jean-Claude Ellena. I have been very impressed with her tenure as de facto in-house perfumer at Jo Malone since she began producing fragrances there in 2010. It is these releases that convince me that Mme Nagel will be an easy successor to whatever legacy M. Ellena leaves when he retires. Before Mme Nagel headed over to Hermes she released three new fragrances for Jo Malone called the London Rain Collection; Rain & Angelica, Wisteria & Violet, and Black Cedarwood & Juniper. They are all excellent examples of what Mme Nagel has brought to Jo Malone for the past four years and what she will bring to her future.

christine nagel

Christine Nagel

Rain & Angelica is the one which most evokes the idea of a springtime rain. It has that clean freshness that an April shower brings to the world. Mme Nagel opens it with an ozonic rain accord matched with a cocktail of aldehydes. A bit of lime and pink pepper add some of that earthy spiciness that also seems to accompany the smell of a spring thunderstorm. The florals in the heart are the angelica but there is also a dewy rose and a pretty straightforward iris. All of this ends on a wet greenery accord courtesy of vetiver and amber, but mostly vetiver.

Wisteria & Violet is the garden after the rain and as the sun has returned to warm the day back up. The beginning is a watery accord of lemon, melon, and waterlily. Thankfully the waterlily is the more prominent note over the melon. The waterlily adds a watery green floralcy that is intensified with the addition of wisteria and violet. The titular notes really take over at this point and for a good while this fragrance is wisteria and violet by themselves. Over time the patchouli does come to the foreground but it is a greener more herbal patchouli. A bit of white musk adds a final sheer layer to the end of this.

black-cedarwood

Black Cedarwood & Juniper is the one that totally surprised me. If I handed this to you in an unmarked vial and asked you to name what perfume house it came from I think you would be guessing a long while until you said Jo Malone. Black Cedarwood & Juniper is very modern in its construction as Mme Nagel goes for a feel of the midnight streets of London after you’ve been out to the clubs or a late dinner. It opens with a fascinating combination of cumin and chili leaves. I am pretty sure this is the first time cumin has found its way into a Jo Malone fragrance and I don’t think I’ve ever smelled chili leaves before. What this does is take the very sweaty nature of cumin and cover it over with a green heat from the chili leaves. The result is a, very Jo Malone, non-confrontational cumin. It is greener and the cumin’s more rambunctious edges are blunted by the slight chili pepper spiciness of the chili leaves. These top notes remain as the cedarwood and juniper arrive. I would say it is the cumin and chili leaves which turn the cedarwood dark. There is a hint of nutmeg along with the juniper berry. It makes this feel like a very dry exotic martini for a while. The base notes add in some leather and moss to finish off this very unique, for Jo Malone, fragrance.

All three London Rain fragrances have 8-10 hour longevity on me and average sillage.

There is a fourth London Rain fragrance but it is a re-labelled version of 2007’s White Jasmine & Mint which was composed by David Apel and Pierre Negrin. The three new ones by Mme Nagel are all very good but it is Black Cedarwood & Juniper which is clearly my favorite. I have worn out my sample and will be buying a bottle very soon. I’m not sure if these are the last compositions we will see from Mme Nagel for Jo Malone but if they are she is leaving on a high note and displaying the potential for her future.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples of the Jo Malone London Rain Collection I purchased from Surrender to Chance and I received from the Jo Malone Counter at Nordstroms.

Mark Behnke

Esxence 2014 Day 4 Schedule and Live Viewer

I may be flying home but Esxence still has one more full day to go. If you need a wrap-up of Day 1 check out my story at this linkThe Day 2 Wrap-up can be found hereMy Day 3 wrap-up is here. Below is the live stream to watch today's panels. The schedule for Day 4 (All times EST) is:

5:30AM Tribute to Sandrine Videault with Michael Edwards, Saskia Havekes, Sabine Chabbert, Laurence Ferat and Silvio Levi

6:00AM Book Presentation- Parfums Rares- Sabine Chabbert and Laurence Ferat interviewed by Tessa Williams, Author, Cult Perfumes

9:00AM Contest -Award Ceremony-The Art of Scent

10:00AM Workshop by Mouillettes & Co Olf'Evolution with Maria Grazia Fornasier and Emanuela Rupi

 

Colognoisseur Esxence 2014 Day 3 Wrap-Up- Hope & Pain, Love & Roses, A Junky, A Magnet & A Jigsaw

Buongiorno Perfume Lovers! Day 3 is also my last day at Esxence 2014 but before I could go out and make my last visits I had a little interview to host. Michael Edwards the man behind the perfume reference standard Fragrances of the World was celebrating the publication of the 30th edition in 2014. For that occasion it was my great pleasure to ask the questions which allowed Mr. Edwards to delight the audience with his view of 30 years of the perfume business. What tickled me most is he finally shared many of the tales he has told me personally with a much wider audience. It was fun watching the audience lean in to hear his answers.

After the presentation it was back onto the exhibition floor to tie up some last loose ends as some of my favorite brands had new releases I hadn’t yet tried. First was visiting with Sebastian Fishenich of Humiecki & Graef. Humiecki & Graef are some of the most creative perfumes I own and the two new ones are worthy additions to the line. Abime is meant to evoke la condition humaine of pain. It is accomplished with an overdose of narcissus which is magnificent. Les Christophs absolutely achieve the olfactory equivalent of pain and it is fabulous. The converse emotion of hope is found in the other new release Nouveau-ne. Les Christophs take an incredibly deep honey note as the linchpin for the positive perfume.

Graine-de-Joie

I then moved onto my second Sebastian in a row as Sebastian Alvarez Murena of Eau D’Italie showed me the latest release, Graine de Joie. I think I’ve seen more perfume which does not have the typical light yellow, pale pink, or amber color at this year’s Esxence than ever before. Graine de Joie is a deep red color befitting a fragrance featuring pomegranate. Perfumer Daphne Bugey has made a fruity floral I will be happy to wear, as after the pomegranate; freesia and a lovely praline accord come together. It is another winner for Eau D’Italie.

I also finally got around to trying the fourth fragrance from jeweler Ann Gerard. Her Rose Cut is signed by Bertrand Duchaufour which should have been enough to get me over there but it took Lila Das Gupta of Basenotes who e-mailed me from the airport to finally put myself in front of Ms. Gerard. Rose Cut is meant to refer to a rose cut of diamond. The perfume sparkles with the brilliance of a precious jewel from the aldehydes on top to rose bolstered with peony in the heart. One of my two favorite roses in the entire exhibition.

micallef jigsaw

M. Micallef Puzzle Collection No.1 & No. 2

With time growing short I had to dash through my last three lines to visit. At M. Micallef I was shown the new Puzzle Collection No.1 and No. 2. It will be no puzzle to anyone that these are both amazing and I love the bottles with the jigsaw pieces on the face of them. Anais Biguine of Jardins D’Ecrivains showed me the latest, Junky based on Beat Generation poet William Burroughs. Mme Biguine uses hemp as a keynote and then just creates a Beat tone poem of fragrance. I thought Christine Nagel’s last fragrance before taking up her new duties at Hermes would be for Jo Malone, but I would be incorrect. Luc Gabriel of The Different Company convinced Mme Nagel to turn in her new fragrance for him, Nuit Magnetique, just two days before she started. Nuit Magnetique shows off every wonderful facet of Mme Nagel’s skill from a ginger and blueberry top note pair to a jasmine, rose, and prune heart note that is unreal in how good the prune makes it. If you had any doubts about Mme Nagel going to Hermes Nuit Magnetique should make them dissipate.

xerjoff bus stop

The Bus Stop in front of Esxence

I finished my night at the movie theatre for the showing of the documentary "The Nose" on Nasomatto perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri and his experiment in turning a conscious mistake into a perfume and calling it Blamage. Blindfolded he picked six ingredients off his wall and has spent over a year turning them into Blamage. After the film was over they asked us to sniff the handkerchief draped on the back of out chair. One of us had one that smelled different and that person would win the only bottle of Blamage that exists. A local Milano woman was the winner and she was beseiged by people who wanted to get a sniff. It was a fun way to end my Esxence experience for 2014.

For the third time now I am amazed at the level of creativity on display at Esxence. Founder Silvio Levi has once again demonstrated the best show in all of artistic perfumery in the world takes place in Milan every spring. My thanks to Valentina Cagnola and Caterina Gianoli for hosting me and making me feel so welcome. Also my thanks to all the other perfumers, creative directors, bloggers, and other perfume lovers who filled my days with wonderful words of encouragement on the success of Colgonoisseur. I am so very much looking forward to sharing all that I discovered this weekend over the coming weeks with my readers. For the last time from Milano, Ciao Perfumistas e Colognoisseurs!

Mark Behnke