The Sunday Magazine: The Super Bowl

Like many other Americans sometime in the late afternoon I will sit down in front of my television set and watch Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. I have been fortunate to attend every major professional team championship at least once. My one and only Super Bowl was in 1976.

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In 1976 I was finishing my junior year of high school and was working as a doorman in a condominium which catered to what were colloquially called snowbirds. These were a mostly older clientele who lived in the Northeast for most of the year but spent their winters in Florida. My job was to park cars and help them with packages and odd chores. The condo was close to one of the major resorts of South Florida called The Diplomat. It happened to be the official hotel of one of the teams in Super Bowl X, The Pittsburgh Steelers; who were playing the Dallas Cowboys. As I was sitting outside and saw some fans wearing Steeler jerseys walk by I yelled out, “Kick their ass!” They came up to talk with me and I gave them a little information about places around the Orange Bowl, the site of the game. They thanked me and headed off. About an hour later one of the men in the party walked up and asked me if I was off work in time for the game. I replied I should make it home just in time for kickoff. He smiled at me and asked me if I wanted to see it live. He held up a ticket and said if I can make it he’ll sell it to me. I said sure and I handed over the price of the ticket, $20. The “cheap seats” for this year’s version go for $500.

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Lynn Swann

I got off work and because I knew the side roads and places to park I rushed into the stadium and I got to my seat just as the Steelers kicked off to the Cowboys. That return would set the stage for a back and forth game as the Cowboys tried a bit of trickery with the return which set them up at midfield. In a tight game of back and forth I saw one of the most impressive big game performances by Steeler receiver Lynn Swann who made one of the great catches of a pass in a Super Bowl as he dove and tipped the ball back to himself twice before making the catch and hitting the ground. I was hugging and cheering with my new-found friends from Pittsburgh. They would go home happy as Pittsburgh would win 21-17.

This is the biggest difference between being there and watching it on television. Tomorrow I will be amused at the commercials. I’ll have a better view than anyone at the game. My chair will be more comfortable. I would trade it all for a seat in the last row. To be at a championship event surrounded by the fans of the participants where it is winner take all is best appreciated live. The joy and the despair are amplified as every play is important. For all of the Seahawks and Patriots fans who will be spending a fraught day until a winner is named- enjoy it whether in your living room or from the last row in the stadium.

Mark Behnke

Taking the First Step- Colognoisseur’s 1st Anniversary

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You will find this quote by Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” What you won’t find no matter how many times you read the Tao Te Ching is the hidden second line to that saying, “That first step is the hardest step you will ever take.” I used this in my introductory remarks at last October’s Sniffapalooza Fall Ball. Everyone I was introducing that day had not only found a way to take that first step into the world of perfume but then to take a few more and create something. One year ago today I took my first public step as a solo perfume blogger. If I was to say I wasn’t terrified I would be lying.

As I sat in front of my computer screen on January 31 last year I took a deep breath before publishing the first piece on Colognoisseur. I started with the desire to publish one new piece every day. I had enough initial ideas for the first 90 days but what then? The actual work of publishing every day would I be able to do that? I have to thank my friend, and colleague in blogging, Ron Slomowicz who said to me, “If you don’t publish for a day it will be the end of the world.” Dramatic? Yes. Did I act like the silly comment was true? Yes. It motivated me as a kind of goofy mantra. It got me in front of the computer when I didn’t think I wanted to write. What I found was the act of writing every day was therapeutic. Yoga via keystroke.

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Over the past year I have had tremendous support from so many people. I was once told that I did too many things for people for free and they would never return the favor. This past year has definitively put the lie to that piece of prophecy. Every person I have turned to for help, advice, or assistance has come through with more than I asked. There is nothing quite as gratifying as seeing people delightfully assist me who only wanted to make sure I had the best opportunity to succeed. To all of those people, whom I have thanked privately, this is a public thank you. Colognoisseur would not exist without your help.

The other thing the last year has also illuminated for me is the intense connection a fragrance can make between people. I have had some fantastic e-mail conversations about all aspects of the industry. These conversations have taken place with readers in Brazil, Australia, France, and in the city next door Silver Spring, MD. Having a story spark an exchange is one of the best parts of being a blogger. Some of those inspired later stories.

Now a year later I have not only taken the first step but at least 364 more. I still have questions but I am much surer that the future will provide answers. To all the readers of Colognoisseur thanks for joining me for a step or two. I look forward to sharing more with you.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Penhaligon’s Trade Routes Lothair- A Pirate Looks at 145

There is no perfumer for whom I have more nicknames for than Bertrand Duchaufour. His very profligacy almost demands he gets them. Because he is such perfumed gadfly moving from one project to another I have likened him to a freebooter and called him the Pirate of Perfume. The body of work he has produced for London brand Penhaligon’s has been one of his strongest collections for any brand he has worked for. The seventh perfume he has made for them is part of their Trade Routes Collection and it is called Lothair.

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Lothair is named after the Tea Clipper ships which were the FedEx of their day even if it took more like weeks instead of days. A neat bit of synchronicity is Lothair was the last Tea Clipper ship to be built in Rotherhithe in 1870, the year Penhaligon’s was founded. M. Duchaufour wanted the perfume named after the ship to be a day at sea with a hold full of goods heading home. M. Duchaufour could have kept it simple by constructing a tea-centric fragrance. He does do that but he adds some inspired modern choices which make Lothair something similar to modern day Rotherhithe which has become part of the upscale Docklands area of London.

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Bertrand Duchaufour

As the Lothair races through the waves you look over the lip of the hold and a whiff of cardamom arises as the crewman next to you eats his grapefruit. The smell of gin comes from somewhere in the scent of juniper berries. Finally you spy the bags of dark black tea in their canvas bags adjacent to other bags filled with figs. The heart of Lothair is the green version of fig and the black version of tea. M. Duchaufour swirls them together adroitly. He creates a floral contrast with geranium and lavender to further develop the heart accord. As the ship nears port you lean on the rail taking in the smell of the wood in the sun and the brine of the sea rushing by. This is accomplished by cedar, oakmoss, ambergris, and a few musks.

Lothair has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

I was thinking of the Jimmy Buffet song “A Pirate Looks at 40” while wearing Lothair. It almost feels like my modern Pirate of Perfume is looking back 145 years ago to make something relevant in 2015. Lothair is another fantastic perfume from M. Duchaufour; long may he sail the perfumed waves.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Raymond Matts Kaiwe- Unnatural Adventures

When I got my first sniff of the Raymond Matts Aura de Parfum collection at the end of November I immediately felt it was something noteworthy. I spent a good hour going from strip to strip as I began my process of understanding what Mr. Matts was after. In the never-ending debate about the concept of olfactory art there is a school of thought that goes something like this; the use of synthetics is what separates artistic endeavor from commercial enterprise. Or more prosaically unnatural versus natural. I think it is a false argument and something to consider more deeply at a different time. What the Raymond Matts Aura de Parfum collection has added to my personal consideration is that in the hands of focused creative direction a perfumer can turn out something completely unlike anything in nature but yet which calls out to the familiar. Of any perfume in the Aura de Parfum collection Kaiwe is the one which exemplifies this best.

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Raymond Matts

When I was doing my initial assessment Kaiwe was the one I kept coming back to over and over. It was because of this unconventional look at the concept of fresh and green. Kaiwe is described, at its most basic, as a citrus ozonic Ambrox fragrance. It should smell like thousands of other similar fragrances which fit that description. In some ways it was exactly that which had me returning to it over and over. It smelled so like so many but not like anything else. Perfumer Olivier Gillotin puts together three distinct accords but while they seem to tread old ground they really are a step off of the well-traveled path.

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Olivier Gillotin

M. Gillotin opens Kaiwe with a citrus accord made up of the soapy group of aldehydes which is what I detect first. This is the smell of a freshly washed body stepping out of the shower. Cocktails of green synthetics and citrus synthetics coalesce underneath the aldehydes deepening the fresh feeling. This is an example of what I’m talking about; the synthetics M. Gillotin uses provide no discernable handle to grab ahold of. It smells citrusy but not obviously one fruit or the other. The green accord is slightly aquatic and opaque. It undulates to my senses almost like a sheer green scarf rippling on a breeze. The shifting nature of the green notes creates subtle kineticism. The heart again is comprised of floral synthetics such that it is not any one floral but aspects of many florals. A hint of green lily, a bit of violet, a pinch of jasmine; but not really. To make sure you don’t spend too much time trying to dissect the bouquet M. Gillotin adds eucalyptus and juniper berry. The eucalyptus almost single-handedly forms the ozonic feel. The juniper adds an icy gin-like quality. It sets up perfectly as another note from the liquor cabinet, rum, joins in. Then in a very unique take warm milk also enters the picture. This forms a bizarre never made cocktail of gin, rum, and warm milk. It is odd but compelling. I sure don’t ever want to drink it but I really enjoyed breathing it in. Kaiwe ends on a swirl of Ambrox adding its unique character to all that has come before.

Kaiwe has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Kaiwe is one of those perfumes I just want to wear over and over because every time I wear it I find something new to admire. It is my favorite of what is an incredibly diverse collection Mr. Matts has put together. If you are someone who equates synthetic raw materials with “cheap” I think this collection might change that opinion. I know that I find what Mr. Matts is attempting here to be laudatory for boldly staking out this space as well as creating with great vision. If you give this line a chance it can change the way you think about what makes a great perfume.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Raymond Matts.

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things: Tobacco

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I’m not sure what it is about the dead of winter, dead trees, and snowstorms that makes me want to wear a tobacco perfume. Like clockwork I start wanting to wear them from January to February. I have a lot of them in my collection and the five I’ve chosen could easily be joined by another five or more. If you, like me, are craving a tobacco perfume on these midwinter days here are my favorite five.

Aramis Havana was composed in 1994 by a team of perfumers consisting of Nathalie Feisthauer, Edouard Flechier, and Xavier Renard. Havana was the last of a dying breed as in a sea of fresh perfumes it was a hairy-chested powerhouse. It is a powerhouse with a ridiculously complex tobacco-laden heart that should fall apart under its own weight. The perfumers throw in twelve ingredients to capture a night of rum and cigars in the final days of Old Havana. This was discontinued for a time before returning four years ago essentially untouched. It was one of the great perfumes of the 1990’s and it stands the test of time today.

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While many turn to tobacco and rum when they think of Havana, in 1921’s Habanita de Molinard there is a reminder Cuba is a tropical island. This comes courtesy of a floral heart of jasmine, rose, and ylang-ylang. From out of the florals a tobacco accord rises and curls among the bouquet in the heart. When I also want some flowers with my tobacco I reach for Habanita.

If there is a flagship perfume for the Tom Ford Private Blend collection it very well may be 2007’s Tobacco Vanille. Perfumer Olivier Gillotin takes not only the tobacco leaves but also the tobacco flower. All of that is spiced up with ginger, clove, anise, and coriander. The promised vanilla comes along and completes this ultimate comfort scent. On a frigid night Tobacco Vanille acts as a snuggly cashmere sweater in fragrant form.

By Kilian Back to Black is one of the greatest modern perfumes. Perfumer Calice Becker, in 2009, pulled off the ultimate olfactory illusion. She created a tobacco perfume without using any tobacco. As a result this artificially constructed tobacco accord has more depth and nuance than any tobacco perfume I own. As the early notes begin to assemble on your skin until after a few minutes you are enveloped by the smell of narcotic tobacco, it is all a trick. I think this is one of the modern masterpieces of perfumery.

2012’s Diptyque Volutes by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin has broken its way into my top tier tobacco rotation by adding in a number of my other favorite perfume notes. M. Pellegrin adds immortelle, myrrh, and hay to add different sweet components to pick apart the sweet facets of tobacco. Throughout piquant notes of pink pepper and black pepper add a roughness to all of the smooth sweet tobacco. If you think you have enough tobacco fragrances try Volutes you might want to find space for one more.

There are my five favorite tobacco perfumes, no Surgeon General warnings necessary.

Disclosure: I purchased all of the perfumes mentioned.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre D’Orange True Lust- Etienne de Swardt’s Mash-Up

There is a branch of music where a producer or artist takes two different styles of music and combines them into a new version; this is called a mash-up. Musical examples of this are the combination of The Beatles White Album and Jay-Z’s The Black Album by producer Danger Mouse to become The Grey Album. Or one that got a lot of radio play was the combination of Numb by Linkin Park and Encore by Jay-Z who released and performed it live. When it works it illuminates something new from both source materials. It is a reason why some people layer perfumes as they look to create a whole experience from two or three fragrances to fill in the spaces. Now we have the first perfume mash-up with the release of Etat Libre D’Orange True Lust.

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Etienne de Swardt

Creative Director Etienne de Swardt is playing the part of the producer as he takes two of his previous perfumes 2006’s Putain des Palaces by perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer and 2012’s Dangerous Complicity by perfumer Violaine Collas and combines them.  For True Lust it is a mash-up of the softly floral aspects of Dangerous Complicity, along with the rum, with Putain des Palace’s animalic dry woods. What M. de Swardt says he wanted was, “a marriage of mystery, an uneasy merger of hearts and minds and flesh.” What is surprising is True Lust works for me on that level as each of the perfumes serve to fill in the empty space the other one left which results in something both recognizable and unique.

The early going of True Lust is all Dangerous Complicity as the ginger and rum which opens that perfume opens this perfume. The violet of Putain des Palaces arrives fairly quickly. Right here is a good example of why True Lust works. The ginger and rum have a boozy kind of energy but the violet tempers it with a bit of edgy floralcy. The heart is a mix of the floral hearts of both originals as muguet, ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine, and osmanthus combine. While all of these notes are in one or the other of the perfumes in True Lust they come together in a way different than they presented themselves previously. This is the moment of the perfumed mash-up where the harmonies are overlaid to the point that you know this is something new from something old. The base is mostly the animalic leather of Putain des Palaces matched with the sandalwood of Dangerous Complicity. This time it is the leather of Putain des Palaces which ends up on top, pun intended.

True Lust has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

True Lust is a perfume for people who love smelling like they are wearing perfume. What I mean by that is by taking two different sources and bringing them together it can’t help but be very extroverted and out there. If you like your perfume well-behaved and demure this is not what True Lust is serving up. It is bringing you a Technicolor perfume experience and if you’re in the mood for it, it is awesome. I wanted an old-time broad shouldered perfume experience and True Lust delivered it.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review April Aromatics Erdenstern- Getting Botanical With It

Back in 2010 while I was working at CaFleureBon we participated in a project sponsored by the Natural Perfumers guild called The Mystery of Musk. The idea was to have natural perfumers create a botanical musk accord and then use it in a perfume created for the event. Twelve natural perfumers educated me in the myriad ways a real musk could be created using all-natural ingredients. Perfumer Tanja Bochnig of April Aromatics was just getting started in 2010 and was not part of The Mystery of Musk. When I tried her latest release Erdenstern it felt like it was a lost entry in that project.

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Tanja Bochnig

Fr. Bochnig has become one of the leading natural perfumers over the last four years. I have been an admirer for a long time but I realized this is the first time I am writing about one of her perfumes. That lack of attention is not due to anything but my inability to cover everything I like and I like Fr. Bochnig’s perfumes a lot. She states on her website, “I strongly believe that people can feel the love and energy I give into my perfumes.” Speaking for myself I have always felt the passion she has appears in the quality of her perfumes. Fr. Bochnig comes from a background of aromatherapy and yoga and that shows up in her perfumes. While they aren’t meant to speak to specific chakras per se they do attempt to evoke specific feelings.

Erdenstern translates to “Earth Star” it was inspired by Avalon, the holy place between the worlds of gods and mortals. Naming Erdenstern after a place where two worlds coincide is a perfect analogy for the perfume. Erdenstern captures a combination of damp earth and wood along with the animalic accords of what lives among the trees.

As I mentioned above Fr. Bochnig has fashioned a botanical musk accord and it is where Erdenstern opens. The advantage of a botanical musk is the ingredients themselves add a texture not available from a traditional synthetic musk. As a result I really enjoy the more natural feel of these botanical musks and Fr. Bochnig’s version is as good as I’ve encountered. She pairs it with a very strident vetiver. So often perfumers try and pull the reins in on vetiver. Fr. Bochnig allows her vetiver to gallop freely alongside the botanical musk. Together they create the smell of the damp forest floor as you walk through it. The heart transitions to tobacco and opoponax. This is a very gradual shift from woods and earth to sweet tobacco. It always took me by surprise while wearing it in a very good way. Fr. Bochnig finishes Erdenstern with another botanical version of an animal ingredient as she constructs a botanical ambergris accord in the base. There is a delicacy to this accord that is mesmerizing and Fr. Bochnig wisely leaves it pretty much by itself to finish Erdenstern.

Erdenstern has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I mentioned that I haven’t written about Fr. Bochnig much prior to this but I have tried all of her perfumes. Over time I have seen another independent perfumer come into their own as each successive release built upon what came before. In Erdenstern it culminates in the best perfume Fr. Bochnig has made, so far.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: The Wachowskis

There are moments when you sit in a movie theatre and you know what you are seeing will change things. I knew it before I ever sat down in the theatre to see The Matrix in 1999. In what was one of the most effective advertising campaigns I’ve ever seen they showed the clip of Keanu Reeves’ hero Neo dodging bullets on a rooftop by seemingly slowing down time. The movie could have been awful and I would have paid for a ticket to see that. The movie wasn’t awful of course and The Matrix was when we first learned about the filmmaking team known as The Wachowskis. Philip Strick of the British film magazine Sight & Sound had a quote in reference to The Matrix which I think has described much of what The Wachowskis have meant to movies, “If the Wachowskis claim no originality of message, they are startling innovators of method.”

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The Wachowskis

They invented the method called “bullet time” to create the action sequences in all of the Matrix films. That technique is now used everywhere and it has allowed all directors, after its creation, the opportunity to add truly unique visuals to their movies. The saturated color environment of 2008’s, extremely underrated, Speed Racer managed to cross the feel of a live-action animated character with the world of video games. I felt like I was immersed inside the races while they were taking place onscreen. The outside world also seemed a little less vivid after walking out of the theatre that day. In 2012 they tackled the nearly impossible task of adapting David Mitchell’s babushka doll-like novel Cloud Atlas. In a narrative which cuts across seven different times and locales The Wachowskis skill with visually cluing the audience in to where they were was critical for a story as intricate as Cloud Atlas.

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Race Scene from Speed Racer

The first movie I am most interested in seeing in 2015 is the new movie by The Wachowskis called Jupiter Ascending. Like the TV ads for The Matrix I have been teased with visuals which leave me wanting to see them on the biggest screen I can. This is also a return to The Wachowskis creating their own sci-fi world, as they did with The Matrix. With Jupiter Ascending I am expecting originality of both message and method. 2015 is shaping up to be a year of geek heaven for me and it will all start with whatever The Wachowskis have to show me on February 6, 2015.

Mark Behnke

That Unattainable Object of Desire: Avon Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve – The Anti-Avon Lady Perfume

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While it would be logical to find a perfume inspired by actress, and perfumista, Catherine Deneuve to be one of the most sought after rarities; I would bet many would be shocked to find out it was an Avon product. What is arguably one of the greatest floral chypres ever made, Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve, did come from Avon.

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It came from an Avon desperate to change its image in the late 1980’s. Avon was seen as products that your mother owned and the younger generation at that time wanted nothing to do with it. Who did they want to be like? A certain group of them wanted to be like Catherine Deneuve. Mme Deneuve had just starred in the art house horror movie The Hunger as the vampire Miriam Blaylock. Someone in the Avon corporate offices thought pairing Mme Deneuve and Avon in an attempt to make the first Avon branded perfume to be sold in department stores was a fantastic idea. It wasn’t. The door-to-door sales force of “Avon Ladies” complained that their customers would ask them for an Avon perfume they couldn’t sell. The price was above $150/oz. which was beyond aspirational at that time especially compared to the typical Avon perfume selling for less than $10. Avon had no contacts within the department store world and they were seen as arrogant interlopers and thus were blocked from getting the perfume onto fragrance counters around the country. Unable to find it and overpriced compared to other perfumes was a perfect combination for failure. Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve should have disappeared without a trace.

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Catherine Deneuve in "The Hunger"

Except a few people got to smell it and it slowly, via word of mouth, became highly sought after. I tried it for the first time in the mid 1990’s when we were at a party discussing the most beautiful actresses and I called Mme Deneuve, “Brigitte Bardot with brains”. My hostess leaned into me and told me the perfume she was wearing was Catherine Deneuve’s perfume. I breathed in a sensual floral chypre hazed over with shots of green. It was heavenly. I would find my bottle of it in one of those mall kiosks with boxes of fragrance stacked upon each other a couple of years later. It is one of my most treasured bottles.

The development of the perfume, as put together from bits and pieces of interviews given by Mme Deneuve was as fraught with incompetence as the ill-conceived distribution plan. The business people couldn’t come to an agreement on what market they were shooting for and it left the perfume sort of stranded in olfactory development hell. Mme Deneuve and perfumer Jacques Veromel continued to work at it diligently. While all the arguing about marketing was going on; Mme Deneuve decided on a final mod. Once they stopped squabbling they found there was a finished perfume waiting for them.

Deneuve opens with a fizz of aldehydes grabbing your attention. Underneath is a green pairing of geranium and galbanum. M. Veromel uses the galbanum at first as a hazy veil of green. It intensifies but so too do the florals as jasmine, marigold, and orange blossom form the floral heart. M. Veromel hit the balance perfectly as the three florals along with the galbanum form an intensely green floral accord that is one of the great middle developments in perfumery. It all transitions into a traditional chypre base full of oakmoss and civet. This ending is everything that a perfume that says sexy to me should be.

Deneuve has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Bottles of Deneuve rarely show up on the online auction sites and it is most often found as a mini. Please be careful when buying one of those. As I’ve mentioned in the past aldehydes are notorious for their volatility and in an unboxed mini you will get a Deneuve probably missing those top notes. With that caveat I would still tell you that the rest of the perfume is worth experiencing. I said it earlier and I will say it again Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve is one of the greatest floral chypres ever.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Reviews Raymond Matts Maiaday & Pashay- Chasing Dreams

As I continue my reviews of the new Raymond Matts Aura de Parfum collection I turn to a pair which are complete opposites. One celebrates all of the promise of a spring day. The other is the smell of attraction from afar traveling the paths of imagination wherein the feeling is returned. Maiaday and Pashay are those perfumes.

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Annie Buzantian

There are instructions for how to pronounce the names in the press materials. Maiaday is supposed to be pronounced (My*a*day). Ever since wearing it I’ve been calling it May*a*day because it embodies that day in May when we acknowledge the return of green and growing things. Perfumer Annie Buzantian composes a perfume which captures that pent-up energy of the coming of spring after the long winter. Ms. Buzantian keeps it all very supple and soft as a sunny floral green haze enveloped me when I wore Maiaday. Ms. Buzantian opens with her greenery floating on a pond which she marries to a citrus grouping of notes. It adds that zing to the opening as it amplifies and complements the green accord. Maiaday moves into a floral heart with that May Day flower, muguet, at the center. Ms. Buzantian brackets it with the expected, in violet leaves, picking up the greener facets of muguet. The unexpected is saffron which adds a bit of outre´ charm. Saffron works here because it is such a softly assertive spicy note. Something a little more aggressive would have thrown off the vibe Ms. Buzantian is building. This carries through into the base as she uses a number of synthetic woods to form a translucent woody accord to evoke the trees waking up on May Day. As much as I’ve been enjoying wearing Maiaday on these winter days I am really looking forward to wearing it on a mid-summer’s day. Maiaday has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

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Christophe Laudamiel (Photo: Marcus Gaab for NY TImes)

The inspiration for Pashay came from a chance encounter on a Fifth Avenue bus Mr. Matts was riding. Also sharing his ride was “a beautiful black woman…with flawless skin and an exposed shoulder.” When Mr. Matts approached perfumer Christophe Laudamiel with this inspiration he also had an interesting request for a starting point for M. Laudamiel. By looking at this olive toned skin he wanted to use a Kalamata olive note as the focal point of Pashay. M. Laudamiel thought it a crazy idea but once he and Mr. Matts started working on Pashay they found there was some latitude to realize their vision while starting from such a different beginning. Pashay opens on a fruity flurry of citrus and pear. This leads to the heart where they chose seaweed and narcissus to join the Kalamata to form their desired salty skin accord. If you look at those ingredients on face value you might not see how this comes to be. By using the oily salty olive to build upon; the seaweed pulls out the hidden marine facets as well as a sense of clean sweaty skin. The narcissus takes this and uses its intense floralcy to frame and enhance the illusion. It really is the smell of a woman’s shoulder after she has worked up a sweat. This all fades into a woody base of sandalwood and guaiac wood. This is a cleaned up sandalwood synthetic stripped of the sweet facets and the guaiac wood provides a more versatile clean wood than something like cedar might have. The final stages of Pashay are the dream of that woman on the bus as it pulls away and you watch it move down the street. Pashay has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Disclosure: These reviews were based on samples I received from Raymond Matts.

Mark Behnke