Under The Radar: Paloma Picasso Minotaure- The Right Time has Arrived

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The ranks of discontinued perfumes are full of examples of fragrances released at the wrong time. I am often lamenting that if that particular scent was released today it would be a big seller. It is rare but some of those early out-of-step perfumes have managed to survive until the trends caught up with them. Because they have been around so long it is no surprise that they have fallen off most people’s radar screens. This month I’m going to try and put Paloma Picasso Minotaure back into play.

Minotaure_Ad

Paloma Picasso was the daughter of famed modern artist Pablo Picasso. In 1984 she released her first perfume called Mon Perfume. It was a very classical chypre done very well and it sold pretty well. Eight years later Ms. Picasso would follow-up with a masculine fragrance called Minotaure. She worked with perfumer Michel Almairac to create a wonderfully complex perfume which struggled to find an audience in 1992. It would go out of production for a time but it has been placed back on the shelves as of 2012.

Where Mon Parfum nodded to a classical composition Minotaure was doing anything but playing it safe. M. Almairac used a very green geranium as the core which he surrounded in bright citrus, vibrant herbs, woods, and leather. Today this kind of structure is not unusual if not necessarily common. In 1992 this was not on trend.

Minotaure opens with a big bright flare of citrus to which lavender is added. This was a common opening but M. Almairac added what he called a “marine accord” trying to nod to the beginning of the aquatic trend. This set of ozonic and salt spray notes makes it feel like you are standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean with fields of lavender and citrus at your back. Tarragon, sage, and rosemary provide a strongly herbal transition into the heart. M. Almairac takes geranium and uses it in a concentration not usually found, as this time it is the star instead of providing support and depth. It makes it the perfect pairing with the herbs as at this concentration the green qualities of geranium are amplified. This all gives way to a lovely leather accord and sandalwood in the base.

Minotaure has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage. It is a 1990’s powerhouse go easy when applying.

M. Almairac produced a perfume twenty years ahead of its time. If Minotaure had been released in 2012 I think it would have been talked about and lauded. Just because it is from 1992 doesn’t mean it’s not relevant in 2015. It means its time has finally come.

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

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Named a Fragrance Foundation Award 2015 Finalist

I was very fortunate to be invited to the Mandarin Oriental in New York City of the announcement of the Finalists for this year’s Fragrance Foundation Awards. Of course I also was very interested in the Editorial Excellence In Fragrance Coverage-Online in which I had been named a Semifinalist for Olfactory Chemistry: Nitro Musks-From Boom to Musk.

It took a while to get down to my category and Christine Baranski read out the finalists and Colognoisseur was one of the finalists. I didn’t take home the big prize that went to my former Editor-in-Chief Michelyn Camen at CaFleureBon and writer The Silver Fox for “Smoky Eyes and Smoky Perfumes: The Allure of Scents That Smolder”

It was a great event and I want to thank The Fragrance Foundation for the invitation to attend and Rhona Stokols of Symrise for hosting me at their table.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aedes de Venustas Palissandre D’Or- Cinnamon and Cedar

I remember the first time I walked into the New York perfume boutique Aedes de Venustas. I think I stood inside the door with my mouth slack from the sensory overload of all these perfumes I had never heard of. Owners Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner were there to gently guide me through the offerings in the store. One thing I’ve come to realize over time is what an amazing job they do in curating what they offer for sale. They have few peers in the business who sell from a single storefront. Since 2012 that same careful consideration has carried over to their efforts to create a perfume brand which carries the name of their store. Over four previous releases they have covered a wide array of styles using some of the best perfumers working. For their latest release Palissandre D’Or they have outdone everything they have produced to date.

Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner

Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner

Mr. Bradl and Mr. Gerstner also collaborate with Francois Duquesne on the creative direction side for these fragrances.  The brief was to create a “scent of precious Oriental woods, in a smoldering palette of burnt sienna, lacquered red, and molten gold.” For the perfumer to realize this they chose Alberto Morillas.

M. Morillas is one of the greatest perfumers working today. The great majority of his work is on the more mainstream side of the perfumed avenue. Especially in the last few years he has been enticed to the niche side of the street to work there. What I am guessing entices him is the opportunity to work with some of the unique raw materials that just don’t fit the budget of a more commercial release. In Palissandre D’Or the ingredient he wanted to showcase was an Alaskan cedar which carries a rich leathery character along with the more familiar clean woody lines. Before we get to that in the base M. Morillas paints bands of “burnt sienna” and “lacquered red” which lead to the “molten gold” of the cedar.

Alberto-Morillas

Alberto Morillas

If there was any doubt I was going to like this perfume it is washed away by the early spices on top. M. Morillas takes nutmeg, baie rose, and coriander as a pedestal to display a fantastic cinnamon. If you’ve ever cooked with a high quality cinnamon you know there is a deep richness to it. The cinnamon which opens Palissandre D’Or carries the contrasting hot and sweet character of the very best Vietnamese cinnamon. There are very few perfumes which get cinnamon right but Palissandre D’Or can be added to the short list. M. Morillas uses the botanical musk of ambrette to lead to a Sri Lankan sandalwood in the heart. The heat of the cinnamon lacquers the sandalwood in a spice-laden shine. The moment where the cinnamon, ambrette and sandalwood come together is mesmerizing. M. Morillas wants me to be even more fascinated as in the base he combines three forms of cedar each with their own personality. Virginia cedar is that clean cut All-American wood. Chinese cedar carries a hint of smoky black tea to smudge that boyish charm a bit. The Alaskan cedar wraps that All-American in a leather jacket and turns him into a bad boy. Together this turns what, in other hands, would be a routine cedar base into something full of interesting texture and nuance.

Palissandre D’Or has 12-14 hours of longevity and below average sillage.

All five perfumes in the Aedes de Venustas line have been memorable and among the best perfumes of the year they were released. The entire team behind Palissandre D’Or have raised their collective bar to new heights. Palissandre D’Or is the realization of everything Aedes de Venustas stands for in terms of quality and discernment.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I received at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Puredistance White- Soft Focus

I really appreciate the effort Jan Ewoud Vos puts into every new release from his luxury perfume brand Puredistance. We went all of 2014 without a new release and when I received the press package for the latest, White, there was a reason. Mr. Vos had been collaborating with perfumer Antoine Lie on White. It was due to be released contemporaneously with Black, also by M. Lie, which was the last release. What is great was instead of pushing something out to satisfy a timeline Mr. Vos and M. Lie thought they could do better and so they returned to the beginning of the creative process.

jan ewoud vos

Jan Ewoud Vos

If Black was all about introspection and inward exploration; White was meant to be all about happiness and outward joy. There is no mention about what the discarded draft of White was centered on. The version which ended up carrying the name takes one of the more common supporting notes in many perfumes and gives it a starring role.

Antione_Lie

Antoine Lie

M. Lie chooses a particularly bright bergamot to lead into a pairing of Rose de Mai and orris. M. Lie keeps this very light and slightly powdery. It has a very expansive footprint in the early moments as it seems to just suffuse itself throughout my awareness. I like a powdery floral and it did make me smile. I would guess if you are not a fan of powdery florals it might be more challenging. The star of White comes up through the powder as tonka not only arrives, it takes over. Tonka is most often used as a way of adding warmth and a slight bit of sweetness into a fragrance it is used in. M. Lie takes tonka, and using it in overdose, gives it a platform from which you can’t ignore it. The tonka used here, from Venezuela, rewards the scrutiny. By having it in high concentration the hay-like coumarin, the nutty character, and the slightly vanillic sweetness all have a more noticeable effect. If this was left in overdose it would become cloying and annoying. Instead M. Lie like an olfactory cinematographer softens the focal point by the addition of sandalwood, vetiver, and patchouli. They take that tonka and blur the edges making it just right while still retaining its starring role. A lovely cocktail of musks are the finishing touches to White.

Puredistance White has 24 hour longevity and average sillage, more than you might expect from a fragrance at 38% concentration.

White reminds me of waking up from a summer afternoon nap as the late afternoon sun flows into the room giving everything a soft glow. Mr. Vos wanted a perfume which would make one smile; I also found White to be a deeply comforting scent as well. It produced a smile of pure contentment each time I wore it.

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

Mark Behnke

DSH Perfumes 101- Five to Get You Started

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One of the great things about the early days of perfume blogging was that they were introducing small lines to their readers. It was 2006 when I was doing my daily read of Now Smell This when Robin introduced me to perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and her brand DSH Perfumes. Reading that review of Cimabue I ordered a whole lot of samples. Ms. Hurwitz is one of those people in perfumery who has me looking forward to whatever she is doing next. If you have never tried any of her perfumes here are five suggestions on where to start.

Cimabue– Based on that review this was the first perfume by Ms. Hurwitz I tried. I am pretty sure I had never tried a full-on saffron in a fragrance at the point I tried Cimabue. Ms. Hurwitz not only introduced me to the note she set it atop a pyramid of spices on a foundation of vanilla and sandalwood. When I look to perfume to act as a comforting safety blanket Cimabue is one of the few which fits that bill for me.

Viridian– Ms. Hurwitz has had a longtime association with the Denver Art Museum. Many of her most interesting fragrances are the result of that collaboration. The first of these projects happened in November of 2007 and was called the CHROMA Collection. Of the ten perfumes she made for this Viridian is the most vibrant. Ms. Hurwitz wanted a deep green and she seemingly employs every green shade on the perfumer’s organ. The mix turns into a trip down the pine tree lined road to the Emerald City on a galbanum bricked road.

Sienna– I love cinnamon in perfume but there are only a few which do it well. Also part of the CHROMA Collection Ms. Hurwitz places the cinnamon on top of one of my favorite accords she has ever created, a steamed basmati rice. This feels like opening a rice steamer and having cinnamon rise up to you in a humid cloud. It settles on to a honeyed wood base note but it is that steamy spicy opening which makes Sienna unforgettable.

DSH

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Bancha– My favorite of everything Ms. Hurwitz has ever done. I remember thinking this would be her take on green tea fragrances which were all the rage in 2010 when this was released. Bancha is instead one of my cherished spring stalwarts. From a citrus opening phase to a brilliantly chosen basil at the heart which marries the floral and coniferous notes through to a spirit centering sandalwood base Bancha is perfection.

Mata Hari– Ms. Hurwitz has been a ready participant in the numerous projects which have proliferated over the years. In 2010 there was a project via The Natural Perfumers Guild called Outlaw Perfume. The concept was to use the list of IFRA banned ingredients to create “outlaw” fragrances. By the very nature of the project Ms. Hurwitz took the opportunity to make a perfume the way they used to make them. Ms. Hurwitz designs an animalic chypre that oozes sensuality and intrigue. An intensely floral heart gives way to a carnal base of musk, civet, and leather. Ms. Hurwitz has spent years studying the great perfumes of the past. Mata Hari shows what a good student she was.

Along with Andy Tauer it is Ms. Hurwitz who is responsible for my love of independent perfumery. They were the figurative mother and father who introduced me to this world of fragrance that existed away from the store counter. Ms. Hurwitz is one of the true treasures of the independent perfume community and these five are a great place to start your own discovery.

Disclosure: This review based on bottles which I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Rubini Fundamental- Faith Restored (Part2)

Every year when I attend Esxence I wait for that moment. It comes when I am introduced to a new brand and it just captivates me from the first moment I smell the strip. This year that moment occurred when I heard the first words out of the young founder’s mouth. When I stepped up to the booth at the beginning of my third day Andrea Bissoli Rubini looked me in the eye and said, “I was born into a family of perfumers.” The earnest passion with which those words were spoken let me know that something special was on the way. The perfume called Rubini Fundamental lived up to every bit of the promise in those words.

Andrea Rubini

Andrea Bissoli Rubini

As I was smelling the strip Sig. Rubini told me his story. How he wanted to assemble a “Made in Italy” team. He asked nose Cristiano Canali to help design the perfume. He asked fellow blogger Ermano Picco to help refine the brief. He asked designer Francesca Gotti to create an unforgettable package to capture the past and the future. Each member of this team executed their task brilliantly.

Sig. Picco imagined Verona in 1937 as the small perfume shop in town serves the ladies in their iris-scented face powder. The actors still wearing their greasepaint. The alluring smells of the denizens of the local house of pleasure. Finally the smell of ripening Soave grapes on the vine ready to be harvested. These are the fundamentals of Fundamental.

Sig. Canali took a mix of great natural materials and combined them with modern synthetics which creates that Retro Nouveau vibe I like so much. Many attempt this but very few pull it off as well as Sig. Canali does in Fundamental.

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Side View of the Rubini Fundamental packaging

Sig.ra Gotti has a very unique perspective when it comes to packaging. She took this new material made from recycled Fiberglas, from boats, called Glebanite. Like an olfactory Oreo she sandwiches the bottle between two slabs of Gelbanite. When I saw it, and touched it, it felt like old stone. It wasn’t until I picked it up and saw how feather light it was despite looking so solid that it struck me that again the future was inspired by the past in Sig.ra Gotti’s design.

Above it all Sig. Rubini conducted his team of impassioned Italians to realize his vision.

Fundamental opens on a Hesperidic accord of bergamot, tangerine, orange flower, and a couple of synthetic citrus notes which add nuance and texture. The orange blossom in particular carries the early moments. Then we get the powdery iris as it floats above the top notes. The Soave grape accord also comes in with the powder. Sig. Canali finds the balance between crisp fruit and slightly alcoholic. It is as light as the iris making it the right partner for the heart of Fundamental. The thicker unctuous smell of the greasepaint also comes to provide the contrast to the pretty notes with a bit of bohemian insouciance. This is made up of vetiver and another set of synthetics which adds an olfactory thickness to Fundamental. We head further into the base with sandalwood and leather providing a carnal promise if you are just willing to take a step towards it.

Fundamental has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Everything about Fundamental makes me elated, and renews my faith, at the state of independent perfumery. Sig. Rubini assembled a group of like-minded visionaries. Together they carried themselves to the heights of creativity. I could wish that this was fundamental thinking for everyone making perfume. As long as Sig. Rubini can keep using his heritage to fuel his future I am sure that Fundamental is only the beginning of something quite marvelous.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample I received at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review: Canoe Skive- Faith Restored (Part 1)

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It is so easy to become jaded at the state of perfumery. Yes there are problems galore to focus on. Yes there is too much similar product trying to live off its marketing rather than its scent. Yes the big companies, and the not-so-big companies, seem to be more concerned with their bottom line than the artistic line. Yes the regulatory agencies are slowly drawing an ever narrowing circle around what can go in our perfumes. That is why it is easy to be jaded. It is also why it so gratifying to see some new brands just shucking all of that smoke, doing something right and making a perfume that is just everything I could want in a fragrance. Today and tomorrow I am going to tell two very different stories about two very different independent perfumes. Not that it was, but if my faith was flagging these two perfumes would have been my olfactory Lourdes. The first is Canoe Skive.

jessica Hannah and Natalie Davis

Jessica Hannah (l.) and Natalie Davis

Skive is a collaboration between natural perfumer Jessica Hannah of her own J. Hannah Co. and Natalie Davis of Canoe Goods, a leather goods line in Austin, TX. Ms. Davis went to Ms. Hannah’s studio for a session to produce a private blend just for her. While there these two Texan women found they had so much in common they wanted to work together on a perfume to be sold on the Canoe website. They agreed the fragrance would have to be a leather based one. The name Skive comes from the process of thinning the backside of leather with a knife, called skiving. Ms. Hannah wanted to represent Ms. Davis’ love of the outdoors, her love of tea, and the leather she works with. Skive is a pot of tea steeping next to a campfire while you work a piece of leather in your hands with the heavens open above you.

Ms. Hannah uses clary sage, saffron, and vetiver to create her earthy foundation upon which she will lay in place the rest of the notes of Skive. Choya loban provides the campfire. Some of this smoke also is very reminiscent of a pot of Lapsang Souchong tea on the boil. It is supported with a healthy amount of cedar. This gives the smell of the freshly cut wood to add to the fire once it burns low. At this point this is a near-perfect campfire accord capturing the fire pit, the surrounding trees, and the smoke drifting up from it. Then the leather accord arrives. Ms. Hannah is a natural perfumer and so she uses ambrette and castoreum to create her leather. It has so much vitality to it I almost feel like there should be a piece of actual leather where I sprayed. The final piece of Skive is twin resinous swirls of frankincense and myrrh adding a different kind of smoke to the mix. You might think all of this is heavy but Ms. Hannah truly shows off her skill as Skive has an ability to feel as expansive as the great outdoors. I found it oddly exhilarating despite the seemingly weighty notes.

Skive has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Skive is everything I rave about when speaking of independent perfumery. It is deeply personal and individual visions that translate to a much wider audience. Skive is an artistic vision made glorious reality. It makes me fall in love with perfume all over again.

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

Mark Behnke

Editor’s Note: Skive has been named a Finalist for the 2015 Art & Olfaction Awards in the Independent Category.

The Sunday Magazine: 40 Years a Geek

I was doing some spring cleaning and I ran across an old memory box from my high school days. Inside I found a ticket to a Star Trek and comic convention in the Miami Springs holiday Inn dated March 15, 1975. As far as I can remember this was my first convention. I came to the realization that it is probably that date which was my coming out party as a geek and I was thinking how much things have changed over the past 40 years.

I was attracted to that convention because George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu, was the special guest. I would say there were maybe 250 people there all crammed into a hotel ballroom watching Star Trek episodes on an old reel-to-reel projector. For me just to know that there were 249 other people who felt the same as me was very powerful. In those days if you liked something that was a bit outside of the mainstream you were pretty much going it on your own. I remember walking away from that experience knowing I was not on my own. Also from that very first convention I became part of the South Florida geek community. That is something that has been very strong for people who consider themselves geeks. Forty years ago it was a necessity. Now there are specialized groups within the umbrella designation of geek. Just as back then there is nothing as important as not feeling alone.

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What the Internet looked like in 1990

Certainly the Internet has been a big help for this for the last twenty-five years. Even from my early days of joining this online service called Prodigy I sought out others. It was so very cool to have special forums where I could chat with others who were just as invested in whatever subject I was interested in. As the Internet developed so did the community. It went from knowing there were 250 in your local area to knowing there were 250,000 all over the world. I not only didn’t feel alone, I felt like part of a vast worldwide community.

The growth of that community has no better barometer than the attendance at the biggest geek convention on the planet San Diego Comic-Con. In 1975 attendance was approximately 2, 500. Last year’s attendance was estimated at over 130,000. One other major thing that has changed is the demographics. Back in 1975 I am pretty sure there were only four or five women in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn. I remember standing on the mezzanine of this year’s New York Comic-Con and seeing so many women of all ages it made me smile.

Over forty years, geek has gone from being a sort of pejorative to now just being a mostly benign noun. What makes me happiest is to see how inclusive it has become. Even though we may never stop debating which is better, Star Trek or Star Wars, I love that there are more in the discussion.

Mark Behnke

Dead Letter Office: Dolce & Gabbana By Man- A “Fresh” Look at Orientals

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As perfumery moved into the latter half of the 1990’s it seems perfume brands were willing to take a risk to attract new customers. There are many examples of a perfume from the late 1990’s which comes from a label now known for something entirely different. If I say Dolce & Gabbana to most perfume lovers they will think of the classic Light Blue and how that has become the standard bearer for not only the brand but aesthetically, as well. This is a bit of a no-win situation for a brand if you become so known for a style the consumer won’t let you branch out. Much like the actor known for an iconic role eventually you just give in and start signing autographs. Or in a perfume way start releasing flankers.

In 1998 Dolce & Gabbana was coming off the success of Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme; but oddly pour Femme would fail to win over consumers. It was three years away from Light Blue completely changing the brand’s fragrance image. Stefano Gabbana was trying to position the Dolce & Gabbana fragrance as something in the upper level of the prestige marketplace. A pair of fragrances were commissioned as the next attempt to find that position. By Man and By Woman were the names and both lasted barely six years before being discontinued. Light Blue would displace them from their shelf space as its popularity grew. By Woman has fairly sunk into the perfumed graveyard of perfumes not mourned for their absence. By Man is a different story.

alberto-morillas

Alberto Morillas

Sig. Gabbana enlisted perfumer Alberto Morillas to compose By Man. M. Morillas delivered a spicy woody leather construction. It was against the prevailing wave of fresh and sport fragrances. It was also a calculated risk to see if men had become tired of those kind of fragrances and were ready to move on. They weren’t.

M. Morillas opens By Man with one of the best nutmeg openings of any perfume I own. He gives it some bite with pepper but it is really enhanced by a note called Hedione Elixir. The transparent expansive jasmine-like aromachemical is made a little less transparent, hence the elixir designation, and the spices seem to float suspended above the cloud of Hedione. In the heart M. Morillas gets more floral with lavender supported by artemesia. The Hedione Elixir persists into the heart adding its lift to the lavender as it did to the spices in the top notes. By Man finishes with base notes of primarily sandalwood and a leather accord. There is some Ambroxan to provide the same lift that the Hedione Elixir did over the early going. By using these very expansive aromachemicals I think M. Morillas was trying to make a “fresher” version of an Oriental. What he did was design one of the best spicy fougeres I own and something like no other in my collection.

Since its discontinuation in 2004 By Man has created a sort of holy trinity of discontinued men’s fragrances with Patou pour Homme and Guerlain Derby. I think it compares well with both of those and understand the affection. By Man carries a similar price tag to both of those if you can find a bottle for sale. If you get the chance to try By Man think about how different Dolce & Gabbana would have been if it became the signature fragrance success instead of Light Blue. This is the stuff of which parallel dimensions are made of.

Disclosure: this review was based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Hermes Le Jardin de Monsieur Li- Wistful Whispers

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I was just beginning to discover all that was going on behind my favorite perfumes in 2005 when I remember picking up the March issue of The New Yorker. Inside was an article by Chandler Burr on the creation of Hermes Un Jardin sur Le Nil by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. It was one of the most complete descriptions of the creation of a perfume I had ever seen. (If you’ve never read it here is the link) It was the second in the “Un Jardin” series of perfumes for Hermes and it is one of my favorites of the entire line. I have just received the fifth, and supposedly, final “Un Jardin” perfume by M. Ellena; it is called Le Jardin de Monsieur Li.

I am sure this is me projecting my own emotions at the idea of M. Ellena retiring and leaving Hermes in the hands of Christine Nagel but I found Le Jardin de Monsieur Li to have one of the most fragile architectures of any of M. Ellena’s creations in his time at Hermes. For this one he spent time in China in a tranquility garden. This fragrance has an incredible calming effect on my spirits when I wear it. I think it means M. Ellena really was finding that place of calm within while designing Le Jardin de Monsieur Li.

jce monsieur li

Jean-Claude Ellena

M.Ellena chooses kumquat as the place to begin his final Jardin stroll. For a Chinese garden walk this is particularly apt. Many who smell this fragrance will think this is lemon. Kumquat essential oil is made up mostly of limonene and if you let it glide by without notice that is what you will experience. The special quality of M. Ellena’s perfumes is the care with which each of a very few ingredients are chosen. This kumquat is a great example. If you take the time to zero in on it you will dive beneath the lemon and find a very subtle spiciness under the tart. A pinch of Szechuan hot pepper is added by M. Ellena to make sure this does not go by unnoticed. All of this is placed on a watery bamboo matrix. The bamboo adds a transparent woody green character. All three of these top notes seem so insubstantial that my mere notice seems enough to send them scattering. They manage to stand up, barely, to my scrutiny. The heart is jasmine and rose but these are meditative focal points and not blowsy distractions. The jasmine seems as fragile as fine porcelain. Finally Le Jardin de Monsieur Li ends by a pool of water where it splashes against the slate lining the pond. An aquatic stony accord that also exudes wet wood is the final movement.

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li has 6-8 hours longevity and average sillage.

I think Le Jardin de Monsieur Li is not going to be widely loved. The delicacy to its construction is going to be seen as a significant drawback by some. For me I am so often presented with perfumes as solid as Fort Knox this was a pleasure to experience. I really found myself drawn into the meditative vibe of this perfume. To really enjoy this I think it is almost a necessity to be in this frame of mind. If this is where M. Ellena really does end his Jardin series it is an appropriately wistful farewell, spoken in whispers.

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

Mark Behnke