New Perfume Review Jul et Mad Les White Nin-Shar- Hanging in Babylon

For a brand to thrive they need to be willing to take on new directions. They also need to be aware that the new direction needs to feel connected to what has come previously. When I learned about the new Jul et Mad Les White Collection I was interested to see how, what seemed like, a new direction would feel.

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Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica-Blanchard

Jul et Mad is the perfume brand owned and creatively directed by married couple Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica-Blanchard. The first four perfumes in the line were chapters in their love story from first meeting to marriage. With Les White it is inspired by ancient civilizations that they admire. Those first four perfumes had sprightliness along with the frisson of a new relationship. They also were mostly on the lighter side of things. Les White was going to head for the deeper richer style of perfume that hadn’t really been represented by Jul et Mad so far.

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Sidonie Lancesseur

When I stepped up to the booth at Esxence 2015 I had the inspiration explained to me. Then I had the chance to try all three. I was very pleased to find they all adhered to what I would consider the Jul et Mad aesthetic as they all took a dive into the deep end of the perfumed swimming pool. Perfumer Luca Maffei was responsible for Nea and Garuda. Perfumer Sidonie Lancesseur did Nin-Shar. I am going to review all three and will save Sig. Maffei’s for another day. Mme Lancesseur’s entry is a good place to start.

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Nin-Shar is the Goddess of Plants in Sumerian mythology. The ancient civilization Mme Lancesseur was asked to interpret was that of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Hanging Gardens didn’t really hang they were the original rooftop gardens on the Royal Palace of Babylon. As you can imagine Nin-Shar would be a busy goddess overseeing all of this. In Mme Lancesseuur’s perfume we find her in the section of the garden where roses grow. Nin-Shar is a decadently rich rose fragrance.

Mme Lancesseur uses an interesting rose accord to open Nin-Shar called Rose Liquor. It smells to me like rose which has been marinating in rum. It imparts a boozy floral quality to the early moments. It also has a kind of dark fruits character to it as it dominates for almost an hour and it slowly evolves over that time. The heart of Nin-Shar is actual Turkish rose along with Egyptian jasmine. A lot of time these raw materials are used so as to moderate their spicy and indolic facets, respectively. Mme Lancesseur couldn’t afford to allow that or they would have been lost to the rose liquor. She uses everything those notes have to give. This makes for a floral heart with an intensity of deep floral highlights that is in constant evolution on my skin. I think because Mme Lancesseur doesn’t try to hold back it makes for an overall effect which is much more kinetic than you might expect from something this intense. We head for a woody base with one of the Robertet patchouli fractions which accentuates the more herbal nature of patchouli. Mme Lancesseur blends oud, cedar, and sandalwood as her foundation. Unlike the heart accord this is kept tightly controlled. That allows the rose to linger much longer over the final stages. A bit of sweet vanilla and frankincense round things out.

Nin-Shar has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Nin-Shar is without a doubt the deepest and strongest perfume in the entire Jul et Mad Collection. Even so it does not feel out of place. It feels like the deeply emotional connection between two individuals in love. Had they chosen to make this Chapter 5 of the perfumed love story it would have fit. Instead we have an opulent rose which seems like its own Ancient Wonder.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Jul et Mad at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Brioni- The Cut of a Fine Suit

One of my very favorite perfumes in my collection is the discontinued Brioni which came out in 2009. It was one of the few perfumes which I completely fell in love with from almost the first moment I put it on my skin. It was based on the Italian luxury men’s suit line of the same name. I have never owned a Brioni suit but the perfume I have worn over and over again. I don’t speak about it often because it is discontinued and I might be the only person left who remembers it.

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Brendan Mullane

I was very excited to see an article in Women’s Wear Daily in October announcing the release of a new Brioni fragrance. In the original fragrance the perfumer and creative direction behind it was unknown in this new version two of my favorite people would be involved. Brendan Mullane the creative director of Brioni would also collaborate with Raymond Matts as they asked perfumer Frank Voelkl to bring their ideas to fruition. There was one quote by Mr. Mullane, in the article, which gave me a lot of hope for this new fragrance, “we didn’t want it to smell like a best seller”. That is a promise I have seen broken over and over again as I end up smelling something all too derivative. In this case the entire creative team lived up to Mr. Mullane’s aspirations.

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Raymond Matts

When I walk into a tailor to buy a suit I really enjoy the smell of the fresh pressed fabric with a hint of wood and leather underneath. That would have been the easy way to go in constructing a perfume based on a line of men’s clothing. The only one of those scents M. Voelkl tries to re-create is that of the crisp pressed fabric. The rest of the perfume is as unique as the brand with which it shares its name.

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Frank Voelkl

Brioni opens on a brilliant mix of lemon tinted with lime. The first few minutes is all about the lemon. The lime adds a bit of tart along with blackcurrant buds adding a shade of green. This is a lively opening which leads to a floral heart. The core of that heart is magnolia with its woody floralcy. M. Voelkl chooses to complement it with violet, orris, and juniper berry. The magnolia soars and expands with the other three notes adding texture as it opens up over a few hours. Brioni ends on a fresh pressed fabric accord. Cedar forms the foundation of this accord but it is the other notes which make it stand out as Laotian oud, saffron, and licorice come together to form one of the cleanest richest fabric accords I have ever encountered.

Brioni has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Even with the excellent creative team behind this new version of Brioni I expected to like it; but not as much as I did the original. I am very surprised to like it every bit as much as that older version. I am also very happy it is an entirely new creation bearing little similarity. It means that both of them can be part of my regular rotation. Brioni is as unique and beautiful as the suits which also carry the same name.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample I received at Sniffapalooza Spring fling 2015.

Mark Behnke

Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2015 Wrap-Up- Karens in the Sky with Diamonds

To make it through the year with all of my enthusiasm intact I need spaced out booster shots of time with other people who love perfume as much as I do. My end of spring burst comes courtesy of Sniffapalooza Spring Fling every May. Once again the best smelling group of olfactory glitterati convened in New York City for a weekend of perfumed experiences. This year’s edition was loaded with some of the biggest names in perfumery and some really special new releases just for this event.

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Roja Dove

It always starts early on Saturday morning in the café at Bergdorf Goodman’s. I was especially pleased this year to have the opportunity to introduce John Molloy of Memo Paris who after four years was finally showing his excellent line of perfumes to an American audience. For me there were two other releases which caught my attention at breakfast. The new Brioni creatively directed by Raymond Matts and composed by Frank Voelkl is a beautifully done masculine perfume. It is every bit the singular fragrance as a Brioni suit is. Roja Dove finished the morning program. My favorite story he tells is of this goodnight kiss his mother gave him which set him on the path to being Roja Dove. He has captured that moment in a perfume called A Goodnight Kiss. As he finished the story about the perfume there wasn’t a dry eye in the place including Mr. Dove’s.

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Takasago Presentation boards for lunch talk

After two hours of power shopping the Bergdorf’s Beauty Level we all headed to lunch. I am used to being the speaker on Sunday but this year I was also asked to introduce Colognoisseur to the Saturday crowd, too. The highlight of the lunch were the presentations from Kelly Jones of Takasago and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. Mr. Dove had passed out strips of the raw materials he uses in his perfume at breakfast. Ms. Jones who was accompanied by Kent Lombard took us through the citrus raw materials from the Takasago orchard in Florida. Christophe Laudamiel was promoting the Academy of Perfumery & Aromatics. To that end he shared a sniff of vintage L’Air du Temps with the crowd. I have become more interested in both the history and the building blocks of perfume. These lunch presentations fed my appetite for that.

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Robbie Wilson of Orlov Paris (l.) and Karen Dubin

The final event of Day One was the premier of the Orlov Paris line of five perfumes complete with caviar and champagne at Black Label Wine Merchants. Robbie Wilson introduced the line in a wonderfully opulent setting which showed off the diamond inspired perfumes like the jewels that they are.

Day Two opened at the Birchbox store downtown with a presentation from Harvey Prince on their line of fragrances and ancillary products. Afterward we wandered on Elizabeth St at Le Labo and Atelier Cologne.

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Mark Crames and Miriam Sangster presenting Tomboy

We headed for lunch and a very special line-up. Usually when I emcee the Sunday lunch it is all about new perfumers and their emerging brands. Not this year, I was handed an all-star lineup. Sue Phillips of Scentarium introduced her fragrance kits so you can have the custom perfume making experience Ms. Phillips provides at her Scentarium space in your own home. I had never met Mark Crames of Demeter prior to Sunday and he along with artist Miriam Sangster presented their combined visual and scented installation called Tomboy. Ms. Sangster challenged Mr. Crames to capture her Tomboy which was inspired by a clip from the cartoon Powerpuff Girls. Next up was Irina Adam of Phoenix Botanicals as she presented her latest release Ella. She also shared some vintage raw materials she had obtained with the audience. As they were passed around I was sitting with the next speaker Christophe Laudamiel and we were intrigued at the quality of these very old ingredients. M. Laudamiel again promoted the Academy and tried in vain to share an even more vintage version of L’Air du Temps than he had the day before.

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Jacinta Bunt aqnd Michael Edwards (r.)

The final speaker of the day on Sunday was Michael Edwards of Fragrances of the World. I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A with him. He spoke about how his reference book came to be and how it has grown over the past 31 years. I asked him if the word Niche was still relevant. In his guide he has already decided it doesn’t and has now come up with four categories which cover what we called Niche previously. At the prodding of Karen Dubin he gave some personal non-perfume details. He likes Italian food, attending art exhibitions, and working through his Netflix queue. It is always a pleasure to hear Mr. Edwards speak and it was the perfect way to end the 2015 version of Spring Fling.

As always thanks to the Karens for allowing me to participate in this year’s events. I am already looking forward to October and Fall Ball.

Mark Behnke

All photos by Karen Adams from the Sniffapalooza website.

New Perfume Review Les Liquides Imaginaires Succus- In the Treetops

There are brands that have almost pretentious ways of describing their fragrances. It can be difficult to move all of the heavy-handed words to the background and allow the perfumes to do the talking. In the past Les Liquides Imaginaires has used too many words and as a result some very interesting compositions where tied down under the prose. Les Liquides Imaginaires’ co-founder and creative director is Philippe di Meo. He started in 2013 releasing two different trios of perfumes. The very first was an exploration of perfumes focused on the dark alcoholic inspirations of port, red wine, and champagne. When I tried the champagne-based one Dom Rosa I was very surprised at the experimental nature of this mix of bubbly champagne and classic rose surrounded by metallic and chilly notes. It stood out as the other two were more mainstream in their construction and less adventurous. In the two trios which would follow the same pattern emerged as one would seem to have a more experimental edge to it and that was the one which appealed to me most.

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Philippe di Meo

The fourth and newest trio is called Eau Arborantes. This time I purposefully did not read all of the press copy I just wanted to see what I got from the three perfumes. Eau Arborantes obviously conjures up green living things. Tellus is a very straightforward earthy patchouli which held no interest for me. Saltus seemingly wanted to go for something woodier and resinous. It achieves this but the only real interesting difference is the eucalyptus which plays off the predominantly sandalwood perfume it is. Succus though is the one which really captured my attention as it rolled through a series of sprightly transitions from citrus to herbal to transparent floral to end on a woody base. The rapid movement felt like a fast moving breeze and it made wearing Succus a lot of fun. Succus, as was Saltus, was signed by perfumer Shyamala Maisondieu.

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Shyamala Maisondieu

Succus opens on a typical orange and grapefruit tart and juicy citrus accord. Very quickly Mme Maisondieu keeps it from being too familiar as she adds rosemary, juniper, and clary sage. They infuse the citrus, tinting it with an herbal verdancy. Almost as soon as I start to enjoy this we are moving on as a bit of laurel and an orchid accord provide an opaque floralcy from out of the citrus and herbs. Mme Maisondieu goes for a mixture of synthetic wood and musk with Georgywood and Moxalone providing each, respectively. A bit of incense and a little vetiver tie it all together nicely.

Succus had 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Once I had tried them all I went back to read the press release to find out Eau Arborantes is meant to be a tree from the earth (Tellus) to the trunk (Saltus) to the high treetops (Succus). Going back and reading that I definitely get the imagery. Succus is the one which really does reach the heights for me and belongs atop the other two in this trio.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Les Liquide Imaginaires.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Jangala & Long Courrier- Cruising with Pierre (Part 2)

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Continuing the reviews of the new Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere with Jangala and Long Courrier.

In most of the islands there is this wonderful mix of rainforest which grows right next to the ocean. If you spend anytime walking thorough these jungles there is this bit of natural scent collision as the breeze off the ocean carries the smell of the sea deep into the verdancy of the rainforest. It is a heady mixture of green and ozonic. M. Guillaume’s attempt at this is called Jangala. M. Guillaume is the second perfumer who has recently used a bit of eucalyptus to simulate the smell of fresh scrubbed air as you breathe in. This air is what you experience after the rain has fallen in the rainforest. Everything is dripping with water but the air smells clean and sweet. M. Guillaume uses cardamom and ginger blossoms primarily to simulate the tropical forest. Then the sea breeze makes its way between the trees infusing everything with a marine lift. The damp earth of the rainforest floor is recreated with an accord of sandalwood, coconut, and vetiver. It is a moment in time and place captured in perfume.

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Pierre Guillaume

Long Courrier is what happens when M. Guillaume’s deft touch with gourmand notes decides to set sail. It is like fusion cooking as cocoa and vanilla bob upon the ocean. In the press materials M. Guillaume says he wants Long Courrier to be “the delicious scent of suntan lotion”. I think he did his job too well because it is much more delicious than it is skin product. There is much of the sea and sand around to not let you forget this is aquatic, though. It opens with a sea accord buoyed with the use of a particularly luminous orange blossom. It transforms into something opaque and ethereal as it slowly drifts away. What is left behind is a strong vanilla and cocoa accord along with the smell of the ocean underneath. I found this combination oddly compelling each day I wore this. It was always confusing as it felt like I was eating confections while floating on the ocean. M. Guillaume makes this work and in the final part of the development it is mostly vanilla and ocean on top of sandalwood which finishes Long Courrier off.

These four fragrances are just the start and I got previews of the upcoming four releases which will happen over the rest of 2015. The one called Mojito Chypre I have smelled on a strip twice and now I am eagerly awaiting its release as it is the perfect bartender’s scent. M. Guillaume has lived up to his promise to make me love aquatics all over again without using a drop of Calone.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Pierre Guillaume at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: St. Louis Cardinals

When people ask me why my favorite baseball team is they are usually surprised to hear me answer the St. Louis Cardinals. It would be easy to expect after living in Connecticut and Massachusetts that it would be one of the teams from the Northeast. That might have been true but what made the Cardinals my baseball team is easier to explain, they were my father’s favorite team.

Because they were my father’s favorite team we would always take trip up to St. Petersburg to watch Cardinals Spring Training. This was back on the 1960’s and when we went to spring training games we could stand just outside the foul lines. You could hear the players. They were accessible I was able to get autographs signed with a smile. Things have changed so dramatically from those times now. I wonder if I was a child now if I would be as big a baseball fan as I am. Those years were great as this was a cherished father-son tradition. It also turned into one of those times I disappointed my father in a deeply emotional way.

1967-Cardinals

We had gone to spring training in March of 1967. Like every other spring training I had brought a new baseball to have all of the current Cardinal players autograph it. I was able by the end of our week to have a ball with all of the signatures on it. The Cardinals would go on to win the World Series that fall. My father would proudly look at that ball and remark that that is the entire Championship team there.

Sometime after that we were playing baseball in the street out in front of my house and it was a tie game when our game ball ended up on top of the warehouse roof. We didn’t have an extra. Except I remembered there was a perfectly good ball on my bookshelf. Yes this is going where you thinking it’s going. I went and got the autographed ball and we played with it. On an asphalt street. You can imagine what the ball looked like after we were done with it. I replaced the ball in its customary place and didn’t give it a second thought.

It would be a couple of days until my father was talking to me and his eyes drifted over to where he expected to see the autographed ball. Instead he was greeted with a chewed up ball where there was maybe a few lines of ink still visible. He looks at me and asks where the ball is. I point at it and say right there. I could see all of the dominos falling in my father’s mind as he put it all together. It was one of the rare times when he looked at me I could see the emotion in his eyes as he wondered if his son was a fool. I would say I was a child and he was an adult and leaving that ball in the hands of a child leads to poor decision making.

For many years afterward that ball would come up in conversation accompanied by my father’s shaking head. All of this made me a die-hard Cardinals fan because they were our team. Every year as another season begins I think of my father….and about that ball.

Mark Behnke

Diptyque 101- Five to Get You Started

It wasn’t my first niche fragrance but it was the first perfume which burrowed deep into my consciousness and wouldn’t let go. Around the year 2000 I would have a sales associate spray a patch of skin with Diptyque Philosykos. This lead to many many visits to the Diptyque boutique as I slowly explored this exemplary line of perfumes. Over the forty-plus years Diptyque has been making fragrance they have produced one of the best collections available as well as working with some of the best perfumers available. Diptyque has stood for quality within the niche sector for as long as it has existed. If you haven’t tried the line here are five to get you started.

Philosykos by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti is a brilliantly transparent fig perfume. It is one of the greatest perfumes created in the last twenty-five years. Mme Giacobetti captures every part of a fig tree from the leaves to the wood finally landing on the fruit itself. It made me love fig-based perfumes and simultaneously set a ridiculously high bar for every one which has come after.

What Mme Giacobetti did for fig; perfumers Daniel Moliere and Fabrice Pellegrin do for sandalwood in Tam Dao. Tam Dao is an exploration of sandalwood in three acts as you move from top through the heart to the base. At each part of the development there is something which draws your focus to a different perspective. It has the same kind of sheer quality as Philosykos which makes it a versatile fragrance for all occasions.

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I have hundreds of citrus perfumes in the vault but there are only a few which have truly risen above the mob. One of them is L’Eau de Tarocco by perfumer Olivier Pescheux. The opening is one of the juiciest citrus accords in my collection. M. Pescheux transforms it from sweet sun into smoldering spicy rose as saffron and cinnamon add to the rose. This ends on a fantastic musk and frankincense base. One of the few citrus perfumes which can be worn in the cold as well as the warmth.

Vanilla is just so vanilla it is difficult to make it interesting. Perfume Fabrice Pellegrin manages to do that with Eau Duelle. By using two sources of vanilla a light and a dark one. He creates Tao-like duality which M. Pellegrin cleverly uses throughout the entire composition as spices like cardamom and saffron find space next to tea and cypress wood. A fantastically complex vanilla perfume.

Fabrice Pellegrin was also responsible for Volutes. The more I wear Volutes the more I realize I underestimated how good this was in my early testing and wearing. Given the perspective of time I realize M. Pellegrin has created one of the best tobacco scents I own. Immortelle and Orris provide the opening through which the narcotic richness of the tobacco swirls through. Myrrh and styrax provide a base of resinous depth.

The entire DIptyque line is worthy of exploration especially because besides these five there are some advanced style of perfumes which will surprise and delight any perfume lover. Before you get to those start with these five they will introduce you to one of the original niche perfume brands.

Disclosure: Reviews based on bottles of each fragrance I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Entre Ciel et Mer & Paris Seychelles- Cruising with Pierre (Part 1)

Over the past year or so some of my favorite perfumers have decided to take on one of the most tired perfume tropes there is; the aquatic. What has made this particular fragrance genre so banal is the overuse of the aromachemical Calone. The great majority of aquatics start and finish with a huge quantity of this and no matter what you try and put around it the Calone is most of what you experience. The aquatics which have made me sit up and notice again have been largely a “Calone-Free” zone.

Prior to seeing Pierre Guillaume in Milan at Esxence 2015 he had told me he was working on a collection of aquatics. I didn’t hide my disappointment very well and he promised me he would do it without Calone. In what will eventually be a collection of eight fragrances I have the first four. The collection is called Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere. M. Guillaume did what he had asserted he could do he has created an entirely Calone-Free set of perfumes which take a very tired style of fragrance and re-invigorate it. I like all four of these and I am going to split my review up into two parts. I will start with Entre Ciel et Mer and Paris Seychelles.

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Pierre Guillaume

As one who grew up next to the ocean I think one of the things which bores me to tears is that perfumers and creative directors don’t realize there are so many different natural fragrances to the seashore. M. Guillaume does understand this and in Entre Ciel et Mer captures one of the key odors I connect with the ocean; the slightly iodine-like smell of the sea spray. M. Guillaume employs a new molecular distillation of sea algae from the Pacific. When you hear algae I imagine you are thinking “low tide” and the pungency which goes with that. Scrub that from your mind and instead think of the spray as the waves crash and you breathe it in fresh and damp. It really is a remarkable evocation of the crashing surf that M. Guillaume has achieved. He adds in a bit of thyme and ambergris but the star of this show is the algae. It all eventually ends on a sandalwood finish.

Paris Seychelles is all about the smell of the person sunning themselves on the beach. M. Guillaume wants the smell of sun warmed skin coated with suntan lotion on top of the milieu of the beach and the tropical flowers growing at the ocean’s edge. The bite of black pepper grabs my attention before we dive into his skin accord. He starts with the mixture of salicylates that form the typical suntan lotion accord. A bit of lily picks up the floral facets. Some coconut milk finds the creamy parts. Monoi oil brings in the tiare and completes the foundation of the skin underneath. All of this is accomplished while it is clear the sand and the surf are still around but off in the distance. It is the memory of beach vacation as it lingers for days after your return.

On Monday I’ll cover the remaining two perfumes, Jangala and Long Courrier.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Pierre Guillaume at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Miller Harris Poirier D’Un Soir- Take Another Look

In the ever accelerating cycle of new releases which overwhelms me it is easy to lose brands underneath all the noise. That has unfortunately happened to Miller Harris. Miller Harris is a British brand who is overseen by the perfumer Lyn Harris. Back in 2003 I was introduced to the line with Feuilles de Tabac and I was immediately drawn in. I would go on to extensively explore the line and Ms. Harris was feeding my frenzy by producing four or five new releases a year. There was a clear bright aesthetic on display and it very much appealed to me.

Releases began to slow down and the last one I remember trying was 2011’s La Pluie. There were plenty of other brands vying for my attention. The allure of the unknown was more compelling than trying another Miller Harris. Then while in Milan for Esxence I attended a breakfast where the new Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection was premiered. There is a television commercial running in the US now for one of the older automobile brands, Buick. In the advertisement I am urged to give Buick “another look” because things have changed. I was thinking a lot about that commercial as the three fragrances, Cassis en Feuille, Coeur de Jardin, and Poirier D’Un Soir were presented to me. It was time to give Miller Harris “another look” because Ms. Harris has definitely changed things up.

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Lyn Harris

This collection is meant to capture a garden at morning, afternoon, and evening. Cassis en Feuille captures the morning with green blackcurrant wrapped around a dewy rose. Coeur de Jardin is the afternoon when all of the buds have attained full bloom. A rich floral trio of tunerose, rose, and jasmine re-create the heady natural bouquet. The final perfume for the evening, Poirier D’Un Soir is the one which captured my full attention. If I was pressed to describe a Miller Harris perfume I would use words like bright, citric, or transparent. The entire Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection breaks with that impression with Poirier D’Un Soir moving the furthest away from that description.

Porier D’Un Soir starts off with a pear poached in rum. The common bond in all three fragrances in the Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection is pear in the top notes. The other two use it in a way I am used to seeing it. In Poirier D’Un Soir by soaking it in rum it transforms the pear from something crisp to something sensually unctuous. It is a rough and tumble boozy beginning. Ms. Harris doubles down as she takes blackcurrant buds and tagetes to make an astringently green floral accord which is made less acerbic with the presence of peony and rose. What truly showed me Ms. Harris was working from a different palette was the next ingredient, birch tar. Sticky redolent birch tar bubbles up gathering all of these notes in a sticky brown matrix. Just when you think this might be getting a little too far afield Ms. Harris reels it all back in with a soothing base of cedar, and ambrette seeds.

Poirier D’Un soir has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

The entire Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection is worth “another look” for Ms. Harris’ willingness to make a break from what has worked so well over the years. If you do give this brand “another look” I think you will be pleasantly reminded of why you like this brand so much previously. I know that Poirier D’Un Soir has renewed my interest in what comes next for Miller Harris.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Miller Harris.

Mark Behnke

Olfactory Chemistry: Aldehyde C-16- The UN-Aldehyde

One of the joys of living in farm country is waiting for late May and the start of strawberry picking. It is the beginning of what will be months of going and picking fresh fruit right off the tree or vine. Strawberry is also one of the most common fragrance components in all kind of products from perfumes to bath products. The great majority of the time when you smell strawberry in a product what you smell is the aromachemical called Aldehyde C-16.

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From a chemist’s perspective that name is very much a misnomer as Aldehyde C-16 is not an aldehyde. It does not contain 16 carbons as the C-16 might lead you to believe. As shown in the figure above the closest aromachemical relative to Aldehyde C-16 which is actually an aldehyde is Cinnamaldehyde. When I wrote about peach lactone in an earlier installment which is also not an aldehyde I had no clue where these names came from because they make zero sense to a chemist.

What I have been told by a couple of people from the industry is these groups of faux aldehydes were given the name of aldehyde to keep their structure hidden a little while longer. When a company develops a new aromachemical if they just gave it the correct chemical name another chemist could use it as a starting point to make a competing aromachemical. By calling these molecules things like Aldehyde C-16 if any other chemist thought it was an aldehyde they were starting off in the completely wrong direction. Which I have been told was the intent behind these names. I have found no corroboration of this in any reference book I can find so this remains conjecture.

Aldehyde C-16 is actually an epoxide ester. Esters are many of the most common molecules in perfumery. They also often have very strong fruity and sweet aroma profiles. Aldehyde C-16 is often described as smelling like “fantasy strawberry”. It means that a little goes a long way.

Besides adding in the strawberry to many perfumes Aldehyde C-16 also carries a sweet floral undertone. This characteristic makes it a perfect partner to the strong floral notes like rose, jasmine, or osmanthus. A perfumer can use it like a tuning fork dialing in a specific effect on a prominent floral note or accord. It is one of the more versatile ingredients on the perfumer’s palette.

While I confine my strawberry picking to the farm fields many perfumers pick Aldehyde C-16 when they want to add strawberry to a fragrance.

Mark Behnke