Dead Letter Office Mario Valentino Ocean Rain- Edmond Roudnitska’s Final Post

When we have the discussion of the best perfumer ever the name of Edmond Roudnitska is right at the center of that conversation. He released thirteen perfumes in his approximately 50-year career. One of the reasons he is so revered is that there are so many iconic game changing perfumes among that list. Even the great perfumers still manage to find their way to the Dead Letter Office. The final commercial release from M. Roudnitska came with the little known Mario Valentino Ocean Rain.

Ocean Rain is an odd confluence of events to come together for this perfume to even exist. First Mario Valentino has nothing to do with the more famous single name brand Valentino. Mario Valentino is a smaller fashion brand of clothing and accessories out of Italy. There was a time in the 1980’s where the label had some traction in the fashion marketplace and decided to make a men’s fragrance to extend the brand into fragrance. Edmond Roudnitska was somehow lured out of retirement at age 85 to create this perfume. His last perfume previously was 1976’s Dior Dior. I have never seen what convinced M. Roudnitska to give up his retirement in his garden in Calais for one more perfume. In 1990 the perfume would be released and almost promptly sink into obscurity.

For most people Mario Valentino sounded like some kind of weird knock-off like Chuckie Klein or Randy Lauren. Consumers just didn’t know the brand and that gave it a visibility problem. Especially when the more well-known Valentino would release Vendetta pour Homme a few months later. Brand conscious buyers never gave it a chance. In the 1990’s the cult of the perfumer had not sprung up yet. Only those in the industry knew who Edmond Roudnitska was. Like all perfumers he was a ghost as far as any perfumista was concerned. If someone unearthed a new creation in 2015 from M. Roudnitska’s notebooks it would be trumpeted with fanfare commensurate to one of the great perfumers. In 1990 that would have made zero impact. As a result Ocean Rain was discontinued quite rapidly. Because it was meant for mass-market release there was a lot of product floating around and it moved quietly into the discount perfume vendors.

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Edmond Roudnitska

I wouldn’t become aware of Ocean Rain until around 2004 and it was trivial to purchase a bottle for $25. When I finally tried this the first thing that struck me was that because this was a probably 100% synthetic perfume it had held up quite well to what had to have been well over 10-years of storage. It also struck me that M. Roudnitska had one final perfumed letter to send which felt like his response to the rapidly evolving aquatic trend which was just becoming prevalent.

With a name like Ocean Rain you would probably expect M. Roudnitska to work with both of the synthetics Calone and Hedione and they are both present. Surprisingly M. Roudnitska uses them mainly in the heart but for a perfume called Ocean Rain it comes off more like Mossy Mist.

Ocean Rain opens on a transitory citrus accord of lemon rounded out by tangerine and bergamot. Then the only trace of the ocean in the name appears with an iodine-laced ozonic accord supported but not consumed by both Hedione and Calone. Both of these notes have the ability to make a perfume more expansive. In Ocean Rain M. Roudnitska uses them to inflate his ocean accord. From here on Ocean Rain turns decidedly green and woody. Thyme and lavender begin an herbal transition into a base of cedar, oakmoss, and patchouli. By the final moments of Ocean Rain you’re deep in the forest.

Ocean Rain has 18-24 hour longevity and above average sillage.

It is my conjecture that M. Roudnitska meant to make his version of an aquatic with Ocean Rain. What I like so much about it is that it is only aquatic for a short time in the heart. The shift to the greener woodier moments are what makes Ocean Rain more special to me.

Ocean Rain can still be found online but people have become more aware of it. The prices are still in the $50-70 range based on a recent search. The nice thing is as I mentioned this is so synthetic the normal ravages of time will have almost zero effect on this fragrance.

There is a part of me that wanted M. Roudnitska’s last perfume to be more of a success. Then again these are the stories which make up the Dead Letter Office.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Nishane Istanbul Pachuli Kozha- Rough and Tumble

As I related in my review of Afrika Olifant last week I received a sampler containing ten perfumes from Nishane Istanbul. When I am working my way through this amount of samples I am usually looking for something different as well as some kind of consistent aesthetic. So many of these lines with so many perfumes in them often feel like box checking exercises to make sure all fragrance styles have been represented. What sets apart the accountants from the perfumers is that elusive cohesion I mentioned.

The owners and creative directors of Nishane Istanbul Mert Guzel and Murat Katran have definitely made sure to create a distinctive aesthetic for their brand. Many of the perfumes show real flashes of inspiration but there were only two of the ten I sampled which made enough of an impression that I wanted to wear them for a couple of days. The second one is Pachuli Kozha.

Jorge Lee

Jorge Lee

The creative directors again worked with perfumer Jorge Lee on Pachuli Kozha. With Afrika Oliphant I lauded the risk taking. Pachouli Kozha is a more safe fragrance as it doesn’t diverge greatly from other patchouli and incense fragrances out there. Except M. Lee does provide a fascinating floral opening before the fragrance develops in more predictable ways.

Pachuli Kozhla opens with two of the lighter floral notes in hyacinth and camomille. Then M. Lee roughs them up with a slightly oily ylang ylang. I enjoyed the way the ylang sort of oozed over the more polite florals. The patchouli comes next and it is dense earthy patchouli. Again M. Lee roughs it up with the addition of pepper. In this case I found the pepper enhanced the herbal facets of the patchouli by bringing them into a sharper focus. The base is honeyed incense as the slightly metallic incense gets smoothed over with honey. For the final bit of contrast M. Lee uses a leather accord which is more patent leather than leather. It gives a shiny contemporary shine to the incense.

Pachuli Kozhla has 18-24 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Pachuli Kozhla doesn’t take many different turns but M. Lee’s addition of roughly contrasting notes made this a more interesting perfume for those touches. Pachuli Kozhla, like Afrika Olifant, show a real emerging aesthetic of orthogonal contrasts throughout the line. When it works it makes for something very nice to wear.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review En Voyage Perfumes Frida- Finding the Heart

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When it comes to perfume inspirations famous historical figures are a common place for a perfumer to start. The hazard in choosing to do this is these kind of larger-than-life figures also have lived in different people’s imaginations in very personal ways. That is why even though a perfumer might make a fragrance which matches their impression there might not be a general agreement on that. Independent perfumer Shelley Waddington has already successfully navigated this path with last year’s stunning Zelda inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald. Now a year on she takes on another woman with a singular life story, Frida Kahlo, in the new perfume Frida.

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Shelley Waddington

Frida Kahlo was like one of those heroines in a historical novel who seems to be there when important people show up. The difference is she is a real person. She is most known for her paintings. She was also involved with Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky after he fled to Mexico from Russia. She was bisexual and had an affair with the singer Josephine Baker. Ms. Waddington was drawn to her “unconventional style” and decided to make a fragrance centered on tuberose. She surrounds it with touchstones of other parts of Ms. Kahlo’s life.

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Frida Kahlo (Photo by Guillermo Kahlo)

Ms. Waddington opens her assay of Ms. Kahlo’s life in her garden where she grew herbs and vegetables. The very vegetal green accord Frida opens with is that smell of green leafy things growing in abundance. She uses a healthy dose of agave which places the setting as Mexico. I really thought this was an interesting choice as it indelibly fixes the geographical place of this fragrance. Tuberose is next to show up. This is a lush tuberose fully rounded and soft. In Frida some of the greener and mentholated character has been greatly diminished. What remains is the indolic floralcy. The tuberose takes over the middle phase and allows for a little nuance to be added by hibiscus but the tuberose is always on top. As that tuberose looks for a foundation to settle upon Ms. Waddington chooses a woody base. As the tuberose matches the woody notes it later evolves one last time into a musky accord rounded off by tobacco. The later stages of Frida are really spectacular as everything that has come before hits a crescendo.

Frida has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

When I wore Zelda I was immediately transported to the 1920’s. Frida not only transports me to Ms. Kahlo’s time but also her place. What I like most about Frida is not only has Ms. Waddington created a fragrance made up of parts of Ms. Kahlo’s life she has also managed to find the heart underneath the icon. I have said it before Ms. Waddington has been on an impressive creative streak over the last 18 months. Frida continues the upward trend.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by En Voyage Perfumes

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things- Violet

Because many of my favorite wetshaving products are violet scented I think I am predisposed to liking any perfume which does violet well. I also find my favorite violet perfumes do especially well in the heat of summer. As the mercury has climbed I’ve found myself wanting to take a violet break. If you want to join me here are five of my favorite violet perfumes.

Comme des Garcons X Stephen Jones signed by Antoine Maisondieu. This is also probably my all-time favorite violet fragrance. What makes that statement a little funny is this is the least violet-like fragrance on this list. M. Maisondieu creates an iris which has been crushed by a meteorite. Hot mineralic facets and the smell of over-heated electronics wrap up the violet and violet leaves in a futuristic take on violet that is among the most worn perfumes I own.

Mona di Orio Violette Fumee signed by Mona di Orio. Violet Fumee was the first perfume released after Mme di Orio’s death. It was a fragrance she composed for her longtime partner Jeroen Oude Sogtoen. She combined many of his favorite smells but primarily this is a violet and tobacco perfume. A beautifully resinous finish of myrrh and casmeran provides some of Mme di Orio’s trademark shadowplay. Like the Stephen Jones above combining the violet with something which smokes provides an interesting platform for the violet to play off of.

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Tom Ford Violet Blonde signed by Antoine Lie. This perfume is often jokingly called Violent Blonde because this is by far the most powerful violet I wear. M. Lie throws subtlety out the window as he layers on orris, leather, vetiver, and baie rose. These are all amplifying notes for the violet which lands with the force of a sledgehammer. I often think how much I like the transparent types of fragrances. Violet Blonde reminds how much I like something a lot less filmy from time to time.

Ulrich Lang Lightscape is one of those transparent kind of violets. Lightscape combines violet and iris in a purple flower fantasia. What always surprises me when I wear Lightscape is it manages to remove the two most problematic aspects of violet and iris, the metallic and powdery qualities, respectively. I have made many samples for people who just can’t believe how good these two notes combine here.

Atelier Cologne Sous Le Toit de Paris signed by Ralf Schwieger. This is the perfume I layer on top of my shaving routine when it has been an all-violet morning. If you want an incredibly authentic violet this is your perfume. Hr. Schwieger allows the violet to form the core on top of which he adds the traditional cologne ingredients of neroli and bergamot and leads to a non-traditional cologne base of leather. This has become one of my summer staples because there is simply no better way to start my day.

Disclosure: This review was based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Eau D’Italie Morn to Dusk- A Lazy Day in Positano

There are a few perfume brands which are attached to a specific place. As I sit here in the dog days of summer dreaming of vacations in places not here it doesn’t take much to let my mind wander. One perfume brand which always has me imagining the place where it comes from is Eau D’Italie. Co-Owners and Creative Directors Marina Sersale and Sebastian Alvarez Murena have produced a line of perfumes which have made the hotel which inspired it live in my mind. That hotel is La Sireneuse in Positano. The perfumes have always sparked my imagination of what the hotel looks like. The latest release called Morn to Dusk is an evocation of a day on holiday from morning until getting ready for the evening.

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Sebastian Alvarez Murena and Marina Sersale

For Morn to Dusk the creative directors chose Annick Menardo to work with for the first time. Mme Menardo is another of those perfumers who spends most of her time on the more mainstream releases. I always look forward to the time she will take on a niche project. One common theme to her niche compositions is her ability to choose high quality raw materials and display them like fine jewels on black velvet. In Morn to Dusk she chose notes to represent the morning, mid-afternoon, and twilight.

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Annick Menardo

The morning notes start with a sunburst of bergamot. Mme Menardo rapidly follows that up with the green floralcy of muguet. Lily of the Valley is one of those floral notes that seems so green while also containing a pretty floral character. Here Mme Menardo displays it as an early morning bloom as the daylight glitters off the petals. For the afternoon it is time for a treat as she uses vanilla as her heart note. This is a confectionary vanilla. It could represent a vanilla macaron or gelato. The muguet sticks around and that has the ability to pick up some of the deeper buried green facets from underneath the sweet in the vanilla. By twilight the day has left us ready for a shower before the evening. Mme Menardo uses a cocktail of synthetic musks to give that accord of warm skin to finish our day.

Morn to Dusk has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Morn to Dusk really did evoke a lazy day on holiday for me. It makes it one of those deceptively easy to wear fragrances that you can some time erroneously dismiss for that ease. It asks nothing more of you than to enjoy the day. Sometimes that is everything a perfume should ask of the wearer.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Byredo Oliver Peoples- Lens Flares

When you are watching a movie or television show and there is a momentary effect as if a point of light intensifies and then elongates across the screen that is called a lens flare. If you need an object example watch a bit of Director J.J. Abrams “StarTrek” movie. Lens flares were prevalent on the television series and when Mr. Abrams did the reboot he paid homage to the style of filming in the 1960’s. There is an interesting arresting luminescence to the effect. When I was wearing the new Byredo Oliver Peoples I was thinking it was a perfume full of lens flares which seems appropriate.

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Ben Gorham

Oliver Peoples is a designer brand of fashion eyewear. The creative director of that brand David Schulte reached out to Ben Gorham to be co-creative directors on a perfume. Mr. Schulte was very interested in trying for a perfume that would be emblematic of synesthesia. Synesthesia is the joint perception of senses. It is most commonly described in fragrance circles as those who see smells as colors. True synesthetes are rare, around 1 in 2,000 people can do this. I am one of 1,999 who do not have this enhanced perspective of the world. Mr. Schulte and Mr. Gorham wanted to help us try and feel that through outside cues. Working with regular Byredo perfumer Jerome Epinette they asked him to create a perfume of distinct colored phases of development; green, indigo, and champagne. The bottles would carry one of those colors and they would be accompanied by a pair of eyeglasses with the same colored lenses.

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Jerome Epinette

While I definitely experienced three distinct phases of development while wearing Oliver Peoples I was unable to really match the colors with the phases they wanted me to. Early on my first day of wearing it I stopped trying and instead enjoyed these three distinct lens flares of development as they happened.

M. Epinette uses lemon as the bright flare and then he elongates it with juniper berry as it adds in its acerbic quality. This is really what a lens flare is all about as it burns brightly and then stretches out into something totally different. I guess this was supposed to be green but if I was putting a color to it I would call it sunshine yellow. The heart does the same thing as iris provides the flare and M. Epinette uses a less earthy fraction of patchouli combined with immortelle. This was my favorite part of Oliver Peoples as the very rooty iris is transformed into the patchouli and immortelle over time. If I was giving the heart a color it would be purple. The base is musk up front and then what M.Epinette calls a “sand accord” provides the elongation. The sand accord is the smell of hot sand; sort of mineralic and chalky supporting the musk. This would be reminiscent of beige if I was naming it as a color.

Oliver Peoples has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

While I was probably a failure at stimulating my latent synesthesia I really enjoyed Oliver Peoples as a warm-weather perfume. The very distinctive development made for a long lasting story evolving on my skin over the day. In the end any perfume that can make me interested enough to keep revisiting throughout the day is pretty good.

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

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Mr. Holmes

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In hindsight it is very easy for me to pin down the moments which started me on my affection for many of the things I enjoy. My love of mysteries began with a Christmas present of a complete volume of all of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I never became so much of a fan as to become a Baker Street Irregular. My admiration of Sherlock’s logical way of breaking down a mystery obviously would appeal to the budding scientist. Unfortunately Sir Conan Doyle only gifted us with a finite amount of stories. What is amazing about that is so many other creative people have put forward their interpretation of Sherlock that it has the effect of making those stories feel brand-new.

When it comes to the visual interpretations of Sherlock you could say we are living in a golden age. Benedict Cumberbatch is assaying a controlled misanthrope on BBC’s “Sherlock”. Jonny Lee Miller is interpreting the great detective as a man on the ragged edge as his demons nip at this heels in CBS’ “Elementary”. The writers and actors on these shows are clearly having a great time taking the established mythos and finding interesting places to change it up.

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Both of these series are about a Sherlock transposed to the modern day. The new movie Mr. Holmes starring Sir Ian McKellen as Sherlock takes place in the originally portrayed time period on the page. This story is about Sherlock at the age of 93. Age is starting to fray the magnificent instrument that is his mind. He has returned to an English countryside cottage after a trip to Hiroshima to acquire a tree called prickly ash which is supposedly able to stave off senility. The young son of the housekeeper, Roger, asks Sherlock questions about an unfinished story Sherlock is writing. Roger is told it is the true story of his final case not that over sensationalized nonsense Dr. Watson wrote. The movie proceeds to follow Sherlock as he tries to remember the facts and circumstances of that final case while his mind is failing him.

Mr. Holmes is not an exquisite mystery. Instead it is a study of a man considered a genius facing the loss of the facility to still be considered that. Mr. McKellen is an extraordinary actor who portrays Sherlock over a 35-year span. As a younger man there is feline grace to his pursuit of the truth. As an old man the same doggedness of pursuit remains but it is more graceless. Mr. McKellen communicates so much in this movie with facial expressions without a word being spoken. It is a bravura performance by an actor with a resume full of them.

If you are looking for a break from the superheroes, dinosaurs, and cartoons give Mr. Holmes the chance to show you acting that is more special than any effect in those bigger movies.

Mark Behnke

Editor! Please….

There always seems to be a trajectory with my favorite popular authors. When I start reading them over their first few books they are great. Then as they gain more popularity the books begin to get longer and longer. They have more long swathes of unnecessary, or repetitive, exposition. What I believe happens is when the author is just another author the editors at their publishing company assist them to make a polished diamond. Once the author gains some notoriety and is contributing in a large way to the bottom line of the publishing company I suspect the editors are more freely disregarded or jettisoned altogether.

Over the last month I realize perfumery has its own version of this. It doesn’t happen that often but it usually occurs once an independent perfumer is making their second set of fragrances. This is after a widely successful first set of releases. The independent perfumer does not know when to stop tweaking the final formula. This has just happened as I received the fourth “final” version of the next release for this perfumer. I am betting I will get another “final” version before it finally is put on sale. This is the perfume equivalent of getting that document at work with the file name, “Perfume-Final-draft-Final-FINAL-ReallyFinal.doc”

The problem I have with this particular perfume is I really liked the first “final” version I received. I liked it so much I was going to call it out as one of the best new perfumes of the year. Then I received the three consecutive “final” versions which are still good but not as good as the first “final” version. As a reviewer this has put me in an awkward place. There was a version which I thought was as good as it gets. The version that I will eventually review will likely not be as good as that while still being good. Do I mourn the good idea turned less good? Do I try and scrub my memory clear of the earlier version?

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I always want to be supportive of any perfumer’s vision and I am going to do so in the case described above. What I have found out through e-mails is the only nose this perfumer is trusting to make the final decision is their own. Right there is where I think the indecision springs from. If you worked as perfumer for one of the big fragrance firms the perfumer is paired with another person called an evaluator. The evaluator is there to give an unfiltered opinion on the development of a perfume. I suspect the evaluator is probably the one to say, “Stop! Enough! It is done.” The evaluator is analogous to the publishing editor. A trained outside viewpoint can help focus the creative process.

Obviously an independent perfumer is not going to pay an evaluator but they shouldn’t have to. The key piece of information to receive is an impartial assessment of your perfume in progress from someone in whom you trust. Pick someone you feel can give you constructive advice. I think your perfumes will be the better for that. There are a number of well-established independent perfumers who I know have a few people they rely on for exactly this process. It is no coincidence that these are also some of the most successful independent perfumers, as well. Just remember at the very end you are probably no longer the best judge of your own work. Time to go find an editor.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Anya’s Garden Enticing- Sultry Tuberose

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As I mentioned yesterday in my review of her recreation of Randolph Parry Cologne 1859 I would like to selfishly see more frequent releases from natural perfumer Anya McCoy. As a tireless supporter of Natural Perfumery as head of the Natural Perfumers Guild there are probably just not enough hours in the day. Which is why when I do get a new perfume from her under her Anya’s Garden brand I open my sample with a lot of anticipation. In the same package she also included her new natural perfume Enticing.

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Anya McCoy

For Enticing Ms. McCoy was interested in interpreting tuberose. She wanted to capture all of this particular bawdy floral. On her blog describing the background she read before composing Enticing she captures descriptions like; “dangerous pleasures”, “voluptuousness”, and my favorite “the bane and the destruction of imprudent youth”. I love tuberose for all of these qualities and usually perfumers work very hard to rein in this impudent bloom. Ms. McCoy lets slip the tuberose in all of its imprudent youth destructiveness. Her ability to work with a couple forms of the tuberose as an absolute and as her own handmade enfleurage pomade takes what would be a familiar tuberose experience and enhances it. In particular the enfleurage softens the overall effect. When I asked Ms. McCoy about that in an e-mail she replied, “The enfleurage contained some of the top notes of tuberose, and some subtle, round, middle notes, which are lost when the absolutes is made, and I wanted to incorporate them.” I agree the mix creates a more realistic effect than the absolute would have by itself. It elevates Enticing into a much darker tuberose than you might usually find.

Enticing pulls you inward with a wonderful swirl of herbal green and cool spice. Ms. McCoy combines clary sage and cardamom. The sage tilts the cardamom more towards its green facets but the citrus character still asserts itself. This entices you forward as the tuberose appears ready to provide a dangerous pleasure. Ms. McCoy’s accord of absolute and enfleurage captures all of the high pitched grace notes. What I remember of late night hours wandering among the tuberose in my youth with a romantic partner was the hint of mentholated scent which seemed to make me feel like my lungs were coated with energy. Enticing’s mix of tuberose materials re-creates that. This is like a prelude to romance as it feels sultry and seductive. Enticing further affirms this memory as Ms. McCoy goes earthy with patchouli and mushroom. The final special fillip is the use of real musk which gives the final moments of this a sensual jolt that only real musk can provide.

Enticing is in parfum strength and it lasts for 14-16 hours with very little sillage.

The current trend in mainstream perfumery is to use a cleaned-up pretty tuberose. I am bored to tears with it at this point. Enticing is testament to what tuberose is all about. It may be a destroyer of imprudent youth but it is also one of the most all-encompassing notes that exist in perfumery. In Ms. McCoy’s able hands she is able to allow her tuberose to be all that it can be.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Anya’s Garden.

Mark Behnke

Header image: Moon and tuberose photos by Anya McCoy. Reclining Lady by Raimundo Madrazo.

New Perfume Review Anya’s Garden Randolph Parry Cologne 1859- Alpha Cologne

It has been awhile since I have received samples from natural perfumer Anya McCoy. A few weeks ago that was rectified with two new creations from Ms. McCoy. There is nobody working in the natural perfume field from whom I look forward more to seeing what she has created. She is so busy watching over the Natural Perfumers Guild that I think she doesn’t take enough time to remind us of how talented she is. Both of these new fragrances I received from her show her dedication to the history and the future of natural perfumery. I am going to review each of the new perfumes today and tomorrow.

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Anya McCoy

For today I guess calling the Randolph Parry Cologne 1859 “new” is a bit of a misnomer. Ms. McCoy was contacted by the President of the New Hope (PA) Historical Society, Dr. Claire Shaw. Dr. Shaw had come across a recipe for a cologne when searching through the books at the Parry Mansion. She contacted Ms. McCoy to see if she could help decipher the recipe and perhaps recreate it. Ms. McCoy had written to me about this earlier in the process and to say I was excited to see how this would turn out is an understatement. You just have to look at the name of the blog to know how fascinated I would be in smelling a fresh version of an original cologne formulation.

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As you can see in the page reproduced above from Ms. McCoy’s website the recipe has all of the classic ingredients of the early colognes. Ms. McCoy looked to those early colognes, namely Eau de Hongrie and 4711 for inspiration. She also would remark that the formula looks similar to the well-known Florida Water to those of us who have lived in South Florida. What that all means is the more herbal components are thrust forward with the lavender while the citrus takes a bit of a back seat. The one unique ingredient from the 1859 recipe that was going to be very difficult to source and use was “musk tincture”. Real musk from the glands of musk deer is tightly regulated in 2015 and she would have to go through Bruce Bolmes of SMK Fragrance who is the only licensed importer in the US. Mr. Bolmes enthusiastically signed on to the project and this allowed Ms. McCoy to be faithful to the last drop in her recreation.

Randolph Parry Cologne opens with that fresh lemon swoosh. Lavender arrives very rapidly and it provides a spindle for the herbal and spicy components to wind themselves around. Rosemary which is the classic herbal component is present. What sets Randolph Parry Cologne apart is the very prominent cinnamon and clove notes. They settle in with the rosemary and lavender to provide a slightly darker shade of cologne than you might think. Rose and neroli provide a light floral counterpoint and it is especially as the florals gain some traction that I am reminded strongly of Florida Water. The arrival of the musk tincture is what truly sets this apart. The real animalic muskiness provides an entirely unique foundation for a cologne. It has a complexity to it that you can only get from a real musk. As it provides depth and texture to the more traditional cologne components it makes this feel contemporary.

Randolph Parry Cologne has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

You might think following an old recipe would be child’s play but I think this was quite the opposite. Ms. McCoy had to use every bit of skill and experience she has to make this recreation sing with the correct harmony. In lesser hands they would’ve just slammed the ingredients together into a muddled mess. Ms. McCoy turns it into living history not only of perfumery but a way of life. If you love cologne like I do you must try this.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Anya’s Garden.

Mark Behnke

Editor’s Note: If you want to know more about the process and the history behind Ms. McCoy’s process visit this link for her blog post all about it.