The Sunday Magazine: Nexus by Ramez Naam

One of my favorite genres of science fiction is cyberpunk. While the genre was birthed in the 1970’s it wouldn’t really gain a foothold until the publication of 1984’s Neuromancer by author William Gibson. The genre has produced some of the most imaginative authors writing today. I recently read the latest addition to the genre author Ramez Naan and his Nexus trilogy.

All cyberpunk novels are set in the near-future; close enough to believe you will see it happen. Nexus starts off in 2040. The title refers to a “nano-drug” which allows the user to become superhuman in consciousness while also adding an ability to connect with other users. Our protagonist Kaden Lane is one of the designers of Nexus and he has just improved it to its newest iteration. He is unsure whether it should be shared. The first book is about the pressure he faces as governments want to control him and through him the new Nexus. Scientists who want to use it for discovery. Others who want to use it to unite the entire world in a collective.

nexus by ramez naam

What cyberpunk does at its best is to ask the provocative questions of tomorrow in a fictional setting today. Nexus asks who will be responsible for the genetic and pharmaceutical innovations. Will these advances create a superhuman population which will live above the non-enhanced? In Nexus the US and China have made different decisions on how to control and embrace it. Mr. Naam tortures his young scientist as he has to come to grips with his invention having put him on a turbulent sea of influences.

The prose is definitely worth the price of admission but there was another thing about Nexus I enjoyed. It was released in its first incarnation as an e-book. Mr. Naam takes advantage of the different template reading on an electronic device brings to storytelling. I do all my reading on my tablet; Nexus was the first book meant to be read there. There are subtle nods to the electronic interface over the printed page. It draws me even deeper into this world Mr. Naam has created.

Now that the summer is over if you’re looking for some reading material which will provide something more than thrilling heroics Nexus is worth seeking out.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Frapin The Orchid Man- The Sweet Science

When I am referring to the “sweet science” if you’re reading this blog you might expect that I am talking about perfumery. The phrase actually is more commonly used to describe boxing. After a series of articles in The New Yorker by AJ Liebling with that title, it stuck. Those articles were meant to show that boxing was not about just bludgeoning your opponent. There was distinct strategy involved which would unfold over the course of a fight. If you executed; the path to eventually winning was through strategy as much as strength.


David Frossard

David Frossard the creative director at Frapin is a student of boxing. For the new release The Orchid Man he wanted a perfume to tell the tale of Georges Carpentier who carried that nickname into the ring. M. Carpentier would at the height of his career take on Jack Dempsey in Jersey City on July 2, 1921. This is widely regarded as boxing’s first million dollar gate. M. Carpentier would lose that bout and eventually retire from boxing to run the cocktail bar he opened in Paris.


Jerome Epinette

For The Orchid Man M. Frossard collaborated with perfumer Jerome Epinette to design the fragrance that would capture the sweet science of M. Carpentier’s career. The centerpiece of any fragrance of boxing will obviously be leather but the choices of what surrounds it are very well thought out.

The Orchid Man opens with the bright lights of bergamot. Then M. Epinette begins to throw short spicy jabs of black pepper. Each one tickles the nose as it sets you up for the big punch. M. Carpentier was known for his “frog punch”. It was a straight right hand to the head that he would leap into to add more momentum. The heart of The Orchid Man is that punch made perfume. M. Epinette’s version of a leather accord is the smell of refined and used leather. The unexpected momentum which provides power to the leather is a healthy amount of jasmine. This is a knockout of a heart. Each time I wore it I was surprised at how well designed it was. The base tints all of this a shade darker as the lights are off and patchouli, oakmoss, and amber provide the grounding effect of a boxer on his way out of the ring.

The Orchid Man has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Frapin continues to come up with unique inspirations for their fragrances. The Orchid Man stands out as one of their best. M. Carpentier may not have brought home the title that July day in 1921. Messrs. Frossard and Epinette have found a way for The Orchid Man to win in a different arena almost one hundred years later.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review ALTAIA Yu Son- Love Among the Oranges

Two of my favorite people in perfume are the husband and wife team behind Eau D’Italie; Sebastian Alvarez Murena and Marina Sersale. As the owners of the hotel her family founded, La Sireneuse; they have created perfumes which capture the history around their property. Because they are interested in the past Sig.ra Sersale decided to dig a little bit into her ancestry. When she finally traced back her lineage to a great-great-grandfather who was in Argentina looking for business opportunities she found something extremely interesting; the great-great-grandfather of Sig. Murena was part of their story. In a perfumed version of the television show “Who Do You Think You Are?” they decided to make perfumes to capture not only the history of both families but the contemporary love of the two people who met all these years later.

sebastian and marina

Sebastian Alvarez Murena and Marina Sersale

The line is called ALTAIA which is an acronym for “A Long Time Ago in Argentina”. There are three fragrances in the inaugural releases. By Any Other Name is the story of Sig.ra Sersale’s ancestors and is a lovely rose themed perfume. Don’t Cry for Me is the one for Sig. Murena’s family and it is a beautifully fresh floral. The one which captured my attention from the first moment I smelled it was Yu Son which is meant to evoke an early moment in the relationship of Sig.ra Sersale and Sig. Murena.


Daphne Bugey

All three of the ALTAIA perfumes were composed by Daphne Bugey. When I spoke with Sig.ra Sersale at Pitti Fragranze she said it was clear Mme Bugey really felt the inspiration behind the briefs she was given. I definitely agree that the perfume she produced has plenty of emotion behind it. Yu Son represents that moment in a relationship when you feel sure you’ve found your lover and your best friend. For our lovers this took place in an orange grove in Italy and Yu Son is meant to capture that evening as the air cools in the orange grove.

Mme Bugey uses mandarin as the source of her orange in the top notes. Paired with it is a lilting green tea accord which is almost like the lovers sitting on a cloth underneath the trees sipping cups of tea. It is a lovely fragile opening. It evolves into a passionate mix of orris and orange blossom. This is what sold me on Yu Son. Mme Bugey uses just the right concentration of orris. The orange blossom also stands up a little more than it might against a note like orris. Together there is the partnership of two halves forming a fabulous whole. Mme Bugey again keeps it light in the base as gaiac and amber provide a very simple frame to contain the floral duet in the heart.

Yu Son has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Orris and orange blossom are a not unheard of combination but there is something special about the particular balance Mme Bugey struck. I really feel the combining of two different influences into something new and greater than either. Very much like the life, and perfumes, Sig.ra Sersale and Sig. Murena have produced over the past eleven years.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from ALTAIA I received at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Seyrig- Big Aldehydes

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the chemist loves aldehydes in his perfumes. I like the versatility they bring. I like that they make an impression and then get out of the way for the rest of the perfume to develop. Like an opening act sometimes it sets the stage and sometimes it steals the show. When I received my sample of the latest perfume from Bruno Fazzolari, Seyrig it was right there in the intro; “inspired by the aldehydic motifs of the late 60’s and early 70’s”. This was going to be fun.

Those motifs that Mr. Fazzolari is trying to capture was the perfume industry trying to be mod during the era when being that was desired. I think the aldehyde behemoths of those years came about because perfumers could use them to give a kind of counterculture riff to a traditional construction. Like looking back over forty years later what was once edgy is now dated. Miniskirts and hippies seem like the latter half of the twentieth century companion to flapper dresses and the lost generation. In the eye of time it just seems quaint.


Bruno Fazzolari

Mr. Fazzolari did have an aim in mind when wanting to go big with his aldehydes. He wanted to make Seyrig an “artistic impression” of the Syringa flower which can’t be extracted. Syringa is a lilac variant and its natural smell is also similar to what we think of as lilac. It carries a more metallic edge than traditional lilac and that’s where Mr. Fazzolari probably decided to go round up the aldehydes to provide that character. Aldehydes have many faces to show and the ones in Seyrig are very soapy early on before settling down to the more hair spray-like version most often associated with the era Mr. Fazzolari is trying to emulate. Underneath is a mix of florals to help assemble the Syringa accord.

Seyrig opens with those aldehydes sizzling off of my skin. Underneath is a pretty rose de mai and red mandarin. For the first half an hour this smells like a sophisticated French milled rose and citrus soap. It isn’t until that time passes that the soapier aldehydes are gone and what is left now encases the rose and mandarin in a cloud of Aqua Net. This is what I like my aldehydes to be. As this accord settles in ylang ylang and orris join it. Then like an apparition a lilac accord arises which with the top accord still present creates the Syringa facsimile. It is exceptionally done as Mr. Fazzolari gets it just right. The base notes are the greenness of oakmoss in contrast to the aldehydes and a musk cocktail which complements the aldehydes.

Seyrig has ridiculous longevity. It lasted well over 24 hours and I think without a shower it might have lasted another day. The sillage is also prodigious.

Seyrig is not perfume for the masses it is a fragrance for those who are already converts to the unusual. It delivers on capturing that late 60’s early 70’s vibe. It equally delivers on creating a different kind of lilac accord. Finally it delivers as another example of Mr. Fazzolari’s artist’s eye as applied to the olfactory. It makes Seyrig one of the most interesting perfumes of the year.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Luckyscent.

Mark Behnke

Under the Radar: Xerjoff Sospiro Wardasina- Second-Chance to Make a First Impression

When there are perfume brands as prolific as Xerjoff it is an unfortunate by-product that something will get lost in the ever evolving shuffle of new product. Back at the beginning of 2013 owner and creative director of Xerjoff, Sergio Momo, introduced his third collection underneath the Xerjoff umbrella. It was called Sospiro and debuted with six new fragrances. When I tried them there were two in that initial collection I really liked; Duetto and Laylati. There would be nine more releases over the next year or so and then, at least in the US, they sort of dropped out of sight. Fell completely off of the radar screen. In the crush of new product it is hard for large collections to make an impression which is what Sospiro suffered from. It really deserved a better fate than diffident dissolution. When I ran into Sig. Momo at Pitti Fragranze he feels the same way and therefore the entire 15-fragrance line is being re-introduced into the US market. Because it was sort of ignored the first time around I thought I would pick one of my favorites from the entire line Wardasina as it returns to the perfumed radar screens.

Wardasina was one of the earliest follow-ups to the original collection. The signature of the Sospiro collection was a tendency to go for the deeper darker notes and accords. It makes for perfumes which carry more than a little power. These are not introverts by any means. Wardasina hews to this philosophy by using tobacco, rose, and patchouli to form a narcotic floral fragrance.

sospiro wardasina

Wardasina opens with saffron and rose performing an intricate dance. The rose is a classic spicy rose which the saffron accentuates. The early moments carry the only bit of delicacy you will encounter while wearing Wardasina. That’s because hard on its heels comes a heady tobacco followed by an earthy patchouli. In many other fragrances those notes would easily muscle out the saffron. For quite a few hours the saffron manages to stand up to the bigger notes on display. It particularly finds an interesting place to land between the richer aspects of tobacco and the spicy core of the rose. The patchouli literally grounds everything in a dark earthiness. Very much later a bit of cedar and vanilla become more apparent.

Wardasina has 24 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Wardasina also fits in with the rest of the Sospiro collection because it is on its surface a simple construction of a few notes. What sets it apart is those few notes linger supernaturally long making a lasting impression. The Sospiros should become widely available again towards the end of October 2015. If you missed them the first time around give them a second try there are some good perfumes to be found here, Under the Radar.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Xerjoff.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Euphorium Brooklyn Petales- The Scent of Past Love

As I have related in my previous reviews for the brand Euphorium Brooklyn I have been thoroughly enchanted by Stephen Dirkes’ multi-faceted project. Of course front and center have been the fragrances which in conjunction with the ongoing saga of the three fictional perfumers of the Euphorium Bile Works at the turn of the last century have made this so much fun. I have also mentioned that this feels like the olfactory version of a penny dreadful novel being doled out in installments. Another interesting facet is that  Mr. Dirkes’ has been adding in different types of visual art to go with each new release. Taken all together it has made for one of my more enjoyable experiences this year.


Photo by Tal Shpantzer from the "Petal Series"

Petales is the fifth release for this year and Mr. Dirkes also collaborated with artist Tal Shpantzer. Ms. Shpantzer’s Petal Series provided the visual cues for Petales. Of course one of the Bile Works boys would also have to be involved. This time it is a story of Etienne Chevreuil.

The story goes like this. After a fall from a horse at age 14 M. Chvreuil came down with a bit of amnesia and a heightened sense of smell. As he would live his life he would associate each love of his life with a specific floral smell. As scent is so closely tied to memory on the occasion of his 50th birthday he composed Petales to contain a memory of all of his past loves.

What this makes Petales; is an extremely overloaded floral perfume which also becomes quite animalic by the end. The sheer amount of floral notes form a bit of cacophony early on but they eventually sort themselves out especially as the more resinous and animalic qualities insert themselves into the narrative.

Petales-woman_tal shpantzer

Photo by Tal Shpantzer from the "Petal Series"

Early on it is like a botanist’s fantasia as lily, lavender, orange blossom, geranium, hyacinth, and probably a couple I just miss within all of the concentrated flower power. If that wasn’t enough add in grapefruit, anise, and petitgrain. This is a bit of a sledgehammer lacking some subtlety in the early going. Much as a promiscuous young man is trying all of the flowers available in the garden. It isn’t until rose, iris, and jasmine finally wrest control that Petales begins to settle down into a more serially monogamous style. The indoles are very strong with the jasmine used and it sets up the base quite nicely as the chypre components of moss, vetiver, and balsam come together to form a very animalic foundation. A soft application of musk brings home the humanity of love looked back upon.

Petales has 1-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Petales is not as easy to wear as the four earlier Euphorium Brooklyn releases have been. I wore it for the first time in warm weather and the opening’s kineticism was right on the edge of annoying. Wearing it a second and third time on cool fall days it wears much easier. I think for some the sheer overstuffed nature will be unsatisfying. I’m not sure I’ll be reaching for Petales that often myself. One reason is I think it captures the inherent moroseness that comes with looking backward. This time M. Chevreuil left out the euphoria inducing Komodo Process to replace them with the tears of what has passed. It makes Petales something worth experiencing.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Olfactive Studio Selfie- Look at Me!

As I head to New York City for Comic-Con there is something I am very much not looking forward to; dodging the obstacle course of selfie sticks. In the last year the habit of taking your own picture with your smartphone, called a selfie, has exploded. Previously it was smaller in scale now the narcissistic desire to take a picture of one’s self anywhere they happen to be is out of control. Like many things it is something which will get much worse before it gets better. With that preface about what the grumpy curmudgeon who writes this blog thinks you probably have some idea of where my mind was at when I heard the newest release from one of my favorite brands, Olfactive Studio, was called Selfie.


Celine Verleure

Ever since its inception in 2011 I have been a huge fan of owner and creative director Celine Verleure’s method of using a striking photograph as the brief for her perfumer to design a fragrance. It has been so successful with me that no matter which one of Olfactive Studio releases I wear I see that picture in my mind’s eye when I spray it on. So what was the photographic inspiration for Selfie going to be? The answer is instead of a photograph on the label there is a reflective surface which you can see yourself in. Mme Verleure is exploring the commonality between taking a picture of yourself and wearing perfume. Are not both of these ways of drawing attention to yourself? Or are they ways of sharing an experience in a larger virtual community? Not sure any of these have simple answers, or answers at all but for the first time an Olfactive Studio perfume is sort of unmoored from the visual and attached to the philosophical.


Thomas Fontaine

The perfumer she is collaborating with, Thomas Fontaine, has been so diligently involved in resurrecting heritage brands that he perhaps relished an opportunity to give us a perfume selfie of himself. I think that is one of the advantages of working with Mme Verleure that there are no preconceived notions of what an Olfactive Studio perfume smells like. It has led to one of the more diverse brands currently on the market. Selfie continues that.

Selfie opens with a right on the edge of chaotic mix of notes. Ginger and anise first make their presence known then angelica, incense, and elemi all try to crowd into the frame. There are moments early on that it seems like there are too many notes in this selfie. It takes a little while for them to all find the right spot so the entire group can be captured and appreciated. Once it comes together it does make me break into a smile but the very early moments are fragmented. The heart has no such problems as M. Fontaine uses a maple syrup accord as a sticky matrix for three diverse notes to blend in to. Cinnamon, lily and cabreuva wood are the choices. The cinnamon adds a bit of zippiness. The lily adds a bit of green floralcy. The cabreuva reminds me of the smell of Brazil nuts sort of woody and sort of nutty. All trapped in the maple syrup accord, which adds a significant sweetness, this comes together like a bunch of disparate friends meeting up after years apart but feeling like they have never been apart. The final phase of Selfie is a portrait of two accords; suede leather and chypre accord. When I saw this mentioned I was concerned this would be a return to the frenetic early moments. Instead this is a partnership of equals which forms a leathery chypre foundation. After everything which has come before ending on a base of strong accords is the best partnership of all.

Selfie has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I’ve worn Selfie over the past few days I will admit I am not narcissistic enough to see a picture of me when I wear it. What it does bring to mind is a perfume with a strong sense of self which almost asks those around to “look at me!” In the final reckoning maybe Mme Verleure has it correct as taking a selfie and wearing Selfie are both acts meant to draw attention. In which case I’ll take my attention getting in perfume form, happily.

Disclosure; this review was based on a sample provided by Olfactive Studio at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: New York Comic-Con 2015

For those of you who have followed me around as I’ve written in various places you know October is a month where all my geek passions are allowed to flourish. For the purposes of the blog Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2015 will take place near the end of the month as I reconnect with all my fabulous scented family in NYC. I’ll be spending plenty of time covering that when it comes. Next weekend I will be in NYC too but not for anything to do with perfume. It is New York Comic-Con 2015.

Myself and 150,000 other geeks will convene in the Jacob Javits Center for four days of comics, gaming, television and film, and cosplay. I recently realized this will be the 40th straight year I have attended at least one Comic-Con. I have spoken before at how much things have changed but it will still bring a smile to this old nerd’s face to watch this new generation made up of almost equal numbers of men and women share our passion.


What am I looking forward to?

First and foremost the viewing party for The Walking Dead Season 6 premiere in Madison Square Garden. I’ve been in places where I’ve watched something with a few thousand other fans but this is going to be epic as 20,000 Walking Dead fans will see the first episode and that will be followed by a panel with the cast. I am looking forward to that “Oooh!” moment as it comes out of 20K mouths.

We are going to get the world premiere of the first episode of the new “The X-Files”. I am really looking forward to seeing how Scully and Mulder are drawn back into their investigations again.

Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, and Jewel Staite are having a “Firefly” Reunion and even though I know there will be no more I love hearing these three people who love the fans interact with us.

Another person who gets the fans is Bruce Campbell and he will be showing off his new TV series “Ash vs. Evil Dead” I know he will be ready to bring the fun at the panel.

I am a big fan of the Netflix series with Marvel’s Daredevil. The next series features a new character less familiar to most, Jessica Jones, and we are going to get a preview of that new series.

I have been very hopeful that the new Supergirl TV series is going to be good and I’ll get my chance to make my first assessment as they show us the first episode.

As always the updates from the creators of my favorite comics from Marvel and DC will give me a head’s up on what is coming for the next year. Now that Secret Wars is wrapping up at Marvel I am interested to see where things are going next.

Despite all of this I know there will be a couple of panels I am not expecting which will show me something completely new. Every Comic-Con seems to spawn a new obsession. For the next week the world of fragrance will take a back seat to the world of heroes and villains and those dressed up as them.

Mark Behnke

Dead Letter Office: Gucci Rush for Men- Tom Ford’s Incense

As the calendar changed over to 2000 as a society we were warned of doomsday prophecies along with the collective meltdown of our computer infrastructure’s inability to deal with the changeover to Y2K. As we look back from the safety of fifteen years later without having lost the ability to look up Nostradamus via Google it is clear that the fin de siècle also had effects on different creative pursuits. It encouraged risk taking because there might not be another chance. At this time there was no bigger risk taker than Tom Ford.


Tom Ford

Mr. Ford had made a leap of faith when he joined Gucci in 1990 as the women’s ready-to-wear designer. That would be the start of meteoric rise as Gucci went from has-been to have-to-have all under Mr. Ford’s savvy direction. He dramatically expanded the brand into every sector of fashion and style. It is also where he would begin his fragrance career. In 1997 he would release Gucci Envy followed a year later by Gucci Envy for Men. They were typical Floral and Oriental fragrances of the time period and there was little of the signature style Mr. Ford would bring to fragrance. That would come with the next set of releases.

gucci rush ad

Gucci Rush Advertisement

In 1999 with the release of Gucci Rush Mr. Ford used his trademark mix of danger and sexuality for the first time in fragrance. The sexuality came courtesy of model Liberty Ross tinted red with a look of open-mouthed pleasure underneath the crimson. The danger came from the bottle which looked like an anonymous VHS rental tape box which would most commonly hold a pornographic movie. All of this is tame compared to what Mr. Ford has evolved into but it is all on display in its earliest incarnation. With Gucci Rush for Men the other thing Mr. Ford will become known for also displays itself for the first time; the use of an ingredient which would set the standard for fragrance from that point on. That ingredient in Gucci Rush for Men was incense.

Incense? Really incense hasn’t always been a thing? Incense had been used in perfumery as an accent note but very rarely as the focal point. In a mainstream designer fragrance? Not at all. Mr. Ford worked with perfumers Antoine Maisondieu and Daniela Andrier to create a typical masculine woody structure infused with a significant amount of incense.

Rush for Men opens with the light woodiness of cypress matched up with lavender. Cedar makes the woody quality cleaner while a very light application of patchouli tries to mar those sterile lines. This all transitions quite rapidly into the foundation of sandalwood, cade wood, and incense. The sandalwood is boosted with a suite of milky lactones so that it provides a creamier woody foil. I am guessing this was to allow the incense to not become too astringent in this first use of it. The result is the incense comes in with a translucent quality while also becoming the focal point.

Rush for Men has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

When you smell Rush for Men now it seems like a child’s version of an incense perfume. It is similar to what Mr. Ford would do with oud when he used it in YSL M7. You have to dole out the unusual in small doses before really letting them have it. Just as M7 would launch a thousand ouds; Rush for Men paved the way for the incense prominent perfumes, especially on the masculine side.

Based on the research I was able to do I was unable to find a reason for the discontinuation. Rush for Men sold quite well especially in the first couple of years. It was a viable alternative for the other styles of the time on the masculine side. The only reason I have found in a couple of places is purely anecdotal and sort of tin-foil hat conspiracy theory. The idea is Gucci was decisively cleaving itself from the Tom Ford era by discontinuing as much of it as they could after he left in 2004. Of course there is no hard evidence of this. Over time many have come to realize what a trailblazer perfume Rush for Men was and the price of a bottle has climbed pretty steeply over the past few years.

If you get the opportunity to try some it is really a time capsule capturing the early influences of Mr. Ford as well as showing the Y2K era as well.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Marc Jacobs Decadence- Once More Unto the Breach


There was a moment in time where I thought the Marc Jacobs fragrance collection was trying to do something different in the mainstream sector of perfume. 2007’s Daisy, 2009’s Lola, and 2010’s Bang were each an attempt to lure in a different perfume buyer with tiny nods to a niche aesthetic. I admired the ingenuity to see if there was a consumer out there for this style of mass-market perfume. Somewhere along the line this kind of thinking evaporated as the brand became a flanker factory with numerous Daisy, Lola, and Splash entries cluttering things up. All of these were so painfully pedestrian that even when they made the odd foray into something different like 2012’s Dot it just felt half-hearted. Over the last couple of months it looks like Marc Jacobs has decided to give it another try.

I generally liked the summer release Mod Noir although the name is a bit of false advertising. Bottom line was it wasn’t another flanker and it was definitely in the upper percentiles in the department store category. About a week after I wrote that review I received a sample of the new fall release Decadence. Because I had liked Mod Noir and the timing was right I tried Decadence right away. My first impression was this was very different than any of the other tent pole fragrances for the brand. Mr. Jacobs along with Ann Gottlieb were the creative team working with perfumer Annie Buzantian on Decadence. What they have created is the strongest floral in the line as they move away from the fruity floral and run headlong into floriental territory.


Annie Buzantian

Mme Buzantian adds the niche like-flourishes in the top and the base. The top notes are iris, plum, and saffron. The saffron exerts enough of a presence to keep the opening from being a boring fruity floral accord. There is enough familiarity there for someone who is a fan of previous Marc Jacobs to find a safe place to start their Decadence experience. The triple whammy of orris, rose, and jasmine in the heart is meant to sweep them off their feet in a swoosh of heavy hitter florals. So often this kind of power is carried by a bunch of white florals. I like the change by Mme Buzantian as the orris bumps up against a spicy rose and slightly indolic jasmine. It doesn’t go as far as a typical niche release but it goes a lot further than most of the other bottles on the perfume counter. This is the tricky part to give a consumer something different without alienating them. From my perspective I think it is a brave choice which could go either way. The base is a very green mixture of papyrus and vetiver matched with amber. It forms a verdant Oriental accord for the florals to rest upon.

Decadence has 10-12 hour longevity and way above average sillage. A lighter application than other perfumes is probably necessary for best results.

It looks like Mr. Jacobs has not given up on his desire to try something different as with Decadence he is really taking a bold step outside of the previous oeuvre of the brand. He is doing a smart thing and putting this in a spectacular looking bottle which looks like a clutch purse complete with tassel. The bottle will drive some sales all on its own. I think many of those and others who give Decadence a chance will be surprised at the new direction for Marc Jacobs. I hope they like it because I would like to see more of this from the brand. I know they have my attention, again.

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

Mark Behnke