As I mentioned in yesterday’s review Ex Nihilo has opened an in-store boutique at Bergdorf-Goodman in New York City. One of the interesting concepts behind Ex Nihilo is the ability to personalize any of the nine perfumes by adding one of six raw materials via the Osmologue. The six materials are iris, orange blossom, sandalwood, vanilla, Rose de Mai, and jasmine. I was skeptical about this process but on my recent visit some of those concerns were allayed a bit. My favorite of the first five Ex Nihilo fragrances I tried was Vetiver Moloko and I’ve worn it enough to know it well. In the boutique we added three of the six ingredients for me to try; orange blossom, sandalwood, and vanilla. Each ingredient was approved of by the perfumer as being able to blend well with the perfume in its unadorned state. What I found was the orange blossom brightened up what is a shadowy fragrance in Vetiver Moloko. The vanilla turned it into a delicious creamy gourmand reminiscent of the A Clockwork Orange moloko. The sandalwood made the vetiver pop as it brought it to an even greater level. I still think I prefer my Vetiver Moloko as the perfumer created it but the idea works.
I am going to finish up my reviews of the Ex Nihilo debut fragrances with two rose fragrances, Rose Hubris and Musc Infini.
Rose Hubris was composed by perfumer Olivier Pescheux. In my review of Oud Vendome I liked the way he pushed the envelope making the most structurally interesting of the Ex Nihilo perfumes. Rose Hubris is a little less adventurous but the opening moments do provide something different in a rose perfume.
Those early moments are where M. Pescheux trots out fenugreek and lychee as his top accord. Fenugreek is one of those perfume ingredients I would like to see used more often. It has an odd dichotomy of earthiness and syrupy sweetness. I think of it as kindred to immortelle in that department. In Rose Hubris being paired with the lychee it thrusts the sweeter character to the foreground but that earthy quality adds a really unique underpinning. A fabulously beautiful Rose de Mai is the rose in the heart. It really does carry a haughty air as it powers through the fenugreek and lychee to take over. It is a more giving partner to the base notes of patchouli and oakmoss where it settles down into more typical rose fragrance patterns.
I adore the opening phases of Rose Hubris and that makes me more forgiving of it becoming a little more traditional in the back half of the development.
Rose Hubris has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.
Louise Turner (Photo: Rui Camilo Photography)
Musc Infini was composed by Louise Turner. Ms. Turner is one of those perfumers who does not make an impression on many perfume lover’s list of favorite perfumers. She should as she has made some of the best mass-market perfumes to be found. For Ex Nihilo she is afforded the opportunity to have some more latitude in constructing Musc Infini. What she does is to take a very powdery rose and sandwich it between a couple of synthetic musks to form an uber powdery floral perfume.
Musc Infini opens with the botanical musk provided by ambrette seeds leavened with a pinch of citrus. This quickly transitions into a soft powdery rose. This rose is turned even softer as two synthetic musks embrace it and form this incredibly silky smooth puff cloud of powder. Very late on a bit of vanilla cuts the powder but not for a long while.
Musc Infini is for those who love their florals powdery. This is the one perfume of the collection where I would like to see what the addition of iris would do to it. Would it add another layer of powder or shift it into something else? I know on my next visit that is the experiment I want to try.
Musc Infini has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I am impressed with this initial collection of Ex Nihilo it shows a breadth of styles along with a new way to personalize the perfume to what you like. Definitely worth a visit next time you are in NYC.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Ex nihilo.