The Sunday Magazine: 50 Years of Star Trek

Anniversaries are moments to acknowledge the events which are important to you. This first weekend of September has two of them. The somber one is the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It has been one of the most influential moments in the history of the United States continuing to affect nearly every American.

There is another anniversary which is much more pleasant to consider. On September 8, 1966 the first episode of Star Trek debuted on NBC. The existence of a television series in 1966 which showed a future where everyone worked together to explore the universe was a powerful message for entertainment to provide. Creator Gene Roddenberry has simply described the show to TV executives as similar to a current Western series “Wagon Train to the stars”. After numerous rejections it was Lucille Ball in her capacity as owner of Desilu Productions who saw the potential in the idea and gave Mr. Roddenberry a three-year development deal. He needed almost all of it as the road to that first episode was rocky. The first pilot was seen as “too cerebral” which sent Mr. Roddenberry back to the drawing board replacing the entire crew except the science officer played by Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock. Even after all of that the first episode to air was neither of the pilots it was one called “The Man Trap”.

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As a six-year old I knew none of this. All I had seen were commercials about a crew in space. Living in Florida we were in the state where rockets were carrying men into orbit. At this time, we had begun the effort to land a man on the moon but it was almost three years away. Star Trek was the elementary school version of a water cooler show. As I would walk with my friends to school on the Friday morning after a Thursday evening episode. It was all about, “Didja see the alien last night? Weren’t the Klingons gross? Green skin.” What was amazing was never did anyone of my friends question the make-up of the crew. A black woman, a Russian man, an Asian man; at that time prejudice and racism was out in the open. Yet here was a television show where nobody questioned the competence of these fictional characters.

The other message Star Trek provided was no matter how bleak things look with the USSR pointing nuclear missiles at us; in response to us pointing an equal amount back at them. Racial strife warming up in the bullpen. Women beginning to redefine their societal roles. Star Trek told us as a species humanity somehow figured it out. In the future we are all together as explorers.

Those were wider impacts. Personally Star Trek was where I began to believe science was cool. I say it at every career day I do my inspiration to become a chemist was Mr. Spock. It was Star Trek and that character that made me want to follow a career in science.

The incredible longevity of the brand over multiple series and movies is testament to Mr. Roddenberry’s first vision. The crews of every Star Trek version do take us on a Wagon Train in to the stars where we are allowed to see a future full of potential.

Mark Behnke

Discount Diamonds: Joop! Homme- Power Chords

Music in the 1980’s, especially as applied to the so-called hair bands, was an assemblage of how many powerful guitar chords you could link together. Those power chords were known more for their volume and the way they were played with gusto by the various guitarists. Perfume in the 1980’s especially men’s perfume was also reliant on power chords too. Amped up fougeres or colognes dominated sales on the masculine fragrance counter. A change was coming as the decade came to an end as Cool Water would soon drown out the powerful perfumes underneath its clean wave. I always find it interesting that one of the last-gasp powerhouses was done by the same perfumer who did Cool Water, Pierre Bourdon. Maybe he realized what he had set in motion and wanted one more time to go out with a flurry of lustily played power. It is certainly what he did with Joop! Homme.

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At the time of release of Joop! Homme the brand was known as a contemporary clothing brand. They introduced Americans to the fragrances as they had their first runway show at New York Fashion Week. The fashion was very late 1980’s-early 1990’s and has been forgotten. The fragrances have become the primary association with the brand. Early in the 2000’s Coty would slice the fragrance portion away and acquire it.

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Pierre Bourdon

Back in 1989 Joop! was looking for a partner to their first fragrance Joop! Femme. M. Bourdon would make a masculine elaboration of the jasmine, orange blossom, sandalwood, and vanilla Michel Almairac used in Joop! Femme. M. Bourdon was not looking for subtlety or clean lines he was ready to take center stage and amplify those notes.

Joop! Homme opens with that vigorous down stroke as M. Bourdon hits a power chord of jasmine, orange blossom, cinnamon, and bergamot. Which is rapidly matched as he returns the down with an upward movement of sandalwood, vetiver, tobacco, and vanilla. Together this is a loud spiced woody accord. Only much later does it soften a bit as some honey and tobacco add a bit of golden glow. Very late on there is an appearance of the clean musks; maybe it is M. Bourdon’s way of sending out a warning that this style of fragrance’s influence is about to wane.

Joop! Homme has 24 hour longevity. It also has atomic sillage. no more than two sprays or you will be playing your fragrant boom box for everyone around you.

Joop! Homme can be found at most perfume discounters for less than $20 for 4.2oz. It is so predominantly synthetic that it hasn’t been reformulated significantly

Just like I get in the mood for a little Twisted Sister or Poison Joop! Homme also satisfies that need to say the heck with subtle smelling perfume, “We’re not gonna take it anymore!”

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tom Ford Private Blend Ombre Leather 16- 16 Shades of Ford

I have long been an admirer of Tom Ford and his approach to fashion. Over the last few years he has moved to take back fashion from the madding crowd in the way he does his runway shows. He shows during New York Fashion Week but it is always on his own terms. Last night Mr. Ford had his Autumn Winter 2016 runway show at the recently closed The Four Seasons restaurant allowing it to go out with a bang. For those familiar with the fashion calendar the September shows are usually for next Spring’s fashion. Mr. Ford believes that in the age of the internet nobody wants to wait. So he has joined a few other designers in debuting a collection which you can buy immediately. So this morning anything you saw on the runway last night was available online and in store. One other special part of the evening was the space was scented with the newest Tom Ford Private Blend, Ombre Leather 16 which like the fashion is also available as of today.

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Ombre Leather 16 translates to shaded leather 2016. It is a fitting accompaniment to what was presented on the runway as the Autumn Winter 2016 collection was full of contrasting textures of which leather was one of the stars. Visually the leather showed up in details and as contrasts with things like tweed. Ombre Leather 16 is also like that. I’ve had my press sample for a few weeks and I’ve really been impressed at how much this leather is in flux displaying different shades depending on what other notes have stepped up. I have not found out which Givaudan perfumer(s) worked on this. (UPDATE: The perfumer is Sonia Constant) I do have a suspicion though. (UPDATE: I was wrong) Whomever did this work the leather accord at the heart of Ombre Leather 16 is absolutely fantastic.

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That leather accord is front and center as you spray on Ombre Leather 16. This is a supple leather but early on it has a dry quality to it. The first note which interacts with it does little to that quality as violet leaves cut across the leather like silvery green razor blades. To go with this is a breeze of green cardamom adding a bit of brightness to the overall effect. I like almost everything about this perfume but these opening moments are amazing for me. I have always liked the sharp qualities violet leaf can impart and the perfumer(s) here lets them fly like a knife thrower as they thunk into the rich leather. Then the next shadow is cast across the leather as jasmine sambac steps up. This is an indolic version and so it enhances the animalic qualities of the leather. It also begins to relieve the aridness of the early going. A very restrained patchouli comes next which pretty much completely transforms the leather into something much fleshier. It does this by using the earthy qualities of patchouli to tame the beast and allow the gorgeous leather a platform from which to preen a bit. Finally, it marches off the runway on the arm of what is called white moss but which smells like typical low atranol oakmoss to me.

Ombre Leather 16 has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

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This, by far, is my favorite leather in the Tom Ford Private Blend collection. It is much more to my taste than Tuscan Leather because the raspberry in that fragrance always jars me a bit. Ombre Leather 16 is true to its name as every shadow in the fragrance blends together as it moves through its paces. It is the best Tom Ford Private Blend since Shanghai Lily.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Tom Ford Beauty.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Imaginary Authors Slow Explosions-What’s Inside the Big Bang

I don’t know which filmmaker did it first but the slow motion explosion has become a staple of moviemaking. Part of what makes it so interesting is seen in real-time an explosion is a second or less worth of flash and boom. Slowed down on film it is many seconds of flash with no soundtrack. What is so interesting about seeing an explosion in slow motion is you see the expansion of the flame, the whorls curling and expanding as it almost hypnotically draws you in. What I have always enjoyed about seeing fast things slowed down is the underpinning that is on display to something you can’t see with a human eye. All of these thoughts came to me as I tried the new Imaginary Authors Slow Explosions.

Owner and perfumer Josh Meyer saw Slow Explosions as an elaboration to last summer’s limited release An Air of Despair. In particular he wanted to expand, or explode, the saffron into a more typical Imaginary Authors release. An Air of Despair was an atypical perfume from Mr. Meyer; Slow Explosions is another in the line of complex compositions more endemic to the collection.

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Josh Meyer

One of the things I always enjoy about an Imaginary Authors release is the imaginary author Mr. Meyer comes up with. This time it is Gwen K. Vroomen who in 1980 threw a dart at a world map and left her job to go to the place the point of the dart pierced; Goa. Slow Explosions is her journey to Goa and her “Journey out of darkness” summarized thusly as, “I was lost, aimless, and depressed. Now I’m only two of those things.”

To capture his author Mr. Meyer uses a mélange of south Asian spices but as mentioned above the saffron is most important. It is wrapped in rose and leather to keep one wondering which of the adjectives for Ms. Vroomen was improved.

Slow Explosions starts with the spice market vibe as hints of curries and cumin are rapidly overwhelmed by a large dose of saffron. As I’ve recently learned saffron in this concentration carries a leathery quality which makes it a great partner to a leather accord. Before Mr. Meyer rolls out his leather accord a really jammy rose absolute first makes its presence known with the spices. The slightly sweet rose is also contrasted with a peek-a-boo note of apple. The apple seems to be an olfactory illusion at times. All of the trickery is washed away with the arrival of the leather. This is biker jacket leather well-cared for and oiled. The saffron adds a kind of botanical leather as texture. A bit of benzoin and cashmeran provide a conventional foundation.

Slow Explosions has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

On the days I wore Slow Explosions I found it to be a fragrance which rewarded my attention throughout the day. When I tried it on a strip it was saffron, rose, and leather. On my skin much of the other supporting notes become detectable making it seem as if my wearing it was looking inside the Big Bang on the strip in slow motion so I could see everything going on. There is much to see and after wearing Slow Explosions I was neither lost, aimless, or depressed; I was happy.

Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle provided by Imaginary Authors.

Mark Behnke

Under the Radar: Andrea Maack Smart- Interesting Intersections

Back in 2011 there were a number of visual artists taking a shot at expanding into fragrance. I can remember the great majority of these efforts to have a lot of vision and no juice. The visual inspiration piece was usually paired up with a ham-handed attempt at smelling different. They often eschewed using perfumers to their detriment. I had gotten to the point that when they started talking about being multi-disciplinary I wanted to tell them to stick to the single discipline they do well, which wasn’t perfume.

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Andrea Maack

That was my frame of mind when I received the initial collection of Icelandic artist Andrea Maack. Ms. Maack had a press release full of multi-disciplinary verbiage. I was expecting to be bored. Instead her initial three fragrances showed a remarkable degree of polish. The reason was she chose to work with Renaud Coutaudier as her co-creative director and they used perfumer Julien Rasquinet very early in his career. Of the initial three I liked Craft and Sharp but Smart is the one which I purchased a bottle of.

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Julien Rasquinet

Ms. Maack’s visual art at this time was fluid geometrics. It is a style which appealed to me. This aesthetic managed to make it into her initial three perfumes as all of them had bold lines which intersected in unusual ways. The creative team and M. Rasquinet were always looking to establish contrasts within intersections. Smart is a good example of this.

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Renaud Coutaudier

Smart opens with the metallic tang of violet leaves. This is a top note which imparts a uniquely contemporary vibe almost turning it industrial. Before it can go too far in that direction a sweetly floral vector overlays itself consisting of jasmine and vanilla. The vanilla is a greener version as if of the orchid carrying more green facets along with the sweet. The jasmine picks that up and as it coats the metallic violet leaves it forms an appealing duet. M. Rasquinet then lays down a strong through line of sandalwood. The sandalwood is its very typical creamy woody version. As the sandalwood settles in a final animalic arc arrives with a leather accord and musk. M. Rasquinet balances these four strong lines skillfully so at their intersection there is much to enjoy.

Smart has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Ms. Maack would end up adding four more to the original three. Of those Coal and Coven were my favorites. This is a line worth checking out not only for the fragrances but also as a place where rising star perfumer M. Rasquinet was developing his skills. There is much to admire of his work for the brand. If you’re looking for something multi-disciplinary Andrea Maack Smart is one of the few which promise that, which also delivers.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review D.S. & Durga Radio Bombay and Rose Atlantic- Finding a Signal

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As a boy we had a weekend place at the end of Key Largo. It was where my love of the ocean was kindled as I would spend days swimming in it; water skiing on top of it; and diving deep beneath it. After a day of being out on the water I would go spend the evening out on the dock with my transistor radio. Pointing the antenna across the Gulf of Mexico I would cautiously turn the AM dial searching for a signal. The radio was held close to one ear as my fingers feathered the controls until a voice would leap out of the speakers. I was connected to another part of the country. For as long as the signal lasted I got a peek into another city. Through those nights on the dock I listened to the goings on in Corpus Christi and Galveston, TX; Biloxi, MS; New Orleans, LA and courtesy of their huge signal St Louis, MO’s KMOX. As the radio would heat up there was a pleasant smell of hot metal and electronics which was surrounded by the smell of the night blooming flowers and the ocean lapping the pilings under the dock. I hadn’t thought of those nights in a long time until I received my samples of the newest D.S. & Durga perfumes. Radio Bombay reminded me of the smell of that transistor radio. Rose Atlantic brought me back to those flower-filled nights above the ocean.

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David Seth Moltz and Kavi Ahuja Moltz

David Seth Moltz describes Radio Bombay as a “deconstructed sandalwood”. It is a sandalwood which is decayed like those faraway signals I was listening for into something less than its ideal self. It is an interesting idea when a perfumer chooses to find notes which chip away at the familiar in a way so that other aspects become more prominent.

Right in the very early moments of Radio Bombay you get the most pristine version of sandalwood. Over the next few hours that sandalwood will be changed by the other notes. Early on it is competing with a balsamic mixture pushing down the sweeter, creamier aspects in favor of the sharply woody ones. Next comes this metallic accord which Mr. Moltz calls copper but I would describe as warm undefined metal. It is that moment when my radio got very warm to my touch. Boronia adds a bit of the heated electronic vibe while also chiseling away at the sandalwood a little more. Iris powders things while cedar tries to reclaim the woodiness. At the very end the signal is lost into the ether until the next time I tune in.

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Rose Atlantic is those moments in the night when I would look deep into the black water only to have the flowers scenting the air to ground me. Mr. Moltz uses some wonderful ingenuity in constructing his accord to represent the Atlantic. Many of the typical components are here but one, muscone, seals the deal. He has added enough that it provides that deep dark water accord the weight it deserves. On top of that water floats linden leaves, rose, lemon, and grass. It is an airy floral entwined with the green of the grass and linden leaves. A bit of moss later on provides a final thread of green. After the radio was shut off I would still sit on the dock enjoying the signal right in front of me; until the next night.

Radio Bombay has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage. Rose Atlantic has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Along with these two scents there was a third White Peacock Lily which is also quite good. All of these were meant to debut the new packaging designed by Kavi Ahuja Moltz.

I know someone will ask if I layered the two to see if I could create a personal “Key Largo Signal”. I did and it didn’t work that well, there was a lot of static. As I learned so long ago once you find a clear signal stick with it for as long as it lasts. Radio Bombay and Rose Atlantic are rich signals to find while searching in the night.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by DS & Durga.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review SJP Stash- Be Careful What You Wish For

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Sarah Jessica Parker set the standard for what a celebuscent could be when she released Lovely in 2005. It was widely praised mainly because it was obvious she was directly involved as creative director. Lovely is arguably the best mainstream celebrity perfume ever. It has become a new classic of perfumery. With that foundation I was very curious to try Ms. Parker’s latest release SJP Stash.

In the press leading up to Stash’s release one of the more interesting pieces of information was Ms. Parker had designed Stash before Lovely. She would further elaborate that Coty who owned the rights to Ms. Parker’s brand thought Stash was not “commercial” enough. It has taken eleven years but Ms. Parker now has the freedom to releases Stash with her new deal with the beauty store chain ULTA. Stash is meant to be the first in an ongoing relationship with the store.

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The perfumer Ms. Parker worked with has been undisclosed although they are from IFF. If the backstory is accurate it probably means it contains themes from the perfumers behind Lovely, Clement Gavarry and Laurent LeGuernec. With an assist from an IFF perfumer today I would imagine that is the perfume team behind Stash. After trying Stash I can definitely see how there was a vigorous discussion about whether it was commercial in 2005. Now in 2016 I think Stash has found a time period where it won’t stand out as much as a woody oriental. In fact, it could be that woody orientals have become so prevalent that it might have some trouble gaining traction.

Stash opens with a contrasting trio of grapefruit, black pepper, and sage. It is a lively opening but it feels common today. The heart ramps up the woods as cedar cleans up the spicy parts and co-opts patchouli as a running mate. Ms. Parker mentioned wanting a body odor accord and I think the cedar and patchouli are meant to be that. It is subtle to be sure and not as prominent as it would have been if they had used cumin. So if you have read the press releases and seen “body odor” don’t fret because this is the cleanest body odor you will run across. The base is the best part of Stash as a sweetly resinous mixture of olibanum, vetiver, sandalwood, and musk combine.

Stash has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

As I’ve indicated above Stash is not groundbreaking or unusual in today’s mainstream market. In 2005 this would have blazed a similar trail as Lovely did. In 2016 it is following the trail not blazing it. Stash is more complex than much of what can be found at ULTA. If that consumer is enticed by Stash I think it has a chance to open those perfume wearers’ horizons. I can see how passionate Ms. Parker was to get Stash on the market but as the old adage says, “be careful what you wish for”.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from ULTA.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: March Book 3

Funny books, comic books or just the comics; these are all ways most commonly used to describe a story told in graphic form. They are terms which describe smiles and lightheartedness not seriousness. For the fifty years I’ve been reading comic books they still mostly get a funny look. As I page on my iPad on the bus I can see my seatmates looking over my shoulder probably wondering when I am going to grow up. For me they are what I use to entertain myself. They have put a smile on my face almost daily since I was a child. But there are some out there who think the medium can be used for more serious storytelling.

The first to do this was the artist Art Spiegelman when he released “Maus” in 1986. It told the story of Mr. Spiegelman’s father’s time in Nazi Germany and his imprisonment in a concentration camp. The story was told with a power only a graphic medium could bring to the story. It helped bring the term “graphic novel” into the lexicon. It won a Pulitzer Prize and has been considered a piece of literature since its publication.

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Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, and John Lewis (l. to r.)

These are not going to be themes which are easily turned into monthly fodder for the people who read comics. I could even say it took almost thirty years for the next “Maus” to appear. That graphic novel has arrived with the publication of March Book 3 completing the trilogy begun three years ago.

“March” is the story of the civil rights movement as told by one of the most integral members of it, Congressman John Lewis. He was there standing next to Martin Luther King, Jr and he participated as a key part of the effort.

Congressman Lewis would talk about his times in the civil rights movement with his telecommunication aide on his re-election effort in 2008; Andrew Aydin. After hearing these stories Mr. Aydin began to write his master’s thesis on them. When he next ran into Congressman Lewis he brought up the idea of him writing his life story. He fired back only if Mr. Aydin would help. Somewhere along the process they decided to turn this into a graphic novel and asked illustrator Nate Powell to be part of the project.

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Starting in August of 2013 there have been roughly one volume a year released of the graphic novel titled “March”. The story itself is enlightening just for the firsthand account of the civil rights movement throughout the 1960’s. There is so much to learn but much of it is done with a tone that lays out the facts of Congressman Lewis’ journey leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions. The story is also more powerful for the way the graphics can make things more visceral. In the panel above the letters describing the movement of the police baton grab me much more than if just written out in a sentence. It is what can make telling a story this way better; when the material calls for it.

March has been a fantastic success and has found its way into high school and college curricula. Much like “Maus” before it “March” is a testimonial from one who was there for a time of man’s inhumanity to man. It is important to have them in the public record so we never forget. “March” is an unforgettable chronicling of one of these times.

Mark Behnke

The Art of Advertising Perfume- Michael Buble By Invitation & Kenzoworld

Part of getting the samples of the perfumes I would like to try is also getting the press package. Usually this is some specially designed visual meant to capture the vibe. More and more frequently there is video content. Most of the time the video content is not any more memorable than the photographs. Then this past Monday I received two e-mails from two very different perfume brands containing two very different videos promoting their fragrances. I’ve been watching both of these videos quite a bit this week trying to understand what they are trying to say to the consumer who might be interested in trying a perfume based on seeing these videos. I’m going to at least comment on what I got out of overanalyzing these promotional materials.

The more traditional of the two is the video for the new fragrance Michael Buble By Invitation. For those who don’t know Michael Buble is a singer who performs original songs and versions of the classic songbook. He is similar to a younger Tony Bennett. Mr. Buble has a very winning personality and it was probably overdue his name was on the front of a perfume bottle.

For the advertisement they take advantage of both the charm and the voice of Mr. Buble as after seeing a woman in the cab next to him get out after spraying on some By Invitation he accepts and walks down the street after her. As in a Hollywood musical the rest of the people in the street dance around our protagonists all while you hear Mr. Buble’s version of the classic song “My Kind of Girl”.

This is an advertisement which tells me perfume can catalyze the unexpected as the man in the cab next to you seeks you out. It hits all of the concepts perfume tries to sell visually. It is worn by good looking people and it has a critical part to play in their attraction. It is a stylishly done bit of promotion I won’t mind seeing over and over during the holiday season.

Then there was the second video for the new Kenzoworld fragrance. Ever since Humberto Leon and Carol Lim took over as Kenzo creative directors in 2011 they have been assiduously shaking things up throughout the brand. I have been waiting for their sights to light upon the fragrance section and see what they would do. Kenzoworld is that fragrance. The promotional video shows their unique perspective on design.

The advertisement is directed by Spike Jonze. Mr. Jonze’s star began to rise with his music videos in the mid 1990’s for bands like Weezer, Beastie Boys, REM, and many others. This would lead to his feature film debut in 1999’s “Being John Malkovich”. That Mr. Leon and Ms. Lim enticed him to direct this commercial was a coup.

In the video actress Margaret Qualley is sitting at a boring talk at a dinner. She excuses herself to walk out of the room. Once she is alone in the lobby the music begins to play and take over her body. For the next couple of minutes, she dances, fires finger lasers, takes down a spy, and generally lets the music sweep her away until she bursts through a flower sculpture of the bottle. Only after all of this do you see what the ad is for; Kenzoworld perfume.

This is one of those things I will watch over and over because I see something amusing I missed in a previous viewing. The whole package including an original song written especially for the ad is meant to be seen as hip. The thing is I think whatever part of this ad they decide to cut down to one minute to be shown on tv, stripped of its context, might end up ranking as one of the more annoying ads of the holiday season.

I also wonder what it wants me to understand about Kenzoworld. That it will free me to let my inner finger laser firing self out? It is an effective piece of video but I wonder if it is an effective advertisement.

As I thought about both ads I realized the music chosen also will work in By Invitation’s favor. Over the week I was humming “My Kind of Girl” to myself. The song in Kenzoworld is not remotely hummable, by design.

It will be interesting to see how these videos are used for the next four months and whether it has any impact on the popularity of either fragrance.

The funny thing is both of them are fruity florals around jasmine, peony, and patchouli. They are very similar so the style and quality of the perfume isn’t going to separate them at the fragrance counter. Maybe it will be the way these two videos speak to the viewer which will be the difference.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Amouage Bracken Man- May I Have a Large Fougere?

I received my latest package from Amouage courtesy of creative director Christopher Chong with delight. I have been a long-time admirer of the way Mr. Chong has transformed Amouage into a perfume brand which excels in doing the unconventional. When I receive a new sample I generally give it some time all on its own without anything else I received in the mail getting in the way. This was the process as I opened my sample of the latest release Bracken Man. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted by a ginormous fougere although I should have known; it was right there in the name.

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Christopher Chong (Photo: Ben Rayner for Forbes)

Bracken is a huge ground covering fern, the basis of fougeres. Bracken Man is also a large ground covering fern as a perfume. Mr. Chong worked with perfumers Olivier Cresp and Fabrice Pellegrin. I am probably underselling this a bit because while it is a fougere through and through there are some recognizable Amouage aesthetics throughout.

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Olivier Cresp

The most Amouage-y thing about Bracken Man comes right at the beginning as the perfumers create a wet earth accord out of primarily lavandin, nutmeg and clove. Before this accord really takes hold a ray of citrus sunshine courtesy of lemon and bergamot take you down in to the earth. The sparkliness of the citrus grounds itself into the earth and gets swallowed up. This is a challenging beginning which is not going to be loved by all. I am fascinated with the way these notes form the accord as I can pick them out individually but when I stop analyzing it snaps right back to wet soil. A marvelous olfactory parlor trick. From here on we are in traditional fougere territory writ a bit larger than most of the contemporary versions. The perfumers use cypress, cedar and sandalwood to form the woody nucleus. A smidge of cinnamon. Some geranium. All leading to a patchouli and musk base. The patchouli and musk bring Bracken Man back full circle to a more traditional earthy quality.

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Fabrice Pellegrin

Bracken Man has 8-10 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Of the many things I could have requested from Mr. Chong a large fougeres was not one I would have thought of. Which shows why he is a creative director and I am a reviewer because despite a structure which is typical I still found enough Amouage in there to make Bracken Man fun to wear.

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

Mark Behnke