New Perfume Review Sammarco Naias- Kiss My Apple

I am in full agreement with the thesis that Italy has taken the lead when it comes to artistic perfumery. One of the reasons I believe this is true is there is a refreshing ideal where the brands and artists seem unafraid to make a perfume that does not try to smell like anything else. Which of course is a bit of high-wire act, easy to fall off if you lose your balance. One of those brands is Sammarco overseen by the independent perfumer Giovanni Sammarco. The latest release is called Naias which shows both the highs and the lows that can be hit.

Naias is described on the website as “not a violet perfume, you can recognize a violet aura”. It is exactly what I have enjoyed about the work Sig. Sammarco’s contemporaries have achieved. There has been an almost dedicated movement towards re-examining the cornerstones of modern perfumery. That Sig. Sammarco was going to do this with violet, one of my favorite notes, was exciting. I should have been paying attention to the phrase “violet aura”.

If I was going to describe Naias I would call it a tale of two very distinct phases. One of the most intensely pleasant fruity floral constructs which transitions into an irritating, almost painful, mixture of unpleasant woods and animalic notes. As much as I love the first few hours, is how much I dislike the final hours.

Giovanni Sammarco

Sig. Sammarco opens Naias with an incredible apple note. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled this in overdose previously to Naias. There is probably a reason as Sig. Sammarco pushes it right up to the edge of being bearable. Just as it runs the risk of becoming annoying Sig. Sammarco plants a giant red lipstick kiss on top of it. This is a classic lipstick rose accord. It is here the “violet aura” appears. It is mostly a violet characteristic of its use in cosmetics. The lipstick rose is as luscious as a pair of lips coated in moist carmine lipstick. It leaves lip prints all over the apple. This early accord is clever, balanced, almost perfect. If only there was a way to stop what comes next. Over time the apple and rose begin to fade which allows the other ingredients to come forward. One is blackcurrant buds which again seem to be used in high concentrations. It provides a funky green stickiness which runs through the other base notes like an erratic javelin missing the mark. It unbalances everything that has come before. It makes the osmanthus and sandalwood into grating versions of themselves.

Naias has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

It is rare that once I choose to wear a perfume for the two days I use to assess it for review I regret it. On day two of Naias I had to get out the alcohol scrubs because that was how unpleasant I found the final hours. What was more tragic was there are remnants of the apple and lipstick rose which made it all seem worse. I can say for the first few hours Naias is one of my favorite perfumes of the year I wish the rest of the fragrance lived up to the “kiss my apple” top.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Franck Boclet Geranium- A Wink and a Barbershop

When I was five -years old; and when I had hair, I was not one of those children who resisted going to the barbershop. My father and I would go every four weeks. I would get a crew cut and he would get a shave along with his trim. This was in the mid 1960’s before barbershops tried for cachet. They were functional emporiums who took more pride in turning the chairs over efficiently. I think, unlike some of my other friends, I enjoyed my visits to the barbershop because of the scents within. There was lavender, orange blossom scented Florida Water, the talcum powder, polished wood, and for me a piece of vanilla taffy after I was done. I can close my eyes and still smell it all over fifty years later. I haven’t encountered a perfume which captured this until I received my sample set of the new Franck Boclet releases. In there, my memories were waiting.

Franck Boclet

Franck Boclet is a European designer of men’s clothing. Starting in 2013 he began a fragrance line with four debut releases. Each perfume was named for an ingredient which would be the putative keynote. Which in most of the cases it was. I have found the perfumes to be a solidly executed concept through all the ones I have tried. I am interested enough that the samples don’t get shunted aside when they arrive because I always sort of expected there would be one which would resonate for me. The new release Geranium is that perfume.

Sebastien Chambenoist

This works because it is not just geranium and a bunch of supporting players. It is a fragrance of three distinctive phases which perfumer Sebastien Chambenoist blends together quite pleasantly. The geranium is more like the first among equals.

Geranium opens with a tart citrus and lavender top accord. It is like a bracing tonic. The lavender elevates the lime and grapefruit. Orange blossom connects the top accord to the geranium in the heart which is then given a light powdery finish with heliotropin. The base is sandalwood sweetened with vanilla and deepened with a bit of musk.

Geranium has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Everything about Geranium has crisp attached to it. It is an all-business versatile fragrance that could easily be used for any occasion. When my dad and I would walk outside after our haircuts he would look down and give me a wink. Geranium feels like that wink turned into a perfume.

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

Mark Behnke