New Perfume Review Providence Perfume Co. Vientiane- The Magic of Tincture

At the beginning of the month in the Under the Radar column I wrote about Providence Perfume Co. Moss Gown. In the last paragraph I mentioned that I found I had missed a new release earlier this year. By the next morning I was contacted and told a sample had been sent but returned to sender. It was quickly dispatched back to me. What greeted me in Providence Perfume Co. Vientiane is another example of why independent perfumer Charna Ethier is among our best.

I visited Ms. Ethier a couple years ago in her home base of Providence, RI. Through her early releases there was a delicacy of certain notes I had noticed. In the ingredient roster there were always lists of tinctures. I knew what they were, but Ms. Ethier schooled me that day on them. For those who would like to learn more than I am about to write I point you to a blog post by Ms. Ethier from 2012 where she goes into greater depth. In short, a tincture is the use of dried fragrant botanical material soaked in perfumer’s alcohol. The material is continually filtered out and replaced every few days. Once it has reached a desired scent profile it can be used.

Charna Ethier

You can see how this is the ideal ingredient for an independent perfumer. It provides a uniqueness that only comes from a particular creative. For Ms. Ethier these tinctures have provided some of the most fascinating undercurrents to her perfumes. In Vientiane she uses a jasmine rice tincture as the river upon which she floats three different sources of sandalwood.

The name Vientiane comes from the capital city of Laos. The jasmine rice tincture adds a steamy humidity to the sandalwood core reminiscent of sitting on the side of the Mekong in the city itself.

Vientiane opens with an Indiana Jones-like scent of using a machete to cut through vines. It is vegetal and very green. It catches your attention and then as you hack it away you are left looking at a structure of sandalwood as if uncovered for the first time. By the coloration you see there are three types of sandalwood. A typical creamy version, a drier desiccated version, and a lighter version used as modulator. Underneath all of this is the jasmine rice tincture. Ms. Ethier sent me a little vial of it along with my sample of the perfume. Once I had the chance to smell its steamy toasty fragrance I was able to detect it sending its tendrils up through the sandalwood. This is where Vientiane remains with a surprisingly complex sandalwood on display for hours.

Vientiane has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

If you are a colognoisseur of sandalwood perfumes Vientiane should be part of your collection. It is an entirely unique take transformed by the magic of the jasmine rice tincture into something very special.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Providence Perfume Co.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Atelier des Ors Bois Sikar- Wildfire

When I was Boy Scout I was told of the value of natural wildfires. Caused, hopefully, by lightning strikes instead of careless humans. A natural fire clears away the old and ushers in the new. One of the most dramatic examples I would ever encounter was hiking through a part of Yellowstone National Park which had succumbed to a very large wildfire the year before I was there. After having walked through the more typical rolling green it was striking to come to an area where everything had been scorched back to nothing. The skeletal charred wood still gave off a smoky scent on the misty day I walked among them. As I looked around I saw the beginnings of new shoots pushing up from the ashy ground. I realized it would be wonderful to return in a few years to see what came of this.

Jean-Philippe Clermont

Smoke in perfume is problematic for me because it can too easily become overwhelming. That subtler yet softer smoky haze I encountered that day in Yellowstone is not often found in a perfume. When I received my sample of Atelier des Ors Bois Sikar I was strongly reminded of that.

Marie Salamagne (Photo: Jerome Bonnet)

Atelier des Ors is another of the more recent brands which has drawn my attention because of the quality of their collection. Owner and creative director Jean-Philippe Clermont has chosen to work with a single perfumer, Marie Salamagne, over the first eleven releases. Bois Sikar is the latest addition to the main collection.

According to the press release Bois Sikar was inspired by the smell of cigars in a cedar box along with a glass of fine peaty whiskey. If I was attuned to it in a different way I probably could have seen all of that. Instead Mme Salamagne made a perfume that, for me, lived up to its translation “smoking wood”.

Mme Salamagne opens with her charred wood accord. It stays present throughout the entire development. First a sweetness due to nutmeg comes through the smoke. This reminded me of the sweetgrass which was growing among the blackened timbers. The whisky accord comes next and it is, as promised, very peaty. Which reminded me of deep rich earth instead of booze. Clean shoots of cedar and vetiver carry more of the new growth vibe. Tobacco only shows up in the final stages and it is a nice bit of typical smokiness at the end.

Bois Sikar has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I mentioned this is meant to be a cigars and booze style of perfume; which it probably will be for most. In my case it was the natural scent of a year after a wildfire as life returns to the ashes.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Atelier des Ors.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Florida by Lauren Groff

I write about perfume because it fascinates me and writing about it allows me to gather my thoughts about it. Writing this weekly The Sunday Magazine has allowed me to do that for other passions of mine. One of the joys of writing this blog has been the ability to share a bit of myself through what I write here. That others not only read but keep it in mind makes every minute I spend on it worth it. One of those readers has figured out my affection for my birthplace of S. Florida. She also read a recent The Sunday Magazine column on a collection of short stories, Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin, where I wondered if the form was becoming obsolete. A few weeks ago, she sent me an e-mail with a recommendation; Florida by author Lauren Groff. I downloaded it and devoured it during a recent road trip.

Lauren Groff has been one of the most successful authors of the last few years. There have been many times I’ve almost downloaded one of her three previous novels: The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, or Fates and Furies. Fates and Furies was a highly acclaimed novel in which the story of a marriage was told from the perspective of the husband then the wife. These three books have resulted in her being named a Guggenheim Fellow earlier this year.

Lauren Groff

For Florida, Ms. Groff who lives in Gainesville, Florida; tells stories which seemingly could only take place there.  Almost all of the eleven entries take place there. There are a few that don’t take place in Florida but reference it. None so savagely as when one narrator realizes it is where she feels most at home.

All of the stories are told from a woman’s narration. Ms. Groff enjoys playing with the gauzy veil between reality and fantasy. There are unreal elements that I am left questioning if they are hallucination or actuality. The writing crosses back and forth seamlessly.

The beauty of a short story is it allows an author a freedom to plumb that delicate line in a kind of overheated style. Two hundred pages of it would be too much. Fifteen pages is just right. When a character refers to looking into people’s windows at night as she walks through the neighborhood as “domestic aquariums” it rings with truth and archness.

Many of the stories carry a particular undercurrent of fear as hurricanes, concussions, snakes, and alligators all lurk on the periphery. Each story carries its own collection of them.

When I finished the book, I realized that many of the stories were told by a mother of two boys. No names are used, and I wonder if those stories are meant to be connected.

Ms. Groff captures the Florida psyche well because she lives there. I think it takes someone who experiences day in and day out to understand the precipice the state is perched upon. Without saying it as plain as I just did Ms. Groff uses the eleven stories in Florida to say the same thing.

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things: Tar

When it comes to the scents of summer most of us think of beaches, fruits, and green growing things. I was reminded of another less referenced scent of summer with some road construction in front of my house; tar. Birch tar has been one of the key components of leather accords. Even though the overall effect is that of tanned cowhide when I wear these perfumes there is also a hint of country blacktop, too. Here are five of my favorite tar perfumes.

In 1927 Chanel perfumer Ernest Beaux would use birch tar as the key ingredient in his “Russian leather” accord. It would be the beginning of its widespread use for nearly the next 100 years. Cuir de Russie has been a part of the Les Exclusifs collection and it shows off a raw tanned leather as the name promises. M. Beaux tempers it with the use of aldehydes, jasmine, and sandalwood. Don’t kid yourself though this is all about the leather; gloriously so.

Two years before Cuir de Russie perfumers Francois Coty and Vincent Roubert produced an unabashedly straightforward leather fragrance, Knize Ten. The perfumers make one of the most full-bodied leather perfumes ever. Their accord reminds me of not only birch tar but the motor oil scent of a garage. It might sound unpleasant, but it is mesmerizing to me. A musky patchouli sandalwood base accord is the main complement to the uber-leather accord.

I leave it to Comme des Garcons to give me the exact scent of overheated asphalt. In 2004’s Series 6 Synthetic: Tar perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer accomplishes it. She uses birch tar as the nucleus but expertly weaves in styrax, castoreum, and opoponax. It is exactly what the road in front of my house smells like this month. It is this aesthetic which has elevated Comme des Garcons above so many of their contemporaries.

Just as Tar is emblematic of the creativity at Comme des Garcons the existence of Le Labo Patchouli 24 does the same for that brand. Perfumer Annick Menardo finds the intersection of birch tar and patchouli to create a fascinating pungency. That she adds in a bit of sweet vanilla as contrast to it only serves to delineate it all. Another great perfume from one of the true innovators of niche perfumery.

Even though it was the smell of summer road work which got me in to this column; Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods is how you use tar along with cade wood to create that winter haze of woodsmoke. Those two ingredients form one of the most intense woodsmoke accords I have. Independent perfumer Laurie Erickson spends the rest of the development taming the smoke with warm amber, clean cedar, green vetiver, and sweet sandalwood. It is among the best that this talented artisanal perfumer has produced.

As I look back over this list it might be the most imaginative list I’ve produced for this series. Every one of these perfumes are among the best of the brands and styles described. If you love perfume this is something to get on the road to try.

Disclosure: this review is based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Blackbird Y06-S- A Matter of Perspective

The way we all experience perfume is unique to each nose. We can agree that something smells like a rose. From there it might remind one of us as a cosmetic rose; another might see it as a fresh cut stem. The difference of perception is why one person’s holy grail fragrance is another’s scrubber. It also carries over when I hear from others about a perfume. I tend to have to battle through that to find my personal interpretation. This would be the situation with Blackbird Y06-S.

Blackbird is the Seattle, Washington-based brand owned and creatively directed by Nicole Miller. I have met Ms. Miller on a few occasions and one of the things which delights me about her is her fearlessness at producing perfume. Particularly over the last couple years, nothing which has the Blackbird label on the bottle is produced to be easy. Ms. Miller embraces an aesthetic which asks the wearer to confront their idea of what fragrance means to them. I also admire that Ms. Miller doesn’t feel the necessity to produce new product every few months.

Nicole Miller

Y06-S was released at the end of 2017, but it has taken six months to find its way to me. In my community of fellow perfume lovers, it has been one of the things I have been most asked about which I did not have the chance to try. The consensus description was it smells like bananas and skanky jasmine. Sounded like something I would like. When I received my sample a few weeks ago and sprayed some on a strip it was bananas and jasmine but that’s not what came up in my mind’s eye. Y06-S smells like my organic chemistry lab.

There is a reason for this disconnect. The organic molecule in banana oil is isopentyl acetate. Ms. Miller, as perfumer on Y06-S, uses a lot of this to produce her banana effect. For me it crosses from banana to chemical. This is not unpleasant in any way, but it is because I work with so many esters in a laboratory setting it is sort of the ambient sweet smell of a research lab. What is also the ambient scent of a laboratory is the heated electronics of the equipment. Ms. Miller wanted to use a metallic accord as contrast to the banana overdose. It achieves that but instead of contrast it completes the laboratory accord for my nose. The indole-laden skanky jasmine does come next. This will provide a floral complement to the strong fruit for most. For me the indoles are just more of the lab milieu. A figurative pinch of oud provides more of that as it amplifies the indoles over the floral in jasmine.

Y06-S has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Ms. Miller has continued the avant-garde aesthetic Blackbird is becoming synonymous with. Most others are going to smell a skanky banana; which it is. I just have a different view. Y06-S reminds me of happy days working in the lab. It is all a matter of perspective except that Ms. Miller is one of our most daring independent perfume producers.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Arquiste Esencia de El Palacio Limoneros and Guayabos- Tree Stories

4

I am fortunate to have the connections to try almost any perfume I hear about. I keep my eye out looking for some of the interesting new places to find fragrance. One place I discovered last year was the collection being produced by Arquiste for the upscale Mexican department store El Palacio de Hierro. Creative director Carlos Huber working with longtime collaborator, perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, produced a trio of fantastic perfumes under the Esencia de El Palacio label. I wasn’t sure if that was going to be it. A few months ago, I received a notice that there were two new releases coming. I couldn’t wait to try Limoneros and Guayabos. I was not disappointed as both of these are among my favorite new releases of 2018. Because I was so taken with them I arranged a phone call, to Givaudan, with Sr. Flores-Roux to get some background which you will find sprinkled throughout the remainder of the review.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux (l.) and Carlos Huber

Sr. Flores-Roux told me that he and Sr. Huber had agreed that they wanted to continue the collection’s focus on the indigenous botany of Mexico. This is apt because Sr. Flores-Roux was in school studying that subject when he was called away to begin his perfume career. When speaking with him he mentioned that along with Azahares and Magnolios from the first trio; Limoneros and Guayabos add to the “tree stories” they are trying to tell. The thought was to go into these two new perfumes focusing on the Mexican version of lemon and guava respectively.

When I first tried Limoneros I was strongly reminded of a lemon-lime soda I grew up with in S. Florida. I can’t find the name, but this was not Sprite or 7-Up it was a Cuban version. It was much tarter with an ebullient effervescence. I just described Limoneros to you. Sr. Flores-Roux was also inspired by a lemon-lime soda of his youth in Mexico. When his family would visit Acapulco there the soda the kids drank was called Yoli. Made of the Mexican limon it is not the traditional Italian lemon most Americans know. It is a lemon which is closer to lime. Srs. Huber and Flores-Roux wanted Limoneros to be the smell of squeezing that Mexican limon, into your bottle of beer or over your fish taco, on your hand. Along the way a bit of the Yoli inspiration found its way into the final Eau Fraiche composition.

That Mexican limon is what greets you straightaway. It is tarter than typical lemon in a perfume. There is a significant green quality added in. Cardamom is part of the formula of Yoli soda and it finds its way in the top accord of Limoneros. This captures the smell of freshly squeezed limon on my fingers. Then via the use of ginger a kind of effervescence bubbles up from underneath the limon accord. Right here is where Limoneros most closely resembles Yoli. It is full of life. It rests on a light summery base of vetiver, patchouli, and iris.

One of the great things about Sr. Huber is he knows when Sr. Flores-Roux is inspired and needs to just be left to his own devices. Such was the case for Guayabos. Sr. Flores-Roux returns to his childhood where ripe guava was in his house. He very much wanted to capture that for Guayabos. To accomplish that he undertook headspace analysis of green guava, ripe guava, and guava blossom. This would lead to three sources of guava in the final version.

It is those three layers of guava which open Guayabos. Sr. Flores-Roux wanted to make sure to capture the cinnamic spicy nature of the guava. By combining the three guava sources he finds it in the place where they come together. Guava is an odd tropical fruit and you’ll know if you like it right away in Guayabos. I don’t just like it; I swooned for it. There is a vividness to the guava in the top accord that made me feel like I should be able to reach out and take a bite. Guayabos could stay here but Sr. Flores-Roux is better than that. He uses jasmine to moderate the guava blossom into something more traditionally floral. Osmanthus provides a leathery botanical rind to encase the fruit within. It rests on clean woods of cedar and cypress.

Both Limoneros and Guayabos have 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Guayabos is my favorite new perfume of 2018, so far. From a perfumer who I have admired this is a tour de force for him. It shows why Sr. Huber letting him follow his inspiration leads to something amazing. I’m not sure if Guayabos didn’t exist I wouldn’t be saying Limoneros is my favorite perfume of 2018. I’ve been wearing both of them so much they are going to be reminders of the summer of 2018. Taken together the tree stories of the Esencia de El Palacio collection are as good as perfume gets for me. Thankfully it was confirmed there are more to come. I know as long as Sr. Huber and Sr. Flores-Roux continue to tap into their shared Mexican heritage they can’t go wrong.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Arquiste.

Mark Behnke

Flanker Round-Up: Aramis Tobacco Reserve and Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Essence

There are times that flankers reminding you of the original perfume they share a name with do them no favors. This month’s choices for the Flanker Round-Up are a couple of them.

Aramis Tobacco Reserve

One of the first men’s perfumes I can remember is Aramis. It was one of the fragrances my very successful uncle wore. It was the scent of success to me at that age. Fifty years after its release it is now a bit of a dated relic. I still wear it, but I am sure those who encounter me think it’s the smell of advanced age over success. Which is why Aramis would want to try and appeal to a younger demographic. Last year they tried a modern version of the original Aramis called Aramis Modern Leather. It was better than I expected it to be. They’re back a year later with a flanker Aramis Tobacco Reserve.

Tobacco Reserve falls into the gap of not really seeming to know what it wants to be; Throwback or Trendsetter. It falls in the middle but because it is a simple construct that might not hurt.

It opens with a nice blast of clary sage which felt like it was a nod to the original. From here it follows the by-the-numbers formation of a sweet tobacco accord. Nutmeg, tonka bean, and iris provide all the support to make sure the inherent sweetness of tobacco is amplified. It is a nice tobacco when all is said and done.

Aramis Tobacco Reserve has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Essence

Much like Aramis, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist was a trendsetter in its time in 1994. A beautifully sheer white flower bouquet over leather, sandalwood and what would become the ubiquitous “cashmere accord”. It was a luxurious unique mass-market perfume. The brand did all they could to kill the name with one ham-handed flanker after another from 2005-2013. These were the kind of perfumes which make flanker a four-letter word. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new Cashmere Mist Essence. One caution was in the midst of the bad flankers there was one called Essence too. Thankfully the 2018 version is better than any previous flanker.

For Cashmere Mist Essence it comes close to be the original minus the leather. One big difference is a more elongated floral effect before getting to the base. That starts with ylang-ylang early on before the jasmine keynote takes over. There is a lighter floral presence than the original which was sheer for its time. The base is the “cashmere accord” and sandalwood again also at a lighter volume. It is like a watercolor of a pastel.

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Essence has 6-8 hour longevity and average longevity.

Both of these flankers do what they are meant to do I just wish they didn’t remind me of their much better elders.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by the brands.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Britney Spears Prerogative- The Quiet Celebuscent

I mentioned in my overviews at year-end and mid-year that celebrity branded perfumes, celebuscents, have been waning in popularity. On the whole I am thrilled to see this happening because the great, great majority of these perfumes had nothing to do with the style of the celebrity. They were almost all another cynical play to separate fans from their money. Most of the time the celebrity smelled “their” perfume just before it was released. It was a bad joke which was only funny to those profiting from it. Which is why the few celebrities who actually care about a fragrance product which carries their name are to be commended. Those names are also pretty well-known because they have lasted for years because of their involvement. One of the best sellers within the mass-market sector are the perfumes which carry the name of Britney Spears.

Starting in 2004 with the release of Curious her perfumes has been among the best of celebuscents. Starting then and ending with the release of 2007’s Believe she produced four perfumes which still remain best-sellers. Part of this is you can search for interviews with Ms. Spears and she knows the name of the perfumer she is working with. She also knows about the ingredients. What she is doing is what any creative director should do. With the support of the Elizabeth Arden team she helps make the decisions. For the last few years the brand has been focused on flankers of 2005’s Fantasy. They were typical flankers; none of them better than the original. I had thought that was it for the brand for the foreseeable future.

Honorine Blanc

I received my press sample of Britney Spears Prerogative and was strongly reminded of those early entries. Like Ms. Spears herself who has continued to perform in residence at Las Vegas; Prerogative shows she still has all the moves on the fragrance stage, too.

Prerogative is composed by perfumer Honorine Blanc. One decision that was made is to make Prerogative another of these floral gourmands so many of the big brands believe is what a younger perfume consumer desires. It is also pitched at the also presumed desire for lighter fragrances. Prerogative is more appropriately a fruity floral gourmand.

It opens with the tart goji berry. I am reminded of a kind of nutty cranberry when I’ve smelled goji berry. Mme Blanc chooses baie rose to attenuate the tartness while apricot provides a slightly juicier effect. Lily is the floral at the heart of Prerogative. This is a very typical lily with the green aspect dialed way back. The gourmand counterpart is coffee. The fruity top accord, lily and coffee come together in a pleasant wave. I found myself enjoying this part of the development a lot. It ends on an ambered sandalwood base accord which will make Prerogative a good fall fragrance choice.

Prerogative has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Ms. Spears has traded in the notoriety of her youth for a quieter success these days. Prerogative could be a signal she is interested in getting more involved in the perfume world. I think that would be a good thing.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tom Ford Private Blend Fougere D’Argent- Fougere Evolution

It is agreed that modern perfumery began in 1882 with Houbigant Fougere Royale. Paul Parquet’s use of coumarin transformed the concept of fragrance as utility into something more aspirational. Over the nearly 150 years since, we have seen those aspirations realized. It is something I am always thinking of when there is a new material being used by perfumers. Is this something that will allow for a perfumer and creative director to reach for something they were unable to before. One of the places you often see this is by returning to that original fougere construction you can display a new ingredient within all of the fougeres that came before it. I was strongly reminded of this with Tom Ford Private Blend Fougere D’Argent.

Karyn Khoury

Fougere D’Argent is one of two new fougeres in the Tom Ford Private Blend Collection. I’ll be reviewing the other, Fougere Platine in a couple of weeks. I was more intrigued by the construction of Fougere D’Argent that I spent time with that first.

Louise Turner

Fougere D’Argent was composed by perfumer Louise Turner under the eye of long-time creative director Karyn Khoury. That alpha fougere was an axis of lavender, coumarin, and oakmoss. Ms. Turner takes Fougere D’Argent to a different place as her spine is ginger, lavandin, and akigalawood. The latter as a substitute for the oakmoss in the original is what really caught my attention.

Fougere D’Argent opens with the more expansive CO2 extraction of ginger. It picks up the bergamot and mandarin for a zesty citrus opening. Baie rose leads into the heart where lavandin is waiting to become the traditional heart. Lavandin is less herbal than other varieties of lavender. The baie rose adds back that herbal quality as an ingredient which allows Ms. Turner to tune to what ends up smelling like a hybrid of the two main lavender sources. Labdanum takes us into the base. What is there is the newer ingredient akigalawood. I’ve spoke of it in the past but due to being the product of an enzymatic degradation of patchouli it leaves behind a patchouli variant which is spicy and woody while leaving out the earthier facets. On its own it wouldn’t have been an ideal replacement for the oakmoss. By adding coumarin, in a nod to the original fougere, it becomes much closer to the oakmoss base from the beginning.

Fougere D’Argent has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I enjoyed Fougere D’Argent as much as I did because it felt like another signpost on the continuum of perfumery. Ms. Turner reminded me that out on the edges fragrance can still keep deciding what modern is.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Tom Ford Beauty.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Ant-Man and The Wasp

If there is one reason for Marvel’s success on film it is because they vary the tone of their films so successfully. They also mange to deploy this variety in a strategic way. For the first film after Avengers: Infinity War the choice of going with a movie that was essentially a comedy in Ant-Man and The Wasp shows this.

The first Ant-Man movie carried with it a comic heist mentality. This formula is repeated in Ant-Man and The Wasp. The biggest difference is the presence of Hope Van Dyne as The Wasp. As portrayed by Evangeleine Lilly she is the kick-ass straight woman. Which is fine because Paul Rudd as Scott Lang has plenty of goofy charm for her to push back against.

The movie picks up after Captain America: Civil War where Scott has been put under house arrest after his actions in that movie. He is almost to the end of his two-year sentence when of course something arises to make him have to choose to leave the house. That something is a message from Janet Van Dyne who has been lost in the Quantum Realm for over thirty years. It brings everyone together along with a new villain, Ghost, who also has ties to the Quantum Realm. One of the refreshing things about the movie is the self-awareness of how often they keep using the same technobabble phrase. That’s part of what sets this movie apart. It is as close as Marvel is going to get to having a character break the fourth wall and wink at the audience.

The stakes in the movie are appropriately small as our heroes are trying to rescue Janet from the Quantum Realm while people who want that technology for other purposes interfere. For all that they are not galaxy spanning problems I was as invested in their success as any other Marvel movie. This is down to director Peyton Reed who knows how to get the most out of this material.

It all leads to a happy ending which is quite a nice change. If you need a tonic for the Avengers: Infinity War carnage Ant-Man and The Wasp is the ideal prescription.

Mark Behnke