New Perfume Reviews source adage NYC aka’ula and c’I’aan- Hawaiian Fire & Alaskan Ice

When it comes to independent American perfumery it seems like most of it has been happening on the West Coast. Except in the last couple of years the East Coast has been building a node of olfactory creativity centered around Brooklyn. As with anything like this there are more misses than hits. What is more telling, is to see which of the new brands have the potential to develop beyond their initial efforts. One of these new brands which has caught my attention is source adage NYC which released its two debut perfumes at the end of 2016, aka’ula and c’I’aan.

Robert Dobay and Christopher Draghi

source adage NYC was launched in September 2015 by married couple Christopher Draghi and Robert Dobay. In the early days, they focused on home fragrance and candles. Working with an unnamed Brooklyn perfumer they released their debut collection of perfumes a year later.

The source adage NYC concept is to focus on place and create fragrances evoked by those locales. For their first foray into perfume they chose two US states very different in nature, Hawaii and Alaska using words indigenous to each as the names on the bottles.

The Hawaiian inspired one is called aka’ula which translates to “red sunset”. The brief was for aka’ula to capture the “volcanic smoke” juxtaposed with “island spice accords”. This is a fragrance which mostly succeeds until the smoke overrides everything. The early moments take ginger, pineapple leaves and vetiver to create the spice island milieu. I just wished it lasted a little longer before the volcano erupts in a geyser of cade and oud. It is a common issue when using notes like cade and oud that they have all the subtlety of a Kilauea lava flow. If you enjoy the smoke this is a good version of it. If you are not a fan of smoke I suspect aka’ula will not be to your liking.

The Alaskan inspired one was much more to my taste. Called c’I’aan which translates to “new moon” in a Southern Alaska native language. In this case, they go for a mixture of balsamic woods and icy notes. What made me enjoy c’I’aan more was the choice of the notes which made the icy component. Using juniper, spearmint, and most interestingly apple. The juniper and spearmint mix to give that lung searing deep breath of cold air. The apple works within that accord to provide the nip of cold at the tip of your nose. I can pull this apart but when wearing it but if I relax and just let it be it is a chilly blast. The woods are fir made cleaner with cedar and warmer with amber. This seems like a much more assured composition. I liked it from beginning to end especially as the cold breeze whistled through the woods.

Both aki’ula and c’I’aan have 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I mentioned at the beginning these first two releases are not perfect but the potential they show for source adage NYC go beyond Hawaiian Fire and Alaskan Ice.

Disclosure: this review was based on samples provided by Twisted Lily.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Mademoiselle Rochas- Millennial Spring Rose

As I received my many new spring rose releases for this year I kept waiting for the ones which applied some of the assumptions about what millennials want in their fragrance. If I was to summarize the perfume brands collected wisdom for what this new generation of perfume lovers desires it would be: transparent, gourmand, and floral. If you had asked me in January what would be hitting my mailbox I would have placed a large bet on transparent candied roses. Thankfully there are no bookmakers accepting bets on such speculation for I would have lost. As I look back over the samples received only one fit my description, Mademoiselle Rochas.

Rochas, as a brand, is sort of the aging dowager of perfumery. The brand which was founded with the great masterpiece Femme in 1944 has irregularly built on that auspicious beginning. My collection of discontinued Rochas fragrances is one of those which is its own museum of greatest perfumers ever. When they hired Jean-Michel Duriez as in-house perfumer I hoped for a renaissance but that never materialized. With his departure in 2014 it seems like Rochas has set its sights on this younger fragrance consumer. Both 2016 releases seemed designed to appeal to that demographic. That made it unsurprising that their spring rose perfume would also go there.

Anne Flipo

Mademoiselle Rochas was composed by perfumer Anne Flipo. The model for the mademoiselle Mme Flipo would use as a brief is a modern-day Parisienne. She is described like this in the press materials, “Frenchic”. Which I guess translates to transparent gourmand rose.

Mme Flipo opens with a cleverly assembled candy apple accord. Combining blackcurrant buds, red currants, and blackberries it all forms a hard-red sugared shell over crisp fruitiness. If there is anything I am enjoying about this presumed preference for sweet gourmands is perfumers are producing some interesting accords. This is one of them. The floral heart is less imaginative as rose de mai, jasmine, and violet form an opaque floral heart. It is serviceable and kept on the light side. The base is a mixture of clean white musks some sweet sandalwood and a modest ambergris.

Mademoiselle Rochas has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I am interested to see how well Mademoiselle Rochas connects with their target audience. I would be happy to have next spring’s rose fragrances have a gourmand twist. It does make it seem less trite. If you’re looking for a millennial spring rose for 2017 that is what Mademoiselle Rochas delivers.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Nicolai Rose Royale- Full-Bloom Rose

When the wave of mainstream spring rose fragrances begins to overwhelm me there almost always comes an antidote from the niche sector. Just as I think if I sniff another dewy fresh rose I will go mad the independent perfumers ride to my rescue. For 2017 it turns out Patricia de Nicolai saves me with her latest release Nicolai Rose Royale.

Patricia de Nicolai has been collaborating with her son, Axel de Nicolai, over the most recent releases. In the press materials, they describe the brief they used, “A natural and fresh rose with a hint of fruity notes like the rose at the end of the stem.” When I stick my nose in a garden rose on thebush there is a delicate fruitiness underneath the heady aroma. There is also a similar muskiness deep in the heart of a full–bloom rose. The Nicolais capture all of that not so much in a photorealistic way but by using fruity and musky ingredients to recreate that real-life experience.

Axel and Patricia de Nicolai

To do this they take a fabulous Turkish rose as the core of Rose Royale. This is a refreshing choice just because most spring roses go for the more genteel rose de mai or similar. The Turkish rose has much more presence than the Grasse variety. This allows for the Nicolais to take blackcurrant bud and passion fruit to provide the fruity nuance. The blackcurrant buds also provide that sticky green quality as well. All of this is kept subtle allowing the rose to shine brightly throughout. The fruits are displaced by the botanical musk of ambrette seeds and made woody with coriander. At this point the rose is still ascendant. Then in the base a new partner arises to share the spotlight, immortelle. Playing off the delicate botanical musk of the ambrette the maple syrup sweetness of immortelle provides a unique foil to the rose. Once Rose Royale reaches this part was when I felt redeemed from all those debutante roses with one that had something to say.

Rose Royale has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Rose Royale is much more representative of spring than the alternatives out there. Spring to me is the sight of a rose in full-bloom. Rose Royale is a perfume which captures this.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Byredo Bibliotheque- Language Envy

There are times I have language envy. What I mean by that is other languages have words for things I like more than the English word for them. When I was taking Spanish classes in school in S. Florida the word for library might have been my first instance of language envy. As a child, the library was the place where my mind was opened to the possibilities. When Sr. Dowdy, my Spanish teacher, said that “la biblioteca” was the word for library that felt like such a better word to me. So, I appropriated it. When I would be running out the door I’d yell over my shoulder “off to the biblioteca”. I don’t know which came first but the French word is very similar “bibliotheque”.  Now there is a perfume carrying the French version of the name, Byredo Bibliotheque.

Ben Gorham

Bibliotheque came about from a rare reversal as it lived its first incarnation as a candle at Byredo. Apparently, it got a lot of requests to be made into a perfume. Creative Director Ben Gorham and perfumer Jerome Epinette worked on the transformation from solid to liquid.

If you are looking for a fragrance which captures the smell of ink, paper, leather, and wood of a classic library; Bibliotheque is not that. At least not entirely. There are some aspects of that but early on it is a fruity floral construct which eventually gives way to that library accord. What I liked about that early fruity floral phase is M. Epinette makes the keynotes so effusive it is like encountering them minutes before they make that transition from ripe to rot.

Jerome Epinette

M. Epinette opens Bibliotheque with a fruit combination of peach and plum. They are so ready to burst they throw off gentle aldehydes around their inherent deep fruity nature. I am not usually a fan of these kind of fruit accords but this time it worked for me. Probably because the floral counterpart was also equally engaging. Peony and violet are those notes and they provide a contralto version of floralcy that harmonizes with the fruits. Finally, the library accord begins to form. I am guessing a patchouli fraction is being used by M. Epinette to form the dry paper and ink aspect. A transparent leather accord is also here along with an equally delicate woodiness. The base accord is much lighter than the fruity floral one that preceded it.

Bibliotheque has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I do like the fragrances which are out there which have captured the empty library milieu. Yet I might like the fragrance Bibliotheque in the same way I prefer the word. The reason is that fruity floral opening seems full of possibilities as ideas can be balanced on the edge of realization or disregard. Bibliotheque captures the world where those ideas come to light.

Disclosure: This review was based ona sample provided by Byredo.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Poetry on Perfume by Lynne Haussler Oakes

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My wife, Mrs. C, is an artist and serves on the board of a local arts association. One of her fellow members, painter Lynne Haussler Oakes, who started the Art League of Germantown 35 years ago; began corresponding with me. As is common among creative minds it generally isn’t confined to just one medium. She shared some poetry she had written on perfume. I really enjoyed what I read and asked her if she would allow me to post them on Colognoisseur. For this week, I am turning over The Sunday Magazine to artist-poet Lynne Oakes.

My Personal Perfume Story

By Lynne Haussler Oakes

Early in my life I learned where to place the scent so it did the most ‘damage’. Perfume was ammunition. For after all, didn’t we want guys to swoon over us? It was the invisible weapon. Put it on pulse points, at one’s neck, at the crook of your arm, even behind your knees! I started putting it on a cotton ball and tucking it between burgeoning breasts.  The guy had no chance at all.

As I became a young lady, I was given cologne or more precisely, eau de toilette. One would not spend what true perfume cost on a child. Even in the days of my youth, it was expensive stuff. I can’t say that I understood what it took, or even now what it takes to secure and create the elements of a perfume, but early in my life it was those lighter scents that got me hooked on smelling delicious and hugging the women in my family who wore the real thing.

Things of mine that I see or touch nearly every day seem to cause a line of poetry to appear and with it, the demand to write something about it. Sometimes the lines come to me at night, or when half-awake just before I get up. Recently it has been like that with my perfume bottles. Fragments of memories surface from the small assortment on my dresser.  I recall the round mirrored tray with gold filigree embracing my Mother’s collection. And my Grandmother’s art deco vanity, her tray staging the beautiful glass containers. These trays were part of the presentation and a practical matter as well. They protected one’s dresser from the damage of alcohol rings. The bottles themselves are a story of art and design. Remembering them on my mother’s dresser is clearer to me than remembering the scent within. Each woman had her favorite, a sort of extension of their personal essence. It was part of who they were, these ladies with perfume.

 

Scents

 

I remember a stylish European woman from a place where I worked years ago.

Can one say ‘I remember a fragrant woman’?

She was Belgian with that lovely French accent in the middle of New York City.

Walking into an empty room you knew she’d just been there.

Her perfume lingered and it always made me smile.

She told me it was “Femme” when I asked her.  

Fifty-some years ago and still I remember that, but not her name.

I wasted no time buying some for myself, even the scented powder.

I was so captivated by the magical effect it made.

Perfume, that perfume. 

 

Standing in line behind a man in a bank,

I became aware of the same body scent my boyfriend had.

This was after years away from being a teenager

who borrowed a jacket and slept with it because

it smelled like the one I loved then.

 

A college boyfriend gave me a very expensive

and famous one

and I did not like it.

I did wear it a few times, just to please him,

but it mostly stayed on a little shelf

over the sink. 

 

How can I say what it is that I like?

What my heart, nose and body respond to?

You just have to experience it,

inhale it at the perfume counter, try it on

and wear it home,

breathing it in over and over.

 

I’ve heard that upper classes and royalty used it

to mask the infrequency of bathing.

It had to be really powerful.

 

It is totally, seriously, dangerously, utterly powerful.

 

-Lynne Haussler Oakes

Perfume

 

The bottles are themselves a work of art,

exquisite feminine sculptures of crystal and glass.

I’ve kept some especially lovely ones

of grandmother’s and mother’s 

which were theirs.

 

It is the contents that bring memories

Mother’s Shalimar

Dad’s Bay Rum and one he gave me

called ‘First’

which I was.

 

My dresser is the stage for a few of my own,

tucked in with empty ones I’ve saved.

A Chanel scent my son brought me from Paris,

another arriving in a box of goodies from a friend,

and one I found myself called ‘Dead Sexy’

and it is.

 

Spraying on the one I’ve chosen,

brings instant connection to someone I cherish.

The enchantment of perfume with its

sensual notes that carry love

and it does.

 

-Lynne Haussler Oakes

 

Dad’s Bay Rum

I have a bottle covered with woven grass

holding a remnant of my Dad’s aftershave.

Its disappearance is not by evaporation,

but from his use of it.

The bottles of scents he liked

were all lined up

on the back of the commode

in the master bath in the house where I grew up.

 

It is a sweet memory for me

hugging him, kissing his neck,

inhaling his day’s chosen fragrance.

Now I open the one bottle I have left,

breathing in what is so familiar

bringing him to me

once again.

 

-Lynne Haussler Oakes

 

Shalimar

 

With my oil paints

I fashioned

a small canvas of

the empty bottle.

Beautiful, alone,

empty now for years.

My Mother’s Shalimar.

 

-Lynne Haussler Oakes

 

For those interested in checking out Ms. Oakes' paintings here is the link to her website.

My thanks to Ms. Oakes for allowing me to post these on Colognoisseur.

Discount Diamonds: Kate Spade Live Colorfully- Niche Me, Kate!

There have been several attempts to bring those who have been innovators in niche perfumery into the mainstream market. I would say they have been a mixed bag as far as success in the marketplace has gone. From the perspective of translating the creativity of niche that success has been more easy to discern. One of the earliest examples of this effort was Kate Spade Live Colorfully.

Kate Spade is a fashion brand established in 1993 selling handbags. Less than ten years later they were rapidly expanding in to other areas; one of which was fragrance. The first release in 2002, Kate Spade, was a pretty floral fragrance around muguet. It was discontinued about the same time the second fragrance, Twirl, was released in 2010. Twirl was an aggressive fruity floral which put me off for that forward nature.

Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi

Because of the uneven success of the first two releases the brand made a decision to try something different. For Live Colorfully the two creative directors from Le Labo, Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi, were joined by putative “lipstick queen” Poppy King. Working with perfumer Daphne Bugey they together worked on a mainstream perfume that could carry some niche sensibilities along with the safer aspects. What they produced was a fragrance more recognizably mainstream than niche but in a couple of places the independent streak peeks out.

Daphne Bugey

Live Colorfully opens with a pairing of mandarin and star anise. Mme Bugey allows mandarin the lead role but the star anise adds an odd complementary sweetness. The real niche aspect comes in the floral which opens the heart; as waterlily is set afloat on a pond of coconut water. It is the kind of accord you find in niche regularly. Here it is an outré watery floral accord. The perfume quickly gets back into safer waters as orange blossom and gardenia form the floral accord which is where Live Colorfully spends most of its development. Mme Bugey finishes this with a warm amber and vanilla accord.

Live Colorfully has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Live Colorfully has become a standard presence on the discount perfume points of sale usually going for around $25. It is a good spring perfume at that price.

I would have liked to been in the room as the decision on the final form of Live Colorfully was decided. I would be surprised if there wasn’t one version which was more niche-like. The final decision probably came down to a brand which wanted the opportunity to create a tentpole fragrance which is what Live Colorfully has become spawning two flankers in the last two years. Even with that said Live Colorfully still has those moments of rebellion within its typical architecture.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Givenchy Pi Air- Fraiche Redux

Ever since the release of Cool Water in 1988 blue has been the color of fresh in fragrance. Whenever I walk up to a bottle of perfume and there is blue in the name or the bottle is blue or the perfume itself is tinted azure I can almost guarantee it will be fresh. What usually accompanies that is clean. No perfume brand seems to go broke by going this route which makes it one of the most ubiquitous tropes in the department store.

Back in 1998 when Givenchy Pi was released perfumer Alberto Morillas provided a warm vanilla accord consisting of coumarin and benzoin. It is still one of those perfumes which elicits unsolicited compliments when I wear it. To Givenchy’s credit they haven’t gone flanker crazy only producing five since the initial release. At the beginning of the month I received the sixth addition to the Pi collection, Pi Air.

Alberto Morillas

Once again Sr. Morillas is the perfumer as he has been for three of the other Pi flankers; 2001’s Pi Fraiche, 2012’s Pi Leather Edition, and 2015’s Pi Extreme. Of all the flankers Pi Fraiche is my favorite because Sr. Morillas transformed the warm vanilla into a fresh herbal and pine which retained the benzoin from the original. It was also in a frosted blue bottle.  When I first tried Pi Air I was strongly reminded of Pi Fraiche as Sr. Morillas has decided to update that version of fresh in an even more blue bottle akin to the color of ice. That seems to be the theme for Pi Air as Sr. Morillas employs a couple of the most expansive aromachemicals in the heart to create a perfume which feels like it fills up my olfactory horizon with a frosty fresh fragrance.

This icy nature shows up right away in what is called a “frozen neroli” accord. What that means is a neroli chilled by grapefruit and ginger. Both of those notes provide a closing in of the neroli. It means most of the green facets are muted while the sweetly floral is also subtler but struggles out of the ice to make its presence known. Then the iciness leads to a heart where paradisone and lavandin provide a high altitude mixture of fresh aromachemicals. Rosemary is an herbal complement to everything in the heart. Sr. Morillas manages to harness both of these strong notes into a well-balanced accord which I enjoyed a lot. The base keeps it simple with a dry cedar, a couple of white musks, and benzoin which is the connective tissue to the Pi heritage.

Pi Air has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Pi Fraiche has been discontinued for a few years now. It is hard not to think of Pi Air as Sr. Morillas’ making a 2017 version. There is nothing particularly different here but somehow, I found Pi Air to be a pleasant fragrance to wear on the days I wore it. Sometimes that is all I need.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Macy’s.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Stora Skuggan Silphium- Herb, Herb, Baby!

When I receive the first fragrances from a new brand it is always a bit like putting my hand in a grab bag. Most of the time as I reach in blindly the shapes are familiar to my hand. What I eventually come to perceive in the light of day is something which is a traditional kind of perfume. Then there are the times where I’m almost afraid to clutch too hard because I can feel the protruding spines. What comes of that is invariably unique but sometimes shows the rough edges of self-taught perfumers. Trying the two releases from Swedish brand Stora Skuggan was this kind of experience for me.

Stora Skuggan was founded by Tomas Hempel and Olle Hemmendorff in 2015 out of a shared passion for fragrance. Over time they would learn that quality raw materials were more likely to lead to better perfumes. One corollary to this is too many notes make for a cacophony. Their first release, Fantome de Maules, is a victim of this. Too often a self-taught perfumer decides the idea to make their composition better is more; usually it’s not. In Fantome de Maules if they had gone in a different direction and tried to streamline down to the basics this could have been a much more focused and better perfume. After that when I moved to the second fragrance, Silphium, my expectations were lowered a bit. Except in this case they had a much more clear-eyed creative direction which resulted in a much-improved final product.

Tomas Hempel

Silphium is the name of a plant used by Ancient Greeks as a medicinal herb, spice, or perfume ingredient. For the fragrance based on the name Mr. Hempel and Mr. Hemmendorff focus on creating a very green fragrance which captures both the medicinal and the spicy.

Silphium starts very green with a mixture of green notes for what the perfumers describe as a “silphium accord” which is supported by a large amount of labdanum. The overall effect is that of an herbal poultice being prepared by an Ancient Greek physician. Geranium is used to tune the green into something a little less stridently sharp while cinnamon, clove, and ginger take the fragrance in to the spicy realm without ever giving up that herbal quality from the opening. It makes this feel like the same Ancient Greek was now using it as something with which to marinade his lamb in. The perfumers use a base of cedar and frankincense. The sharp green woodiness of the cedar along with the silvery facets of the incense provide a nice finish.

Silphium has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Silphium is a perfume for those who enjoy green perfumes. The journey from medicinal to savory with the herbal nucleus is beautifully realized. As Mr. Hempel and Mr. Hemmendorff learn more through their experiences I hope for more like Silphium in the future.

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

Mark Behnke

Chandler Burr on Creative Directing Etat Libre D’Orange You or Someone Like You

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At last October’s Sniffapalooza Fall Ball Chandler Burr showed up with a surprise on Sunday. He revealed that he had been working as the creative director on a new fragrance and wanted to share a sneak preview. The new fragrance is Etat Libre D’Orange You or Someone Like You.

The press release for You or Someone Like You gives you an idea of what Mr. Burr was looking for:

“There is an Englishwoman who doesn’t exist. Her name is Anne Rosenbaum, and I created her in my novel “You Or Someone Like You.” She lives, with her movie executive husband, in a house high in the blue air of the Hollywood Hills, just off Mulholland Drive, overlooking Los Angeles above the 101.

I’m fascinated by LA, this strange dream factory that exists in its eternal, relentless present tense, its otherworldly beauty both effortlessly natural and ingeniously artificial. A movie that makes movies. Palm trees, the symbol of LA, aren’t natural there. They were imported, placed in the hills, “but then,” Anne observes to you, “so was I.”

Los Angeles’ smells mesmerize, the astringent mint/green of eucalyptus, wild jasmine vines unselfconsciously climbing the stop signs, catalyzed car exhaust, hot California sun on ocean water (although “You” contains no jasmine or eucalyptus; if you need to know what it’s made of, “You” is not for you).

When Etat Libre d’Orange approached me about creative directing, my perfumer Caroline Sabas and I created not a “perfume” — people in Los Angeles don’t wear perfume – but a specific scent, the scent someone like Anne would wear, an Angelino Englishwoman high in the hills in the blue air.”

I had the chance to get a little more information from Mr. Burr on the perfume he calls “You”. First, I asked the obvious why did he choose now to take on creative direction. He responded, “The moment I started at the New York Times I was frequently asked, "Are you going to creative direct/ create a scent/ collection of scents/ perfume brand?" The Times would have, correctly, forbidden it had I asked, but I had no intention — I was a critic. Frankly I didn’t have any interest. My focus was and is the scent artists. And for years I never wanted to creative direct a perfume. I was while working at the Times getting to know the Etat collection, which I found and find just extraordinary, along with the Comme des Garcons collection the most daring, aesthetics-forward, balls out art-centric scent works in the world. Tilda Swinton's agent called to say Tilda was interested in creative directing a scent, and Etienne was the instant and most natural person to put her in touch with. and I talked on and off about working together somehow. But then I was at the Museum of Arts and Design as a scent art curator, and for obvious ethical reasons it was still off the table that I'd direct a scent.

After I'd left MAD, Etienne called and said he's read my novel You Or Someone Like You, that he liked the title, and proposed we create a scent using the novel's title. That I creative direct it. The concept came instantly. My novel's narrator is a woman named Anne. She's an Englishwoman who long ago married an American guy, now a movie studio exec. They have one son, Sam. She has a Ph.D. in Romantic Literature and is a voracious reader. Anne is extremely private, reserved. She's perceived as a cool customer by most people, and she is with everyone not her husband and son. She lives in the Hollywood Hills — on Macapa Drive, if you want to google map it — above the 101 and overlooking the city. She lives in contemporary Los Angeles. What my (brilliant) perfumer Caroline Sabas has created is the scent Anne would wear.”

Mr. Burr has described fragrances throughout his career as belonging to different schools. When I asked what school, he was aiming for he said, “Luminism, Minimalism, and contemporary Romanticism. I started with exactly this aesthetic mix in mind.”  

This lead me to asking what perfumes inspired “You”, and you, in the process which lead into his long-held belief (one I disagree with) that discussing notes devalues the art, “Of course– Mugler Cologne, Calyx, Jardin sur le Nil are probably the most important. There are others, but their names mention raw materials, and I really–really–am not going to go anywhere near this fucking reductionism of scent works to their materials. It's extraordinarily stupid. You don't give a sense of a new musical work, say something by Max Richter, by saying "It's in D major, 4/4 time, it has among other instruments oboes and violins and violas and flutes, and the notes include D, E, F#, G, A, B♭, and C." That would be idiotic. We say, "It's contemporary Minimalism that draws on Glass and, more, Reich, but Richter is also strongly influenced by the minimalist Romanticism of Satie." If we're going to describe fragrances in a truly intelligent, sophisticated way rather than the reductionist "This building has cement, steel, glass, plastic", it's going to be by using intelligent analogies.”

I finished my interview with a question I am always interested in, how did he know they were finished? “"Finished" is equal to "perfect," which you rarely get to. The mod of "You" that we chose was one that Caroline, our Givaudan evaluator Audrey Barbara, Etienne, and others at Etat loved. My personal favorite was slightly different in one specific way. But we had a long conversation about it, and I trust them, so I decided that we'd go with that one. It doesn't bother me because, I don't know, I guess I just don't think in this case that my perception and taste is perfect and mandatory. Part of it was that Etienne really felt the mod we chose had an Etat aspect to it. He's the creative director of the collection, so that's a pretty compelling reason from my point of view.”

I am looking forward to wearing “You” and should have a review up soon. My thanks to Mr. Burr for taking the time to answer my questions.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review By Kilian Noir Aphrodisiaque- Hot Chocolate by Calice

I must start as I always do with city exclusive releases that I hate them as a concept, especially when they are good. The By Kilian brand has been doing some pretty good ones for their different boutiques as they open around the world. I spend some time chasing down one if there is something I think I’ll like. After the first of the year I heard about the Paris exclusive called Noir Aphrodisiaque.

One of the reasons I was so interested in Noir Aphrodisiaque was because it felt like it was going to be the finish of what I call perfumer Calice Becker’s hot beverage trilogy. She assayed a study of green tea with 2014’s Imperial Tea. Later that year she would follow that up with Intoxicated which was inspired by Turkish coffee. When I read Noir Aphrodisiaque was chocolate and cinnamon I realized this was hot chocolate. It turns out that Noir Aphrodisiaque is that steaming cup of flavored milk I was hoping it would be.

Calice Becker

I make my hot chocolate with Dutch Process Cocoa powder; no Swiss Miss nonsense for me. I can’t speak for Mme Becker but it seems she also uses something similar in her home. It is because she starts with the dry dusty powdery cocoa and then by adding a creamy accord she forms the steaming beverage with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Noir Aphrodisiaque opens on that chocolate dust through which passes a bit of bergamot, cedrat, and jasmine. These three notes are all used in moderation more to act as contrast to the drier version of cocoa in the early going. Then Mme Becker adds a creamy gourmand accord as the warm milk covers the cocoa and now turns it luscious. It is exactly the smell of the kind of rich hot chocolate I make. Then like a garnish she adds a sprinkle of cinnamon which melds into the gourmand accord. The final ingredient after a long while is amber which revives the cinnamon a bit over the final moments.

Noir Aphrodisiaque has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I am a big fan of Intoxicated it is one of my favorite By Kilian fragrance within the entire collection. Noir Aphrodisiaque is every bit as good as that one. I am now hoping Mme Becker has another hot beverage she wants to transform in to perfume. For these final days of winter, I’m going to spray myself with Noir Aphrodisiaque and warm my hands on a mug of hot chocolate.

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

Mark Behnke