New Perfume Review D.S. & Durga Amber Kiso- The Right Transparent

If you’ve been following my reviews this year it has probably become obvious that I am struggling with the new trend of transparent perfumes. I understand why it is happening, but I keep wondering if it is not the type of perfume I can embrace. One reason is most of those perfumes, up until now, have been produced by the large brands. Only towards the end of the year have some of my favorite independent perfumers also begun to make perfume in this style. It is here where I expect to find perfumes I can connect with. Proof of this is D.S. & Durga Amber Kiso.

Perfumer David Seth Moltz released two new perfumes highlighting the “mythical material concept of amber”. I expected to find Amber Teutonic to be more to my taste because it is a fragrance which lives up to the adjective in its name. It is a cascade of woody green which pushed just beyond my level of enjoyment. Which made picking up Amber Kiso, as the antithesis of that, something I was ready for.

David Seth Moltz

Amber Kiso is described as a Japanese inspired perfume. Combining the leather armor of the samurai walking among the hinoki tree forest. It is fused with the scents of nature into something enticingly transparent.

Mr. Moltz opens with a green cedarwood accord. I enjoy this effect especially when used in the top notes. It reminds me of a freshly hewn piece of wood, there is a greener effect than normal cedar.  This becomes an ideal partner for the metallic incense which moves through it all. It is like the sheen of the sword on the samurai’s back. As he walks through the forest, he releases a loamy earthy scent. Mr. Moltz constructs this of orris, patchouli, and maple wood. This is a fantastic accord as the rooty nature of orris is combined with the inherent earthiness of patchouli. That sounds like something which would be a strong accord. This is where Mr. Moltz shows me there is a transparent accord which doesn’t trade strength for lack of substance. This continues into the leather accord. It is a rawer leather type which usually means more presence. Mr. Moltz manages to offer a different effect. It is also kept withdrawn which allows the hinoki wood to provide a recapitulation of the rawer cedar in the top with a more refined version in the base.

Amber Kiso has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Amber Kiso showed me that there is a right kind of transparency which I can get behind.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample from DS & Durga.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aftelier Perfumes Alchemy- Return to the Beginning

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One of the books I used to broaden my knowledge of perfume was “Essence & Alchemy” by Mandy Aftel. A combination of history and how-to it was part of my introductory library as I sought to understand more. It was a short step to trying some of the author’s perfumes. Ms. Aftel is one of the most successful independent perfumers because of the foundational knowledge she brings to making her fragrances. The first perfume for her brand, Aftelier Perfumes, was a solid perfume called Alchemy. Like so many independent perfumers it was a rich perfume experience based on one-of-a-kind materials. It is this which makes independent perfumery as exciting to me.

Ms. Aftel recently discovered the remnants of those materials and has decided to bring Alchemy back as a limited edition. This time it is as an oil formulation instead of a solid perfume. What makes this something to be sought out are the presence of three materials, two of which are no longer available. They are aged versions of labdanum absolute, vanilla absolute, and ylang-ylang concrete. These three ingredients are like early Holiday presents to perfume lovers. They are what creates the magic in Alchemy.

Mandy Aftel

Alchemy opens on a spicy citrus accord of orange and black pepper. This is reminiscent of the spiced orange which is prevalent around the Holidays. It is an ideal Seasonal opening. It then transitions into the rich floral heart I recall from the original. This is where the ylang-ylang concrete becomes the star. Ylang-ylang has this fleshy quality which I find appealing. The concrete brings that out. It adds a sensual depth which is amplified with absolutes of Turkish rose and jasmine. The spicy rose captures the pepper and orange from the top accord. The jasmine adds an undercurrent of indolic flower. I’m not sure I can overstate the beauty of this ylang-ylang being used here. This is the kind of complexity which comes from the finest ingredients plus it has been aged for an additional fifteen years or so. This moves toward a comforting base accord where the labdanum and vanilla come together over benzoin. The two aged ingredients provide subtle grace notes throughout the later stages especially the vanilla which finds just the right balance of sweet to contrast the resins. Once Alchemy is all together it is the same opulent floral I remembered.

Alchemy has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Experiencing Alchemy again after so many years it reinforces all of what I think sets independent perfumery apart. The singular vision of an artist like Ms. Aftel. The use of unique small-batch materials. Finally, an appreciation of history applied to today. Alchemy is a special experience by returning to the beginning.

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

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things: Chestnut

It isn’t Christmas without Nat King Cole singing “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” If you’re walking in New York City the smell of roasting chestnuts from the street vendors is part of the cold weather milieu. When it comes to chestnut being a keynote in a fragrance there are not a lot of them. Although I do have five which can be my scented companion to the smooth vocals of Mr. Cole.

There are two chestnuts roasting perfumes on this list. The first is Maison Martin Margiela Replica: By The Fireplace. Perfumer Marie Salamagne keeps the cade wood smoke to a minimum while weaving a cozy accord of chestnut warmed with clove and vanilla. It comes together as a fragrance equivalent of a snuggly cashmere blanket.

The other one is DSH Perfumes Chataignes du Bois which was Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Holiday perfume in 2017. She produced a full-spectrum chestnut effect as she combined multiple sources to form an uber-chestnut accord. What endears it to me is there is a burnt sugar accord underneath it all which takes me back to winter nights running around NYC.

Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has used chestnut in two different perfumes for L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Mechant Loup was one of M. Duchaufour’s earliest perfumes for the brand in 1997. The core of this perfume is a nutty accord of chestnut and hazelnut coated in honey. It was one of the first nutty perfumes I fell for although I was resistant to its charms at first. The nuts and honey are powerful but if you give it time a gorgeous use of myrrh turns the Big Bad Wolf into a puppy.

Twenty years later M. Duchaufour returned to chestnut with Noir Exquis. Meant to capture a café encounter in Paris over coffee and pastries the chestnut is candied to represent the baked goods. The coffee is nicely realized. What makes this different is his use of a maple syrup accord which makes it all sweeter than I expected. There are days I want to slow down for a pastry and a coffee, Noir Exquis allows me to do it in a decaffeinated low-calorie way.

Etat Libre D’Orange Fat Electrician is the most interesting use of chestnut in a perfume. Perfumer Antoine Maisondieu wanted this to be a different interpretation of vetiver. To achieve that he used chestnut to amplify the nutty facets of vetiver. This is one of my favorite vetiver perfumes because of how successful he was. He takes that nuttier vetiver and wraps it in vanilla and myrrh for a completely unique vetiver fragrance because of the chestnut.

If you want some chestnuts on your skin instead of the fire these five will do the job.

Disclosure: This review is based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review DSH Perfumes Uptown Moonshine (Holiday No. 18)- Unorthodox Gourmand

There are many things which indicate the Holidays have arrived. One of them is the release of the new Holiday perfume by DSH Perfumes. Since 2000 independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has created a new perfume for the Season. What I always look forward to is she does not make a perfume of fir trees and woodsmoke. She fixes on another part of the Holiday milieu and uses it as the focal point. For the 2018 version it is a gourmand-y version of whiskey, tobacco, and brown sugar called Uptown Moonshine.

Once things begin to wind down after a hectic day of events, during this time of year, I find just sitting still with some appropriate music and a glass of my favorite whiskey to be ideal. The best whiskeys have a perfume all their own. Capturing the wood of the barrel they aged in along with the inherent earthy sweetness of the liquid itself. As I decompress the smell of the whiskey is as important as the inner warmth it provides.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

I’ve never smoked but the smell of tobacco has been a favorite. I especially enjoy the scent of the dried and cured leaf as it hangs in a drying barn. When you encounter it like that you get a rich narcotic sweet scent along with a harmonic of menthol-like cool.

Ms. Hurwitz uses both as the nucleus of Uptown Moonshine which through the early going is enjoyable enough, but things really take a turn for the amazing when brown sugar gets involved creating a gourmand version of illicit delights.

Uptown Moonshine opens with the whiskey out in front. Ms. Hurwitz uses a trio of woods, oak, sandalwood, and cabreuva to form the barrel. The tobacco arrives next trailing a few florals in its wake. As it takes its place next to the whiskey it forms a rich decadent effect that I wouldn’t have thought could become even more so. Then it happens as a brown sugar accord inserts itself. This finds the spaces in between the whiskey and tobacco at first. Over time it begins to take on prominence turning it into an eccentric style of gourmand as the brown sugar takes the lead. The final bit is some peru balsam to smooth everything out into a compelling peculiar confection.

Uptown Moonshine has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

If you’ve been looking for an unorthodox gourmand perfume in your Holiday stocking, Uptown Moonshine is it.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Carner Barcelona Volcano- Resinous Eruption

I was fascinated with volcanoes as a child. I don’t think it was the very first, but it was one of the earliest scientific things I wanted to know more about. When I had to do a report in school and I could make the subject “volcanoes” that was what it was. I’ve never been to an active volcano to see the pulsing orange lava bubbling up from beneath the earth. I’m also not sure I want to see it any better than National Geographic shows me in their documentaries. Because of the lack of actual experience there is a shortage of information which my imagination is happy to take the place of. My mind’s nose tells me that the smell would be acrid and sulfurous. What is fun about fragrance is when one is designing a perfume, they probably don’t want acrid and sulfurous as their keynotes. It was interesting to see how Carner Barcelona Volcano would interpret their title as a perfume.

Sara Carner

Sara Carner is the creative director for the brand which bears her name. In the first few years it was an exploration of her hometown of Barcelona. Starting two years ago Sra. Carner began to spread her wings into less geographical inspirations for the new releases. These have shown Sra. Carner has much more to say in fragrance than stories of her her birthplace. She has shown a more adventurous style which Volcano might be the apotheosis of. She collaborates with perfumer Jordi Fenrnandez on his second perfume for the brand; following last year’s Latin Lover. The perfume volcano has a bit of mineralic bite, but the eruption of hot materials are all resins.

Jordi Fernandez

Volcano opens with spicy Turkish rose out front like a sacrifice to the god in the crater. The rose is lapped in spicy flames of ginger and nutmeg. The whole floral accord goes up in flames as smoky nagarmotha and similarly styled frankincense from Somalia come together in the heart accord. These notes form a kind of hot stone effect. Sr. Fernandez then sets off a flow of benzoin, labdanum, and vetiver to mimic the oozing lava. Except this is a warm viscous resinous feeling unfurling on my skin in slowly radiating waves over the hot stone accord in the heart.

Volcano has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I’m not clever enough to have thought what I think a volcano inspired perfume should smell like. Having smelled Sra. Carner and Sr. Fernandez’s version I think an eruption of resinous ingredients is a great choice.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Carner Barcelona.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Gremlins

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I begin to queue up my favorite Christmas movies. Like everyone else I’ll watch the classics sometime over the next month. I also have a list of some different Christmas movies which are less about the spirit of the season. These are darker fables with a bit more bite to the moral of the story. One of these which I break out early in the season every year is the 1984 film “Gremlins”.

Gremlins was directed by Joe Dante. Mr. Dante had been known for low-budget horror films “Piranhas” and “The Howling” before producer Steven Spielberg asked him to direct the comedy horror script written by Chris Columbus. It was released in the summer of ’84 on the same weekend “Ghostbusters” premiered. Both movies would show there was an appetite for some funny to go with your scares. Gremlins would be the fourth highest grossing film of the year; two slots below Ghostbusters. Even though Gremlins was a summer movie in regard to its release date the story itself takes place on Christmas in the small town of Kingston Falls.

The story is a simple one; that a father who has been too busy promoting his inventions away from home wants to give his son a fantastic present. The father steals a one of a kind creature called a Mogwai from a shop in Chinatown named Gizmo. When he presents it to his son, Billy, he repeats the three rules you know will be broken over the next thirty minutes. Don’t get the Mogwai wet. Do not expose it to bright light. Do not feed it after midnight. The last rule is the funniest. Isn’t it always after midnight? On a snowy Christmas Eve the rules are broken unleashing the violent versions of the cute Gizmo led by Stripe. The rest of the movie is Billy trying to find a way to rid the town of the pests while they spread out around town wreaking havoc.

What makes it a Christmas movie is the monologue from Billy’s girlfriend Kate which happens towards the end of the movie. It is a macabre story of how her father died on Christmas Eve which is why she hates Christmas. That she will be part of the team which solves Kingston Fall’s Gremlin problem is a perfect Seasonal moral.

While there are truly scary moments. The scene where Billy’s mother defends her kitchen from one of the gremlins is a classic as her weapons are all the things you find in a typical kitchen. There is a wink here to a woman defending “her” turf. It is the comedic elements overlaid atop that which makes Gremlins such a favorite for me.

Once the Gremlins get out of hand, we see jokes all around in the way they are dressed. From a set of Christmas Carolers to a group of card players all cheating. There are sight gags everywhere to be seen and giggled at.

If you need something that will give you a different Holiday charm, put a shot of brandy in the egg nog, queue up Gremlins, and settle back for a new Christmas addition to your movie list.

Mark Behnke

Flanker Round-Up: Dior J’Adore Absolu and Bottega Veneta L’Absolu

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This month’s round-up looks at two flankers of what I think are some of the best mainstream perfumes ever. Usually when you see “absolu” as the name on a flanker what I have come to expect is a warmer more intimate version of the original. What is interesting about both of this month’s choices is they went for the intimacy without going deeper.

Dior J’Adore Absolu

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record but her we go again with Dior and names. J’Adore was released in 1999 immediately becoming a best-seller within the fruity floral style of perfume. It is one of my all-time favorite mainstream perfumes. In the nearly twenty years since there have been multiple flankers most of them typical tweaks to the original formula. Including in 2007 J’Adore L’Absolu which was the typical absolu flanker described above. Now in 2018 they are releasing J’Adore Absolu which is one letter away from the other perfume which is still on the market. Dior seems to be a brand which excels at trying to confuse the consumer with its names. Despite this nonsense the new J’Adore Absolu is very different than any other J’Adore flanker.

In-house perfumer Francois Demachy says he wanted to create a “floral nectar” which I get. J’Adore Absolu is overall a floral dripping with honey. I found it the most sensual of any of the flankers released so far.

M. Demachy takes a set of floral absolutes as his keynotes. The J’Adore DNA is defined by jasmine, rose, and tuberose. All of those are here. The two additions are magnolia and orange blossom. Through the early moments the magnolia is out in front followed by the jasmine and rose. There is a pause while the tuberose sets up a bassline to the other florals. What makes this perfume take off is the use of orange blossom which provides a sparkle to things just before honey oozes over everything. This comes together as a bright set of sunny florals captured in viscous honey. It is intimate but not as warm as something with absolu in the title might indicate. Which makes it a uniquely good flanker.

Bottega Veneta L’Absolu

In 2011 leather goods designer Bottega Veneta entered the fragrance market with an eponymous mainstream perfume. Designed by creative director Tomas Maier and perfumer Michel Almairac it was a fragrance which captured the leather of the company fused with jasmine and patchouli. It was my favorite mainstream release of that year and remains a favorite now. Hr. Maier has gone on to oversee a coherently excellent mainstream collection of Bottega Veneta fragrances. There have been flankers but not a ton of them for each of the pillar lines for the brand. Bottega Veneta L’Absolu is just the second flanker of Bottega Veneta. These have all been correctly described as dry leather woody fragrances. I was expecting something similar but perhaps a bit less dry for a L’Absolu. M. Almairac had something else in mind creating the driest version yet for the L’Absolu.

The construction is much simpler for L’Absolu. It is stripped down to pink pepper, jasmine, leather and ambroxan. There is very little else in here. The pink pepper provides an herbal lift to the jasmine before the same delicate leather accord from the original arrives. Then using ambroxan the entire composition is dehydrated. Leaving a desiccated effect that is really compelling, only ameliorated by a pinch of vanilla and an equally small amount of patchouli. Those latter ingredients are critical to keeping L’Absolu from becoming too sharp. What is left is like looking at a leather memory book and finding a dried jasmine flower in its pages.

Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by the manufacturers.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2018 Part 2- Support Your Local Perfumery

The older I get the less patience I have with the mania of holiday shopping season. Which means you won’t find me even driving by a mall this weekend. It doesn’t mean I won’t be out shopping. I prefer to support the local small businesses. Which is why my favorite day of this opening shopping weekend is Small Business Saturday.

The idea of the American Express company, in 2010, using social media and television commercials they have turned the Saturday after Black Friday into something which feels more personal. Less about doorbusters and more about opening small doors to see what is behind them.

For perfume lovers if you are fortunate enough to have a small brick and mortar perfume shop nearby this is when you should support them. They can be as diverse as the offerings from Perfumarie in New York City to American Perfumer in Louisville, Kentucky to my own local shop Arielle Shoshana in Arlington, Virginia. Each individual perfume shop is curated by the owner to reflect their community and their ability to support small brands. They are the place where our love of perfume can be expressed most openly.

Because of that diversity I am going to suggest some of the independent brands you will find in many of these stores which have had memorable releases in 2018.

The New Kid on the Block

Every year presents me with new brands which always remind me that there are still new passionate creative people who want to express that through perfume. 2018 has seen less of that although there was one which caught my nose.

Gallivant– Last year creative director Nick Steward asked us to journey through the world with our sense of smell. Amsterdam was the one which brought me to the travel agent, but it was this year’s Tokyo which had me book a trip to future destinations.

The Old Kids on the Porch

There are brands which continue to do great work year after year. They shouldn’t get lost in the rush to capture the newest trend. These are among what makes independent perfumery stand apart.

aroma M– Brooklyn-based perfumer Maria McElroy has been making perfume for years based upon the Japanese Geisha. This year’s Geisha Botan is an example of an independent perfumer who becomes better with each release.

Masque MilanoAlessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi are usually pushing the envelope of independent perfumery. This year they went traditional by working with perfumer Fanny Bal on (homage to) Hemingway. It is a lush exploration of vetiver that is unforgettable.

Mona di Orio– Creative director Jeroen Oude Sogtoen has faithfully kept the fire burning on a style of perfume making exemplified by the late Mona di Orio. Working with Fredric Dalman this year’s Santal Nabataea is an homage to Mysore Sandalwood.

Neela Vermeire Creations– Creative director Neela Vermeire has worked exclusively with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour for all her perfumes. The perfumes of Indian and French influences have always impressed. The depth of the collaboration was never as evident as it was in this year’s release, Niral.

Providence Perfume Co.- Perfumer Charna Ethier is one of the treasures of the independent perfume world. 2018 has seen three outstanding releases in Vientiane, Lemon Liada, and Sedona Sweetgrass. Rarely do three perfumes show this breadth of creativity. This is on top of a collection of quiet excellence throughout.

The Strange Kids

The other great thing about independent perfumery is the ability to freely experiment. Gone are focus groups, replaced by individual vision. The perfumes here will have you reassessing what perfume is all about.

Zoologist Perfumes– The brand created by Victor Wong has been one of the great stories of the last couple of years. In 2018 there was a bold choice to strike out toward perfumes which provided more individual effect. Working with perfumer Sven Pritzkoleit, Hyrax explored what kind of perfume you can make from hyraceum. With perfumer Antonio Gardoni they asked what a prehistoric jungle smelled like just after the meteor set it on fire in Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Blackbird– Seattle-based Nicole Miller has overseen one of my favorite experimental brands; Blackbird. She is just the right kind of strange for my tastes. Nowhere was that more evident in the skanky banana that was Y06-S. although it reminded me of my organic chemistry lab. Par for the course on the odd side of the street.

DSH Perfumes– You might think adding the brand from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz to this category doesn’t fit. I chose to add her here because hers is one of those minds which can’t stop when it comes to perfume. she is the experimentalist always trying to find new ways to say perfume things. In 2018 Summer Cologne is as good an example of that as any of the rest of her excellent releases this year.

Hopefully the weather is nice enough this year for you to take a walk away from the mall and through the door of your local perfumery on Small Business Saturday.

If you missed Part 1 on the best new choices at the mall here is the link.

Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by the brands mentioned.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Holiday Perfume Buyer’s Guide 2018 Part 1- At The Mall

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As we approach Thanksgiving in the US it is the demarcation of the beginning of the Holiday shopping season. As soon as the last bite of pie and the last dish is loaded in the dishwasher on Thanksgiving; shopping begins. It starts with overnight bargain hunting into what is known as Black Friday.

Fragrance is a popular gift. There is even a beautiful commercial for a department store about a blind husband knowing his wife by her perfume. I think buying a perfume for someone is a big risk because it is such an intimate gift. I do have a suggestion on how to do it in a more intimate way at this link.

Even so I know many will still be buying fragrance this Holiday season. For my Buyer’s Guide I do Part 1 with a list of perfume you will most likely find at any mall or department store. Tomorrow, before Small Business Saturday, Part 2 will focus on independent brands found at local brick and mortar perfume store.

The list of perfumes below is meant to give a breadth of choice to anyone looking for a specific style. Links to the full review are in the names.

Atelier Cologne Iris Rebelle– This is a transparent rooty iris instead of the usual powdery version. If you ever wanted to see the other face of iris, here it is.

Britney Spears Prerogative– Britney Spears was one of the early successes of the celebuscent wave of the last few years. Leave it to her, as the trend has diminished, to remind me that it still can be quite good. Perfumer Honorine Blanc produces a fruity gourmand perfume.

Buberry Her– Of all the transparent style of perfume I encountered in 2018 perfumer Francis Kurkdjian created a crowd-pleaser. A fruity airy bubble that you float in happily.

Cartier Carat– This is what I consider to be the best mainstream perfume of 2018. Perfumer Mathilde Laurent composes a kinetic prismatic transparent floral. It is like a constant motion machine of floral jewels.

Commodity Velvet– The entire brand is a great choice and 2018 was a great year for it. The reason they have been so good is they allow a perfumer to bring a niche aesthetic to the mall. It results in some stunning efforts. Velvet is Jerome Epinette’s rose floating on top of a pool of vanilla. Simple and gorgeous.

Gucci Bloom Nettare Di Fiore– Gucci is making a fragrant statement again. Both of this year’s flankers of Gucci Bloom were excellent but it is the spicing up of the core accord of Bloom which is what makes Nettare Di Fiore ideal for fall and winter.

Jo Malone Jasmine Sambac & Marigold– Jo Malone is another brand which had an outstanding 2018. Jasmine Sambac & Marigold was the bellwether for that. This is an unusual pairing for jasmine as the green of marigold creates a unique floral harmonic.

Nest Cocoa Woods– Is an austere dry mixture of sandalwood and sequoia coated in cocoa powder. If you enjoy woody perfume this adds a gourmand style on top of that.

Terre D’Hermes Eau Intense VetiverChristine Nagel produces her version of the classic Terre D’Hermes. Her choice is to take vetiver from the background of the original and move it out in front of the dry synthetic woods. It is a perfume which I think more of the longer I spend time with it.

I wish all my US readers a Happy Thanksgiving and let me be the first to wish all my readers a Happy Holidays. Now…..Ready……Set……Shop!

Disclosure: I received samples of all of the perfumes mentioned in this article from the manufacturers.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review L’Artisan Parfumeur Mont De Narcisse- Climbing a Mont

We all have perfume ingredients we adore which are less admired by perfume lovers in general. Two of my favorites in this category are narcissus and immortelle. Both are oddly scented polarizing ingredients. For those who are in search of something different in their fragrance these deliver that. I wouldn’t have thought a perfume brand would put both in a perfume; L’Artisan Parfumeur Mont de Narcisse does.

Mont de Narcisse is another entry in the Les Paysages collection which is meant to cover specific geographical regions of France. This is inspired by the narcissus covered fields in Auvergne at the height of the summer. Despite that description this is not a summery perfume. This is a composition of strong ingredients in search of harmony. The perfumer who has the task is Anne Flipo.

Anne Flipo

It is a difficult balancing act using the deeply vegetal green of the narcissus with the maple syrup-like quality of immortelle alongside a birch tar leather accord. There are a couple of moments where Mme Flipo grinds some gears climbing this Mont.

The green of the narcissus is where the trip begins. Mme Flipo uses black pepper and cardamom to add a spicy complement. The pepper is more prevalent while the cardamom makes the narcissus a bit cooler than it already is. The immortelle lays down a gourmand-like contrast with the maple syrup part of the scent profile out front. It warms the standoffish narcissus while adding a contrasting floral. The leather accord which makes up the base is formed around a smoky birch tar. It opens with a bit of a smudge pot quality because of that. This is one of those clunks I was speaking about. For a short period, the tar is overriding everything else. Once it pulls back into becoming a part of a leather accord the narcissus and immortelle infuse in different ways. Once all three notes are together Mont de Narcisse hits its stride.

Mont de Narcisse has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Mont de Narcisse is a perfume for people who love the ingredients. I am one of those. If you are not a fan of any one of them I think Mont de Narcisse is a hill you should travel around. Each of them is not only prominent but at levels which make it hard to overlook. Except for a couple of moments when all three come together I enjoyed it immensely. If you are a fan this is a Mont well worth climbing.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Mark Behnke