New Perfume Review Abbott Voyageurs- Memories of the Trail

I do like surprises. When I was at my recent mall field trip one of the sales associates asked me if I had tried Abbott before. While noticing the new packaging I was replying that I had when I also noticed there were two new ones. I sprayed them on strips, continued chatting; eventually walking away. Then as happens to many one of those strips began asking to be re-smelled. By the time I was ready to go I made another stop at the counter to ask for samples of both new Abbott colognes.

Jose Alvarez (l.) and Michael Pass

Abbott was founded in 2016 by Jose Alvarez and Michael Pass. Their concept was to make simple perfumes to capture the Great Outdoors. The debut four were Mojave, Sequoia, Telluride, and The Cape. They worked with perfumer Antoine Lie. I should’ve liked these. Except they just were not the sense of place they were trying to be. I couldn’t see the Mojave Desert in a dry tobacco. The blue-sky altitude of Telluride in a suede leather. Especially having spent a ton of time on The Cape I don’t think I’ve ever smelled minty ginger on the dunes at Truro. Sequoia was a wood fest which lost the forest for the trees.

Steven Claisse

I expected the two new locations to similarly miss the mark for me. They didn’t. Working with a new perfumer, Steven Claisse, Messrs. Alvarez and Pass came closer to their stated ideal this time. Big Sky with a clever accord of cypress and vetiver captures the scent of mile-high evergreens with a hint of spices. It was the other new release, Voyageurs, which was on the strip saying, “sniff me again” which really caught my attention.

One thing which Voyageurs did was to trigger a scent memory of early spring hiking while in graduate school. Walking into a field of wildflowers just as the sun evaporated the last of the morning dew. That has always been a glorious scent lodged in my hippocampus. M. Claisse evokes that with a beautiful mixture of ozonic notes, violet, amber, and musk.

When they say the reason you go hiking is to breathe “fresh air” it isn’t a funny line. If you’re enough off the beaten track there is a clean snap to the air especially in the morning. M. Claisse uses a selection of ozonic notes to capture that “fresh air” without it becoming “sea spray”. What comes out of that clean air is a strong violet. I am a big fan of the smell of violets in perfume. M. Claisse does not disappoint as he makes it a focal point. This is what a field of wildflowers smells like. With the remnants of the ozonic accord lifting away this is my analogy of the dew evaporating under sunrise. An accord of damp earth comes from amber and musk as I walk through the violets.

Voyageurs has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Voyageurs has come along at the perfect time for me. My graduate school hiking days are behind me. Voyageurs brings back those memories of the trail.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review The House of Oud Each Other- Bitter Vectors

I am always highly appreciative of perfumes which accentuate the bitter over the sweet. My enjoyment comes from my own perverse enjoyment of bitter cocktails and food ingredients. There is nothing like experiencing something which has its own point of view. I don’t think a lot of perfume lovers agree with me. Not a lot of perfumes out there going all in on bitter. I found one recently; The House of Oud Each Other.

Andrea Casotti

The House of Oud is the brand founded by perfumer Andrea Casotti. For Each Other he wanted to capture the vibrancy of the street art of his hometown of Milan. He asked graffiti artist KayOne to act as creative director.

KayOne at Work in Milan c.1992

If the concept of street art is also married to the idea of outsider art. Each Other mirrors that, as the perfume which has been made is something outside of the normal parameters of what perfume usually is. What this feels like are bold slashes of dark colors intersecting at odd vectors. It is a perfume not meant to wear as a comfort. It is meant to be worn as something to be experienced.

Sig. Casotti gets things started with the bitter sulfurous citrus of grapefruit matched to the herbal-ness of baie rose. There have been a few perfumes lately which have used this combination. I was struck here at the concentration Sig. Casotti uses. It pushes the un-pretty pieces of the scent of both ingredients. The slightly stinky sulfur of the grapefruit along with the sharp green baie rose lays down slashes of yellow lines outlined in black. The heart is an equally fascinating duet of calamus and wormwood. Calamus is one of those rarely used ingredients because of its odd nature. It comes off kind of oily I liken it to the smell of butter fresh from the churn. There are sweet accents, but it has an oleaginous quality. By contrasting that with the bitter licorice scent of wormwood it is a fascinating effect of viscous herbal which ensnares the grapefruit and baie rose. Slicing the yellow slashes of color with two different shades of green. The base finds the same acerbic quality in two familiar ingredients as a green vetiver is given over to a soft labdanum. This is the sharp slightly smoky vetiver provided a small amount of restraint through the labdanum. This is where shades of soothing browns intersperse themselves through the previous bold colors. Like every The House of Oud perfume I’ve tried this all comes together over a few minutes and then lingers for hours.

Each Other has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I have admired Sig. Casotti’s dedication to not trying to take away the bitterness by amplifying it. It doesn’t make Each Other the kind of perfume for everyone. If you appreciate the bitter vectors of scent Each Other is where to find them.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Atelier Cologne Pacific Lime- Full Circle

In 2010 I had an appointment on the beauty level at Bergdorf-Goodman. I was there to meet one of the creative directors behind a new brand of perfume. I was very early in this idea of being a writer about perfume; I was a bit nervous. Sylvie Ganter stood next to the pedestal with her debut collection of five. She welcomed me with a smile then introduced me to Atelier Cologne. She also had one of the perfumers who had done three of the five; Jerome Epinette. He was there to answer my geeky questions about how you make a cologne last. In 2010 when you put cologne on a bottle of fragrance that was synonymous with cheap and diluted. If this brand was going to survive, they had to overcome that perception. Their answer was to create a form they called “cologne absolue”. The simplest way to make a cologne last is to up the oil concentration. That is a simplistic formula but if done without thought you get a fragrance that is sunny ingredients bogged down in its own strength. It might last a long time, but you wouldn’t want to put up with it. The brilliance of the way Atelier Cologne re-imagined cologne for the 21st century was they never lost sight of what made cologne a specific kind of perfume. They just found a way to make it better.

Christophe Cervasel and Sylvie Ganter-Cervasel

2019 begins the tenth year of the brand. They have not just survived they are one of the great success stories in perfumery over that period. Mme Ganter would marry her business partner, and co-creative director, Christophe Cervasel to become Mme Ganter-Cervasel. The brand would become one of the few to take the niche sensibility out to the mall. I’ve lost count at the number of people I’ve sent to try Atelier Cologne to learn of the difference between mainstream and niche. The brand has been the first step to a new perfumed world for many because of that availability. Throughout everything the vision of what “cologne absolue” is, and could be, was never lost. M. Epinette has designed 28 of the 39 perfumes released. He has been as influential at defining the brand as the creative directors. It is why as Atelier Cologne begins its tenth year the perfume which kicks it off is a return to its roots; Pacific Lime.

Jerome Epinette

If you ask someone to describe a cologne to you it is likely they will reply “citrus-y” just before they complain about it not lasting. For perfume 39 the brand focuses on a citrus fruit they have not designed a perfume around previously, lime. M. Epinette has refined both his concepts of cologne and minimalist construction immensely over the ensuing years. Pacific Lime is proof of that.

There are five listed ingredients; lime, lemon, coconut, spearmint, and eucalyptus. Three of the five are traditional cologne components. Coconut and eucalyptus are not. The way both of those are used within Pacific Lime is what gives it that Atelier Cologne signature.

If you’ve ever spent time slicing fresh limes prior to a party, or if you work as a bartender, the first few minutes of Pacific Lime will remind you of that. Piercing the skin of the lime while the juice of the pulp and the citric acid of the skin scent the air. The sticky juice coating your hands. That’s what Pacific Lime smells like out of the bottle. Then if you read that ingredient list above and started thinking baker’s coconut or pina colada that is not what’s here. The coconut is reminiscent of the fresh white meat of the coconut after you’ve drained off the water. Growing up in Florida I husked many coconuts and used my penknife to scoop out the white part. This is not overly sweet it carries a kind of muskiness not unlike a synthetic white musk. For all I know M. Epinette might have made a coconut accord using that. The way the coconut combines with the incredible freshness of the lime is spectacular. It then finishes with twin prongs of mentholated goodness. The spearmint provides a lighter piece of that effect. The eucalyptus is what makes the final stages of Pacific Lime something special. It carries an expansiveness through the menthol inherent within the eucalyptus forming an energetic glow surrounded by lime.

Pacific Lime has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is one of the best citrus colognes Atelier Cologne has produced in their entire line. It continues to show that even when you come full circle there are still new things to say.

Disclosure: this review is based on a bottle provided by Atelier Cologne.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Prada Candy Night- Shades of the Beginning

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If there is a recent perfume which helped to confirm the current popularity of gourmand perfumes it would be Prada Candy. In-house perfumer Daniela Andrier began the trend of transparent gourmands with the white musk, benzoin, and caramel perfume. It is also one of my favorite mainstream perfumes since its release in 2011. Mme Andrier has followed the original with flankers which explore the boundaries of this type of mouth-watering fragrance. I received the sixth flanker, Prada Candy Night, wondering where it would choose to go.

The gourmand style of perfume was created with the chocolate and caramel of Thierry Mugler Angel in 1992. It was so indelible it seems newer gourmand perfumes avoid the comparison. If there was an adjective used to describe Angel it was not light or transparent. Mme Andrier wants to take that seminal duo in this genre and see what happens when you expand them into something that is lighter.

Daniela Andrier

Prada Candy Night opens with tightly focused bitter orange. This is the smell of orange essence you cook with not the fruit.  It is then coated in twin viscous flows of caramel and chocolate. Orange dark chocolate is my favorite version of the candy. There is a moment when Prada Candy Night smells like a caramel coated orange dark chocolate bonbon. In these early moments the effect is very dense. Then Mme Andrier begins to add in white musk. This has the effect to add expansiveness from the inside. As the white musk creates an airier style of perfume it also becomes different. The chocolate and caramel separate the orange becomes much opaquer. Once it is complete it transforms from dense confection into a chocolate caramel cloud tinted orange by the sunset.

Prada Candy Night has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

There seems to be a conscious effort by Mme Andrier to claim this next iteration of gourmand perfumery. She continues to define this new aesthetic. Prada Candy Night shows this by going back to the beginning.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Maison Violet Un Air d’Apogee- Walking the Line

I’ve written often about the rise of Heritage brands. When done with respect I’ve generally found the result to be better than the average new perfume brand. It is most interesting to me when I have no knowledge of the brand being revived. It leaves me to assess the new perfumes without referring to the past. Then the question becomes; has the new creative team effectively designed a retro nouveau style?

There was an example I was eager to try. Early in 2018 I learned of the new Heritage brand; Maison Violet. The name cam from the founder M. Violet and not the flower. Founded in 1827 M. Violet would scent the royalty of the time. In 1867 under the creative directorship of Louis Claye, Maison Violet was awarded at the World’s Fair in the same year. This would allow Maison Violet to thrive for decades until World Wars would find the perfume house one of its casualties.

(l. to r.) Paul Richardot, Anthony Toulemonde, and Victorien Sirot

Most of the time a Heritage brand returns because someone who is related to the family decides to become involved. Maison Violet was lost to history unto three students at the Paris perfume school, Ecole Superiure de Parfum discovered it. While studying how to make perfume they spent their effort learning about the history of the brand.

Paul Richardot, Victorien Sirot, and Anthony Toulemonde would go through the legal effort to acquire the name so that they could bring Maison Violet back. They would then turn to perfumer Nathalie Lorson to produce their first three perfumes.

Nathalie Lorson

I spent most of last year trying to source a set of the perfumes they produced. That effort finally realized in a package arriving after the first of the year. Of the three perfumes I found Sketch and Pourpre D’Automne more vintage-y in their tuberose and fruity chypre constructs, respectively. The one which really captured the retro nouveau style was Un Air d’Apogee.

That this is more modern comes from the name as it refers to one of the later releases of Maison Violet; 1932’s Apogee. Un Air d’Apogee lets you know it is meant to be a flanker eighty-seven years later. That undersells what the creative team has done here. None of them had ever smelled a single Maison Violet pefume of the past. All their information came from combing through the media of the time. What drew me to it is the two phases this perfume goes through with both accords excellently constructed.

The first phase is composed of mimosa, orris, and sage. This is a gorgeous accord of the sensual sweetness of mimosa over the rooty scent of orris and the green herbal-ness of sage. This is one of the things that marries vintage style with modern sensibilities. Mme Lorson creates an effusive effect without becoming overwhelming. As much as I thought it was going to be disappointing when we moved to the tobacco-focused base it turned out to be equally adept at capturing a modern vintage effect, too. A gentle suede leather accord moves across the top accord followed by the dry woodiness of ambrox. They act as dividers of a sort. Out of that rises a honeyed tobacco infused with all the sweetness of the dried leaf. Mme Lorson adds in two clever choices to tune the sweetness in different ways. Hay adds in a dried sweetgrass to the dried leaf. A filament of gingerbread inserts a subtle spiciness. This base accord is as compelling as the top accord.

Un Air d’Apogee has 16-18 hour longevity and average sillage.

I’m not sure what the eventual plan for Maison Violet is. While trying to get the first three they released a fourth, Tanagra, which I am hopefully getting faster than I did these three. I hope they will continue to create perfume in this style. The first efforts show they understand how to stride the retro nouveau line.

Disclosure: This review is based on a travel sprays I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Cognoscenti Warrior Queen- Maximal Layers

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If I am still writing about perfume ten years from now it will be because the independent perfume community continues to surprise me. This group of passionate artists have always taken the latitude provided by not having a bottom line to aim for the top. They work on their own timetable and let me know when they have something new. Which was how, just after the New Year, Dannielle Sergent contacted me to let me know about her new release Cognoscenti Warrior Queen.

Dannielle Sergent

Ms. Sergent has made her mark for her Cognoscenti brand through minimalist compositions that belied the skill inherent in making simplicity sing. When I received her e-mail I was waiting to hear about a new perfume with two titular ingredients. I was instead told she was turning in a different direction.

Warrior Queen by Dannielle Sergent

Like many independent perfumers she was interested in fusing the visual with the olfactory. For her new collection, Dark Lovelies, she used botanical oil portraits she painted as the brief for a perfume. The first is Warrior Queen.

When I looked at the picture I immediately perceived layers as the different strata of flora go from light to dark from top to bottom; except for that dark crown on top. There is always a reminder of the darkness of a warrior who becomes a queen. The picture doesn’t exactly portray what I smelled while wearing Warrior Queen. What I did experience was a very different style of layered maximal perfume making from Ms. Sergent.

It opens with an old-fashioned duet of bergamot and lavender. It is easy to feel like we’re on the way to fougere territory. We’re not. Coriander connects to a rich powdery and rooty orris in the heart. Ms. Sergent finds a nice balance between both sides of orris’ scent profile. The powder dusts the lavender while the coriander picks up the carrot-like root aspect. Through this part of the development Warrior Queen feels like a vintage perfume. It changes again as cypriol adds a pungent edge. It is often used as part of an oud accord. Ms. Sergent dials in the smokiness as if it is the remnants of battlefields past. Off in the distance but always part of the warrior. The base returns to a luxurious vintage style as sandalwood, amber, patchouli, and oakmoss provide a chypre accord like they used to be.

Warrior Queen has 16-18 hour longevity and above average sillage.

For those who have tried Ms. Sergent’s previous Cognoscenti releases this is a completely different experience. In her earlier releases she allowed her ingredients to capture space. In Warrior Queen she is adding them in layers into a confined space. Warrior Queen is a heady style of perfume. Based on her earlier work if this was given to me blind, I would never have guessed it was Ms. Sergent. When told I would have nodded to myself because I would have at the least recognized it was made by a very technically proficient perfumer.

Warrior Queen is but the first of the Dark Lovelies as Wild Child should soon be following in the footsteps of the Warrior Queen. I am hoping for more of the maximal layering I found in Warrior Queen.

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

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: The Art of the Trailer; Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame

In the next five weeks the end of two of the greatest pop culture stories will begin their endings. On April 14 the first of the final six episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones will be followed two weeks later by the Marvel Studios movie Avengers: Endgame finishing the story told over the first ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not that either of these events require any promotion to have everyone who has been invested in them to show up they have still released short trailers over the last week or so. Both are good examples of how to build even more anticipation without giving anything away that we already didn’t know what was coming. I thought this was good opportunity to mention why I think they work so well.

The Game of Thrones trailer uses its first moments to confirm the battle we know is coming takes place. We see one of the biggest toughest characters breathing heavily with what looks like dirt, could be blood, running in a rivulet down her face. She seems to be hiding as she then runs at full speed away from something. To see Arya in this state is an ideal scene setter. They juxtapose her headlong run with words of her saying how she looks forward to the battle.

Over the next minute or so we see quick glimpses of all the characters we have been following as they gather where the story began; at Winterfell for the battle. The final shot is of our heroes lined up outside the walls. As the camera pans back and we see the undead leg of a horse for the army of the dead.

This is effective for me as a viewer because the opening piece lets me know something goes enough wrong to put Arya into that state. By showing her confidence with the voice-over pre-battle bravado as she pelts down the halls. It is all I need to know this is not going to be a clean resolution. For our heroes to win they will have to sacrifice and overcome much. I really know little more than I did at the end of last season which makes it the right amount of enticement.

Avengers: Endgame also reminds us where it all began. Instead of location the first half of the trailer are the three core Avengers Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor reflecting in voice-over about how they ended up where they are. The old footage used is in black and white except for the color red which is still there. I thought it was a nice visual cue because in between the old footage are new scenes which are in full color. Natasha says “even if there is a small chance” followed by many of the characters responding “whatever it takes”. This leads to a beauty shot as the Avengers clad in matching white suits head toward that “small chance”. Then we see the logo followed by a funny moment as Thor meets Captain Marvel for the first time.

This is another effective trailer because it does move me a little bit further on from the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. I have an idea of who will take that “small chance” without knowing what it is. I assume it is the one path Dr. Strange mentioned in Avengers: Infinity War where they had the chance to beat Thanos.

I am left at the same place the Game of Thrones trailer left me; battle lines clearly drawn a whole movie in front of me to resolve it. This is how trailers used to be. I am shown just enough to excite me without ruining any of the major plot points.

Mark Behnke

Flanker Round-Up: Givenchy Live Irresistible Rosy Crush and Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Pure Petale de Nectar

This is the time of year when I receive an overwhelming amount of rose perfumes. In the minds of the brands rose equals spring. It is seemingly such a lucrative market that if there isn’t something new to go that means finding a flanker to be ready. Most of what I receive are flankers. I could tell even if I didn’t know the original. When the name starts to get longer by a few words it almost inevitably is a flanker. For this month’s Round-Up these are the two rose flankers I liked the best out of this year’s crop.

Givenchy Live Irresistible Rosy Crush

Last year’s Givenchy Live Irresistible Blossom Crush was one of my top spring rose flankers. Perfumer Dominique Ropion follows a year later with Givenchy Live Irresistible Rosy Crush. This one is more in keeping with the other Live Irresistible releases as it goes back to being very sweet. M. Ropion hews more to the previous formula of opulent fruity floral. What set it apart was a very earthy base.

It opens with the classic fruity floral of berries and rose. It says it is goji berry in the ingredient list but that has always been  tarter in other fragrances I’ve encountered it. This is a full-on sweet berry accord poised to accentuate the rose in the heart. This is that dewy spring rose with the berries teasing out a bit of the jamminess which is buried deep in these types of rose fragrances. The base is a rich earthy patchouli which feels like it wants to be a chypre but is just darkness to tint the bright berries and rose. Based on the last two years maybe Givenchy has this spring rose flanker thing figured out.

Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Pure Petale de Nectar

I’ve lost count of how many flankers the classic 1992 perfume L’Eau D’Issey has launched. I couldn’t bring myself to count. What does happen is when you make so many a few manage to stand out. That’s the case for Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Pure Petale de Nectar. The original defined the fresh aquatic floral. This current iteration honors that by finding a way of nodding back to the L’Eau D’Issey formula without being shackled to it.

Perfumer Dominique Ropion reprises the pear-honey-rose triad from last year’s L’Eau D’Issey Pure Nectar. This latest version has a much lighter overall effect which allows for synthetic woods and ambergris the opportunity to add in the “L’Eau” to the recipe. The use of the honey is what captured my attention as the way it is used as a thin film with the spring rose is really appealing on a spring day.

Disclosure: These reviews were based on samples provided by the manufacturers.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Ryan Richmond Rich Mess- Kinetic Leather

There are popular terms which enter the vernacular which I enjoy. One of the more endearing ones to me is “hot mess”. To capture the ability to still be interesting while being discombobulated is summed up in those two words. I refer to a lot of things as a hot mess because I like it so much. When I got my sample of a new perfume, Ryan Richmond Rich Mess, I was wondering if the definition remained. Was this a perfume which would smell rich while being a bit of a disorganized composition? Sort of.

Ryan Richmond presenting Rich Mess at Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2108

Ryan Richmond has been an Art Director for numerous beauty brands fusing digital content and print. It isn’t clear what caused him to enter the fragrance business. He found one of my favorite perfumers, Christophe Laudamiel, to collaborate with him on Rich Mess. They have produced a perfume which kind of lives up to its name. The early moments are chaotic with ingredients ping-ponging off each other. It isn’t uninteresting because these are interesting ingredients. Over time I’ve found this overclocked kineticism to be fun. It’s like being someplace where so much is happening you can’t just focus on one thing. That’s the “mess” part. The “rich” part comes after things settle down into a fabulous leather accord.

Christophe Laudamiel

Things open with fig, grapefruit, saffron, and bergamot acting like electrons orbiting the early moments of a leather accord. For the first part of the development those ingredients are moving back and forth relentlessly. I would get the fig for a few moments and then the saffron would come into view. The citrus would crash off both. When I first smelled this on a strip that lack of a focused top accord was irritating. Once I had it on a patch of skin it was like watching separate objects circling on a tilted surface whizzing around and around. As the leather accord begins to rise in intensity it manages to swat those electrons out of orbit. It is time for that to be the focal point. M. Laudamiel forms an animalic leather. There is a musky component to this leather accord which captures that clean sweat within the sleeves of my favorite leather jacket. Sandalwood and cedar provide a woody complement to finish things off.

Rich Mess has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

I really came to enjoy Rich Mess the more I became acquainted with it. As the name portrays it might prove difficult to get close to, at first. Only to find it well worth the effort. It is a perfume for the same cool mornings warm days I wear my actual leather jacket on. I hope there is more to come from Mr. Richmond and M. Laudamiel.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Ryan Richmond.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Clean Reserve Solar Bloom- Clean Hits Its Stride

There are moments in the lifespan of a brand when someone gives it a new direction. When it succeeds it gives perfume lovers an opportunity to re-evaluate your previous impression. In 2015 Greg Black took over as the CEO of Clean Beauty Collective. He realized that trends were bending towards the way Clean had made perfume for years. Instead of playing the solid hand of historical releases he made a bold choice. He launched Clean Reserve. He made a wager that he could position Clean’s eco-friendly transparent style of fragrance as a trendsetter.

Greg Black

You can count me as a skeptic when I first heard of this. The last eighteen months of releases have made me a convert. Mr. Black has assembled a team which isn’t just making variations on Clean perfumes of the past. Clean Reserve is pushing that foundational aesthetic into some new places. The spring release for 2019, Solar Bloom, is a great example of everything which is going right at Clean.

It has taken some time since the inception of Clean Reserve in 2015 for the creative team to fully embrace there was a change. By the release of the Avant Garden Collection last year the shift in style was near complete. Which is why when I received my sample of Solar Bloom I was expecting something different than another spring rose; and that’s what I got.

Annie Buzantian

For Solar Bloom perfumer Annie Buzantian works with the brand for the first time. The brief was to capture “dawn’s radiance as the warmth begins to caress the skin”. When I read that I expected a dewy fresh floral. What was in the sample was something quite different; full of the sparkling lightness of sunrise. Mme Buzantian creates a perfume of sunny citrus and floral flares with one brilliant twist at the end.

It opens on a shimmering citrus mixture of bergamot and mandarin. The citrus has a green quality to them which is freshened-up with freesia to provide only a tiny smidge of dewy floral. The citrus transform to orange blossom in the heart also freshened-up with some jasmine. Then Mme Buzantian begins to put things on a different track. First change of direction comes with coconut water. It adds in an aquatic sweetness as complement to the florals in the heart. It doesn’t remind you of the beach as much as a richer version of orange blossom although the coconut water is detectable on its own if you look for it. A green vetiver provides the keynote in the base. Then in a final clever move Mme Buzantian uses “charcoal” to provide a grounding. The charcoal presents itself as a musty mineral-like scent. On its own it would be not so great. In combination with the vetiver it is like having grains of sand within the fronds of vetiver. As much as I enjoyed the coconut water in the heart the charcoal, or whatever it is, adds an earthy effect completely different from patchouli. It is a much lighter way of introducing that into a base accord.

Solar Bloom has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Solar Bloom is another reason Clean Reserve is becoming a creative success story in this new world of fragrance. I applaud Mr. Black and his team for having the courage to rethink what Clean can be.

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

Mark Behnke