New Perfume Review Byredo Sundazed- Boardwalk Weekends

If you’ve lived on either coast of the US, you have a boardwalk somewhere near you. Situated at the top of a strand of beach it has souvenir shops, arcades, and food places on one side. The beach and the ocean on the other side. I have spent many a summer day walking the boardwalk with a snow-cone, ice cream cone, or some other sweet confection in my hand as the sun shone overhead. I hadn’t thought a lot about it, but this is an ideal milieu for the current trend of transparent floral gourmands. It looks like Byredo Sundazed is going to tread the boards first.

Ben Gorham

When I received my sample and press materials this seemed like a brand who would know just what to do with a concept like this. Creative director Ben Gorham and perfumer Jerome Epinette have spent the last twelve years defining the Byredo minimalistic aesthetic. Over the past few releases a higher level of transparency has also begun to incorporate itself into the brand identity. For Sundazed it is that endless summer on a boardwalk they are attempting to capture.

Jerome Epinette

It is a simple set of accords. On top is the sunshine as represented by citrus. M. Epinette uses primarily lemon given some juicy sweetness with mandarin. The lemon is that sun in a clear blue sky. The mandarin is the set-up for the sweet to follow. That comes in a heart accord of jasmine and neroli. The neroli picks up on the citrus in the top while the jasmine provides the bulk of the flower sweetness. What is also nice about this heart accord is the very subtle presence of the natural indoles present in the flowers. They give that tiny nod to sweaty skin. Then we get to the base where cotton candy is paired with white musks. Ethyl maltol is the usual ingredient to give the cotton candy effect. I’m not sure if M. Epinette is not using some new analog here because it doesn’t carry the heaviness ethyl maltol usually does. Whatever the source of the cotton candy some of the white musks expand it into an airy effect of gentle sweetness instead of sugar crystals crunching between your teeth. The other white musks give that sun-tanned skin effect.

Sundazed has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Sundazed is one of the first of the transparent floral gourmands to really engage me. I’ve thought Byredo could excel in this type of fragrance. With a mid-summer trip to the boardwalk Sundazed shows I was correct.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Parfums de Marly Cassili- A Fruity Floral of a Different Stripe

It is interesting to watch a brand evolve over time. Parfums de Marly seems to be a recent example that wants to provide luxurious niche alternatives to mainstream styles. Over the past couple of years this has seemingly become a winning formula for the brand. I like it because it has become a place where I can point someone looking for a niche alternative to their favorite commercial fragrance. If there is a style where I wasn’t sure I would be as interested it would be fruity floral. With Parfums de Marly Cassili it turns out I am interested.

Julien Sprecher

The Creative Director Julien Sprecher has chosen to collaborate with perfumers Calice Becker and Nanako Ogi for Cassili. Both women design a top fruity floral accord layered under a heart fruity floral accord. All of this was directed by M. Sprecher to be an “indulgent” “sweet perfume”. His perfume team delivers.

Calice Becker

The top accord is a typical combination for the genre; berries and rose. The perfumers delve a little deeper to create a more satisfying effect. One of my main complaints about fruity florals is the perfumes just assault you with sweet notes. Cassili comes at it in a slightly different way. The berries and rose are intense but the perfumers also found a way to make them more harmonious instead of being two ingredients screaming at the top of their lungs. There is a velvet sophistication to this opening which is not often found. The heart accord is a pairing of plum and mimosa. This is not so common a duo. The perfumers use a restrained greener version of plum which dials back the sweetness. It also makes it a less lush underpinning as the mimosa takes over with its green facets picking up on the same in the plum. Once both were in place the overlap of the two accords was delightful. The base is a typical sweetly woody accord of sandalwood, benzoin and vanilla.

Cassili has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I applaud the work done here to make a more opulent fruity floral. I think it shows how a more imaginative creative direction can turn the tritest forms into something worth trying. M. Sprecher pointed the way for his perfumers to turn Cassili into a fruity floral of a different stripe.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Parfums de Marly.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Chatillon Lux Nefertiti- Ancient Jazz

I enjoy all forms of music. There is one I enjoy but I can’t say I understand it; jazz. I know the basics of variations on themes circling around. If I focus, I can hear it. Unlike almost any other music I listen to I tend to let jazz flow through me. Because of that it is one of the reasons I am not as experienced an enthusiast as I am at other things. I have been fortunate to have seen most of the jazz greats in concert including Miles Davis. No this isn’t a column on jazz, but it does lead to a new perfume.

I became acquainted with a new independent brand earlier this year, Chatillon Lux. The creative force behind it, Shawn Maher, sent me Lamplight Penance. I was impressed with his ability to take his sense of place in Saint Louis and fuse it into perfume. I was so interested I requested a set of samples which Mr. Maher sent to me. I found as I worked my way through what was sent a perfumer who exemplifies his locale with beautifully constructed accords to achieve a well-thought out effect. If you have not discovered this line yet it is one of the best of the young independent perfume lines I have experienced in the last couple of years. Mr. Maher is the real deal. His latest Chatillon Lux Nefertiti confirms that.

2018 Ooh St. Lou Studios

Shawn Maher

Most of the samples have easy to see connections to Saint Louis. As I looked at the one labeled “Nefertiti” I was thinking, “How does that connect to Saint Louis?” Thankfully Mr. Maher is a throwback to the kind of perfumer who takes us inside his creative process through “Scent Notes” posted on his website. As soon as I saw this the connection was made clear; jazz. Specifically the jazz piece named “Nefertiti” by Miles Davis. As he points out in his article this was one of the foremost jazz innovators at the beginning of a new way of doing things.

Of course Nefertiti also refers to the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti who reigned over one of the golden ages of ancient Egypt with her husband, Akhenaten. Their years in charge saw the revolution of moving to a form of monotheism with the worship of the sun god Aten. Mr. Maher wanted to capture these two envelope pushers with a perfume worthy of all that.

The way this is achieved is by looking into the history of Ancient Egyptian perfumery and fusing it with a set of jazz beat accords. That is what Nefertiti becomes.

Where this all begins as a perfume is Mr. Maher found out Queen Nefertiti was said to wear a perfume of honey and orchid leaf. Nefertiti opens on that. The honey comes from beeswax absolute. This gives it a restrained sweetness. To up that quality he uses an indolic jasmine. This is the call back to the jazz as it slides across the beeswax in a glissade-like effect. The orchid leaf accord is constructed of citrus and floral pieces. It provides contrapuntal percussion to the honey while also calling back to the Queen. The heart is an interpretation of the ancient Kyphi incense. Mr. Maher came up with his own idea of what ancient resins should smell like. This produces a kind of rough trade incense. It pushes up against the smooth top accord with an improvisational verve. It meshes with the jasmine and honey as they form a potent trio in the middle of the development. For the final movements we return to a smoky Saint Louis jazz bar. Mr. Maher wants to capture the smoke hanging in the air as the spotlight captures it swirling around the players. He creates an abstract cannabis accord by focusing on the terpenes within cannabis. This becomes complementary to the orchid leaf accord as it draws it through into the latter stages. The final part is to take that honey of the top accord and transform it into a sweetly animalic base accord of Cambodioan oud and immortelle. This is a cruder honey effect given vibrancy by adding in the animal musks of castoreum and civet.

Nefertiti has 14-16 hour longevity and moderate sillage. It is at extrait strength.

Jazz can be described as thoughtful improvisation. Mr. Maher can be described as a thoughtful perfume maker. The improvisation is achieved by making Nefertiti a perfume of Ancient jazz.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Gustave Eiffel Bois de Panama- Big Construction

I will start with another “I love my readers” interlude. In a comment on my Sidonie Lancesseur 201 column I was asked about my opinion of her perfumes for Gustave Eiffel perfumes. My answer was I don’t have one let me see if I can find samples. After putting some requests out I received a sample set and here we are.

Gustave Eiffel as a brand was established in 2016 which is when they released five perfumes. Four composed by Mme Lancesseur and the other by Dorothee Piot. I also received a sixth release from 2018 by perfumer Herve Bruno. You can tell by the name these are perfumes inspired by the French civil engineer known for his eponymous tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York. When you think back on that time period of building things the idea of this kind of big construction was the equivalent of trying to fly to the moon. These were grandiose imaginings of minds who couldn’t understand the concept of limits. Early perfumery was a lot like that too. The memorable perfumes all go for their own kind of big construction.

Sidonie Lancesseur

As I was going through my sample set it is that thought which shone through, these form a collection of large soaring fragrances. While there are Gustave Eiffel perfumes which celebrate his most famous engineering feats it was one which was his last which captured my attention the most; Bois de Panama.

At the end of the 19th century another of these grand projects was underway; The Panama Canal. After coming to the realization they weren’t going to be able to just dig a giant trench connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean they had to re-think things. Which is where Gustave Eiffel enters the picture. He would conceive of the giant locks which would become part of the eventual construction. This is what Mme Lancesseur captures in Bois de Panama.

Bois de Panama opens with a beautifully engineered top accord of violet, cardamom, and peach. You might look at that and think fruity floral but Mme Lancesseur has something else in mind. The violet is focused on its silvery sharp aspects while the cardamom is a green version with a sharp sticky character. The peach is there not to provide a fruity contrast but as a softener. To keep the sharper aspects from becoming rough edges. This is an accord that is more than the sum of its parts. Mme Lancesseur then increases the spiciness with nutmeg and cinnamon. It takes things in a more humid direction; fitting for perfume inspired by the tropics. The base comes together with sandalwood, amber, and some skin musks. This is where I catch a little bit of a clean sweat underneath it all. The labor of constructing big things. There is a tiny amount of vanilla to act as the peach did in the top accord to keep things in line.

Bois de Panama has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I mentioned above the intelligently engineered aspects of Bois de Panama are reflected throughout the Gustave Eiffel collection where big construction leads to impressive perfumes.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples supplied by Gustave Eiffel.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Art de Parfum Encore une Fois- Transparent Aquatic Gourmand

In a business environment which seems to tell the independent perfume brand that a new release every few months is a necessity; I admire those who go their own way. Which means that they run the risk of being forgotten by me as I navigate my overflowing desk. One brand which is doing things on its own timetable is Art de Parfum.

Ruta Degutyte

I met founder and creative director Ruta Degutyte in the fall of 2016 at a trade show where she was debuting her new brand. When I had the opportunity to sit down with her new collection, I saw a cohesiveness within that which made me feel this was one to keep an eye on.

Just after the New Year Ms. Degutyte contacted me and informed me the sixth perfume had been released; Encore une Fois. I’ll admit I had forgotten about Ms. Degutyte and Art de Parfum. Encore une Fois reminded me why I had seen such potential.

Sofia Koronaiou

Collaborating again with perfumer Sofia Koronaiou they decided to go in a different direction. If the first five perfumes were about establishing an Art de Parfum aesthetic; Encore une Fois is about showing where it can go. What I mean by that is the first five releases were great examples of existing styles of perfume. Encore une Fois is an existing style of perfume given a gourmand twist.

When I saw the description of Encore une Fois and the quote “the salty intimacy of loved skin” I was expecting a typical aquatic of ozonic notes, ambergris, and fresh florals. All of that is here but it becomes fascinating as a twist of incense and caramel turn things upside down in the later going.

In the first seconds on my skin it is all those typical “sea salt” accord ingredients matched to a sunny bergamot. The top accord of too many to count aquatics. Rapidly they are covered with a set of alternatively fresh florals, peony, violet, and muguet. This is a nice change to the fresh air accords usually employed in aquatics. As I was admiring that a set of skin musks provide the salty sun-kissed skin effect. Again typical of the genre. Then something atypical happened. A strong swirl of dry incense accompanied the Ambrox while a luscious caramel oozed into sight with benzoin and balasam. It had my attention now. Ms. Koronaiou has found an odd intersection within these ingredients which works. I kept thinking this was a salted caramel skin accord. What helps is the Ambrox and musks make the caramel quite expansive instead of a leaden weight on the base. It all comes together in a transparent aquatic gourmand.

Encore une Fois has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Transparent floral gourmands are the current trend in mainstream perfume. I’m not sure when I have ever tried a transparent aquatic gourmand previously. I like this one so much I am hoping it also starts a trend. I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait for the next release but if taking the time to get it right, as in Encore une Fois; take all the time you need.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Art de Parfum.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: The Virus of Spoilers

These current days feel like Geek Mardi Gras. There is so much fun stuff happening. Part of that fun, for most, is the anticipation. As I sat in the theatre on Thursday night before Avengers: Endgame I was ready to see the ending. It is part of my Geek street cred that I have seen every Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel movie first day first showing. It matters to nobody but me. What has been an invisible merit badge on my invisible Geek Eagle Scout uniform has now become a necessity. That’s because of the scourge of spoilers.

Before I start ranting on my soapbox, I want to distinguish about what I am talking about. There are fans of any show who want to know everything including what is going to happen. They will drive to the set and take pictures from far away to try and figure out the future. I have no problems with that. That is fans being fans. The reason I don’t have a problem with that is that community generally keeps to itself. If you are of similar mindset you can find that information and willingly immerse yourself. To those groups I say keep on enjoying your fandom.

It is the other kinds, not the obsessed who will serve the other obsessed. I’m talking about the jerks who just must let you know that they know something. My first experience with this kind of idiot came in November of 1977. I had won tickets to an early preview screening of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. It was in one of the largest theatres in South Florida which held about 1,500 people. We get to the end where a fleet of small alien ships have made contact with humans on the top of Devil’s Tower. It is an exhilarating scene which feels like the payoff for what we have been watching. As the ships fly off you are made to think this is first contact. Then at this screening as loud as if he was using a megaphone some jerk says, “Here comes the big ship!” If I was sitting next to him, I would’ve whipped him with Twizzlers. When we were walking out my friends and I remarked about what a moron he was.

Those were pre-Internet days. Now it doesn’t have to be a loud-mouthed lout in the theatre. It can just be an idiot a thousand miles away who wants to ruin it for others. I don’t know when it got so bad. I know that nobody went around spoiling the key moment in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”. I prefaced every conversation with, “Have you seen it yet?” Because that is part of the communal experience of going to see a movie with a few hundred other people. My favorite time in the movie theatre has been that shared delight at a plot twist where everyone makes a noise.

Nowadays people can’t go visit their favorite internet sites for fear of having a plot point spoiled. I went on YouTube last night and because I have been watching Avengers: Endgame clips leading up to it the algorithm is going to put them at the top of the page. At 10pm near the end of the first day of showing there was a clip which someone had filmed off a movie screen titled with a key plot twist. If I could I’d turn them into the studio.

This has caused people to stay off the internet entirely until they see the movie. One set of idiots cause this. As much as I enjoy being a Geek in this period of time; those who live to put spoilers out aren’t Geeks they’re jerks.

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things: Baie Rose

I was only a couple years into writing about perfume when I asked to visit one of the big perfume oil houses. What drew me to request a visit was the chemist in me had heard about this new way of isolating new perfume materials via supercritical fluid extraction. I got my invitation along with a demonstration. The material they extracted for me were pink peppercorns. I was told prior to this; traditional methods of extraction were unsatisfactory due to yield and scent profile. When we finished the demonstration, they gave me some of the finished product to try. It was an herbal, slightly piquant slightly flowery soft scent. I took home a tiny vial. I didn’t really need to because this has become one of the most used ingredients in all of perfumery over the last ten years or so. I can honestly say a week does not pass where I do not smell a perfume which does not contain it. There is some confusion about the name because you will see it listed as pink pepper, pink peppercorn, Schinus mole, and the name I use for consistency, baie rose. Despite its ubiquity some of the earliest uses were the best at displaying all the facets of this dynamic perfume ingredient. Here are five of my favorites.

If there is any perfumer, I would label a maestro of baie rose it would be Geza Schoen. Over the years he has plumbed the depths of its use. He also was the forerunner of using it as he made it a keynote of many of the perfumes he made for Linda Pilkington’s brand, Ormonde Jayne. I could fill this list with five favorites, but I’ll stick to my very favorite; Ormonde Man. The baie rose is the linchpin for the fantastic spicy top accord as Hr. Schoen sets coriander, cardamom, juniper berry, and hemlock into orbit around it. This remains one of the most compelling spicy accords of a perfume I wear. It is balanced with a set of woods, but it is that spicy accord which lingers for hours which was my introduction to baie rose.

Another early use came in Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Angelique Sous La Pluie. Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena would use it as the counterweight to the angelica root in the heart. There is a terpenic piece to baie rose and that matches the more pronounced terpenes in angelica root. For those who enjoy M. Ellena’s style this is one of the perfumes where his sets of minimal perfume ingredients which overlap in olfactory Venn diagrams is at a pinnacle.

Of anything which captures the minimalism of Coco Chanel’s fashion aesthetic the perfumes in the Chanel Les Exclusif collection are it. One of the most compelling, 28 La Pausa, features baie rose as part of a three-ingredient set along with the keynote of iris and vetiver. The baie rose is used as a modulator to extract the chilly silvery rooty quality of the best iris. It does it brilliantly. 28 La Pausa is close to my favorite iris soliflore because perfumers Christopher Sheldrake and Jacques Polge embraced the “less is more” philosophy.

For once Le Labo Baie Rose 26 actually featured the ingredient on the label. It is not a common event within the line.  In 2010 as baie rose was gaining popularity so were the woody aromachemicals represented by Ambrox. Perfumer Frank Voelkl pairs baie rose with spicy rose in the heart. It produces a fascinating effect which is able to stand up to the monolithic synthetic wood of Ambrox. It also makes for one of the most contemporary uses of baie rose I own.

My favorite mainstream use of baie rose is in the first perfume released by Bottega Veneta in 2011. Used as the tip of a triangle with jasmine sambac and patchouli it forms an earthy floral effect which rest on a leathery chypre base. Perfumer Michel Almairac use the baie rose to get the most out of the jasmine and patchouli. They form a floral accord the equal to the base accord.

If you love perfume you smell baie rose everywhere. Here are five worth seeking out in the madding crowd.

Disclosure: This review is based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Beaufort London Rake & Ruin- An Unruly Perfume

The best new perfume brands find their own space; their own aesthetic. The independent brands tend to find the more interesting perspectives. This is certainly true of Beaufort London. Founder and creative director Leo Crabtree is interested in portraying a version of English history as perfume. The first five perfumes focused on the sea-faring height of the British Empire. What made them stand out was an embrace of the less pleasant scents of the milieus he was capturing. This has made Beaufort London so striking. In 2017 he began his second collection called Revenants wherein he would use British historical figures as inspiration. The new Beaufort London Rake & Ruin is the second of that series.

Leo Crabtree

The historical figure used as inspiration for Rake & Ruin is artist William Hogarth. Mr. Hogarth is most known for a series of eight paintings called “A Rake’s Progress”. They are an 18th century graphic novel on the life of the titular Rake, Tom Rakewell. The early paintings show him coming into a substantial inheritance and living the high-life. The remaining panels display the decline and eventual commission to an asylum. Each painting is stuffed with detail. Which is one of the places where the inspiration and the perfume intersect.

William Hogarth "A Rake's Progress" Panel 6

Mr. Crabtree wanted to capture one of the middle paintings in the series where Tom Rakewell is out and about in the taverns slowly progressing to his eventual downfall. Mr. Crabtree turns to perfumer Julie Dunkley with whom he has collaborated on all the previous Beaufort London perfumes. They create a perfume which captures a life spiraling out of control with a perfume which reflects that unruliness.

Rake & Ruin opens with a gin-soaked accord. It is buttressed by a set of terpenic ingredients; angelica seed and pine. This produces a rawer gin accord as if you can smell the distillation inside the liquor. A mix of Sichuan pepper and baie rose lurch into view as licorice also appears to lead into the leather accord in the heart. This is where our rake’s leather jacket is stained with the cheap gin he is drinking. This is an odd effect which I alternatively found appealing and not so much. The same dichotomy happened for me in the base as Ms. Dunkley veers towards the smoky animalic. A strong decaying gin-sweat skin accord is made up of ambrarome, castoreum and costus. The costus is brilliantly used even if the effect is slightly nauseating. A haze of smoke is layered over all of this.

Rake & Ruin has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

It is so rare to find a perfume willing to capture the unpleasant side of the scent spectrum. Rake & Ruin does this. That Mr. Crabtree is making perfume which doesn’t pull its punches unflinchingly capturing the sweet with the sour is amazing. Rake & Ruin is the apotheosis of that aesthetic as an unruly life is captured in an unruly perfume.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jo Malone Violet & Amber Absolu- Warm Violet

1

There is so much I am enjoying about the current wave of Jo Malone releases. Creative Director Celine Roux has re-invigorated this venerable line through her enthusiastic direction. I’ve listed the multiple efforts she has brought to the brand in previous reviews. One of those was initiated with last year’s Rose & White Musk Absolu. Working with perfumer Anne Flipo they came up with a perfume with more character than the name implied. Mme Roux promised there would be more and a year later Jo Malone Violet & Amber Absolu has arrived.

Celine Roux

It is difficult to know how much to buy into the press release babble. For Rose & White Musk Absolu there was a lot of chatter about adding the fresh Jo Malone aesthetic on top of a Middle Eastern set of ingredients like oud, white musk, and amber. If I squinted, I could have mentioned that in my review of that earlier release. To be honest that didn’t jump out at me. I remembered that when I tried Violet & Amber Absolu for the first time; I got that. This more recent press release is all Arabian Nights, “yadda, yadda, yadda”. I want to tell them this is where you talk about Jo Malone combined with Middle Eastern perfumery.  Mme Flipo creates a perfume of violet warmed by those ingredients.

Anne Flipo

Violet & Amber Absolu opens with rich violet on display. Violet is one of my top tier favorite perfume ingredients. This is a great one to use. Mme Flipo threads through filaments of labdanum and patchouli. These take what was already fully-rounded violet and makes it three-dimensional. The patchouli adds an earthiness which is the right support for the violet. The base accord are those Middle Eastern ingredients. Amber is the focal point but there is an expansive white musk and subtle oud which rise off the warmth of the amber. It as if they are a brazier warming the violet accord above.

Violet & Amber Absolu has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

This has been a spring morning standout since I received it. It is an ideal shoulder season perfume. Mme Roux promises even more Absolus. Bring ‘em on. They have found a new way to make Jo Malone modern again by warming up violet.

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

Mark Behnke

Dead Letter Office: Weil Kipling- Actions and Reactions

There are shelves in the Dead Letter Office which contain too many from the same brand which are amazing. The Weil shelf is one of those. The brand itself was one of the earliest brands of modern perfumery. Created by three brothers, in 1927, they came to fragrance as an accessory to their main business of selling fur coats. Their first perfumes were meant to be worn on their fur coats to camouflage the smell of the skins. When I’ve smelled Zibeline from this period it is hard to see it as masking much of anything. It seemed like it would amplify the furry quality. They would graduate to making perfume to be worn as perfume. That ended abruptly as World War 2 broke out and they fled their factory for the US. The family would return post-war and pick up the pieces. The best of that time period was Antilope.

That was the extent of my personal knowledge of Weil until my reader who gifted me with the box of discontinued samples appeared. As part of what was sent there was almost an entire set of Weil releases. I finally got to experience Weil de Weil and Eau de Fraicheur. As I mentioned every one of these perfumes are on a shelf in the Dead Letter Office. As part of my treasure trove I ran across a Weil I hadn’t heard of previously; Kipling. I was always going to write about Weil and this group of perfumes which have been discontinued. The four I mentioned to start are the acknowledged gems. I will probably return to them another time for future columns. As I learned of the current history of the brand Kipling felt like a good representative.

Where I left off in the brand history was as the family returned to Paris post-war. They would continue to make perfume until the early 1960’s. Then would begin a merry-go-round of different owners. Each owner wanted to capture the glorious past, but their vision was less assured when it came to new perfumes. When it hit; as in 1971’s Weil de Weil it was great. When the next owners took over, they wanted to put their stamp on the brand. Through the last part of the 20th century the brand always seemed to be a tiny step behind sometimes seeming like a reactive brand instead of a trendsetter. Weil de Weil was released soon after Chanel No. 19 as an example.

When the chairs stopped in 1986 Fashion Fragrances oversaw Weil. These were the latter days of the masculine leather fougere powerhouses. There seemed to be a desire to do a fuller version of that style. Kipling was going to be a reaction that upped the elegance of the style. Perfumer Jean-Pierre Mary oversaw realizing that brief.

When I smell Kipling now it seems part of that period in masculine perfumery. By itself I didn’t rate it as something different. It wasn’t until I pulled some of its contemporaries off the shelf that what M. Mary did was more evident. The trend in the late 1980’s for this kind of perfumes was to be drier. For Kipling, M. Mary added back something more rounded.

That shows right away with a mixture of lavender, juniper, and artemisia. The latter two ingredients accentuate the herbal-ness of the lavender. The licorice quality of the artemisia meshes beautifully. A green intermezzo of basil and pine leads to a heart dominated by geranium. M. Mary adds in a tiny amount of clove to accentuate that part of geranium’s scent profile. It lands on a classic base of leather supported by oakmoss, and patchouli. Both of those elevate M. Mary’s leather accord.

Kipling has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

Why did Kipling end up on the Weil shelf in the Dead Letter Office? The ownership wheel spun again. As had been done during other changes last in was first to go. There was a market for this kind of stepped-up spicy leather fougere. Weil just didn’t have the stable ownership invested enough in making Kipling one of those. As before the reaction instead of the action ends up in the Dead Letter Office.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample sent to me by a reader.

Mark Behnke