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

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

New Perfume Review Molton Brown Suede Orris- Iris Driving Gloves

I’ve reached my saturation point with the new spring floral releases. Every year my mailbox overflows with spring fresh perfumes mostly around rose. They are so similar I must be very diligent when I am labeling my strips. I’ve sometimes been unable to discern any difference between the rose I dabbed on my wrist and the one nearer my elbow. Things are better, starting last year there were many more looking for other spring flowers to focus their new perfumes on. Where I’ve generally found the alternatives to rose, rose, and more rose is in the smaller brands. One for this year is Molton Brown Suede Orris.

I say this every time I write about a new Molton Brown release, but they are like a hidden secret among the bath gel and lotions. Over the past few years there is a quite good collection of fragrance on the shelves of your local Molton Brown; Suede Orris is another of those.

Jerome di Marino

When I look out at my flower garden in April I don’t just see roses. I see a lot of purple flowers. It is a purple flower which perfumer Jerome di Marino chooses. He was inspired by the tradition of orris scented leather gloves. This is an old-fashioned ideal going all the way back to the times of Lords and Ladies. It has seen a small renaissance as some contemporary women have enjoyed wearing a pair of scented leather gloves in the shoulder season between winter and spring. M. di Marino takes that older inspiration to a contemporary place.

Before the orris or leather appears a citrus flash of mandarin provides a sparkling effect. Then in twin tracks the orris comes forth with a supple suede leather accord. The orris is tilted more toward the powdery side with only hints of the rooty side of the ingredient. The leather accord is made of olibanum, labdanum, and patchouli. It comes together to provide an elegant contrast to the powdery orris. It all ends with clean lines of cedar in the base.

Suede Orris has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Suede Orris didn’t remind me so much of royal courts, but a pair of iris scented driving gloves on the steering wheel of a sports car. If you’re looking for something different in a spring floral this year you might want to head down to Molton Brown and try on Suede Orris.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Montblanc Explorer- By Popular Demand

One of my favorite department store men’s perfumes to recommend as an office-ready scent is Montblanc Legend. It is an example of a mass-market release done right, without pandering, while intelligently choosing popular trends to include. I have no idea whether this is true, but this seems less perfume by focus group with more directed design at play instead. They followed that up with Montblanc Emblem in 2014. It again was nothing especially original put together in a solid crowd-pleasing way. When I went to my local mall for my unscientific crowd watching, the newest perfume for the brand was being displayed; Montblanc Explorer.

I’ve mentioned this before; my way of telling whether a new perfume will be popular is the garbage can extrapolation. I set myself up near the closest waste receptacle to where the sales associates are handing out strips. I keep a count of how many people get rid of the strip as quick as they can versus continuing to sniff it while they walk. A good score I’ve found is around 60% retention of the strip. On this visit Explorer had an 85% retention rate. It motivated me to get a sample and find out more.

(l. to r.) Jordi Fernandez, Antoine Maisondieu, and Olivier Pescheux

Anne Duboscq has been the creative director for Montblanc since the release of Legend. It seems like she has clear vision of the market the brand wants to serve. For Explorer she used a trio of perfumers; Jordi Fernandez, Antoine Maisondieu, and Olivier Pescheux. What I found interesting when receiving the press release is this set of Givaudan perfumers liberally laced a set of proprietary company ingredients throughout Explorer. Orpur versions of bergamot and vetiver along with Akigalawood. I always refer to the Orpur collection as the crown jewels of the company. As the creators of Akigalawood the Givaudan perfumers have more experience in using it. It adds a kind of high-class niche veneer to a mass-market fragrance.

The perfumers open with a lot of Orpur bergamot and pink pepper. What the pink pepper does is to provide an herbal contrast to the sparkle of the bergamot making for a tart green top accord. The green is intensified with the Orpur vetiver along with sage in the heart. The base is woody ambrox and the altered version of patchouli that is Akigalawood. The akigalawood adds in a spiciness to the ambrox to keep it from being as monolithic as it can sometimes be.

Explorer has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Besides my garbage can census another reason I predict Explorer will be a success is in a few steps I watched two men stop talking; turn around and each buy a bottle. This is not a perfume for those who have a diverse collection of niche perfumes. You will already have a better version of anything you might be drawn to in Explorer. What I saw on a Saturday afternoon in February is for those men who want an office-ready perfume Explorer is going to end up on a lot of dressers.

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

Mark Behnke

Under the Radar: Comptoir Sud Pacifique Coco Figue- Where’s My Lait?

When I got to Boston and was looking for the places I could find perfume; I asked around. One place which was on everyone’s list was a tiny storefront in Harvard Sq. called Colonial Drug. The owner, Cathy, would stand behind the counter explaining these European brands she had exclusively. If there was any single place I visited, in my early days, which was responsible for putting many brands on my radar it was Cathy. Those were the days when Harvard Sq. hadn’t been converted into an outdoor version of a suburban mall. (Don’t get me started) I could even say she is the inspiration behind the existence of this column. This month I’m going to focus on a release from one of the brands I discovered at Colonial Drug; Comptoir Sud Pacifique Coco Figue.

Comptoir Sud Pacifique was founded in 1975 and has gone through several different creative directors and owners. Despite all that turnover there has been an intent to retain that “South Pacific” tropical attitude to their perfumes. This kind of exuberance is not for everyone. It also can be a bit of a variation on a theme. Coco Figue is a slight variation on Coco Extreme; which came first. If there is something which permeates the aesthetic it is a sense of beach holiday to many of the releases. Which is part of why I enjoy Coco Figue this time of year. If I can’t be on a beach, I want to smell like I am.

Pierre Bourdon

Comptoir Sud Pacifique asked Pierre Bourdon to compose Coco Figue. If there is something that is missing from that name it is the French word for milk; “lait”. This is a milky style of perfume mostly around aromatic coconut milk.

The coconut milk accord is what comes first. M. Bourdon takes coconut milk sweetening it with vanilla and fig. This is a classic suntan lotion accord when it comes together. What M. Bourdon does next is to up the milkiness while adding in a slight dusting of cocoa powder. Fig leaves provide some green to pick up on those aspects of the coconut milk while almond adds a nutty piece to it all. There are moments in the middle of this like I feel like I’m drinking hot chocolate made with coconut milk. It sounds delightful to me which is why I enjoy Coco Figue.

Coco Figue has 6-9 hour longevity and average sillage.

If the idea of coconut milk and vanilla without the cocoa and fig sounds more appealing, then Coco Extreme might be a better choice from the brand. In the last couple years select Comptoir Sud Pacifique have turned up at the mall fragrance counters. They have become easier to put on your radar if you’re wanting to find that vacation state of mind while sitting at home.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review D.S. & Durga D.S.- Contemporary Attar

One of the most ancient forms of personal fragrance were the attars. Going as far back as the Egyptians it is in India where this style of fragrance was refined. In a clay pot rose petals were distilled directly into a receiver of sandalwood oil. This creates a richly opulent version of the flower being distilled. I’ve spent some time sourcing authentic attars from the Middle East and India in precious small vials containing some of my favorite simple scents. Some of the best versions are jasmine and oud or saffron and sandalwood. That is an attar; simple combination of two components floral and wood oil. There have been several attempts to transfer this process to a modern perfume by following this two-ingredient formula. What if a modern perfumer decided to go in the opposite direction? Not one flower but many flowers? Not just sandalwood but oud too? What about adding in a modern twist of musk? Then you get D.S. & Durga D.S.

David Seth and Kavi Moltz

I was fortunate to have the founders of D.S. & Durga in my neck of the woods on the weekend they released D.S. Kavi and David Seth Moltz have nurtured their brand to the point they have opened a stand alone store down in the part of Soho in New York City I call the “Perfume District”. D.S. is the perfume to celebrate that milestone as well as the counterpart to Durga; released two years ago. I had the chance to chat with Mr. Moltz as I was taking my first sniff of D.S. Just as I was forming the question, he beat me to it saying he was inspired by attars. The difference here is by broadening the amount of ingredients he has made an attar which develops instead of being linear. It is striking for that alone. Mr. Moltz has assembled a roster of traditional attar ingredients which swirl in lushly complex patterns.

What comes first is a combination of gardenia and lotus. The lotus adds a thread of watery floral up against the densely layered scent of gardenia. The sandalwood is here to hold the florals in place. What is my favorite transition in D.S. takes place next as saffron and a judiciously chosen amount of oud insert them selves into the previous ingredients. Saffron when used in a high-quality form glows in deep waves like the finest 24K gold. That it comes on the shoulders of slightly dirty oud provides the kind of contrast which I find compelling. Frangipani and vetiver round out the floral and woody list of notes. Once they are all in place Mr. Moltz has one final addition; musk ambrette. It gives a sparkle to the entire construct. From here D.S. is like a slowly moving olfactory mobile as the ingredients swing into view only to find themselves in the background minutes later. It is a fantastic effect.

D.S. has 18-24 hour longevity and average sillage.

Sometimes when you’re inspired by the past you must have the courage to grab the future. Mr. Moltz has taken an ancient form of fragrance through the lens of modern independent perfumery. D.S. & Durga D.S. is a contemporary attar as well as the best perfume, to date, from D.S. & Durga.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by D.S. & Durga.

Mark Behnke

Editor's Note: Even though I am calling this a "contemporary attar" and it is inspired by attars it is an eau de parfum.