New Perfume Review Euphorium Brooklyn Petales- The Scent of Past Love

As I have related in my previous reviews for the brand Euphorium Brooklyn I have been thoroughly enchanted by Stephen Dirkes’ multi-faceted project. Of course front and center have been the fragrances which in conjunction with the ongoing saga of the three fictional perfumers of the Euphorium Bile Works at the turn of the last century have made this so much fun. I have also mentioned that this feels like the olfactory version of a penny dreadful novel being doled out in installments. Another interesting facet is that  Mr. Dirkes’ has been adding in different types of visual art to go with each new release. Taken all together it has made for one of my more enjoyable experiences this year.

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Photo by Tal Shpantzer from the "Petal Series"

Petales is the fifth release for this year and Mr. Dirkes also collaborated with artist Tal Shpantzer. Ms. Shpantzer’s Petal Series provided the visual cues for Petales. Of course one of the Bile Works boys would also have to be involved. This time it is a story of Etienne Chevreuil.

The story goes like this. After a fall from a horse at age 14 M. Chvreuil came down with a bit of amnesia and a heightened sense of smell. As he would live his life he would associate each love of his life with a specific floral smell. As scent is so closely tied to memory on the occasion of his 50th birthday he composed Petales to contain a memory of all of his past loves.

What this makes Petales; is an extremely overloaded floral perfume which also becomes quite animalic by the end. The sheer amount of floral notes form a bit of cacophony early on but they eventually sort themselves out especially as the more resinous and animalic qualities insert themselves into the narrative.

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Photo by Tal Shpantzer from the "Petal Series"

Early on it is like a botanist’s fantasia as lily, lavender, orange blossom, geranium, hyacinth, and probably a couple I just miss within all of the concentrated flower power. If that wasn’t enough add in grapefruit, anise, and petitgrain. This is a bit of a sledgehammer lacking some subtlety in the early going. Much as a promiscuous young man is trying all of the flowers available in the garden. It isn’t until rose, iris, and jasmine finally wrest control that Petales begins to settle down into a more serially monogamous style. The indoles are very strong with the jasmine used and it sets up the base quite nicely as the chypre components of moss, vetiver, and balsam come together to form a very animalic foundation. A soft application of musk brings home the humanity of love looked back upon.

Petales has 1-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Petales is not as easy to wear as the four earlier Euphorium Brooklyn releases have been. I wore it for the first time in warm weather and the opening’s kineticism was right on the edge of annoying. Wearing it a second and third time on cool fall days it wears much easier. I think for some the sheer overstuffed nature will be unsatisfying. I’m not sure I’ll be reaching for Petales that often myself. One reason is I think it captures the inherent moroseness that comes with looking backward. This time M. Chevreuil left out the euphoria inducing Komodo Process to replace them with the tears of what has passed. It makes Petales something worth experiencing.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Olfactive Studio Selfie- Look at Me!

As I head to New York City for Comic-Con there is something I am very much not looking forward to; dodging the obstacle course of selfie sticks. In the last year the habit of taking your own picture with your smartphone, called a selfie, has exploded. Previously it was smaller in scale now the narcissistic desire to take a picture of one’s self anywhere they happen to be is out of control. Like many things it is something which will get much worse before it gets better. With that preface about what the grumpy curmudgeon who writes this blog thinks you probably have some idea of where my mind was at when I heard the newest release from one of my favorite brands, Olfactive Studio, was called Selfie.

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Celine Verleure

Ever since its inception in 2011 I have been a huge fan of owner and creative director Celine Verleure’s method of using a striking photograph as the brief for her perfumer to design a fragrance. It has been so successful with me that no matter which one of Olfactive Studio releases I wear I see that picture in my mind’s eye when I spray it on. So what was the photographic inspiration for Selfie going to be? The answer is instead of a photograph on the label there is a reflective surface which you can see yourself in. Mme Verleure is exploring the commonality between taking a picture of yourself and wearing perfume. Are not both of these ways of drawing attention to yourself? Or are they ways of sharing an experience in a larger virtual community? Not sure any of these have simple answers, or answers at all but for the first time an Olfactive Studio perfume is sort of unmoored from the visual and attached to the philosophical.

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Thomas Fontaine

The perfumer she is collaborating with, Thomas Fontaine, has been so diligently involved in resurrecting heritage brands that he perhaps relished an opportunity to give us a perfume selfie of himself. I think that is one of the advantages of working with Mme Verleure that there are no preconceived notions of what an Olfactive Studio perfume smells like. It has led to one of the more diverse brands currently on the market. Selfie continues that.

Selfie opens with a right on the edge of chaotic mix of notes. Ginger and anise first make their presence known then angelica, incense, and elemi all try to crowd into the frame. There are moments early on that it seems like there are too many notes in this selfie. It takes a little while for them to all find the right spot so the entire group can be captured and appreciated. Once it comes together it does make me break into a smile but the very early moments are fragmented. The heart has no such problems as M. Fontaine uses a maple syrup accord as a sticky matrix for three diverse notes to blend in to. Cinnamon, lily and cabreuva wood are the choices. The cinnamon adds a bit of zippiness. The lily adds a bit of green floralcy. The cabreuva reminds me of the smell of Brazil nuts sort of woody and sort of nutty. All trapped in the maple syrup accord, which adds a significant sweetness, this comes together like a bunch of disparate friends meeting up after years apart but feeling like they have never been apart. The final phase of Selfie is a portrait of two accords; suede leather and chypre accord. When I saw this mentioned I was concerned this would be a return to the frenetic early moments. Instead this is a partnership of equals which forms a leathery chypre foundation. After everything which has come before ending on a base of strong accords is the best partnership of all.

Selfie has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I’ve worn Selfie over the past few days I will admit I am not narcissistic enough to see a picture of me when I wear it. What it does bring to mind is a perfume with a strong sense of self which almost asks those around to “look at me!” In the final reckoning maybe Mme Verleure has it correct as taking a selfie and wearing Selfie are both acts meant to draw attention. In which case I’ll take my attention getting in perfume form, happily.

Disclosure; this review was based on a sample provided by Olfactive Studio at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Marc Jacobs Decadence- Once More Unto the Breach

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There was a moment in time where I thought the Marc Jacobs fragrance collection was trying to do something different in the mainstream sector of perfume. 2007’s Daisy, 2009’s Lola, and 2010’s Bang were each an attempt to lure in a different perfume buyer with tiny nods to a niche aesthetic. I admired the ingenuity to see if there was a consumer out there for this style of mass-market perfume. Somewhere along the line this kind of thinking evaporated as the brand became a flanker factory with numerous Daisy, Lola, and Splash entries cluttering things up. All of these were so painfully pedestrian that even when they made the odd foray into something different like 2012’s Dot it just felt half-hearted. Over the last couple of months it looks like Marc Jacobs has decided to give it another try.

I generally liked the summer release Mod Noir although the name is a bit of false advertising. Bottom line was it wasn’t another flanker and it was definitely in the upper percentiles in the department store category. About a week after I wrote that review I received a sample of the new fall release Decadence. Because I had liked Mod Noir and the timing was right I tried Decadence right away. My first impression was this was very different than any of the other tent pole fragrances for the brand. Mr. Jacobs along with Ann Gottlieb were the creative team working with perfumer Annie Buzantian on Decadence. What they have created is the strongest floral in the line as they move away from the fruity floral and run headlong into floriental territory.

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Annie Buzantian

Mme Buzantian adds the niche like-flourishes in the top and the base. The top notes are iris, plum, and saffron. The saffron exerts enough of a presence to keep the opening from being a boring fruity floral accord. There is enough familiarity there for someone who is a fan of previous Marc Jacobs to find a safe place to start their Decadence experience. The triple whammy of orris, rose, and jasmine in the heart is meant to sweep them off their feet in a swoosh of heavy hitter florals. So often this kind of power is carried by a bunch of white florals. I like the change by Mme Buzantian as the orris bumps up against a spicy rose and slightly indolic jasmine. It doesn’t go as far as a typical niche release but it goes a lot further than most of the other bottles on the perfume counter. This is the tricky part to give a consumer something different without alienating them. From my perspective I think it is a brave choice which could go either way. The base is a very green mixture of papyrus and vetiver matched with amber. It forms a verdant Oriental accord for the florals to rest upon.

Decadence has 10-12 hour longevity and way above average sillage. A lighter application than other perfumes is probably necessary for best results.

It looks like Mr. Jacobs has not given up on his desire to try something different as with Decadence he is really taking a bold step outside of the previous oeuvre of the brand. He is doing a smart thing and putting this in a spectacular looking bottle which looks like a clutch purse complete with tassel. The bottle will drive some sales all on its own. I think many of those and others who give Decadence a chance will be surprised at the new direction for Marc Jacobs. I hope they like it because I would like to see more of this from the brand. I know they have my attention, again.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review The Different Company Le 15- Moving Towards the Horizon

In the “things which make me feel old” category is the number of perfume brands which are celebrating double-digit anniversaries. It is a wonderful thing that these forerunner brands of artistic perfumery have found their respective audiences and thrived. But I remember when they started just after the new millennium began. It seems like forever ago. The latest brand to remind me of my mortality is The Different Company with their anniversary release, Le 15.

Luc Gabriel / Portrait Shoot

Luc Gabriel

As I wrote in my Perfume 101 piece on The Different Company it has been one of those consistently good producers of perfume for these last 15 years. For this celebratory fragrance Luc Gabriel who has served as CEO and Creative Director for the brand since 2004 collaborated with perfumer Alexandra Monet. M. Gabriel wanted Le 15 to be “a perfume of immortality”. To capture that very grandiose brief Mme Monet chose to use the wood palo santo known for its mystical qualities. If you’re attempting immortality beginning with the wood of the gods is probably a good place to start.

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Alexandra Monet

For me one of the hallmarks of a fragrance of The Different Company is minimal amount of ingredients which produce an effect beyond what you might expect. It has been so from Jean-Claude Ellena in the beginning and continues with the current set of perfumers because of the creative direction provided by M. Gabriel. Le 15 fits right into the collection as the palo santo holds the center and it is surrounded by spices and resins.

The opening of Le 15 is an attention getter as Mme Monet mixes citrus and nutmeg in a spicy slap and tickle. It heads straight into the palo santo nucleus which is supported on the woody side by cedar. Mme Monet also uses Hedione to tease out the floral nuances present but the main reason it is present is to provide lift and expansiveness. Once the woodiness has expanded sufficiently Mme Monet slides in sweet myrrh and arid frankincense. The palo santo accord has the feel of a kind of woody incense and so the additional resinous notes fit right in. Later on a selection of skin musks provide the finishing touch.

Le 15 is an extrait de parfum and has 14-16 hour longevity with minimal sillage.

Le 15 is a fitting bookmark for a brand which has produced a few iconic perfumes over the last 15 years. That it comes from a perfumer new to the brand shows M. Gabriel is not stuck in the past but looking towards the future. Le 15 is a beautiful way of moving towards that horizon wrapped in a woody resinous embrace.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by The Different Company at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

-Mark Behnke

Editor’s Note: The header photo is also from M. Gabriel. I suspect pretty soon he will be designing the bottles.

New Perfume Review Essenzialmente Laura Lavanda- 5 Shades of Lavender

Very likely as an infant my first fragrance experience was the sprinkling of Florida Water on my crib linens. As a toddler I vividly remember the orange and lavender concoction as the scent of my bedroom. My mother liberally used it to freshen up the room and something to use after a bath. As a result I have always loved lavender perfumes. What I have always enjoyed are the many different varieties of lavender I have come across as they cover a range from more green and herbal at one extreme to sweet floral on the other. Depending on the place in the world it is grown and the technique used to extract the essence there are probably myriad gradations in between the two versions I described above. If you have a good lavender perfume I am going to be interested.

Which brings me to Pitti Fragranze 2015. I have lost patience with these new brands which land with too many releases. When I hear some ridiculous number of entries I am just going to give up before trying because smelling a massive collection is just bound to be mainly disappointing. The nagging worry in the back of my head is always but what if in the midst of all that average perfume there is something really good? This was what happened on Day 1 at Pitti when I stopped at the Essenzialmente Laura stand and heard there were 39 new releases by perfumer Laura Bosetti Tonatto. I couldn’t move away fast enough. On Day 2 while having lunch with Michael Edwards he asked me if I had stopped by the stand. I said 39 new perfumes! I don’t have the time to try them all. Mr. Edwards had tried them all and he also knows of my enjoyment of lavender. He suggested I go try the three lavender ones. That I thought I could handle and so on Day 3 I came back to try 3 not 39.

Laura Tonatto

Laura Bosetti Tonatto

The three lavender perfumes in the Essenzialmente Laura collection are Lavambra, La Lavanda di Leonardo, and Lavanda. Lavambra as the portmanteau name portends is lavender and amber. La Lavanda di Leonardo is lavender and rose. These are both excellent perfumes which are balanced quite nicely between the two main notes. At the end of the day though it was Lavanda which captured most of my attention.

Sig.ra Tonatto keeps it simple as she takes lavender from five different sources. Two from France, one from Morocco, one from England, and one from Torino. The five different versions chosen run the gamut from herbal to floral. Together Sig.ra Tonatto has created a grand lavender accord like no other. On the days I wore this it was like a kaleidoscope which as I turned it a new shade of lavender would take precedence. To balance all five lavenders so that I can detect each of them plus to form the uber accord is not easy. Lavanda is simple in effect but complex in architecture.

Lavanda has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

The lavenders were so good I did delve a little deeper into the line and among the others I tried the vetiver centric VI was also pretty good. If you love lavender all three of the Essenzialmente Laura lavenders are worth the effort to seek out and try. If you are a lavender fanatic Lavanda is a must try for the most complete lavender accord you will find in a perfume.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Essenzialmente Laura at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Olivier Durbano Chrysolithe- The Wisdom of Sage

I thought independent perfumer Olivier Durbano had reached a new level of creativity with last year’s release Promethee. The new more mature aesthetic was perhaps paired with a move away from his beloved crystals as the focal point for his perfumes. For the new release, Chrysolithe, the perfumer still ascending has remained. The inspiration has once again turned to the crystalline.

Chrysolithe is a Greek word meaning “gold stone”. It describes gems which “sparkle gold, tinted with green”. The most notable thing about Chrysolithe is that green. M. Durbano uses sage as the green to tint his other notes. While golden is not the adjective I would use to describe those notes the color of the juice is the promised golden color.

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Olivier Durbano

M. Durbano uses hyssop in the early going to provide the green. Hyssop is not one of those usual materials you find it has a strongly herbal quality under laid with a camphor-like nature. When you combine it with strong spicy notes like cumin black pepper, and cinnamon there is roughness to the hyssop which also become apparent. The opening is a good example of the accomplished artist M. Durbano has become. The choices made set the stage for the arrival of the sage in the heart. For that middle part of the development he employs sage essence matched up with rosemary and jasmine. This is mostly rosemary and sage; the jasmine is more in the nature of a grace note which takes some effort to detect. The sage displaces the hyssop in a sheer way. The base will make a more indelible sage statement as there the absolute forms the nucleus. Around it cedar, vetiver, and ambergris provide the complementary facets. The sage has all of my attention over the last part of wearing Chrysolithe. It becomes the logical ending to what has come before.

Chrysolithe has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Chrysolithe is the work of a perfumer working with clarity of purpose. When M. Durbano spoke to me about the creation of Chrysolithe at Pitti Fragranze it was obvious the level of conscious creation he had worked with. I think this only comes when you have achieved enough experience to make these choices thoughtfully. M. Durbano has most definitely attained that skill level and Chrysolithe is another example of that. I am going to be wearing a lot of this “gold stone” over the fall. It is going to be lingering on more than a few of my scarves.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Olivier Durbano at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New(ish) Perfume Review Tauerville Rose Flash- Anticipation Rewarded

In the hustle and bustle of trying to cover all of the new perfume releases I frequently make decisions to leave something for later. Those kind of decisions seem to happen more frequently during the last few months of the year. I receive samples on a daily basis and for the ones which take some effort to track down I sometimes just say I’ll do it in the New Year. Last fall independent perfumer Andy Tauer began a new brand called Tauerville and its first release was Rose Flash. It has taken me a year to get around to trying it. Now that I have there is much to say about the perfume and the concept.

Tauerville came about because Hr. Tauer wanted a place to experiment. On the Tauerville website he says he wanted it be a place where he could “break the rules”. It is an interesting idea that one of the preeminent independent perfumers in the world needed a place to break the rules. Surely he could break down expectations in his established Tauer Perfumes line. Except once you have a reputation and a brand there is a loss of freedom to go too far out of the boundaries your previous releases have defined. With Tauerville Hr. Tauer had a clean slate; the opportunity to create without expectations. What was also great about this idea was it was also going to be modestly priced coming in about two-thirds the price of the regular line. The perfumes would be produced in limited runs with no guarantee or expectation they would be produced forever. It makes them sort of a limited edition although the truth is there have been three Tauerville releases and none of them have been unavailable for very long.

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Andy Tauer

I finally got the chance to experience all three Tauerville releases to-date at Pitti Fragranze 2015. Incense Flash is the most recent and was preceded by Vanilla Flash. Both of those are in eau de parfum strength and carry a delightful translucent quality. If I was looking for a place where Hr. Tauer was breaking some of his previous “rules” it would be that opaqueness in both Incense Flash and Vanilla Flash. There is a shimmering quality to both that has not appeared often in the original line. Rose Flash is something else again as Hr. Tauer made his first Tauerville release at parfum strength. Rose Flash does not shimmer it surrounds and envelops you in a rosy embrace.

Hr. Tauer has left those of us who will write about Rose Flash to be the ones to dissect it. His desire was for the wearer to just let it be without picking it apart. If you do that what you will experience is the smell of a living rose garden at its fragrant peak. I am pretty sure there are at least two sources of rose in here and maybe a third. Rose Flash is all of the rose: bloom, leaf, bush, soil, and thorn.

When I wear Rose Flash I smell a demure rose along the lines of Rose de Mai and a spicy rose like a Damascene version. As those reach my nose in the very early moments there is also sunlight as some citrus notes glint off of the petals. It eventually gives way to green with I suspect geranium providing the first hint of verdancy before more prominent green notes arrive. Underneath it all is a bit of the woodiness of the stem and the soil of the earth. The longer it dries down on my skin there is the piquant bit of thorniness some spices, cinnamon I think, add as they provide a contrast to the powdery rose source while complementing the spicy rose source.

Rose Flash has 16-18 hour longevity and low sillage. As it is at parfum strength it is a skin scent for the great majority of its development.

There was an old television commercial set to the song “Anticipation” by Carly Simon. It showed a child watching a slow moving ketchup on its way out of the bottle on to his hamburger. For a year I have been hearing Ms. Simon’s song in my head as I anticipated my opportunity to try the Tauerville releases. Upon that moment all of my anticipation was realized. Hr. Tauer has happily created a new perfumed sandbox for him to play in. We are all the beneficiary of the new constructs which arise there. All three are worth trying but if there is room for only one Rose Flash is the choice for me.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauerville at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Maria Candida Gentile Elephant & Roses- A Rose Grows on the Serengeti

One of the things I like so much about the independent perfume community is when a perfumer is working from a very personal inspiration something interesting follows. It is among the advantages of being on your own. You don’t have to live by the lowest common denominator as you design the releases for your brand. You generally can’t have a brand full of challenging perfumes; but when the mood strikes you it can allow for a freedom more mainstream brands aren’t allowed to have. The downside is when a perfume is this personal the circle of those who also share the desire to share that vision is most likely smaller than something safer. It is certainly never going to be described as boring. It is going to present itself in defiant terms forcing the wearer to embrace it or to turn away. While I was at Pitti Fragranze 2015 I discovered the new Maria Candida Gentile Elephant & Roses is one of these kind of perfumes.

When I sat down with Sig.ra Gentile she told me the story of how this perfume came to be. She was working on an animal accord; attempting to capture the smell of an elephant. While she was concentrating on her task she had a strong vision of a fuchsia pachyderm tattooed with roses trampling a full field of roses. This was her brief for Elephant & Roses.

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Maria Candida Gentile

Over the last few years as I have come to know Sig.ra Gentile I have learned the care she takes in constructing her accords. It is one of the things which sets her brand apart as when she uses them as the foundation for her perfumes it provides a signature quality to them. The animal accord used in Elephant & Roses is that closed in smell of a circus tent or even a horse barn. It is the smell of a living thing in motion leaving its personal sillage in its wake. The roses are provided by two different Turkish rose formulas.

Elephant & Roses opens with a very herbal accord on top dominated by thyme. That thyme is going to be an early deciding point for manty if you want to continue this safari or not. Usually thyme is used in more measured doses. In this perfume Sig.ra Gentile does not want measured she wants power and the thyme delivers it. Instead of trying to ameliorate it she twists it on a bed of costus and osmanthus. As with the thyme the amount of costus used is more than you would usually find. When costus is used in this quantity it takes on an animalic character. This is the bellwether for the elephant’s arrival. Before that we find the field of roses growing on the savannah as the Turkish rose accord sets itself up in the heart. The thyme and costus are still there but the roses are ascendant through the middle part of the development. Then from out of the brush comes the fuchsia protagonist of this perfume as the animal accord crashes like a wave over the roses. The mix of thyme, costus, rose, and the elephant accord is where Elephant & Roses stays on my skin for many hours. It eventually dries down to vetiver and sandalwood much later.

Elephant & Roses has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Elephant & Roses is going to be a fragrance of divided opinions. For many the thyme, costus, and elephant accord are not going to please. I think there will be many, like me, who will willingly place themselves in the path of this rose covered elephant. Even though it might rough you up a little more than the typical fragrance I think the trip is worth it.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Maria Candida Gentile at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Nomenclature Efflor_esce- Chemist’s Bliss

Let me admit this up front; I am the bullseye on the target audience for the new fragrance brand Nomenclature. Any perfume which is going to be bottled in a stylized Erlenmyer flask and feature a specific synthetic aromachemical has my full attention. When I was at Pitti Fragranze this brand was high on my list to experience.

When I finally worked my way to the booth where co-founders and creative directors Karl Bradl and Carlos Quintero were displaying the four debut releases I was delighted with what they are attempting to do. Working with perfumers Frank Voelkl and Patricia Choux, who each composed two of the initial four, each Nomenclature shows off the beauty of chemistry in perfume. Over the next few weeks I will eventually review all four because not only are all pretty good but they will be good jumping off points for a couple of Olfactory Chemistry columns. I am going to start with my favorite Efflor_esce.

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Frank Voelkl

The featured aromachemical in Efflor_esce is Paradisone. Paradisone is the culmination of thirty years of research at Firmenich in trying to improve one of the most important materials in all of perfumery Hedione. If you are interested in the chemistry you can read my Olfactory Chemistry post from a few months ago. Hedione is used primarily because of the diffusive jasmine-like quality it adds to a fragrance. Paradisone is like Hedione on steroids as it is orders of magnitude stronger on every level. If Hedione is candlelight, Paradisone is a halogen spotlight. In point of fact it can become too much of a good thing as it can muscle out everything around it in a poorly constructed fragrance. Just sticking it an alcohol base and exclaiming “Voila!” is not going to make a perfume. Mr. Voelkl had to find some complementary and contrasting notes which displayed Paradisone to its fullest without becoming overbearing. Efflor_esce does this extremely well.

For the opening of Efflor_esce it has a sunny citrus vibe as bergamot and bitter orange provide the sunshine. As the Paradisone begins to make its presence known it takes those citrus notes and allows them to ride on the expanding bubble of the expansive synthetic. If you wonder what I mean when I write about the expansiveness of a synthetic aromachemical the early moments of Efflor_esce are as good an example as I could mention. As the Paradisone expands until that imaginary bubble pops it releases two other florals captured inside as tuberose and osmanthus now combine with it. The tuberose is all complement as it amplifies the intense floral quality. Osmanthus provides contrast with its apricot and leather nature providing a lighter application of dried fruit and animalic facets. This is where Efllor_esce spends the majority of its time on my skin.

Efflor_esce has greater than 24 hour longevity as Paradisone is one of the more tenacious synthetics out there. It also has above average sillage.

If you have enjoyed previous perfumes which featured synthetic ingredients the entire Nomenclature line is going to scratch the same olfactory itch. As I said at the beginning for the chemist all of these lift me to different levels of bliss. Efflor_esce takes me the highest of all of them.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Nomenclature at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendre- Viridescent Iris

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I think if you are a writer, or reader, that means you have an inherent love of words. One of my favorite words is “viridescent”. It is an adjective which means greenish or becoming green. I have known that at some point in time there would be a perfume for which this adjective would be appropriate. That fragrance has arrived, Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendre.

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Naomi Goodsir

Ever since meeting Naomi Goodsir at Esxence in 2012 she has become one of my favorite people in all of perfumery. She and partner Renaud Coutaudier have fashioned what I consider one of the best examples on what it takes to succeed as a small niche brand today. In 2012 they began with two releases Cuir Velours and Bois D’Ascese. Many brands would have followed those up rapidly. It took almost a year and a half for the third release Or du Serail. Nearly another 18 months on and the fourth release, Iris Cendre, was premiered at Pitti Fragranze 2015. From many conversations with Ms. Goodsir and M. Coutaudier I know there is nothing which trumps the creative process. They will not add a new release until it is what they think it should be. There is a project currently in the pipeline that I am sure she is tired of me asking about. Her response every time is there is still something left to do to make it what she and M. Coutaudier want it to be. Unlike many of their contemporaries at Pitti Fragranze who release multiple fragrances at a time until the best of their brand is buried underneath an avalanche of mediocrity; Ms. Goodsir has taken the opposite approach. This fastidious attention to detail has produced the best perfume in a line which I already prize highly in Iris Cendre.

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Renaud Coutaudier (Photo: Claudio Bonoldi)

For Iris Cendre Ms. Goodsir and M. Coutaudier return to working with perfumer Julien Rasquinet with whom they did the first two releases. It is my speculation that the previous work helped Iris Cendre begin at an advanced state of understanding between the creative team. What has been produced is a unique iris perfume made viridescent.

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Julien Rasquinet

M. Rasquinet opens with a sweet flourish of tangerine and bergamot bolstered with a grace note of spices. Consider it a flamboyant bow as the curtain raises on the star of the show an extremely decadent orris butter. When orris is used in this form it very often opens very rich, eventually evolving into something very powdery. M. Rasquinet uses a clever assortment of notes to prevent that from happening. Instead of turning into something found on the cosmetics counter it is more like something found beneath the earth as the iris stays much closer to its rooty origination as the rhizome from which orris butter is derived. Early on M. Rasquinet matches the iris with violet adding in the more floral quality of a different purple flower. At this point in any other perfume a descent into powder would be inevitable. Here a clean incense with a slightly metallic character cuts that off at the pass. It picks up the rooty qualities and even makes the violet more astringent. In the base M. Raquinet uses a variation on the cistus, tobacco, and amber construct he used previously in Bois D’Ascese. In that fragrance it was what lurked under the smoke. Here it provides a bit of translucent haze for the final phases.

Iris Cendre has 12-14 hour longevity with average sillage.

This was the very first scent I smelled at this year’s Pitti Fragranze. This was the answer I gave first when anyone asked me what was worth trying. It was the most buzzed about perfume at the fair, rightfully so. The pace and method at which these fragrances have been produced has been vindicated at every turn. Iris Cendre is one of the very best new perfumes of 2015 because of that dedication. Just as at the fair I am not sure I will try anything better this year.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Naomi Goodsir Parfums at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

Header photo courtesy of Luckyscent