New Perfume Review Carner Barcelona Costarela- Beach Carry-All

As summer sets in we all think of taking some vacation time. For many of us that choice is to head to our favorite, or nearest, beach. It is one of the reasons the whole aquatic genre of fragrance has been successful. It reminds us of being next to the ocean even when we are in our work-a-day world. Up until about a year and a half ago I was impatient with this style. It had grown insipid in its insistence on slavish imitation. Then something surprising happened as some of the independent perfume brands did a hostile takeover of the aquatic. They used the basic building blocks but began adding new ingredients. It was like they were looking for their own private beach to share with those in the know. As a result, I have a whole new grouping of aquatics to wear this upcoming summer. One of the latest additions is Carner Barcelona Costarela.

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Sara Carner

Costarela is the seventh release for Carner Barcelona. Owner and Creative Director Sara Carner took us on a trip of her hometown of Barcelona over the first five releases. Last year was the first release to travel somewhere else, Palo Santo, but it fit in with the overall brand aesthetic. Costarela is a marked departure from both place and style for the brand.

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Shyamala Maisondieu

Sra. Carner worked with perfumer Shyamala Maisondieu on Costarela. One of the things which fueled my disdain for the previous generation of aquatics was they got the marine vibe right but they missed out on the beach. Sort of like a forest themed perfume focusing on the trees but missing out on the earth they grow in. In Costarela Mme Maisondieu brings the surf and the sand together.

Cotarela opens with a delightfully odd pairing to open an aquatic. Bergamot for its sunny qualities is a staple of the form. Saffron is not. Mme Maisondieu adds the saffron and it almost seems like it acts as sun spots against the sparkly brightness of the bergamot. This phase has surprising staying power. I expected it to move along but it hangs in for over an hour on my skin. Eventually the crashing waves draw my attention away from the sun. Here Mme Maisondieu’s marine accord imparts the combination of water and salty sea spray. Then the mineralic sand accord buttresses that familiar sea spray accord with a granularity of stoniness that completes the total beach accord. Like the top notes Costarela lingers here for a quite a long time. When it eventually progresses into the base it is a very dry woody accord of cedar and ambroxan.

Costarela has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I think Sra. Carner needed a beach vacation she could carry around with her. By designing Costarela I now also have a beach carry-all whenever I need to get in that relaxed state of mind.  

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Carner Barcelona at Esxence 2016.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Apoteker Tepe Karasu- Summon Originality

As frustrated as I can get with many of the self-taught perfumers who send me their brands there are exceptions. What makes those stand out is because these artists who have essentially taught themselves how to construct perfume is they break the rules; because they weren’t told what they were. 98.5% of the rule breakers mostly serve to sharpen the reasoning for why these rules exist. The other 1.5% find new directions to explore. This group is the one which makes up our most talented independent perfumers.

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Holladay Saltz

One of these iconoclastic rule breakers is Holladay Saltz. She founded her brand Apoteker Tepe in 2015 with four very well thought out constructs. Ms. Saltz showed her resistance to being bound by convention throughout those releases. Now 2016 brings her first two follow-ups. Pale Fire is a good example. Ms. Saltz combines large amounts of labdanum and vanilla versus another accord of olibanum and oakmoss. The combination is volatile and wildly kinetic. That fervent energy kept me from wanting to wear it for a couple of days to review it. I have incessantly smelled the strip it is sprayed on but it is not something I wanted to wear. The other new release is called Karasu and that I did find the time to wear for a couple of days.

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Karasu-Tengu

Karasu refers to the Japanese demons of the forest called Karasu-Tengu. They are summoned by the foolish humans who want to bind them using an incense ceremony. This is what Ms. Saltz is trying to evoke in Karasu. To do this she corrupts the incense ceremony with decay and smoke forming a desperate ritual in the woods that is not going to go well for the summoner.

Karasu opens with a version of oud from Indonesia called Gaharu Buaya. It is sort of a regular grade version of oud to its high octane cousin the purer Gaharu. Ms. Saltz choosing this as the representation of her incense is inspired because it carries an almost entropic air of collapse around it. As if right from the start the incense the supplicant is using is foreshadowing what is to come. To further enhance the deterioration Ms. Saltz takes birch tar and costus to fully warp the good intentions. The birch tar she uses is kept at a precise pitch throughout. This is the smoke of the smudge pot not the viscous contents within. Costus and its ability to push forward rot works incredibly well here. When this all comes together it is incense as scorched by olfactory brimstone. There is no surprise that what has arrived is not sunshine and light. Much later on the woods of the site of the ceremony take over as hinoki and cedar clear away the unclean act.

Karasu has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

In both of the new Apoteker Tepe releases Ms. Saltz seems to be experimenting with stark contrasts of well understood raw materials. It really comes together in Karasu to form something I was completely fascinated by. I may never be desperate enough to try and summon a demon but I surely will be summoning Karasu when I am in the mood for something unique.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Parfums MDCI Fetes Persanes- Spicy Rose Fete

One of the strengths of Parfums MDCI has been owner Claude Marchal’s delight in doing things differently. It has produced an eclectic collection encompassing many of the best releases of a given year. Starting in 2013 M. Marchal began collaborating with perfumer Cecile Zarokian. Mme Zarokian is another artist who enjoys toying with the tried and true looking for a place to turn it from common to memorable. In particular, the last release for Parfums MDCI, Les Indes Galantes, was a fantastic updating of the gourmand style of perfume. For their latest release, Fetes Persanes, they are creating a baroque floral with some of those twists Mme Zarokian is becoming known for.

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Claude Marchal

The inspiration of for Fetes Persanes comes from a movement within Jean-Philippe Rameau’s musical work Les Indes Galantes. This is the part of the opera which describes a Persian Feast which coincidentally is a flower festival. Fetes Persanes is meant to capture that combination of the smells of the feast in conjunction with the flower power surrounding it. If it sounds like it is going to be a gigantic floral that is where M. Marchal and Mme Zarokian enjoy playing with our preconceived notions.

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Cecile Zarokian

The fragrant feast opens with black pepper out front. If I am looking for flowers and am greeted with the spicy black pepper I am alerted right away this is not going to be what I think. The spice theme continues as the smells of the spices used to prepare the food come in to focus. Mme Zarokian uses a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. She keeps these weighted in such a way so that they aren’t too heavy but I wouldn’t describe them as transparent. Then in what I think is a very intelligent choice there aren’t multiple floral notes there is just one, rose. Mme Zarokian has shown in the past she knows how to get the most out of rose. In Fetes Persanes she uses a bit of geranium to bring forward some of the greener facets. The spices settle among the petals matching the characteristic spicy core of a good rose. This is a very good rose accord made up of three or four sources. Patchouli provides a transition from the flower festival back to the food for dessert. Clean woods of gaiac and cedar frame a luscious vanilla. This plays off the softness of a white musk cocktail.

Fetes Persanes has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I really like that M. Marchal chose to make Fetes Persanes not a literal flower festival but a festival of rose swathed in spices. This is a party well worth spending some time at.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review aroma M Geisha Vanilla Hinoki- Geisha’s Day Off

There are a few perfumers who have successfully created a world for their perfumes to live within. Not only does the perfume smell great but it can tell a story as well. I look forward to the next releases from these perfumers as eagerly as I look forward to the next book from my favorite novelist. That is why I was very pleased to get the next installment from Maria McElroy who with her brand aroma M has been illuminating the life of a geisha. The latest release is Geisha Vanilla Hinoki.

Since 1995 through many releases the story being told has been of the occupation of geisha. It was only with 2014’s Camellia where we saw the geisha off-stage as I imagined her removing the makeup at the end of the evening. Geisha Vanilla Hinoki continues her off-duty story. Ms. McElroy described this as a trip for her geisha to a hot spring to soak in a hinoki wood tub. As a result, my imagination renders Geisha Vanilla Hinoki as the story of our perfumed geisha on her precious and rare day off.

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Maria McElroy

Geisha Vanilla Hinoki is primarily what the name implies. Ms. McElroy sourced a vanilla from Morocco which contains a smoky aspect. I can say that as it is used in Geisha Vanilla Hinoki it is an unusual vanilla which carries some of the bakery but also a different kind of depth to it giving it a little more gravitas than playful vanilla often has. The hinoki is one of my favorite variations of cypress. It also has more presence as well as more sharply defined lines. These are the heart of this perfume.

It would be a long trip to the hot spring but she had the cream pan her client brought for her last night. As she walked out in the sunshine the light sparkled in points of bergamot. She boarded the train into the mountains sitting next to a spice salesman with his bags of cardamom and nutmeg while he chewed on a piece of clove. After arriving at the hot spring she was shown to her tub which had a view of the mountainside and the world below. She added a few drops of lavender oil to provide contrast to the hinoki wood of the tub. As she eased into the steamy water the smell of the surrounding amyris and the damp earth reminded of her patchouli oil back on her vanity. She remembered her parcel of cream pan and drew them to her. The steam and the wood made them a little less confectionary giving a smoky tint to the sweetness. As she floated on the water her cares radiated away into the water and out with the steam. Today was a day for her to love herself; tomorrow it would be shared with her clients.

Geisha Vanilla Hinoki has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage as the eau de parfum. 14-16 hour longevity and minimal sillage as the perfume oil.

There are two versions of Geisha Vanilla Hinoki; perfume oil and eau de parfum. In the past I have always preferred the oil form. For the first time the expansiveness of the eau de parfum was much more evocative of the open air hot tub for me. It felt more like my imaginary geisha at play. The oil is much more personal it has a sultrier quality. I wholeheartedly recommend both forms I think it will come down to personal preference.

Geisha Vanilla Hinoki is the most exuberant of the aroma M Geisha collection. I can feel the relaxed smile of my figurative geisha and the perfume makes that infectious in its simple joy.

Disclosure: This review was based on a samples provided by aroma M.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review: Bruno Fazzolari & Antonio Gardoni Cadavre Exquis- Franken-gourmand

Over the past two years or so there have been a number of collaborations within the independent perfume community. I have likened it to when two musicians meet at a festival and start jamming together backstage to find there is some artistic commonality to work from. Perfume is not quite as easy as that but when a couple of perfumers get together and start discussing collaboration it is always exciting to see it actually happen. Such is the case with perfumer Bruno Fazzolari and Antonio Gardoni of Bogue Profumo.

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Bruno Fazzolari

Mr. Fazzolari has been one of the most interesting independent perfume stories. I only really had the pleasure of trying his entire collection in the last year. He has that outsider mindset which most often goes wrong. For him it allows for a way of thinking about perfume by melding it with his color sense as a painter that has resulted in one of the great indie collections.

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Antonio Gardoni

Sig. Gardoni came at his independent perfume career from a different place; a more classical one. He acquired a perfumer’s laboratory from the 1940’s. After spending time with each of the materials he had, he began to compose starting with a recipe that came with the bottles. His brand has evolved since then and he has made some of the best retro nouveau perfumes of the last two years.

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"Cadavre Exquis" (1927) by Man Ray, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, and Max Morise

When the two met they decided on a very unique version of a perfume collaboration. They wanted to do a fragrant version of the 1920’s artists parlor game cadavre exquis. The way that game went was a group of artists, four usually, would collaborate by each drawing on a page and after finishing cover up their contribution. The next artist would then add to the drawing and cover up their contribution and so on until all four had gone. There are examples of the work in museums all over the world. The example above hangs in MoMA in NYC and was done in 1927 by artists Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, and Max Morise. It is sort of an artistic Frankenstein which manages to lurch into life. Mr. Fazzolari and Sig. Gardoni wanted to do the same and they gave their perfume the same name, Cadavre Exquis.

They further decided that the genre they wanted to work in was the gourmand. The way they played the game was starting with Sig. Gardoni they sent vials back and forth as each added something to it. Not quite as blind as the artist’s game but still each new addition was going to inspire the next. The resulting perfume is as completely original as you might expect.

Right from the beginning of Cadavre Exquis you can see the idea of experimentation. In the booklet which comes with the perfume one of the perfumers mentions his take on how he sees this gourmand. “Think about a potion from 100 years ago….sold by a magician, a “doctor”….a power-food, a love elixir with an almost disturbing smell….think…CAMPHOR!” It is this which greets you upon spraying on Cadavre Exquis it is contrasted with the more usual citrus notes of bergamot and blood orange. I love this opening the camphor immediately lets you know this is an experiment. The heart is dominated by a rich cacao absolute which wraps up the camphor in an embrace and doesn’t let go. This camphoraceous chocolate accord is the beating heart of Cadavre Exquis. Over the next few hours the sense of cadavre exquis the game is most apparent as different floral and herbal notes are used to change this outré gourmand accord. The unctuous nature of ylang ylang oozes across it. The acerbic nature of tagetes pierces it. Star anise amplifies it. Finally, stewed fruit adds an alternative sweetness; a kind of decaying almost rotted version. That degree of decay is what leads in to the base accord centered around the animalic ingredients of civet and castoreum. They add the entropy to the cleaner sweet woodiness of cypress, benzoin, and vanilla.

Cadavre Exquis has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Cadavre Exquis the perfume is a much more complete artistic vision than the visual pieces from the 1920’s. That is not surprising because the perfumers didn’t work as completely uninformed.  Even so the melding of the classic and the synesthetic works in a much more satisfying way that I could have imagined. Cadavre Exquis is a Franken-gourmand which is delightfully alive.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Mona di Orio Bohea Boheme- Monaesque Act II

As I am no doubt sure most who have read my perfume writing over the years know; when I find a perfumer who connects with me I’m a bit possessive. My love of perfume comes from its ability to connect with me on multiple levels not just that it smells good. So when a perfumer manages to consistently deliver perfumes which take me to this multi-layered state of engagement I consider them mine. Which means their perfumes are always going to be sought out by me. One of those perfumers was Mona di Orio. Mme di Orio was a perfumer who took me places few other perfumers did when I wore her creations. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2011. Since that time her partner Jeroen Oude Sogtoen has worked very hard to keep her vision and aesthetic alive. Over the last two years he has had to do the very difficult task of be the creative director and to find perfumers who could live up to having their creation in a bottle which had Mona di Orio on it.

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Jeroen Oude Sogtoen

While the loss of Mme di Orio was enormous it has allowed M. Sogtoen to take some time to understand what it was about her creations that made them distinctive. Which in turn has allowed him to take some time in choosing the perfumers to take on the task. The first new fragrance was released fifteen months ago. Myrrh Casati was the opening statement in defining what makes a perfume “Monaesque”. Now the second release Bohea Boheme seeks to define that phrase even further.

M. Sogtoen chose perfumer Fredrik Dalman to work with this time. By choosing younger perfumers without a huge portfolio to their name it probably makes it easier for M. Sogtoen not to have to push against an already developed style. Especially if you are asking them to design in a style of another perfumer. Bohea Boheme goes a long way towards refining the concept of “Monaesque”.

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Fredrik Dalman

If Bohea Boheme was just a play of lighter notes off of darker notes it would have some of the shadow/light duality Mme di Orio was known for. I also think it would come off like a band at the local bar doing cover versions of popular radio songs. It is recognizable but somehow not as good. M. Sogtoen has eschewed that approach with both of these recent releases. With Bohea Boheme I would say this is the most shadowy of any Mona di Orio brand perfume. The light here is only in specific points and it does little to banish the darkness.

Bohea Boheme is inspired by a tea from the Wuyi Mountains in China. Bohea Tea is a variety of the well-known oolong but permeated with the smoke of pine. It was this variety of tea which was tossed overboard during the Boston Tea Party. The reason for smoking the tea with pine was to dry out the leaves so they wouldn’t get moldy on the long sea voyage from China to Europe or further. What was a necessity in the 18th century has become a desired characteristic today. At my local tea shop I smelled some newly arrived Bohea Tea and the pine is noticeable but it is far from omnipresent. Bohea Boheme is much more interested in bringing that pine forward to really interact with the tea.

Bohea Boheme opens on an accord that most will recognize instantly as bergamot and oolong forma a faux- Earl Grey tea accord. M. Dalman puckishly adds some juniper berry to intimate the gin which might also be present nearby. If there is a single raw material I think Mme di Orio used with the utmost skill I would say it was osmanthus. M. Dalman takes osmanthus as the nucleus of the heart accord. He quite cleverly uses chamomile, a familiar tea scent on its own, to continue the tea theme. The osmanthus arises on the vapors of the tea bringing with it cardamom and iris. These notes damp down the apricot quality of osmanthus in favor of its botanical leather character. Throughout the days I wore this I found this accord very reminiscent of the smell of a freshly brewing pot of tea on a leather covered desk. In the base a very extroverted pine comes out and instead of gently perfuming the tea it moves it off to the side. M. Dalman uses not just the typical balsamic notes but adds in boxwood and sandalwood to further achieve his desired effect of smoky pine. Very late on vanilla helps soften the smoke with a tempering sweetness.

Bohea Boheme has 16-18 hour longevity but almost zero sillage; it is very much a skin scent.

It seems with each new release M. Sogtoen is going to attempt to define a style of perfume creation which can be connected to Mme di Orio. Bohea Boheme is Monaesque Act 2.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Mona di Orio.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jo Malone Golden Needle Tea- Tea Abstraction

I am lucky to have a fantastic tea store near where I live. When I walk in I am reminded of my childhood trips with my father to the tobacconist. I frequently have the thought how these two products of dried leaves can produce such a sublime olfactory experience. Tobacco has inspired many perfume brands. Tea has not had as many perfumes made featuring it as a focal point. Jo Malone London is trying to fix that with the Jo Malone Rare Teas Collection.

The Rare Teas Collection was a project which took the Jo Malone creative team, lead by Celine Roux, to all parts of the world looking for the rarest teas to base the perfumes upon. Once they had decided on six teas to feature it was up to perfumer Serge Majoullier to bring them to like.

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Serge Majoullier

This probably seems like a simple concept but as with many things; simple concept does not necessarily translate into something easy. According to the press materials it took four years to complete all six. Overall my impression of the collection is favorable especially if you are a fan of tea or tea-based fragrances. When trying them after I received the sample set there was one which stood out, Golden Needle Tea.

Golden Needle Tea is a specially harvested version from the Yunnan province in China. What sets it apart is the tea leaves are picked early in the spring so that the buds more than the leaves are what is harvested. I had never heard of it before the Jo Malone fragrances but my local tea shop had some for me to try. The tea leaves have a lot of darker facets to them. I can smell dried fruit, smoke, nuts, and honey after it is steeped. M. Majoullier would look to some of the deeper notes to create a perfume with the same name.

Golden Needle Tea the perfume is a fragrance in two acts. The first accord is a smoky leather one. It is smokier than the tea itself but it needs to be because sandalwood and benzoin are its running partners. Once they all come together it does resemble the tea leaves themselves but in a slightly abstract way; which is as it should be I think.

Golden Needle Tea has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

The other Rare Tea entries which garnered some interest from me were Silver Needle Tea and Oolong Tea. I would point out that M. Majoullier wasn’t trying for photorealism these are all artistic interpretations. One other caveat is these are not part of the usual Jo Malone collection this is considered a luxury collection with a corresponding price tag. Purely on an aesthetic level Golden Needle Tea does the best in realizing the vision of this collection.

Disclosure; This review was based on samples provided by Jo Malone London.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Heretic Parfums Poltergeist- Ghost of a Blind Pig

As much as I enjoy writing about the perfumes that manage to connect with me there is a downside. That is when yet another too large collection by a self-taught perfumer arrives. It is frustrating because the naivete of the untrained artist has the spectre of some good ideas but they are so often sketches; not fully formed concepts. I want to tell them before they’ve gone to all the expense of formulating and bottling this vestigial collection to stop and concentrate on the strongest entries. Dazzle the masses with quality instead of quantity. When I received my envelope of samples of Heretic Parfums it was another example of this kind of callow creativity. Except one of the eight did manage to haunt me; it is appropriately named Poltergeist.

The man behind Heretic Parfums is Douglas Little. Mr. Little has had a long career, via his website, as “a master of visual communication and storytelling”. This is most often conveyed as department store window displays and branded installations. According to the Heretic Parfums website Mr. Little has been “obsessed with fragrance for as long as I can remember.” Like so many before and probably after this is where he believes he has something new to show to the fragrance world. In the case of Heretic Parfums it is natural fragrance which, again on the website, he states “is a unique and unexplored niche within the fragrance world”. It is this kind of ill-informed nonsense which puts my teeth on edge. I want to send him the website of The Natural Perfumers Guild so he can meet some of the other people who have been working in this “unexplored niche” for years.

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Douglas Little

When I tried the eight perfumes in this debut collection seven of the eight were exactly what I expected. Mostly capable half-baked ideas. The materials Mr. Little is employing are of good to high quality. Just as I was about to file the whole collection away as forgettable the last sample I tried, Poltergeist, turned out to be the one which actually showed there might be some promise in Mr. Little.

Poltergeist is a surprisingly fascinating study of deep powerful notes with florals flitting throughout like optical illusions. Poltergeist opens with a strong blast of pine and wormwood. The pine is bold and the wormwood even bolder. Wormwood is the material behind absinthe. In Poltergeist the anisic qualities provide a nice companion to the camphoraceous pine. This is where geranium and neroli glide within and without. It was a pleasure while wearing Poltergeist to notice them for a moment only for them to disappear for a few moments. This all heads towards the only real base accord in the entire Heretic Parfums collection as the apparition grows fangs made of birch tar, oakmoss, and myrrh. It is this which haunted me enough to give Poltergeist a wear or two.

Poltergeist has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

There is an old Southern saying, “Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.” It will take some time to see if Poltergeist is the ghost of a blind pig or indicator that Mr. Little does have something to say with fragrance. Time will tell.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples from Barney’s.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pinrose Gilded Fox- Two-Fisted Fireplace Drinker

Two years ago I received a package for the new brand Pinrose. Founders and Creative Directors Christine Luby and Erika Shumate wanted to create a “shop at home” experience. They debuted with ten fragrances all priced modestly. The marketing idea was a consumer would read the website and request the ones they thought sounded best to them. They would get those samples as Pinrose Petals, one-time sachets with which you could decide if you wanted a bottle. It is an interesting way to interact with the consumer. I had sort of forgot about the brand until I received my latest package from Sephora which contained two new Pinrose releases. One, Wild Child, was a fairly straightforward floral similar to my memory of the original releases. The other one, Gilded Fox, was something different; a fun loving gourmand.

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Erika Shumate and Christine Luby

In the first set of releases Ms. Luby and Ms. Shumate definitely made sure they checked all of the different styles of perfume boxes. There were two chocolate focused gourmands, Sugar Bandit and Secret Genius. I would again use the phrase straight forward to describe them. This is not criticism per se. There definitely needs to be a brand which provides straight forward modestly priced perfume. Pinrose has definitely lived up to that.

For Gilded Fox Ms. Luby and Ms. Shumate worked with perfumer David Apel. I am not sure what the brief was for this. On the website is mentions sexy come-hither looks. My experience was this smelled like sitting by the fireplace with a hot chocolate in one hand and a hot buttered rum in the other. I had fun with it throughout the days I wore it.

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David Apel

Gilded Fox opens with chocolate but Mr. Apel adds in cardamom. It makes the chocolate more exotic. It reminded me of cardamom laced coffee except this was hot chocolate. The cardamom and chocolate swirl together in a way that kept my attention without tripping over into too sweet. Then the hot buttered rum accord comes next. This is one of my favorite fireplace drinks and I spend as much time sniffing it as drinking it. Mr. Apel captures that humid sweet boozy smell melded with the richness of the butter. The cardamom and chocolate are still here and it makes for a very fun combination. This could have spiraled out of control at a moment’s notice but Mr. Apel keeps it all together. He finishes Gilded Fox on a cedar and vetiver base accord.

Gilded Fox has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

I am very pleased to see that Pinrose is expanding into Sephora. I think this is a solid line of perfume which will appeal to that consumer. I worry a little bit about Gilded Fox because it seems a little more adventurous than the rest of the line. If you’re up for a fun gourmand give Gilded Fox and the rest of the Pinrose line a try next time you’re at the mall.

Disclsoure: This review was based on a sample provided by Sephora.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Nishane Istanbul Fan your Flames- Night of the Hookah

I have never been a smoker although I love the smell of tobacco. I think pipe tobacco in all of its various scented forms is one of the simple pleasures. My father smoked a pipe and I would tag along when he would go shopping for tobacco. It was one of the first places in my young life I attached with a specific smell. I think this is a common experience explaining why tobacco perfumes are as popular as they are. I am always interested in a new tobacco fragrance. When I visited the Nishane Istanbul stand at Esxcence 2016 their latest release Fan your Flames is a new take on tobacco.

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Mert Guzel and Murat Katran

The name comes from a saying by Rumi the thirteenth century Persian poet. The saying reads, “Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” It is a statement particularly apt when applied to founders and creative directors Mert Guzel and Murat Katran. For all of their perfumes they have chosen perfumer Jorge Lee to fan the flames of their vision and bring it to life. This vision was of a Turkish hookah café. It is a simply constructed fragrance that lets the tobacco do the heavy lifting throughout.

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Jorge Lee

M. Lee opens this visit with an almost outlandish mix of coconut and rum. Every time I wear Fan your Flames my very first impression is pina colada. Which is sort of appropriate because to cater to the young clientele the tobacco has become more flavored in recent times. I’m not sure if there is a pina colada flavored tobacco but I wouldn’t be shocked to discover there is. That is what Fan your Flames becomes as that tropical boozy accord matches up with tobacco within minutes. It does have that fun quality for about an hour until the tobacco becomes more prominent and the fanciful flavor dissipates. It is almost as if the kids have left and the older men who don’t need anything added to their tobacco have arrived. To really confirm the turn M. Lee uses oakmoss and cedarwood to form a bitingly woody accord in the base. Almost as if the discussion has turned into a debate.

Fan your Flames has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

From the moment I smelled this on a strip I knew this was my kind of tobacco fragrance. The early frivolity replaced by the earnest nearly tobacco soliflore in the end was very appealing to me. It really is an entire evening sitting in Istanbul breathing deep as the night moves through its paces.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Nishane Istanbul at Esxence 2016.

Mark Behnke