New Perfume Review Amouage Opus IX- The Ragged Edge of Control

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In music there is an elemental debate whether complete control and technical mastery is more important than a performance containing flaws but having more emotion. In jazz the mastery portion is represented by Wynton Marsalis and the emotion is exemplified by the late Dizzy Gillespie. One of my most treasured musical moments was seeing Wynton and Dizzy play at the Saratoga Jazz Festival together on Dizzy’s “A Night in Tunisia”. This was the two extremes brought into stark contrast as the technician and the emotive traded runs before coming together triumphantly. What I walked away from that night with was true emotion has to live on a ragged edge of control, unafraid to fall off. A recent perfume and its inspiration returned my thoughts to that as it pertains to perfume.

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Maria Callas as Violetta in "La Traviata" (1958)

Creative Director Christopher Chong of Amouage is a man of many passions but one of his most long-lived ones is that of opera. For the latest release in the Library Collection, Opus IX, he drew on that. Opus IX is inspired by one of the great opera singers of all-time, Maria Callas. Mme Callas was a top coloratura soprano in the first part of the Twentieth Century. She was more Dizzy than Wynton. Her performances were so imbued with visible emotions it would cause a fraying of some of the notes as she would reach for them. Derided by the traditionalists she was loved by audiences because of that primal connection which was made. Mr. Chong has chosen a specific performance by Mme Callas of La Traviata in Lisbon during 1958 to inspire Opus IX. The perfume is composed by Nathalie Lorson and Pierre Negrin. I use the word composed a lot when referring to a perfume but in the case of Opus IX this does feel like something which has three very distinctive phases, or acts, as the press material maintain.

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Christopher Chong

La Traviata is the opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi which tells the story of Violetta, the titular "fallen woman”. When we meet her in Act 1 she is one of the most famed courtesans in Paris. She throws a regular salon where the brightest lights of society attend. During the one depicted in La Traviata it is her first back after an illness. It is a room full of beautiful people harboring deep emotions. There is a duet between the young Alfredo and Violetta as he can for the first time try and show her the depth of his devotion. This song is called in English “Let’s drink from the joyful chalices”. The First Act of Opus IX feels very much like this duet to me. As Violetta represented by camellia is met on even terms by black pepper representing Alfredo. The camellia is also bolstered by jasmine to make it an incredibly heady floral. The perfumers have to use an equally intense amount of black pepper to find contrast. It is right up to the edge of being too much. Like Alfredo it runs the risk of taking its emotions too far. The perfumers are sure in their precision and it all stays brightly balanced like an operatic duet.nathalie lorson

 

Nathalie Lorson

Act 2 of the opera opens with Violetta and Alfredo happy living in the country outside of Paris. When Alfredo finds out Violetta is selling off her possessions to fund their country idyll. Events of the kind of missed communications rampant in most tragedies cause our lovers to end up at a party in Paris where their relationship is put to the figurative sword because of familial and societal pressures. It ends with Alfredo angrily throwing money at her feet in payment for her services. The early moments of idyll are shattered with naked emotions. The Second Act of Opus IX is a beautiful cacophony of notes delivered with all the messiness real emotions evoke. The perfumers employ gaiac wood, beeswax, and leather. These notes never seem to find a place to mesh appropriately. This kind of dynamism is going to be tough for some to take. It is very similar to the miscommunication of our protagonists. The smoke of the gaiac battles with a rich beeswax over a refined leather accord. The beeswax is the disruptor keeping apart the more easily paired gaiac and leather. It is the beeswax which maintains the separation.

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Pierre Negrin

In Act 3 of the opera Violetta is dying and Alfredo has been given the missing information he needs to understand all of her actions were because of her love for him. He rushes to her deathbed and arrives before it is too late. They sing another duet mourning the death of Violetta so young. For a moment it seems as if love, and song, has saved the day, only for Violetta to abruptly pass away. The Third Act of Opus IX has dispensed with the discord of the Second Act and now looks for new found harmony. The perfumers use ambergris and civet to represent our lovers at the end. The civet is full of deep animalic emotion and it overwhelms the leather and beeswax of the heart to bring the deeper aspects of the base into something more harmonious. The ambergris provides a fragile partner sometimes reviving only to falter under the civet. It is a deeply emotional place to finish our olfactory opera.

Opus IX has 14-16 hour longevity and way above average sillage.

If you can bring yourself to get lost in the emotion on display in Opus IX you will have a unique perfume experience. There are very few fragrances on the market that would dare this. It is not going to be universally loved, for this open sentimentality is not for everyone. As one who loves living on the ragged edge of emotion I can add Mr. Chong to Dizzy and Mme Callas as artists unafraid to fall only so that they can soar.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Le Galion Aesthete- The Elegant Snob

There have been a number of older brands which have been revived, especially over the last two or three years. The early days of these brands is a gradual re-formulation and re-release of the originals. Most of these brands, so far, have had no ambition to be more than a nod to the past. It was why I was so pleased to sit down with the owner and creative director of Le Galion, Nicolas Chabot, at Esxence 2015. The follow-up to last year’s re-release of Le Galion’s original founder Paul Vacher’s perfumes was for the brand to create new perfumes. There are three entirely new perfumes to be released in 2015. Two of them are by perfumer Vanina Murraciole and both are leather focused fragrances. Of the two there is one of them which is my favorite of the new compositions, Aesthete.

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Nicolas Chabot (Photo: Sylvie Mafray)

Aesthete is defined as, “a person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty”. That is an elegant definition for someone who might be, under other circumstances, called a snob. There is a nice bit of symmetry here as one of the original Le Galion perfumes by M. Vacher was called Snob. As M. Chabot looks to find a modern place for the venerable line Aesthete conjures up a more contemporary version of Snob. Where Snob was fruity floral focused on white florals; Aesthete is all about the leather.

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Vanina Murraciole

Mme Murraciole opens Aesthete on a bold bit of percussion with an overdose of incense matched with saffron. There is probably no better way to capture my attention than to use those notes. Mme Murraciole takes advantage of the intense incense concentration to bring the focus to the slightly metallic background great incense contains. This allows the saffron to coat over that and give it an even more exotic feel. Mme Murraciole’s leather accord is meant to evoke refined Persian Leather. I found it to be extremely soft and supple on my skin. Especially after the incense and saffron from the top notes. The leather gets some company with an extremely well-behaved jasmine. This is a nod to the white floral heart of Snob, I think. Mme Murraciole returns to something a bit more untamed as she uses castoreum and oud next. This is, exactly as you would expect it is, as animalic as it can get. It is like the leather is growing hair again. It has a fabulous development arc from the refined to the raw. It might even be a little too raw for some because it does offer a bit of a tonal shift. The base notes offer a shift back to something less provocative as Mme Murraciole uses sandalwood, vanilla, and a mix of white musks to provide a familiar foundation.

Aesthete has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

When I reviewed Snob I mentioned that it felt the most modern of the line which had been created 62 years previously. Aesthete reinforces the notion that Le Galion is not satisfied with re-interpreting the past but charting a brand new course. M. Chabot provides a steady hand and vision. Aesthete is the product of that and it shows. Le Galion is now ready to set sail on the modern olfactory ocean and I can’t wait to see where it lands next.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample I received at Esxence 2015 from Le Galion.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Atelier Cologne Jasmin Angelique- Red Hot and Green

As we approach the mid-point of 2015 if I was going to point out two trends which have stood out over the first half of the year it would be green fragrances and the use of szechuan pepper; mostly as a top note. When it comes to green it is one of the fragrance genres I like therefore having more different interpretations is a pleasant problem to have. The szechuan pepper was a note I was introduced to back at Pitti last September in a talk given by Mane.They passed around some differently extracted forms of it. Each had interesting quirks that I was looking forward to seeing how my favorite perfumers would use it. One of my favorite brands Atelier Cologne and one of my favorite perfumers Jerome Epinette provided me both; a new green perfume using Szechuan pepper called Jasmin Angelique.

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Sylvie Ganter-Cervasel and Christophe Cervasel (Photo: Sarah Bouasse via Flair)

Jasmin Angelique is the sixth entry in the Collection Matieres for Atelier Cologne. Co-owner and creative director Sylvie Ganter-Cervasel describes this collection as “mythical essences reinvented”. I describe it as things you shouldn’t be able to make colognes from, even if they are in absolue concentration. Jasmin Angelique is as close as it can get early on to being a traditional cologne but once it goes green and floral it transforms into something full of powerful intent while still retaining a cologne architecture.

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Jerome Epinette

M. Epinette uses a very traditional bright lemon opening which is at first made slightly green with angelica seeds. Then M. Epinette unleashes the Szechuan pepper. In the case of Jasmin Angelique it provides a piquant contrast you might normally get from baie rose. The difference with the Szechuan pepper is there is a deeper banked energy that radiates off of it. If lemon provides the sunshine the Szechuan peper is providing the molten red ball of the sun itself. These early moments are fascinating in their texture. The heart notes arrive with a green wave starting with galbanum and fig. They douse the fire of the top notes underneath a verdant vivaciousness. As the green pushes the top notes to the back ground the jasmine can then arrive. M. Epinette has to keep the jasmine tightly controlled bacause the green is meant to be ascendant and jasmine is the kind of floral that can take over. He does keep it on a short leash allowing it to take its place but not to dominate. The indolic core fits right into the galbanum and fig duet. After many hours Jasmin Angelique transitions into a base of amber, tonka, and incense. The amber is the leader of the pack with the incense and tonka providing support. The amber is as warm as the opening notes were as Jasmin Angelique finishes where it began, on a warm glow.

Jasmin Angelique has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Jasmin Angelique has to be one of the least floral perfumes I have ever tried which has Jasmine in the name. The keynotes of this perfume are the Szechuan pepper and the galbanum-fig heart chord. They are what draw me in when I am wearing Jasmin Angelique for the day. I once again tip my hat to Mme Ganter-Cervasel and M. Epinette for making a cologne out of a set of notes which you should have a difficult time doing it with. That they make it look so effortless is part of the magic of the Atelier Cologne brand.

Disclosure: This review was based on a press sample provided by Atelier Cologne.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Sonoma Scent Studio Amber Incense- Intimate Incense

As I wrote when I posted my five favorite incense perfumes Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio composed one of my favorite incense perfumes ever in Incense Pure. That was a mixture of synthetic and natural ingredients. Ms. Erickson has decided to re-visit incense again; this time for her Sonoma Naturals collection.

In 2013 Ms. Erickson decided to create an all-natural botanical line of fragrances within her Sonoma Scent studio brand. She would work at high concentrations so as to enhance the beautiful natural ingredients she was using. Both of the first two releases Cocoa Sandalwood and Spiced Citrus Vetiver were extremely good. I was wondering when she would return to this line. The answer is 2015 as Ms. Erickson’s latest release is Amber Incense.

To compose an all-natural incense perfume is a significant challenge. Usually a perfumer will use one of the longer lasting woody synthetics as a way of extending the incense used over the length of the fragrance’s development. Ms. Erickson didn’t have that luxury so instead she turned to one of the longest-lasting natural woods, cedar. By co-distilling her frankincense with cedar she was able to use the longevity of the cedar as a matrix for the frankincense to permeate. It is the kind of ingenious solution common in the independent perfume community and it works. The cedar-frankincense spine of Amber Incense provides the substance necessary to add in other notes.

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Laurie Erickson

The cedar and frankincense are present from the first seconds to the final moments. Each phase of the development of Amber Incense uses a set of other natural notes to provide the development from top to base. The first set of complementary notes is led by Szechuan pepper. This turns the very early moments into a kind of cinnamon-like accord. It changes fairly rapidly as a natural damascenone adds that plummy rose quality and converts it into a resinous floral heart. Jasmine, heliotrope, and rose provide the floral depth for the damasceone to rest upon. The base turns a little more woody as oak and oakmoss start to pull the cedar more to the foreground. A nice touch of sweet vanilla provides a bit of sweetness in juxtaposition to the chill of the incense and the clean woodiness of the cedar.

Amber Incense has 8-10 hour longevity and very little sillage.

All three of the Sonoma Naturals are very personal fragrances for the wearer. This was by design as Ms. Erickson wanted these to be softer more intimate perfumes. Amber Incense is the epitome of this aesthetic as it feels like it is a second skin of resinous richness. i didn’t think it was possible for me to like an incense fragrance more than Incense Pure; Amber Incense is giving it a run for its money.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Sonoma Scent Studio.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jacques Zolty Flowersea- St Barth’s Aquatic

I am not sure what it is about the Caribbean island of St. Barth’s but there are a number of creative directors who want to capture the smell of it. One of those is former 1970’s model Jacques Zolty. M. Zolty after his modeling and acting career had cooled down decided to retreat to St. Barth’s as his permanent home. He has lived there for over 25 years now and is as much a native as those who were born there. In 2006 he decided he wanted to start a perfume which captures the smells of his island. He would partner with Roberto Drago to create the line.

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Roberto Drago

Sig. Drago’s vision for the Jacques Zolty line was to create an intermediate line between mainstream and niche. The line would represent something different from what you could find at your local mall but not so unusual as to create a barrier for a consumer to have to leap over. I have admired the restraint of the perfumes in this line. I think Sig. Drago’s vision is clear and the perfumes execute them more than capably. Last year’s release Van-ile was a good example of this aesthetic. For 2015 the latest release Flowersea jumps on the revival of the aquatic fragrance ongoing.

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Marie Duchene

For the previous five releases in the Jacques Zolty line they purposefully stayed away from going for the sea and sand vibe. In Flowersea Sig. Drago asks perfumer Marie Duchene to finally go for it with a suntan lotion component thrown in for good measure.

Flowersea opens with a calone-based marine accord but it is also fortified with a healthy dose of ozonic notes to give the freshness a more open air quality. Together this is like looking at the horizon over an expanse of turquoise water. So there is the sea. For the flower part Mme Duchene uses frangipani, jasmine, and peony to create a rich tropical flower accord. The rougher edges of the indoles are removed leaving only the prettiness of the flowers to mix with the sea part. As you’re walking this flower laden beach you need some sunscreen and Mme Duchene uses coconut flower and a whole lot of white musk to create the oiled sun warmed skin accord. It all ends on clean woods of cedar and sandalwood.

Flowersea has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Flowersea is the most niche-like of the Jacques Zolty fragrances so far. I wonder if Sig. Drago has just decided to start transitioning the line a little more towards niche. Time will tell on that. What I like about Flowersea is that it is yet another modern aquatic that is grabbing my interest in a perfume sector I thought was tapped out. Maybe it just needed some new perspective from somewhere in-between mainstream and niche.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Jacques Zolty at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

Title Graphic via The Beauty Cove

New Perfume Review Jul et Mad Les White Nin-Shar- Hanging in Babylon

For a brand to thrive they need to be willing to take on new directions. They also need to be aware that the new direction needs to feel connected to what has come previously. When I learned about the new Jul et Mad Les White Collection I was interested to see how, what seemed like, a new direction would feel.

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Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica-Blanchard

Jul et Mad is the perfume brand owned and creatively directed by married couple Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica-Blanchard. The first four perfumes in the line were chapters in their love story from first meeting to marriage. With Les White it is inspired by ancient civilizations that they admire. Those first four perfumes had sprightliness along with the frisson of a new relationship. They also were mostly on the lighter side of things. Les White was going to head for the deeper richer style of perfume that hadn’t really been represented by Jul et Mad so far.

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Sidonie Lancesseur

When I stepped up to the booth at Esxence 2015 I had the inspiration explained to me. Then I had the chance to try all three. I was very pleased to find they all adhered to what I would consider the Jul et Mad aesthetic as they all took a dive into the deep end of the perfumed swimming pool. Perfumer Luca Maffei was responsible for Nea and Garuda. Perfumer Sidonie Lancesseur did Nin-Shar. I am going to review all three and will save Sig. Maffei’s for another day. Mme Lancesseur’s entry is a good place to start.

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Nin-Shar is the Goddess of Plants in Sumerian mythology. The ancient civilization Mme Lancesseur was asked to interpret was that of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Hanging Gardens didn’t really hang they were the original rooftop gardens on the Royal Palace of Babylon. As you can imagine Nin-Shar would be a busy goddess overseeing all of this. In Mme Lancesseuur’s perfume we find her in the section of the garden where roses grow. Nin-Shar is a decadently rich rose fragrance.

Mme Lancesseur uses an interesting rose accord to open Nin-Shar called Rose Liquor. It smells to me like rose which has been marinating in rum. It imparts a boozy floral quality to the early moments. It also has a kind of dark fruits character to it as it dominates for almost an hour and it slowly evolves over that time. The heart of Nin-Shar is actual Turkish rose along with Egyptian jasmine. A lot of time these raw materials are used so as to moderate their spicy and indolic facets, respectively. Mme Lancesseur couldn’t afford to allow that or they would have been lost to the rose liquor. She uses everything those notes have to give. This makes for a floral heart with an intensity of deep floral highlights that is in constant evolution on my skin. I think because Mme Lancesseur doesn’t try to hold back it makes for an overall effect which is much more kinetic than you might expect from something this intense. We head for a woody base with one of the Robertet patchouli fractions which accentuates the more herbal nature of patchouli. Mme Lancesseur blends oud, cedar, and sandalwood as her foundation. Unlike the heart accord this is kept tightly controlled. That allows the rose to linger much longer over the final stages. A bit of sweet vanilla and frankincense round things out.

Nin-Shar has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Nin-Shar is without a doubt the deepest and strongest perfume in the entire Jul et Mad Collection. Even so it does not feel out of place. It feels like the deeply emotional connection between two individuals in love. Had they chosen to make this Chapter 5 of the perfumed love story it would have fit. Instead we have an opulent rose which seems like its own Ancient Wonder.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Jul et Mad at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Brioni- The Cut of a Fine Suit

One of my very favorite perfumes in my collection is the discontinued Brioni which came out in 2009. It was one of the few perfumes which I completely fell in love with from almost the first moment I put it on my skin. It was based on the Italian luxury men’s suit line of the same name. I have never owned a Brioni suit but the perfume I have worn over and over again. I don’t speak about it often because it is discontinued and I might be the only person left who remembers it.

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Brendan Mullane

I was very excited to see an article in Women’s Wear Daily in October announcing the release of a new Brioni fragrance. In the original fragrance the perfumer and creative direction behind it was unknown in this new version two of my favorite people would be involved. Brendan Mullane the creative director of Brioni would also collaborate with Raymond Matts as they asked perfumer Frank Voelkl to bring their ideas to fruition. There was one quote by Mr. Mullane, in the article, which gave me a lot of hope for this new fragrance, “we didn’t want it to smell like a best seller”. That is a promise I have seen broken over and over again as I end up smelling something all too derivative. In this case the entire creative team lived up to Mr. Mullane’s aspirations.

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Raymond Matts

When I walk into a tailor to buy a suit I really enjoy the smell of the fresh pressed fabric with a hint of wood and leather underneath. That would have been the easy way to go in constructing a perfume based on a line of men’s clothing. The only one of those scents M. Voelkl tries to re-create is that of the crisp pressed fabric. The rest of the perfume is as unique as the brand with which it shares its name.

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Frank Voelkl

Brioni opens on a brilliant mix of lemon tinted with lime. The first few minutes is all about the lemon. The lime adds a bit of tart along with blackcurrant buds adding a shade of green. This is a lively opening which leads to a floral heart. The core of that heart is magnolia with its woody floralcy. M. Voelkl chooses to complement it with violet, orris, and juniper berry. The magnolia soars and expands with the other three notes adding texture as it opens up over a few hours. Brioni ends on a fresh pressed fabric accord. Cedar forms the foundation of this accord but it is the other notes which make it stand out as Laotian oud, saffron, and licorice come together to form one of the cleanest richest fabric accords I have ever encountered.

Brioni has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Even with the excellent creative team behind this new version of Brioni I expected to like it; but not as much as I did the original. I am very surprised to like it every bit as much as that older version. I am also very happy it is an entirely new creation bearing little similarity. It means that both of them can be part of my regular rotation. Brioni is as unique and beautiful as the suits which also carry the same name.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample I received at Sniffapalooza Spring fling 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Les Liquides Imaginaires Succus- In the Treetops

There are brands that have almost pretentious ways of describing their fragrances. It can be difficult to move all of the heavy-handed words to the background and allow the perfumes to do the talking. In the past Les Liquides Imaginaires has used too many words and as a result some very interesting compositions where tied down under the prose. Les Liquides Imaginaires’ co-founder and creative director is Philippe di Meo. He started in 2013 releasing two different trios of perfumes. The very first was an exploration of perfumes focused on the dark alcoholic inspirations of port, red wine, and champagne. When I tried the champagne-based one Dom Rosa I was very surprised at the experimental nature of this mix of bubbly champagne and classic rose surrounded by metallic and chilly notes. It stood out as the other two were more mainstream in their construction and less adventurous. In the two trios which would follow the same pattern emerged as one would seem to have a more experimental edge to it and that was the one which appealed to me most.

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Philippe di Meo

The fourth and newest trio is called Eau Arborantes. This time I purposefully did not read all of the press copy I just wanted to see what I got from the three perfumes. Eau Arborantes obviously conjures up green living things. Tellus is a very straightforward earthy patchouli which held no interest for me. Saltus seemingly wanted to go for something woodier and resinous. It achieves this but the only real interesting difference is the eucalyptus which plays off the predominantly sandalwood perfume it is. Succus though is the one which really captured my attention as it rolled through a series of sprightly transitions from citrus to herbal to transparent floral to end on a woody base. The rapid movement felt like a fast moving breeze and it made wearing Succus a lot of fun. Succus, as was Saltus, was signed by perfumer Shyamala Maisondieu.

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Shyamala Maisondieu

Succus opens on a typical orange and grapefruit tart and juicy citrus accord. Very quickly Mme Maisondieu keeps it from being too familiar as she adds rosemary, juniper, and clary sage. They infuse the citrus, tinting it with an herbal verdancy. Almost as soon as I start to enjoy this we are moving on as a bit of laurel and an orchid accord provide an opaque floralcy from out of the citrus and herbs. Mme Maisondieu goes for a mixture of synthetic wood and musk with Georgywood and Moxalone providing each, respectively. A bit of incense and a little vetiver tie it all together nicely.

Succus had 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Once I had tried them all I went back to read the press release to find out Eau Arborantes is meant to be a tree from the earth (Tellus) to the trunk (Saltus) to the high treetops (Succus). Going back and reading that I definitely get the imagery. Succus is the one which really does reach the heights for me and belongs atop the other two in this trio.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Les Liquide Imaginaires.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Jangala & Long Courrier- Cruising with Pierre (Part 2)

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Continuing the reviews of the new Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere with Jangala and Long Courrier.

In most of the islands there is this wonderful mix of rainforest which grows right next to the ocean. If you spend anytime walking thorough these jungles there is this bit of natural scent collision as the breeze off the ocean carries the smell of the sea deep into the verdancy of the rainforest. It is a heady mixture of green and ozonic. M. Guillaume’s attempt at this is called Jangala. M. Guillaume is the second perfumer who has recently used a bit of eucalyptus to simulate the smell of fresh scrubbed air as you breathe in. This air is what you experience after the rain has fallen in the rainforest. Everything is dripping with water but the air smells clean and sweet. M. Guillaume uses cardamom and ginger blossoms primarily to simulate the tropical forest. Then the sea breeze makes its way between the trees infusing everything with a marine lift. The damp earth of the rainforest floor is recreated with an accord of sandalwood, coconut, and vetiver. It is a moment in time and place captured in perfume.

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Pierre Guillaume

Long Courrier is what happens when M. Guillaume’s deft touch with gourmand notes decides to set sail. It is like fusion cooking as cocoa and vanilla bob upon the ocean. In the press materials M. Guillaume says he wants Long Courrier to be “the delicious scent of suntan lotion”. I think he did his job too well because it is much more delicious than it is skin product. There is much of the sea and sand around to not let you forget this is aquatic, though. It opens with a sea accord buoyed with the use of a particularly luminous orange blossom. It transforms into something opaque and ethereal as it slowly drifts away. What is left behind is a strong vanilla and cocoa accord along with the smell of the ocean underneath. I found this combination oddly compelling each day I wore this. It was always confusing as it felt like I was eating confections while floating on the ocean. M. Guillaume makes this work and in the final part of the development it is mostly vanilla and ocean on top of sandalwood which finishes Long Courrier off.

These four fragrances are just the start and I got previews of the upcoming four releases which will happen over the rest of 2015. The one called Mojito Chypre I have smelled on a strip twice and now I am eagerly awaiting its release as it is the perfect bartender’s scent. M. Guillaume has lived up to his promise to make me love aquatics all over again without using a drop of Calone.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Pierre Guillaume at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Entre Ciel et Mer & Paris Seychelles- Cruising with Pierre (Part 1)

Over the past year or so some of my favorite perfumers have decided to take on one of the most tired perfume tropes there is; the aquatic. What has made this particular fragrance genre so banal is the overuse of the aromachemical Calone. The great majority of aquatics start and finish with a huge quantity of this and no matter what you try and put around it the Calone is most of what you experience. The aquatics which have made me sit up and notice again have been largely a “Calone-Free” zone.

Prior to seeing Pierre Guillaume in Milan at Esxence 2015 he had told me he was working on a collection of aquatics. I didn’t hide my disappointment very well and he promised me he would do it without Calone. In what will eventually be a collection of eight fragrances I have the first four. The collection is called Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere. M. Guillaume did what he had asserted he could do he has created an entirely Calone-Free set of perfumes which take a very tired style of fragrance and re-invigorate it. I like all four of these and I am going to split my review up into two parts. I will start with Entre Ciel et Mer and Paris Seychelles.

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Pierre Guillaume

As one who grew up next to the ocean I think one of the things which bores me to tears is that perfumers and creative directors don’t realize there are so many different natural fragrances to the seashore. M. Guillaume does understand this and in Entre Ciel et Mer captures one of the key odors I connect with the ocean; the slightly iodine-like smell of the sea spray. M. Guillaume employs a new molecular distillation of sea algae from the Pacific. When you hear algae I imagine you are thinking “low tide” and the pungency which goes with that. Scrub that from your mind and instead think of the spray as the waves crash and you breathe it in fresh and damp. It really is a remarkable evocation of the crashing surf that M. Guillaume has achieved. He adds in a bit of thyme and ambergris but the star of this show is the algae. It all eventually ends on a sandalwood finish.

Paris Seychelles is all about the smell of the person sunning themselves on the beach. M. Guillaume wants the smell of sun warmed skin coated with suntan lotion on top of the milieu of the beach and the tropical flowers growing at the ocean’s edge. The bite of black pepper grabs my attention before we dive into his skin accord. He starts with the mixture of salicylates that form the typical suntan lotion accord. A bit of lily picks up the floral facets. Some coconut milk finds the creamy parts. Monoi oil brings in the tiare and completes the foundation of the skin underneath. All of this is accomplished while it is clear the sand and the surf are still around but off in the distance. It is the memory of beach vacation as it lingers for days after your return.

On Monday I’ll cover the remaining two perfumes, Jangala and Long Courrier.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Pierre Guillaume at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke