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

New Perfume Review Miller Harris Poirier D’Un Soir- Take Another Look

In the ever accelerating cycle of new releases which overwhelms me it is easy to lose brands underneath all the noise. That has unfortunately happened to Miller Harris. Miller Harris is a British brand who is overseen by the perfumer Lyn Harris. Back in 2003 I was introduced to the line with Feuilles de Tabac and I was immediately drawn in. I would go on to extensively explore the line and Ms. Harris was feeding my frenzy by producing four or five new releases a year. There was a clear bright aesthetic on display and it very much appealed to me.

Releases began to slow down and the last one I remember trying was 2011’s La Pluie. There were plenty of other brands vying for my attention. The allure of the unknown was more compelling than trying another Miller Harris. Then while in Milan for Esxence I attended a breakfast where the new Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection was premiered. There is a television commercial running in the US now for one of the older automobile brands, Buick. In the advertisement I am urged to give Buick “another look” because things have changed. I was thinking a lot about that commercial as the three fragrances, Cassis en Feuille, Coeur de Jardin, and Poirier D’Un Soir were presented to me. It was time to give Miller Harris “another look” because Ms. Harris has definitely changed things up.

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Lyn Harris

This collection is meant to capture a garden at morning, afternoon, and evening. Cassis en Feuille captures the morning with green blackcurrant wrapped around a dewy rose. Coeur de Jardin is the afternoon when all of the buds have attained full bloom. A rich floral trio of tunerose, rose, and jasmine re-create the heady natural bouquet. The final perfume for the evening, Poirier D’Un Soir is the one which captured my full attention. If I was pressed to describe a Miller Harris perfume I would use words like bright, citric, or transparent. The entire Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection breaks with that impression with Poirier D’Un Soir moving the furthest away from that description.

Porier D’Un Soir starts off with a pear poached in rum. The common bond in all three fragrances in the Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection is pear in the top notes. The other two use it in a way I am used to seeing it. In Poirier D’Un Soir by soaking it in rum it transforms the pear from something crisp to something sensually unctuous. It is a rough and tumble boozy beginning. Ms. Harris doubles down as she takes blackcurrant buds and tagetes to make an astringently green floral accord which is made less acerbic with the presence of peony and rose. What truly showed me Ms. Harris was working from a different palette was the next ingredient, birch tar. Sticky redolent birch tar bubbles up gathering all of these notes in a sticky brown matrix. Just when you think this might be getting a little too far afield Ms. Harris reels it all back in with a soothing base of cedar, and ambrette seeds.

Poirier D’Un soir has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

The entire Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection is worth “another look” for Ms. Harris’ willingness to make a break from what has worked so well over the years. If you do give this brand “another look” I think you will be pleasantly reminded of why you like this brand so much previously. I know that Poirier D’Un Soir has renewed my interest in what comes next for Miller Harris.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Miller Harris.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Vero Profumo Rozy Extrait de Parfum- The Pensive One

One of the things that makes independent perfumer Vero Kern so interesting is that she releases three different versions of each of her perfumes. What is special about this way of composing perfume is it is very similar to a visual artist or musician doing variations on a theme. If you have the skill you can give the person an experience with similar signposts but a different destination.

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Anna Magnani

Last year Ms. Kern released the Eau de Parfum and Voile D’Extrait versions of Rozy. Her muse for this perfume was Italian neorealist actress Anna Magnani. The Eau de Parfum was an intense version befitting the screen persona of Sig.ra Magnani. The Voile D’Extrait was the opposite as it captured a joyous explosion of an intelligent woman laughing. I thought the Voile D’Extrait was the best perfume I tried in all of 2014. When I attended Esxence I met with Ms. Kern and she pressed into my hand the final version of Rozy the Extrait de Parfum.

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Vero Kern

I have to admit I think Rozy Voile D’Extrait is such an amazing piece of perfumery it was difficult to start my process of getting to know Rozy Extrait de Parfum. If I am going to continue with my version of the olfactory Three Faces of Anna the Extrait de Parfum is the pensive one. This is a perfume which is full of complicated interiors. As I would wear it and follow one set of notes to another I often found myself taking a very different path as it seemingly changed its internal architecture like an Escher lithograph. Nothing exemplifies this more than the supporting amount of tuberose she uses in the heart. As I am continually circling the central rose a bit of indolic funk would cause my focus to waver. Drawing me in a different direction. There were days where I felt the tuberose was a figment of my imagination. There were other days it let me catch it and enjoy the skanky rose accord it formed. The entire Extrait de Parfum has pleasures like this to discover.

The Extrait de Parfum opens on the same notes that the Voile D’Extrait does but instead of bursting to life this time they are kept deeper and more focused. That means the peach and cassis, leavened with a bit of melon provide a core from which the central rose can flower upon. The peach in particular stays around a little bit longer and it provides a rich fruity contrast to the rose. Honey again provides texture but as less of a provocateur and more of an enabler for the rose. It is during this part of the development that the indoles played mind games with me. This all closes out with sandalwood, labdanum, and vanilla providing a final destination after a variable trip.

Rozy Extrait de Parfum has 14-16 hour longevity and very modest sillage.

I have been home from Milan for almost six weeks and I’ve spent at least one day a week examining Rozy Extrait de Parfum. I finally had to write all of this down because I feel that I will never cease discovering something new each time I wear it. There are very few perfumes which reward this kind of scrutiny. That Ms. Kern has finished off what is probably her strongest set of fragrances with this perfumed brain teaser is why I consider her one of the very best perfumers working in the world right now.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Vero Profumo.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Atelier Cologne Oud Saphir- Never Say Never Again

I grew up on the James Bond films. I’m pretty sure there was a time in my adolescence I believed I could be James Bond. Throughout the 1960’s there was only one James Bond, Sean Connery. Mr. Connery did the first five 007 movies. Then he quit for 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” only to return to do 1971’s “Diamonds are Forever”. After that movie was released he said emphatically that he would never play James Bond again. Until he did in 1983’s “Never Say Never Again”. One should always be careful about using the word never especially when speaking to people who will record those things. Certainly Sylvie Ganter-Cervasel co-owner and creative director at Atelier Cologne probably regrets the time she told me there would “never” be an oud perfume at Atelier Cologne.

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Sylvie Ganter-Cervasel and Christophe Cervasel

That assertion was made in the very earliest days of Atelier Cologne’s existence. One of the things I’ve admired about Mme Ganter-Cervasel and her partner in life, and business, Christophe Cervasel is the consistently evolving vision which has become a brand characteristic. Two years ago one of those evolutions was the creation of the Collection Metal. The idea was to work with rare materials and again re-define what it means to call something a “cologne”. It is only natural that an oud perfume fits in with this definition. The newest release is just that, Oud Saphir. If the brand has been ever-creating itself one thing which has remained a constant are the perfumers who create for Mme Ganter-Cervasel. Ever since the original five releases they have only used two. For this “never” perfumer Jerome Epinette signs his 15th perfume in the Atelier Cologne collection.

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Oud Saphir opens with the slightly twilight kind of citrus opening which has become a hallmark of the Collection Metal. In this case bergamot is given depth with ambrette and bite with pink pepper. It is shaded beautifully by M. Epinette as it sets you up for a deeper cologne experience than normal. Jasmine cut with the metallic green of violet leaves come next and they are placed on a plush leather accord. M.Epinette uses one of the most transparent leather accords I regularly experience and in Oud Saphir it is just the right amount of heft to support and not overwhelm the jasmine. This transitions into a base where M. Epinette wisely chooses to use an oud accord instead of the real thing. Honestly this is more the norm than not. In the case of trying to form a cologne around oud too much of the real stuff would have trampled this construction underfoot. By using an accord M. Epinette was able to again find the appropriate shading of oud to match the volume of the rest of the development. A bit of birch wood provides some of the more characteristic rough edges of oud without being oud. It all finishes with a light flight of vanilla over all of it.

Oud Saphir has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

As I wore Oud Saphir I started to realize it had some connection to my James Bond analogy. Oud Saphir is the most formal of the Atelier Cologne creations to date. When I’m looking at the perfume vault for something to wear underneath my tux during gala season I never even think about one of the Atelier Colognes. Oud Saphir has now filled this gap as I can definitely see myself wearing this under my formal wear, sipping a martini as I scan the crowd for enemy agents. I am very pleased that “never” has turned into Oud Saphir it is everything Atelier Cologne stands for.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Brecourt Off to Ibiza- Simply Good Fruity Floral

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Regular readers know that if there is one category of fragrance I have the most difficult time appreciating it is fruity floral. My biggest issue is that the fruit and the florals are usually layered with all the finesse of a jackhammer. They tend to meld into a syrupy sweet mess that I just find irritating. The ones that work for me are perfumes which accentuate fruit or floral and let the other support the leader. One member of this class of fragrance which has done this recently has been Brecourt Off to Ibiza.

Brecourt is the line founded by Emilie Bouge in 2010. Mme Bouge’s grandparents ran a perfume business in Grasse but would eventually close it down before she could continue. Mme Bouge would make her return to the family perfumery business with the founding of Brecourt. There are fifteen fragrances in the line and they cover an impressive spread of styles. All of them have been composed by Mme Bouge. In her bio on the website she mentions that she is looking to create a fragrance with contours. I have enjoyed the shapes of many of her earlier releases with the deep darkness of Farah my favorite. Off to Ibiza is the complete opposite of that perfume. Mme Bouge wants to create a bit of happy fun in a bottle capturing that anticipation as one prepares for a trip to Ibiza.

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Emilie Bouge

Off to Ibiza opens with the fruit as raspberry and watermelon act their roles. Mme Bouge keeps them on the light side. She also captures some of the watery nature of the watermelon with a bit of an aquatic accord. That aquatic accord provides the interstitial tissue to bridge to the single floral in Off to Ibiza, peony. Peony is not used nearly enough in perfumery. What Mme Bouge does with it in this fragrance makes me wonder why. Peony has a dewy floralcy similar to rose de mai. It also has a simplicity to it which also appeals as its fragrance manages to be enticing and buoyant. The peony in Off to Ibiza picks up on both the watermelon and the aquatic accord to combine into a larger accord that feels beachy to me. It all ends with a wash of white musks and sandalwood for a clean finish.

Off to Ibiza has 8-10 hour longevity and above average sillage.

I really was surprised at how much I liked Off to Ibiza. I think it is because Mme Bouge keeps it extremely simple but uses some less used members of the fruity floral fragrance community. It all adss up to a very pleasant olfactory trip.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Campomarzio 70.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Orlov Paris Star of the Season- Dominique’s Diamond

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When I got to Esxence this year there were a couple of new lines which were high on my list to try. I am usually drawn to these new brands because of the perfumer they are working with. In the case of the new Orlov Paris line that was the case. Dominique Ropion is one of my favorite perfumers especially when he is working for a niche brand. Orlov Paris was premiering five new perfumes by M. Ropion at Esxence. I think the collection as a whole is very strong but there is one which I just couldn’t wait to spend some more time with, Star of the Season.

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Star of the Season Diamond

Each of the perfumes in the Orlov Paris collection is based on a famous diamond which is also the name of each perfume. The diamond Star of the Season is a 100.10 carat diamond which was bought for a record price of $16,548,750 at auction in 1995. That is still the world-record for the highest amount paid for a single piece of jewelry at auction. When I think of diamonds I think of brilliance and sparkle. When I look at the picture of the Star of the Season above I see something which has mutable shades of blue much the way the ocean changes color in relation to the sky. I think M. Ropion looked at this diamond and also saw the deep violet color captured within and decided to make a crystalline iris perfume. I find Star of the Season to be sort of like gazing into a huge cut diamond and each day I wore it I was drawn by different facets and nuances as I allowed the olfactory brilliance to draw me in.

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Dominique Ropion

Star of the Season opens on a bold rose note as a sort of traditional harbinger of luxury. This is a dewy pure rose with the spicy core kept deep in the background. The orris comes next and it is a rich rooty iris. This also has its more common powdery elements dialed way back. It is earthier and M. Ropion adds patchouli to keep it tilted that way. Over time the earthy qualities fade and just the iris remains in all of its glory. It has a shine to it like it is those violet colors diffused through its namesake jewel. There is a quality of being captured in a crystal lattice which is what has made Star of the Season stand out for me. This all eventually settles onto a base of creamy sandalwood and warm vanilla.

Star of the Season has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

As he has done with all of the perfumes in the debut collection for Orlov Paris M. Ropion has discovered shades of brilliance to display. Star of the Season is the deepest of those shades and perhaps that is why it has captured so much of my initial enthusiasm. I can easily say that Star of the Season is the star of the inaugural Orlov Paris collection.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Orlov Paris at Esxence.

Mark Behnke

Editor’s Note: Orlov Paris will be available starting in July 2015. For those attending the upcoming Sniffapalooza Spring Fling. Orlov Paris is going to exclusively debut the collection at a champagne, caviar, and perfume reception on the evening of Saturday May 16 at the end of day one of Spring Fling.

New Perfume Review Providence Perfume Co. Provanilla- Castaway Vanilla

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There is a group of independent perfumers who I adore for their ability to poke and prod at the common perfume tropes. Natural perfumer Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co. is one of those unafraid to take the banal and try to make it something less so. I have to admit I forgot this when I opened my package from her with her latest release in it. As I finally revealed my sample from within its bubble-wrapped cocoon the name, Provanilla, made me groan a little inside.

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Charna Ethier

Vanilla is low on my list of favorite featured notes because it is used so often in such an obvious way. It is either the sweet confectionary type. Or the evocation of the vanilla orchid carrying a more floral sweetness tinged with green. It has the ability to overwhelm anything around it and that’s what turns it boring. That was my frame of mind as I sprayed a bit of Provanilla onto a strip. That’s when I was reminded not of the hundreds of boring vanilla perfumes out there but Ms. Ethier’s skill at bringing me around to seeing something new.

Provanilla is a mix of five different sources of natural vanilla which provide the spine of Provanilla. What Ms. Ethier does is to tie up her five vanillas and throw then overboard to wash up on an isolated tropical island. The two components which create the Cast Away vibe are coconut pulp and a melon-based aquatic accord. Provanilla is a fantastic example of Ms. Ethier’s adventurous aesthetic.

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Provanilla opens with the rich mix of the five sources of vanilla. This is a unique blend of vanilla because Ms. Ethier uses her own vanilla tincture to bind the vanillas she is using together. It makes it different but it is still vanilla. It is the melon-based aquatic accord which completely transforms Provanilla. It adds an incredible watery quality to everything. The vanilla accord bobs along on top of the water and once it finds shore it lands on top of a lovely bunch of coconuts. More specifically the pulp of the coconut which provides both complement and contrast to the central vanilla. The watery aquatic accord is still here too. I loved this tropical watery vanilla and it wears so easily without being uninteresting. Only in the base do things return to a sense of normalcy as eventually myrrh and balsam provide the base notes.

Provanilla has 6-8 hour longevity and very slight sillage.

I don’t know how many times it will take for Ms. Ethier to show me something different from that which I think I know well. Provanilla has perhaps provided the strongest proof yet of Ms. Ethier’s ability to completely change my thinking about a note.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Providence Perfume Co.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Le Galion Vetyver- A Reflection of the Past

One of my favorite discoveries at Esxence in 2014 was the revival of the Le Galion line of perfumes. Owner Nicolas Chabot has done an amazing job of restoring these perfumes to life so a new generation of perfume lovers can discover them. The perfumer who was behind the original Le Galion was Paul Vacher. M. Vacher is one of those ghosts from the time when perfumers were not spoken of. Once he formed Le Galion he was no longer quite as hidden. Le Galion eventually went out of business. Until a couple of years ago when M. Chabot stepped in. Last year at Esxence he premiered nine perfumes, all re-interpretations of M. Vacher’s originals. They were one of the most buzzed about brands at Esxence in 2014. Which made me wonder what the follow-up would be.

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Nicolas Chabot (Photo: Sylvie Mafray)

The answer is six new releases, five of which are brand new creations. As it was a year ago I was very impressed with the continued evolution of the Le Galion brand. I will be reviewing all of the new perfumes over the next few weeks but before heading into the new there was one last nod to the past, 1968’s Vetyver.

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Thomas Fontaine

M. Chabot’s partner for much of this olfactory architectural restoration has been perfumer Thomas Fontaine. M. Fontaine is becoming the best modern perfumer at finding a way to use contemporary materials to retain the feel of the past which is what he does very well with his re-work of Vetyver.

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Vetyver was definitely a product of its time. When I entered the booth at Esxence this year the poster above greeted me on one wall. The very 60’s woman holding a pistol and a bottle of Vetyver are like a visual time capsule. Vetyver thankfully is not as mired in the past. It does have a bit of that Austin Powers-like Shagadelic vibe very early on. As it develops the 60’s get left behind especially when Vetyver moves into the middle and end phases of development.  

The early moments of Vetyver are like an homage to the classic men’s powerhouse fragrances of the 60’s and 70’s as bergamot and mandarin are blended with nutmeg and coriander. The opening moments of Vetyver will remind you a lot of those perfumes. It has such a strong evocation of the time that I was worried the rest would feel as dated. Instead it uses the same ingredients which might have made up the next phase of those dated fragrances and instead re-balances them for a much different effect. Petitgrain, verbena, and lavender were also normal running partners to spicy citrus openings. M. Fonatine takes those ingredients and instead of ramping up the intensity into a knockout punch he turns it into a caress. The lavender forms the first light touch with tarragon and clary sage used to accentuate the herbal nature. Verbena is also kept feather light and is bolstered slightly by a precise amount of petitgrain to accentuate the lemon nature. This all leads to one of the more interesting appearances of vetiver I’ve tried recently. M. Fontaine brings the vetiver forward and allows it to have the next part of the development to itself. With a grouping of notes only slightly more intense than the ones used in the heart he shades Vetyver darker but more twilight than midnight. Sandalwood and tonka bean provide some depth and sweetness. Musks go for that slightly earthy effect that goes so well with vetiver as a note.

Vetyver has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Vetyver is a good example of the care M. Chabot and M. Fontaine have taken in updating M. Vacher’s perfumes into the 21st century. As I wore Vetyver over these first few warm days I noticed how different it was than many of my other vetiver fragrances. This speaks volumes about how to effectively bring the past into the present. Le Galion has done that extremely well.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Le Galion at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke