This time of year always brings surprises. One of the best surprises is when a perfumer is so excited about something new they get it out before the end of the year. Such was the case when independent perfumer Hiram Green told me he was releasing a new perfume. It was surprising because Mr. Green usually spaces his perfumes out by more than a year but in the last twelve months we have seen three new ones; Voyage, Dilettante, and now Arbole Arbole. What is impressive is he seems to have found a creative sweet spot form where everything is coming together near perfectly. Arbole Arbole exemplifies this.
Frederico Garcia Lorca
The name of the perfume comes from a poem by Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca. In the poem, it tells of a young girl picking olives high in a tree. While perched there, she is tempted by three different men to come join her in their city. Four riders from Anadalusia ask her to Cordoba; three bullfighters extend an invitation to Sevilla; finally a young man bedecked in rose and myrtle wants her to accompany him to Granada. She defers going with any of them choosing, instead, to continue to enjoy the day in her tree. When I wear Arbole Arbole I get an amazing smell of ripe olives, the wood of the tree, and the powder the pretty young girl is wearing. It is a fabulous interpretation of Garcia Lorca’s words.
Mr. Green uses patchouli as the basis for the smell of olives. There is something else here, along the lines of ylang-ylang, which provides a complementary oiliness to complete the olive accord. This is what I get for the first few minutes. I have only smelled a couple of other olive accords previously and those were accomplished with specific synthetic materials. Mr. Green creates his with only natural materials which makes it feel more vibrant. It takes great skill to achieve this without making it off putting. Like the young girl in the poem it invites you to climb the tree with her. Cedar and sandalwood but mostly the former provides that green woodiness of the tree. The cedar imparts that clean woody nature that is only made slightly less strident by the sandalwood. As we reach where the young girl is perched the sweet smell of her powder comes to us. Mr. Green uses a unique combination of tonka bean and vanilla. Again, I think there is a hint of rose helping to tilt the sweeter notes towards the powdery. There is a perfumer’s technique where adding a figurative drop of something will open up particular facets of the primary notes. It is my suspicion that is what Mr. Green has done in the top accord and the base.
Arbole Arbole has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Garcia Lorca’s poem begins and ends with the same couplet, “Arbole, Arbole, seco y verde.” Which translates to “Tree, Tree, dry and green”. It describes the suitor who has won the girl’s heart by being itself. Mr. Green has won my heart with Arbole Arbole because it is also seco y verde. This is one of the best new perfumes of 2016 because Mr. Green composes with a full heart coupled with an imaginative mind. He also seems to understand that the siren call to distant cities doesn’t matter when all you need is right in front of you.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.