There are many ways to construct a perfume. A few complementary notes. A single soliflore. A set of complex accords. Then there is the fragrance version of a pizza with everything on it, including extra cheese. I can make the argument that getting something with many competing ingredients to sing in unison is as difficult as it gets. When a perfume has so much going on it also runs the risk of spiraling out of control with just one wobble of the madly spinning construct. There are a few perfumers who have mastered this style of perfume making; one of them is Rodrigo Flores-Roux. His latest release for Alford & Hoff the aptly named Alford & Hoff No. 3 is a fantastic example on how to do this.
Alford & Hoff is an All-American lifestyle brand founded by former athletes Barry Alford and Jefferson Hoffman. They branched out in to fragrance in 2009 with the original Alford & Hoff which was a nice osmanthus centered Oriental. In 2015 they followed up with Alford & Hoff No. 2 which I found much more interesting as a mélange of spices and herbs over woods in their take on a sport fragrance. Sr. Flores-Roux has been the perfumer for these previous releases as well as this latest.
Alford & Hoff No. 3 is described as an “ultra-contemporary aromatic scent” which is one of those infrequent occasions where I agree with this description. Sr. Flores-Roux designs a fragrance of three distinctive precisely constructed accords each with a pivoting keynote which provides this contemporary effect.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the way Sr. Flores-Roux constructs his top accord. He starts with a familiar citrus effect in cedrat and matches it with cardamom. He provides a rich boozy contrast with absinthe amplified with angelica root and angelica seeds. This is all nice but it is the introduction of the set of hair spray aldehydes on a flying carpet of rhubarb which transforms this entire opening into something quite amazing. The aldehydes sharpen the citric while the rhubarb turns the absinthe more vegetal all while simultaneously creating an expansiveness. This is what Sr. Flores-Roux does so brilliantly when he works on this scale. He repeats the same with the heart accord. Clary sage and nutmeg work with a Kadota fig accord the transformative note here is a full on rooty iris. A little geranium also helps modulate the iris from getting powdery. The base accord is centered around a mixture of three isolates of vetiver. Cedar picks up the woody nature. The synthetic Belambre warms it with a hybrid ambery-woody effect. What pulls it all together is a motorcycle jacket leather accord which picks up on the other notes in the base as the iris and aldehydes did in the earlier phases.
Alford & Hoff No. 3 has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is one of those reviews which cannot do justice to all that is going on within the construction of this fragrance. This is just a fantastic technical example of how to build a complex perfume. This is on top of it being one of the better mainstream perfume releases this year. I am hoping Mr. Alford and Mr. Hoffman ask Sr. Flores-Roux if he wants to build a perfume over and over again if they give him this kind of latitude.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.