It was almost exactly a year ago that I reviewed Parfums de Marly Layton. I concluded that review with the belief this was the most accessible perfume from the brand. That has proven true as Layton has become the best seller I predicted it could be. When a brand releases something as crowd pleasing as that I wonder what they will follow-up with. Will they go for more crowd pleasers or will they return to their quirky ways. As a fan of those latter perfumes I sort of wanted that. It would turn out that the decision creative director Julien Sprecher would make is to add some of that off-beat sensibility to the skeleton of Layton and call it Layton Exclusif.
M. Sprecher retained the perfumer behind Layton, Hamid Merati-Kashani, for Layton Exclusif. I always appreciate when a brand uses the same perfumer because there should be no one with a better feel for where expansion and contraction can take place within the original. Layton Exclusif is a great example of how this hypothesis bears fruit. It shows right in the opening moments as M. Merati-Kashani trades out the crisp green apple of the original for the sulfurous citrus of grapefruit. Much of what follows in Layton is traditional fougere which for Layton Exclusif it is transformed to the Parfums de Marly strong suit of Orientals. It means it dives much deeper with some added formality to the overall aesthetic.
As mentioned the top accord is focused around grapefruit which is given a bit of leavening by mandarin. The floral heart is much lusher than the original; rose gathers geranium and gardenia to form a powerful accord. All of this is similar but different to Layton. In the final third is where things really diverge. The sandalwood remains but M. Merati-Kashati wraps it in amber, coffee, and civet. I think that latter ingredient is used to provide a faux-oud accord. It is where the animalic civet captures that same quality of oud while surrounding it in other woods allows for something less intrusive while still adding an exotic feel. The amber and coffee provide a much more pleasant harmony than I might have suspected. It ends up being my favorite drydown of any Parfums de Marly.
Layton Exclusif has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I admire what I suspect M. Sprecher is trying here with his best seller. He is asking those who love Layton to take another baby step towards Layton Exclusif’s more niche-y sensibility. If that is true I think that makes Layton Exclusif the ideal flanker. In any case I predict this is going to have as large an audience as the original. M. Sprecher keeps Layton Exclusif from being a bridge too far to those discovering niche perfumery through Parfums de Marly.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I received from Parfums de Marly.