There are times most recently when I am presented with a marketing campaign for a new perfume brand where I can tell more time was spent on the publicity than the perfume. It has gotten so bad that the more elaborate the presentation the more my expectations plummet. It was with skepticism turned to maximum that I started to read through the materials from new independent perfume brand Euphorium Brooklyn. The founder of the line, Stephen Dirkes, has created a mythology around his perfumes where it is difficult to determine what is true and what is fiction. What was true for me was I had fun reading through it but I expected the perfumes to be not nearly as compelling. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Cilice and Wald the first two releases.
Based on the amount of fact-checking I could do I can’t really confirm whether any of this is true and the press materials mention it is a combination of fiction and non-fiction. So what comes next is straight out of those press materials. The brand is based on the story of the Euphorium Bile Works which was founded in Brooklyn in 1860. There were three perfumers attached to the enterprise Etienne Chevreuil, Christian Rosenkreuz, and Rudolph Komodo. They are represented in the logo as the stag, bear, and dragon respectively. Each of the perfumers will have one of their perfumes reproduced for the brand. Cilice is by M. Chevreuil and Wald is by M. Rosenkreuz. The third fragrance will be called Usar by M. Komodo. One final bit from the background is M. Komodo invented a process by which the fragrances induce euphoria called, wait for it, The Komodo Process.
As I said it was all great fun to read through but I have to give the team behind Euphorium Brooklyn credit Cilice and Wald live up to this fanciful tale. They have a fascinating roughhewn unfinished quality. Usually I find it irritating but maybe this time they wore me down with a Komodo Mind Trick. Both Cilice and Wald are very simple but they are also fun.
To give you an idea of the prose on the website here is the description of M. Chevreuil’s inspiration for Cilice, “Etienne sought to capture and convey the sensuality of the environment and intensity of emotion when a young nun is encountered in her cloistered cell. An intimate and ecstatic moment is observed as she becomes transcendent.” When you read that you might expect a cold stone cell infused with incense amid the leather bound books on the acolyte’s desk. That is exactly what Cilice delivers. There is no real development off of that mixture and that is what gives it a primal quality that I found particularly enjoyable. As for euphoria well this time The Komodo Process missed its target.
I can’t even begin to reproduce the story of M. Rosenkreuz’s inspiration for Wald. It is so broadly melodramatic that I couldn’t stop laughing. Wald is another of these forest milieu fragrances that a number of independent perfume brands have undertaken recently. Wald is a simple scentscape of a forest containing cedar and pine with a bit of smoke from a fire hanging in the boughs while the scent of the decomposition rises up to meet it. This time The Komodo Process maybe had its way with me as Wald really hit a sweet spot for me and I really enjoyed the time I spent with it.
Cilice and Wald are perfume oils and as such they have 8-10 hour longevity but almost no sillage.
These perfumes are not anything terribly original or unique. They are well done and by making them oils they allow a wearer to have something quite bold on without projecting it around the room. I am looking forward to the last in the trilogy, Usar, because M. Komodo should have his process finely tuned in that one. In the meantime if you find me out wearing Wald or Cilice you might be able to convince me about a great deal on a bridge.
Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Twisted Lily.
Editor's Note: If you want to check out the website here is the link. Be warned subtle it is not.