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.
When I was in high school and needed the car I would have to go pick up my father from his friend whom he carpooled with. On our way home was one of the big horse racing tracks in S.Florida, Calder. One of my dad’s favorite things to do was to follow the racing results in the daily sports pages. By looking at those results he would be able to pick out a couple of horses he liked. If it happened that one of those horses was running on a day I picked him up, we would make a little detour. It was some of my favorite time I spent with my father as he would explain to me his thought process behind his choices. It is something which has stuck with me ever since. The idea of looking for the pattern of performance which will lead to success. There is one perfume line which always brings back this memory to me because they are a horse-themed brand; Parfums de Marly.
I discovered Parfums de Marly at the Elements Showcase in 2013. I hadn’t realized they had been around for three years prior to that. In that first exposure, I sort of felt like I was with my dad looking over the perfumes named after horses with the perfumers as trainers. There were definite thoroughbreds in Herod and Pegasus. There was also a delightful quirkiness where creative director Julien Sprecher was not looking to play it safe. Ispazon and Shagya pushed hard on my sensibilities but over time I came around to appreciating both. As a result, I am always interested when there is a new addition to the line. For the end of 2016 Layton is the newest.
One of the things which is difficult with a brand like Parfums de Marly is while I like quite a few of the perfumes there has been no easy entry point. Until now all of them have a definitive presence that is best appreciated by those who know their perfume Racing Form. I think Layton changes all that. Perfumer Hamid Merati-Kashani has composed a perfume of charm designed to draw a new person in to the line.
The opening of Layton is a fantastic combination of lavender, mandarin orange, and green apple. When it is used correctly green apple provides a distinct focal point with crisp lines for a perfumer to elaborate upon. M. Merati-Kashani uses the lavender and orange as perfect counterbalance to the apple. It is a flat out sprint to the quarter pole as it is full of pace in the early moments. Layton settles into a steady pace over the next quarter as geranium acts as the fulcrum for jasmine and violet. The geranium is the predominant note matching the green of the apple. Now as we hit the top of the stretch the crack of black pepper applies the whip hand to sandalwood and patchouli sweetened considerably with vanilla. As Layton eases up after the finish guaiac wood and amber provide the warm down.
Layton has 16-18 hour longevity and average sillage.
What I like very much about Layton is it feels like M. Sprecher wanted something more approachable but still retaining a few of the quirkier bloodlines of the brand. Layton delivers this so well it immediately rises to one of the best from the entire brand for its combination of affability and difference; a real champion.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Parfums de Marly.