New Perfume Review Maria Candida Gentile Rrose Selavy- Rolling Your R’s

It has been a funny 2016 for me and new rose perfumes. Early on when I was receiving a lot of the spring releases I was bored to tears at the lack of variability. I sent out a silent plea for someone to do something different. I guess pleas, silent or otherwise, can be heard. Over the next month or so I have received some different takes on rose. Which put me in a receptive mood upon visiting with independent perfumer Maria Candida Gentile as she presented her new Rrose Selavy to me at Esxence 2016.

Rrose_Selavy

Photo of Rrose Selavy by Man Ray (c.1921)

Sig.ra Gentile was inspired by the Man Ray photographs of artist Marcel Duchamp dressed as a woman in the 1920’s. These founding members of Dadaism were close friends. These photographs led to the alter ego of M. Duchamp called Rrose Selavy. If you say it with the rolled r’s out loud it is meant to sound like “eros ces’t la vie”. Mme Selavy would be a consistent presence as she would sign some paintings and author some articles. I’ve seen the picture above when I visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I find the soft focus doesn’t necessarily mask the man underneath but rather makes it more prominent. Which is what I believe Sig.ra Gentile is doing with Rrose Selavy. By using multiple sources of rose she produces a softness which allows for deeper consideration of this most ubiquitous of perfume florals.

mcg in her studio

Maria Candida Gentile

Rrose Selavy is a series of different layers of rose layered on top of each other. Sig.ra Gentile starts with two versions of rose we are familiar with as Rose Damascene and Rose de Mai provide the early moments. Rose Damascene is the version with spicy undertones. Rose de Mai is the fresh soft rose. Together they provide the double r at the beginning of this perfume. Then Sig.ra Gentile starts adding in different rose sources. The woody stems and green leaves fill in some of the gaps left open by the florals. Along with those the commonly sold Michelle rose provides a sort of flower shop accord. There are other sources of rose here as well including an accord designed by Sig.ra Gentile. The r’s keep rolling along the longer you wear Rrose Selavy.

Rrose Selavy has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

I often talk about ingredients being used in perfume in overdose. A single ingredient or two pushed to a high concentration. It has the effect of allowing that extroverted raw material the opportunity to elicit subtleties not always apparent if used at a more normal level. Rrose Selavy is just one huge overdose of rose all by itself. Except instead of one ingredient Sig.ra Gentile uses multiple sources which add up to the overdose. When I wore Rrose Selavy it was interesting what would stand out from one moment to the next. There were times it was honeyed while at others spicy or green or ethereal. I put out a request to the universe for a different kind of rose; Rrose Selavy seems to be my answer.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Maria Candida Gentile at Esxence 2016.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Esxence 2016 Final Wrap-Up Part 2- The Top 10 New Fragrances I Tried

This year Esxence 2016 was bigger than ever. As a result, I felt like I was constantly running around trying to get to everything new. I tried 103 new perfumes over the three days. I’m almost certain I left some unsniffed. I’ve spent the 48 hours since being home giving a few of them a second sniff without being in an exposition hall full of fragrance. The list below carries the usual caveats. These are the ten fragrances new to me. There were some premieres, like Olfactive Studio Still Life in Rio, that would have made the list if I had experienced it for the first time at Esxence 2016. The other thing to remember is these are snap impressions off of smelling on strips and having them on a small patches of skin. Here is my list in alphabetical order.

Bruno Acampora Azzurro di Capri– I have been surprised at how much I have been drawn to new aquatics after ignoring the class over the past few years. Azzurro di Capri has all the reasons I have come to reconsider the category. It is at first a typical Mediterranean riff of citrus and jasmine. When it arrives at the musk, patchouli, and amber base this all gains some presence which I found very appealing.

Gabriella Chieffo Maisia– I think a good fig perfume will always capture my attention. Maisia is much better than good. Using fig leaves as green contrast to lemon in the top notes it is in the heart where the fleshy fig bursts to life swathed in spices. What really makes Maisia stand out is the use of broom and narcissus which twist the fig beautifully.

Homoelegans Quality of Flesh– One of two new brands which made a big impression on me. Quality of Flesh is inspired by Francis Bacon. Perfumer Michele Marin composed this as a triptych of triptychs to represent Mr. Bacon’s artistic style. The central note of the top, heart, and base are juniper berry, narcissus, and leather. This has only gotten better the more time I have spent with it.

Le-Galion-Cologne-and-Cologne-Nocturne

Le Galion Cologne Nocturne– My most anticipated perfume of Esxence 2016 did not let me down. Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux working in collaboration with creative director Nicolas Chabot created a cologne for the evening. What Sr. Flores-Roux has dubbed an “amber water”. It is a fascinating construction which surrounds traditional cologne components with an overload of wood and amber. I love the way this develops on my skin.

Maria Candida Gentile Rrose Selavy– Following up the unique Elephants & Roses perfumer Maria Candida Gentile delivers a densely layered rose. Dedicated to Marcel Duchamp, RRose selavy does not suffer that comparison. Every part of the plant is represented and there are multiple different extracts of the flower itself. If you can’t get enough rose in your perfume Rrose Selavy might be your new favorite.

Masque Milano L’Attesa– The creative team behind Masque Milano, Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi, have been giving some of the most creative young perfumers an opportunity to impress. Luca Maffei is the perfumer for L’Attesa. He uses three extracts of iris to elongate its development from first moments until the last. What shows his originality is a fermenting champagne accord. This has a yeasty sour wine aspect which is much better in conjunction with the iris than it might be sound. The key to creating the champagne accord, CO2 extract of beer. Masque Milano is becoming a reliable brand encompassing originality and quality.

Mendittorosa Nettuno– Last year I hit this brand late in the day and did not give it a proper assessment in my rush. This year I stopped by when I had time to chat with creative director Stefania Squeglia. Working with perfumer Amelie Bourgeois again Nettuno is an otherworldly paean to the planet Neptune. I enjoyed the slight chill it opens with before warming up considerably as it folds in leather and rum. This is before bringing the chill back with some white musks in the base.

Nishane Istanbul Fan Your Flames– If you’ve ever wanted a perfume to capture a day smoking tobacco, holding a snifter of fine rum Fan your Flames is it. Creative directors Mert Guzel and Murat Katran have captured their desired shisha experience in this opulent perfume.

Sammarco Bond-T– I’ve been chronicling the lighter gourmands coming out in 2016. It was a pleasure to find a new brand going for an old fashioned deep chocolate gourmand. Owner and perfumer Giovanni Sammarco rolls out a 70% Cacao dark chocolate bar infused with osmanthus. I enjoyed the fearless intensity with which Sig. Sammarco composed Bond-T with.

The Different Company Adjatay– Last alphabetically but first on my list as best in show Adjatay’s brief came from a real life moment from creative director Luc Gabriel. After returning from a trip he left some tuberose flowers in an old leather suitcase. When he returned to it he realized he wanted perfumer Alexandra Monet to capture that smell. Mme Monet has made a mesmerizing perfume of tuberose encased in leather refined and roughened as a well-used suitcase should be. Her leather accord is just right to ensnare the boisterous tuberose. The more I wear it the more I fall under its spell.

This concludes my coverage of Esxence 2016. Longer reviews of everything on the list are forthcoming as well as many others not mentioned here. Thank you for following along the last few days on Colognoissuer.

Mark Behnke

Esxence 2016 Day 3 Wrap-Up- Renegades, Duchamp, and Bacon

Day 3 began with a lecture by Michael Edwards of Fragrances of the World capturing the last ten years of the Artisanal Fragrance sector. I knew the market had really taken off over the last ten years. In 2006 there were 261 new artisanal releases. In 2016 there were 874 new releases. That’s not total that’s added to what was already there. Mr. Edwards challenged the brands who were in the room to look for opportunities to strike out in different places. He illustrated the point by showing that over a third of these new releases are florals. There is room for artistic expression in this sector and Mr. Edwards is one of the few who can show the hard numbers. It was a fantastic way to begin the day.

Michael Edwards Esxence 2016

Michael Edwards Speaking at Esxence 2016

The next stop of Esxence 2016 was three years in the making. At Esxence 2013 perfumers Mark Buxton, Bertrand Duchaufour, and Geza Schoen announced they were teaming up for a project together. Finally Project Renegades has arrived where each of these gifted perfumers created a personal fragrance of their own. When I asked them what took so long the answer were those magnetic heads on the front of the bottles you see below. Each of them had their face scanned in 3-D to replicate their features as renegades. They were worth waiting for because I will never not see these three without a cowboy hat from now on. The perfumes are pretty great too.

Renegades bottles

Project Renegades Bottles

Next I visited with Sophie Gabriel and perfumer Alexandra Monet of The Different Company. The new release Adjutay comes from creative director Luc Gabriel’s life. On a trip he left some fresh tuberose in his leather suitcase. When he took it down again he was greeted with a mix of tuberose and leather. Mme Monet has recreated that visual spectacularly. The leather accord encases the rich tuberose. Easily one of my favorites.

Last year Maria Candida Gentile put a rose with elephants on Africa. For 2016 she takes inspiration from Marcel Duchamp for Rrose Selavy. This version of a rose by Sig.ra Gentile is nothing but rose as every part of the plant and no less than five different extracts of the flower itself are combined into a rose worthy of its inspiration.

Nishane Isatanbul had two new releases but the Shisha bar in a bottle called Fan Your Flames did just that for me. Tobacco, rum, and spices made me feel like I was relaxing in an easy chair, hookah next to me.

It was getting late and I had had a couple of my fellow bloggers tell me not to miss the new brand Homoelegans. I was greeted by the owners and creative directors Francesco Gini and Mauricio Piazzi. They have started their effort with two releases Tadzio and Quality of Flesh. The latter is inspired by Francis Bacon and how much of his artistic work was done in triptych. Of course perfume is also done in triptych with a top, heart, and base. Quality of Flesh represents that with three well-built accords focused around juniper berry, narcissus, and leather.

I was at the end of the day and as always it was difficult to say arrivaderci to my perfumed family. After making one final round of the exposition to get my final hugs I walked out into the evening sunlight. Arrivaderci Esxence, see you next year.

Mark Behnke