There is a feeling among a large segment of perfume buyers that longevity is equivalent with quality. I have never shared that perspective. I’ve come to think less of that the more that I learn. Nevertheless it persists within the buying public. Over the past few years a class of synthetic woody ingredients have come into use; all with ridiculous longevity. They stay on the skin long after everything else has disappeared. At this point any perfume which uses them is indistinguishable from any other. What is left is the same ingredient. Yet brands feel constrained into this box of having to create a long-lasting perfume to please their customers. Parfums de Marly Sedley is an extreme example of this concept.
I have lauded creative director Julien Sprecher for creating a brand aesthetic which has created niche alternatives to what can be found on mainstream counters. It is a brand which I confidently point people towards who are looking for something a step up from their typical mass-market perfume. Sedley is their version of a fresh perfume; at least at the beginning. By the end it has given over to the desire for longevity.
Perfumer Olivier Cresp is behind Sedley. It really is an experience in two distinct parts. The outstanding fresh opening and the overwhelming synthetic woody base. It is a difficult task for me because that opening is fantastic. It is everything I want from a fresh perfume. The problem is it gets drowned in the woody base.
Sedley opens with a citrus mix of grapefruit, lemon, and bergamot. M. Cresp uses an ideal amount of spearmint to buoy that citrus blend. It has a gorgeous expansiveness to it that drew me in. What I found there was rosemary tinting the mint-citrus accord. Lavender and geranium provided a subtle floral contrast. Right here this is the kind of perfume I enjoy wearing on a warm day. Then the synthetic woods crash the party. According to the ingredient list it is Ambrox but it also seems like there are others. The problem is it obliterates all the wonderful work done prior. Sedley becomes more and more intensely woody over the great majority of its time on my skin.
Sedley has 16-18 hour longevity and average sillage.
As I said at the outset this is a difficult perfume to assess. The opening is outstanding. The problem is you can’t get it back by adding another spray once the woods take over. I’m smelling a fresh sprayed strip as I write this enjoying the heck out of the opening. The tough part is those long-lasting woods just take over and don’t let go. They get the job done but they are a monolithic effect. If you are someone for whom longevity is an important part of making a decision on what perfume to buy, Sedley is a great choice. If you are not a pert of the “longevity uber alles” consumer Sedley might sacrifice quality for longevity.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Nordstrom.