New Perfume Review Amouage Imitation Woman and Imitation Man- Two Bites of The Big Apple in the 1970’s

I made my first trips to New York City in the 1970’s. I experienced a very different Big Apple. There was uptown and there was downtown. In between was the insanity of Times Square which was crammed with sex shops and porn theatres. You didn’t stop to take pictures bathed in neon back then. If you moved uptown there were the museums and upscale shopping. Downtown was the grungy counterpoint. The beginnings of punk rock were emerging in a place which embraced it. Moving between them was like traveling between two worlds. Anyone who experienced this carries an inward smile at how this has all been tamed with retconned history. While at the same time being turned into another roadside attraction. This was my experience as a young man.

Christopher Chong

The two new perfumes from Amouage, Imitation Woman and Imitation Man, are based on Creative Director Christopher Chong’s visit to New York City in the same time. It was the first time he would see snow. He observed the cultural melting pot as his family moved from uptown to downtown. In the press materials he says, “Imitation is a personal account of how one moment and one experience can alter a child’s perception of the world.” Working with perfumer Pierre Negrin for Imitation Woman and Leslie Girard for Imitation Man it fells like they encapsulate Mr. Chong’s reminiscence with two very different bites from The Big Apple circa the 1970’s

One thing about both perfumes is they function as a pair which felt to me as Uptown and Downtown. Except quite cleverly the perfumers made sure to put a little of the other in each. If Imitation Woman takes you to the Upper East Side it makes sure to thread a bit of the Bowery through it. The converse is true for Imitation Man.

Pierre Negrin

Imitation Woman opens on a blast of hairspray aldehydes over a floral trio of rose, orange blossom, and jasmine. It is the scent of perfectly coiffed society woman. Then M. Negrin sneaks in a bit of the Battery with a duet of licorice and blackcurrant bud. The latter is amplified to its sticky urine-like level while the licorice acts like a punk walking on Madison Avenue. It all returns to the wood paneled safety of sandalwood and patchouli.

There was a cocooned decadence which defined Uptown NYC in the 1970’s. It was over-the-top with no risk. Imitation Woman gets that as the exuberance is on display but within there is a reminder it isn’t as safe as you think.

Leslie Girard

Imitation Man is rough around the edges right away. Black pepper and nutmeg create a piquant reminder you aren’t Uptown anymore. You shrug your shoulders into your black leather jacket. Mme Girard infuses it with castoreum to make it seem like the snarl from any Punk waiting for a show in the Bowery. Then some of those Upper East Side “tourists” come slumming, trailing their floral smells of rose and powdery orris; trying to live life on the wild side for a night. The real scents of the area return with vetiver and patchouli leading the charge. Underneath it all is a simmering myrrh, a resinous bit of rebellion in progress.

At this point the Punks were just finding their footing as Downtown was about to put its Doc Martens footprint on the music scene. Imitation Man captures the burgeoning scene just before it is discovered.

I like both versions of Imitation, there is an authenticity which tracks with my memory of NYC in the 1970’s.

Disclosure: this review is based on press samples provided by Amouage.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Essential Parfums Orange X Santal- Simple Summer

We are now at the point of the summer where my fragrance desires regress to simplicity. It is ironic as my mailbox fills up with new fall releases which are not simple. When I received my sample set of the debut collection of Essential Parfums I was happy to find a brand which embraces simplicity.

Essential Parfums is a new brand where the creative direction is given over to the perfumer partnered with. They are choosing well with whom they asked to deliver a perfume to make their first impression. The only “rule” they asked of the perfumer was to rely on sustainable ingredients. What has resulted is a nice coherent collection which focuses on that. The perfumes are simple constructs allowing for the keynotes to shine individually. The one which fit my summer need of a cool linen suit, in perfume form, was Orange X Santal.

Nathalie Gracia-Cetto

Perfumer Nathalie Gracia-Cetto states that she wanted to realize what is on the label; a cross of bitter orange and sustainable Australian Sandalwood.  If it was just that it wouldn’t be so interesting but Mme Gracia-Cetto adds in a refreshing suite of three green ingredients to form a chypre-ish tonic.

It opens with the orange which early on isn’t as bitter as expected. It comes off sweeter in the first moments. That is remedied by adding in basil. The intense green of that ingredient teases out the bitterness of the orange. As it does that it overwrites the juicy quality with one of orange zest. Australian sandalwood comes next. This is a creamy smooth version of sandalwood which returns to a sweetly woody effect. Then as with the orange Mme Gracia-Cetto transforms that with cedar and oakmoss. The cedar is that fresh cut slightly mentholated version. The oakmoss is a bitingly green version. This adds a kind of green sappy quality to sandalwood as if it was harvested young and raw.  The total effect of herbal orange crossed with sappy sandalwood is lovely.

Orange x Santal has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Essential Parfums is another new brand worth seeking out especially if you want something well-made around a few ingredients. If you look through this first collection and see a list of ingredients you enjoy I’ll bet the perfume does, as well. Orange X Santal is a good example of everything this brand is doing right at the start.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jusbox Perfumes Black Powder- Rebel’s Leather

When I hear of European-only perfume distribution I must decide how much I want to try it. Which was why when I read about a new Italian brand, Jusbox Perfumes, I decided not to chase it down. The main reason; it was another collection inspired by rock and roll. This is a common well of non-creativity that too many new brands choose to lean on. Because of previous brands which have been unable to successfully capture the essence of what ever rock artist or genre they are touting; I passed. The other good thing I find is if it is better than I think it eventually finds its way to North America. This just happened for Jusbox Perfumes. That meant I finally had a sample set to try.

V Monkeys: Andrea and Chiaro Valda

The creative directors are a brother-sister team, Andrea and Chiaro Valda, who go by the name V Monkeys. Born in Milan they are a good example of the kind of perfume coming out of Italy. When they started the line with four perfumes in 2016 they worked with perfumers Antoine Lie and Dominique Ropion; who each did a pair. Those first four perfumes each covered a decade. They were where I started learning from my samples. I was impressed that it wasn’t as trite as I feared. After those first four I was wondering where the leather jacket rebel was. I found it in the last sample I tried, Black Powder.

Julien Rasquinet

If there is a single scent which connects to rock and roll it is the smell of the black leather jacket. When I was a young man spending evenings standing in front of a stage losing my hearing a guitar riff at a time it was what I wore. So did everyone around me. The smell of overheated humanity underneath a leather jacket is my Eau de Rock and Roll. Perfumer Julien Rasquinet does an excellent job at coming very close with Black Powder. M. Rasquinet does this by taking a very supple suede leather accord and breaking it in with some interesting choices of ingredients.

Black Powder opens with the first seconds having a too tame suede leather. M. Rasquinet begins the process of roughing it up with allspice, blackcurrant buds, and apple. The more you wore your leather jacket there was always a subtle spiciness imbued into it. The allspice produces that. The blackcurrant is at that kind of urine-like sticky green level. Which works because the smell of overworked restrooms was also a scent of many clubs in the 80’s and 90’s. Tobacco plays up the inherent sweetness of leather. Incense tans it with resins. Sandalwood provides a foundation. Patchouli adds a bit of earthiness. Once it comes together it is that black leather jacket I was searching for.

Black Powder has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

If I was designing this style of perfume the only thing which was missing was that musk of sweaty skin. What is here in Black Powder is enjoyable. I can say that about my early impressions of the rest of the Jusbox Perfumes collection. They have just become available in North America and are worth giving a try. I will probably do mini reviews of the others after I spend some time with them.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Bloomingdale’s.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Diana Vreeland Staggeringly Beautiful- DV, Are You in There?

If a perfume is going to carry the name of someone I admire I expect it to live up to that. For the past four years one brand has tried mightily to disappoint me; Diana Vreeland. When I tried the debut collection of five I was crushed at their lack of originality. A perfume carrying the name of the woman who said, “Style, all who have it share one thing: originality” should above all be original. Unfortunately, it seems like that genetic spark has missed her grandson Alexander Vreeland who is the creative director behind the brand. It became more apparent over time as I received each subsequent release wondering where the soul of DV was in these limp perfumes. I keep hoping to find her. When I received the sample for the fifteenth release, Staggeringly Beautiful, it seemed like there might have just been a tiny bit of her there.

Diana Vreeland

One of the things Ms. Vreeland was known for as Editor-in-Chief at Vogue was finding originality in the oddest places. Every morning she began the day by sending a memo to her editors. Mr. Vreeland, before he picked up the perfume business, collected all of them in a book. One in the summer of 1967 shows this as she writes, “I am extremely disappointed that no one has taken the slightest interest in freckles on the models…” She then urged her photo editors to make sure the applied freckles did not “look like black holes instead of pale red freckles”. It was her ability to see style in the perceived flaws; transforming them into fashion in the pages of her magazine. What drew me to Staggeringly Beautiful is I detected some freckles on this perfume that were not black holes.

Pascal Gaurin

Mr. Vreeland has been working with excellent perfumers; as he does this time with Pascal Gaurin. For Staggeringly Beautiful he chooses to use the classic Mediterranean mixture of fig and citrus. Where the figurative freckles appear is in the choice of daffodil as the floral component.

The perfume opens with a flare of stemone for the fig leaves. M. Gaurin tempers it with some other green notes. A ripe fig accord emerges through the green along with a bit of bergamot. At this point I was not impressed. Then the daffodil shows up in a significant concentration. Daffodil is a version of narcissus but not quite as narcotic. It is a smart choice by M. Gaurin because it captures the green theme while tilting it to a slightly less heady floral nature. Daffodil is not used often in perfume but as a partner to a full fig accord it comes together in a very pleasant way.

Staggeringly Beautiful has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Staggeringly Beautiful is still not the kind of originality I would like to see from a perfume carrying Ms. Vreeland’s name. It is the most original of the fifteen releases to date; which is faint praise. At least this time I was able to see a bit of DV in the fragrance.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by Neiman Marcus.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Masque Milano (homage to) Hemingway- The Old Man and The Vetiver

There are perfumes which are going to feel personal to me before I ever get the first sniff of it. This is true for Masque Milano (homage to) Hemingway. It starts with the brand because Masque Milano is one of my favorite niche perfume brands; Owners-Creative Directors Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi have done everything I think is important. It starts with their care to keep a distinct Masque Milano aesthetic over the ten perfumes they have released. What is more remarkable is they have done this while working with a roster of impressive young stars in perfumery. The roster is a who’s who of the best new faces. Fanny Bal is the nose behind Hemingway which continues this. The final ingredient is they are unafraid of taking risks. They seem to say through their perfumes that they aren’t trying to please everyone but if it pleases Sigs. Brun and Tedeschi there will be an audience. That has also been true in my case as the ones I enjoy are among the best releases of the last few years.

The Hemingway Creative Team: (l. to r.) Fanny Bal, Alessandro Brun, Riccardo Tedeschi

The other half of this being personal for me is the subject matter. Growing up in South Florida it was only natural we would end up in Key West visiting the museum that Hemingway’s house has become. What drew me in as a young child were the six-toed cats which roamed the grounds. Ernest Hemingway was gifted a six-toed cat from a sailor friend in the 1930’s. The genetics which produce the extra toes has continued to this day and if you visit you will find descendants of the original cat. Mr. Hemingway was among the first adult novels I read; The Old Man and The Sea. It was one of my first books and it is one which I return to read every few years. The story of Santiago and his fishing trip resonates deeply within me as one who grew up on the ocean. I have read the rest of Hemingway’s writing but it is this which remains most personally affecting.

Hemingway has been the inspiration for many perfumes. Those tend to focus on the cigars he smoked, the rum he drank, and the leather jacket he wore. What I like about Sigs. Brun and Tedeschi is they found a different perspective. Hemingway wrote and lived up to an ideal of rugged masculinity which was at its zenith in the first half of the 20th century. Hemingway the Masque Milano perfume is also interested in exploring that ideal but with a different kind of keynote, vetiver.

Mme Bal used several ingredients from the Laboratoire Monique Remy (LMR) in her formula. Every oil house has a special set of crown jewels; the LMR series is the IFF version. LMR has also continued to innovate in finding new ways to isolate ingredients. Mme Bal relies on three LMR versions of vetiver to create the heart of Hemingway.

Hemingway opens with a richer ginger then I usually encounter. I wasn’t surprised to find out it was an LMR version. Ginger can be a bit like the Road Runner of Looney Tunes cartoons; racing by with velocity. This LMR ginger is more the syrup used in ginger ale. There is a heft to it which sticks around. Mme Bal then uses rhubarb as the connection to the beginning of the vetiver. It is such an interesting choice because I’ve never noticed the vetiver-like nature that lurks as an undercurrent. It is teased out here as the first version of vetiver comes out. This is a distillation where the “heart” is isolated. It is greener the upper registers of the full vetiver without the woodiness underneath. Next comes a Haitian vetiver. This is the sunny Caribbean vibe. It is contrasted with a smoky Javanese vetiver. This rumbles with portent as if Krakatoa was rumbling off to the east. When it all comes together it forms a rugged masculine vetiver accord that I enjoyed immensely. A kind of six-toed cat of vetiver. Through this is threaded a subtle leather accord. It eventually finds an earthy landing spot with patchouli in the final stages.

Hemingway has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

If you are a vetiver fan Hemingway is something you need to try. The trio of vetiver ingredients being used are worth the effort to find it to sample. The creative team has found a sweet spot where the three versions form an uber-vetiver accord that is compelling.

I have read The Old Man and The Sea through every stage of my life. Now that I am living up to the first part of the title when Santiago speaks of his age it rings more truly. Like him I wake up every day and go out into the world hoping there is still a place in it for me. I think on the days I need some inspiration (homage to) Hemingway will be there to remind me of that.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Masque Milano.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Di Ser Shiragoromo- Hokkaido Yuzu

It is a familiar refrain that independent perfumers can provide unique fragrance experiences because they aren’t trying to please a mass market.  I have said that so often it might be the official motto of the blog. What is also interesting is when the perfumer comes outside of the more traditional US-European geographical area they can also impart a sense of place. Which is what always makes me smile when I wear a new perfume from Di Ser it confounds what I believed a Japanese perfume smells like. Shiragoromo is another which shows me Japan through the eyes, and nose, of a native.

Di Ser is a perfume brand from the northern island of Japan; Hokkaido. Independent perfumer Yasuyuki Shinohara only uses hand-made botanical materials. From the independent perfumers I know who use these kinds of materials it is a time-consuming process leading to vibrant ingredients. Shinohara-san turns them into something completely Japanese just not what we have been told via Western perfume releases.

Yasuyuki Shinohara (Photo: From CaFleureBon at Pitti Fragranze 2016)

A few years ago, many of the major perfume brands touted their new releases which were aimed at the Asian market. They imitated the clean minimalist lines of the architecture. It is not how Shinohara-san designs his perfume. I’ve tried about a dozen Di Ser perfumes now and none of them are minimalist. They are some of the most complex natural perfumes I have experienced; Shiragoromo among them.

Shiragoromo is made up of two Japanese words; shira means white, goromo means cloth. This is the name of the white ceremonial silk material. It is apt as Shiragoromo has a shimmery citrus quality which is matched by a white flower counterpoint.

Shiragoromo opens with the indigenous Japanese version of lemon, yuzu. We have become familiar with this green-tinted lemon through its use in many Western perfumes recently. This version of yuzu has a more prominent green nature to go with the fruit. It is that green which causes it to travel in glistening waves. It is fresh and verdant simultaneously. Jasmine must work to break through. It takes rose pushing from behind for it to overcome the citrus. One of the real stars of many Di Ser perfumes is the way Shinohara-san uses oud. This time it is an accord where it is paired with spikenard. It follows through on the green theme brining a green resinous woodiness to the final stages.

Shiragoromo has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

If you, like me, use perfume to see new perspectives allow Shinohara-san to wrap you in the white cloth of Shiragoromo. Then breathe deep and learn of the scents of Hokkaido.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Mizensir Coeur de Cologne- Say Hello to Liatrix

One of my favorite things about perfume is being able to look over the entirety of a perfumer’s career. I’ve said many times that the perfumer I think is the greatest mainstream perfumer ever is Alberto Morillas. There may seem like damning with faint praise but M. Morillas has innovated from that platform as much, or more, than any other perfumer you can name. If he always worked in that sector that would have been fine. Except I always wanted more. I wondered what he could do with a bit more of a less mainstream perspective working on a niche perfume. That response came about three years ago with the release of the first perfumes for his own brand Mizensir.

Mizensir has been one of those undeservedly quiet brands. There are no duds in any of the 26 perfumes they have released so far. What has been most fun is M. Morillas is allowing himself to use some of the different ingredients from his perfumer’s palette. This really stood out with the most recent three releases; all different riffs on the classic cologne architecture.

Alberto Morillas

In Cologne de Figuier. M. Morillas ramps up the green with the crushed fig leaves of stemone matched with a healthy dose of galbanum. The green is fresher than I expected, and it is matched with a set of synth woods and musk. Cologne du Mate also provides a green contrast using mate tea as the heart note adding a sharp herbal effect to the jasmine of Paradisone and tangerine on top. It also ends with synth woods and musk. These are beautifully realized but it is Coeur de Cologne which showed off M. Morillas’ skill with a new ingredient best.

Neroli has been having a bit of a renaissance as I have added more excellent neroli perfumes to my collection in the last two years than I can remember. Coeur de Cologne is a neroli perfume but it is also a perfume with a unique contrast to it; liatrix essence. Liatrix is the isolate of a plant called deer’s tongue. It has one of the highest amounts of coumarin, but it also has a green herbal character to go with the hay-like sweetness of coumarin. It is a fascinating ingredient that you won’t find in a mainstream fragrance. This is where M. Morillas can use it to a different effect.

Lemon provides the classic cologne citrus top note. Neroli is in high concentration and it comes right on the heels of the lemon. The neroli has a significant green facet. It is this which is picked out by the liatrix. The herbal part of the ingredient melds with that. The coumarin adds a sweet honeyed effect to the floral quality in the neroli. The lemon remains, adding in a shimmery effect. Then like a joss stick a swirl of incense intersperses itself into the mix. It adds more than I expected to the overall accord. A classic muscone base is where this finishes.

Coeur de Cologne has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I have enjoyed a summer of excellent cologne releases. Even saying that, it might be Coeur de Cologne is the one I remember most.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Mizensir

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review DSH Perfumes Taj Garden- Indian Wedding Garlands

There is nobody who I admire and enjoy spending time with more than independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. Our connection started with her perfumes, but it has deepened because we are perfume dorks when we are together in the same place. She is one of those people who is the kind of friend where we can pick up where we left off even if it has been a long time since we talked. Our talk is mostly about perfume. Which is why when I found myself in Colorado a few weeks ago I had to finally visit the Essense Studio in Boulder where Ms. Hurwitz works her magic. I spent a too short time with her but in the process, I had her walk me through her nine new releases. Upon my return home there was one which had burrowed into my consciousness and wouldn’t let go.

Perfume Dorks Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (l.) and me

That perfume is called Taj Garden. I have mentioned in my previous reviews, and to Ms. Hurwitz, that she seems to have an intuition when she is working on Asian inspired perfumes. My very favorites of all her perfumes come disproportionately from this. She has been successful in Japan with a line called Dawn Perfumes of which Taj Garden is one. If you look at the name you will realize this perfume is not of the Orient but the Indian sub-continent. Ms. Hurwitz wanted to capture the Paradise Garden which surrounds the Taj Mahal. That sounds too staid for what has ended up in the bottle. Taj Garden is more like a rollicking wedding ceremony where the participants wear these Indian floral garlands during the celebration. Taj Garden is a fragrance of exuberance as florals bust out everywhere which Ms. Hurwitz tames with the use of an especially inspired choice of spice.

Taj Garden opens with a citrus blast of orange as bergamot, mandarin, and clementine nestle inside a leafy green accord. The green is equal partner, not supporting, which gives it a very natural overall feel. Neroli begins the transition to the florals. First up are a limpid water lily paired with the green floral nature of marigolds. This picks up the leafy accord while transforming from citrus to floral. It explodes into life with an accord of three jasmines. Before this party gets out of hand Ms. Hurwitz employs turmeric to act as the wedding planner getting everything back on track. There is a giddy over-the-top quality as the jasmines, marigold, and some rose start to take hold. The turmeric dries out some of that as it desiccates the floral effect. Ruh khus accentuates the earthiness within the turmeric. This sets it up for the sandalwood base of Australian and Mysore versions. These have an arid quality which the turmeric brings the florals in line with; just in time to celebrate all night long.

Taj Garden has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

The other Asian-inspired perfumes I like so much are more restrained. Taj Garden is the wild relative in relation to those. It still stands out among the best of Ms. Hurwitz’s work because of her ability to translate those influences so deftly. Taj Garden is a party where we are all wearing flower garlands dancing with joy.

As I mentioned above I came home with all the new releases there are others which I also think are remarkable. I’ll be writing about those over the next few weeks.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Gucci Bloom Nettare di Fiori- Better and Better

1

If Gucci is going to regain a prominence in designer fragrances it is going to require first and foremost, consistency. Ever since Tom Ford left the brand the fragrance aspect drifted in search of a new aesthetic. For a decade Gucci became an afterthought when it came to perfume. The naming of Alessandro Michele as creative director has, once again, provided someone who believes fragrance is an important piece of the Gucci aesthetic.

Alessandro Michele

A year ago, with the release of Gucci Bloom the first perfume overseen by Sig. Michele showed a change. Even though Bloom was an extremely simple construct it found a way of combining jasmine and tuberose while providing a transparency with the substance of Kevlar. Over the past year the Gucci fragrance releases have made me look forward to each one as the consistency I was looking for was being built release by release. I was particularly impressed with the spring flanker Bloom Acqua di Fiori which took the simplicity of Bloom and covered it in green. By starting simple it meant that the flanker could be drastically changed with an overt choice to supply something different than the white flowers. This was why when receiving Bloom Nettare di Fiori, which is the fall flanker, I was curious to see what was next.

Alberto Morillas

So far in this mini revival of the Gucci perfume fortunes Sig. Michele has been working exclusively with perfumer Alberto Morillas. There are few who are as good as M. Morillas at creating pillars and flankers which are not cynical replays. If Bloom Acqua di Fiori was the greening of Bloom then Bloom Nettare di Fiori is the spicing up of Bloom. It is accomplished by adding in three key ingredients; ginger, osmanthus, and patchouli.

Just as the Bloom Acqua di Fiori opened with the green; Bloom Nettare di Fiore opens with the ginger. M. Morillas leads with a healthy dose of it. It is laid out to provide a spicy entry way to the floral Bloom DNA of jasmine and tuberose. Rose comes and provides an introduction before allowing the ginger, tuberose, and jasmine to mingle. M. Morillas finds a balance where the zing of ginger meshes with the lightly indolic white flowers. I am impressed anew with how M. Morilas manages to make a transparency which also projects strength. The base comes with a leathery osmanthus paired with an earthy patchouli. It provides a bit more heft than the previous two editions of Bloom but that’s what makes it a fall-style perfume.

Bloom Nettare di Fiore has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I don’t know what’s next for Gucci but through the six releases since Bloom, last year, they have become a designer brand which has returned to relevance. They are doing it by getting better and better with each release. Bloom Nettare di Fiore is another along that line.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Gucci.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aerin Eclat de Vert- Summer Siesta

As August begins we are right in the middle of the period of summer called the “dog days”. They have been called that because of the rise of the dog star, Sirius, not because canines are in charge. Although here in Poodlesville the canines are always in charge. The Greeks associated the rising of one of the brightest stars in the sky with the hottest days of summer. This is also the part of summer where things seem to slow to a crawl. Even in my free time I just want to find a shady place to snooze. I also need a fragrance which also wants to take it easy; Aerin Eclat de Vert was what I look for in that.

Aerin Lauder

I was not the biggest fan of Aerin Lauder’s eponymous line when it first came out in 2013. For the first few years there was too much, too fast coming. I felt that if there was just a little more time taken there could have been something I would have appreciated more. I figured I wasn’t the desired audience and moved on. Until the beginning of last year when I tried Linen Rose. It impressed me with a fully realized beachy rose. Hibiscus Palm was another winner for me earlier this year. I had enjoyed both of those so much I looked forward to Eclat de Vert.

Honorine Blanc

Eclat de Vert is based on Ms. Lauder’s memories of summers in the south of France. It is funny because it is also reminiscent of my memories of childhood summers in the south of Florida. What seems to be common to both experiences is that moment when the green leaves and grass have overtaken the flowers as the predominant scent. Perfumer Honorine Blanc captures this.

That sense of green opens with a gauzy veil of galbanum underneath which lemon shimmers with shaded sunlight. A set of green ingredients form a leafy accord while the galbanum takes a more prominent position. A set of florals provide backing vocals instead of focal point as jasmine, magnolia, rose and iris form the quartet. Magnolia sings a little louder than the others providing a smooth creamy contrast to the building green. Vetiver provides the green grounding in the base to which mastic adds a terpene-like edgier green at the end.

Eclat de Vert has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Eclat de Vert reminded me of those early days of August. School is still a few weeks away and I was happy to sit under a tree and let the sun shine through the canopy as my eyelids drooped. When I breathed in, Eclat de Vert is very close to what I smelled.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.

Mark Behnke