New Perfume Review Amouroud Safran Rare- Going There

There are times when I just want a perfume I’m trying; to go there. What I mean by that is for it to stop attempting to be accommodating by being polite. Sometimes a perfume which is the equivalent of a loud talker has its pleasures. While it doesn’t happen often there are creative teams who do “go there”. One which does is the team behind Amouroud.

Gun (l,) and Donald Bauchner

Amouroud was released in 2016 as an auxiliary brand from The Perfumer’s Workshop. The Perfumer’s Workshop is known to many as the brand behind 1971’s Tea Rose. Tea Rose is one of the best examples of rose soliflore which remains relevant to today. The creative mind behind Perfumer’s Workshop and Amouroud is Gun Bauchner who with her husband Donald created the company. What I like about the idea of Amouroud as an extension of Ms. Bauchner’s previous work is she took on an overcrowded sector of niche perfume and stepped into it with her own vision. Within the name, you can tell that oud was going to be a focal point but it is more than that. It seems like Ms. Bauchner also wanted to take the fundamentals of Middle Eastern perfumery and blend them to her own personal Western aesthetic. Over the six perfumes of the original collection there was an admirable fearlessness to work towards that. To a degree, they all succeed but there was one which rose above the others, Safran Rare.

Claude Dir

For Safran Rare Ms. Bauchner collaborated with perfumer Claude Dir. It shows what Ms. Bauchner’s vision for the brand is. Too many people who made “oud” fragrances made it the centerpiece without really understanding the note, trusting on its uniqueness to carry the day. Ms. Bauchner doesn’t want to lose that quality but she does want to find something else within oud. In Safran Rare she uses the oud primarily as the linchpin of a leather accord suffused with saffron to provide a sweaty lived-in leather fragrance.

If the perfume is called Safran Rare M. Dir surmised you should linger on that ingredient in the early going. The bronze filigree of the spice is presented on a pillow of olibanum which anchors it. Saffron can be the most ephemeral of perfume ingredients, by encasing it in resin M. Dir allows it to persist as the leather accord arises. M. Dir uses oud as one of the pieces which brings sandalwood, benzoin, and vetiver together to form a rich leather accord. What is nice about this accord is it isn’t refined, it is the smell of your favorite leather jacket after you’ve been out dancing and it has the smell of your body in it. It isn’t musky or body odor but it is a dead ringer for the scent which escapes my sleeves when I remove my leather jacket after a night out. The trapped in resin saffron then spreads out over the leather accord into a lusty duet which lasts a long time.

Safran Rare has 10-12 hour longevity and average silage. When I say Amouroud goes there it is this leather accord I am talking about. Most of the time leather is refined or tipped firmly to the animalic. In Safran Rare Ms. Bauchner and M. Dir provide a leather that has lived.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Lubin Epidor- Harvest Blossom

I sometimes am completely confused at the timing of certain perfume releases. Most of the time the new fragrances I receive are for the current season or the one adjacent to it. Less frequently I get one that is going to be perfect six or nine months from when I received it. Which makes reviewing it a bit challenging. Finding a day which at least resembles the normal temperature of that future season in the current season is one. Another is the thought that writing about something for the autumn before Memorial Day seems like it will be forgotten by the time it is right to wear it. Unfortunately, Lubin Epidor has decided to provide that kind of challenge.

Lubin Epidor is based on a previous version from the brand in its early days in 1912. Perfumer Thomas Fontaine was again tapped to perform another act of perfume restoration. If you think I’m kidding about this being a harvest scent here is the copy from the website: “The ripe wheat swayed yesterday in the summer breeze. The blond sheaves now lie scattered on the ground and the laborers have filled their jute sacks with the golden grain. The village girls lay down their sickles, and in a shady copse, quench their thirst in the stream. They’ll dance tonight to celebrate harvest’s end. A peddler came by yesterday, and now, their skin is fragrant with orange blossom, mingling with jasmine and violet. Their rough smocks have a musky scent, and notes of fresh-cut hay and frangipane tart swirl in the air. While darkness descends upon the fields, they close their eyes for a moment, giving way to their dreams.” If I needed more there are animated wheat pinwheels. I caught a bit of a break as we had some unusually cool weather recently and I jumped on the opportunity to give Epidor a test run. What I found was a rich hay and orange blossom perfume.

Thomas Fontaine

Epidor opens on one of my favorite fruity floral combinations, violet and plum. M. Fontaine also adds a bit of musk in the early going. The sweat of the field workers perhaps? It is a body musk and not the cleaner laundry musks. It supplements the richness of the violet and plum setting the stage for the focal points in the heart to arrive. First orange blossom joins the violet and plum until jasmine moves the orange blossom more firmly into the foreground. Then tonka bean and its natural source of coumarin is enhanced by even more coumarin to really accentuate the hay nature of the tonka. This mixture of the sweet dried grass and orange blossom is gorgeous I found this part of Epidor to be enchanting. Vanilla is the base note over a few woods. The vanilla serves to tease out the sweet but M. Fontaine keeps it at the appropriate pitch so that it doesn’t harm the balance previously attained.

Epidor has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Epidor is a wonderful autumn fragrance redolent of the wheat harvest and orange blossom. I will be returning to it in six months. 

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Lubin.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Homoelegans Paloma y Raices- Calle Ocho Tuberose

I have mentioned this in the past but growing up near Little Havana in Miami during the 1960’s was like having another country a bicycle ride away. In our neighborhood, we had many displaced Cuban families. Their children were part of my circle of friends. As a result, their mothers introduced the anglos to lots of new things. On a hot day, Peter’s mother would make us “batidos” what were like a cross between a smoothie and a milkshake. One day she handed us a glass with a deep orange hue. In response to my quizzical look she said “mamey batido”. Mamey is a tropical fruit that tastes like a hybrid of pumpkin and cantaloupe with added sweetness. From that day, I preferred mamey in my batidos and learned to eat it out of the skin with as much pleasure as I did any orange. No trip home is complete unless I have some mamey.

Maurizio Piazzi and Francesco Gini

As I followed this year’s version of Esxence from an ocean away I was looking to see how a few of the new brands which had impressed me in 2016 were doing now. It was with great interest when the brand founded by Francesco Gini and Maurizio Piazzi, Homoelegans, debuted their third fragrance Paloma y Raices that right there in the note list was mamey. Really? Oh! Was I interested. As far as I know there has never been a perfume with mamey in its ingredient list. I was obsessed to see what perfumer Maurizio Cerizza did to create a mamey accord. As the perfume made its slow way to me my anticipation grew. 

Maurizio Cerizza

All the Homoelegans perfumes are inspired by an artist. For Paloma y Raices it is Frida Kahlo. The creative team was focused on evoking the Mexican smells which surrounded Sra. Kahlo. I am sure there is Mexico here but there was as much my childhood on Calle Ocho on display in Paloma y Raices.


One thing you will notice if you spend any significant time in the tropics is the scent of flowers are always there. One reason is the warmth is the ideal environment for many of the most extroverted white flowers. Therefore Sig. Cerizza chooses tuberose as the heartbeat of Paloma y Raices. Early on it is fruity floral before transforming to a rich oriental base.

Mamey Batido

I’ll get this out of the way Sig. Cerizza nails the scent of mamey. Mamey has a savory melon scent which is easily realized. As the mamey holds its part the tuberose forms one of the most unique fruity floral top accords you will experience. There is a humid tropical vibe which is transitioned more to the tuberose and away from the fruit. A judicious use of peppermint to find the camphor-like heart of tuberose along with ylang-ylang to provide floral depth rounds out the tuberose. It glows with vitality through the middle hours. Then a duet of tobacco and coffee remind me of the smell of cigars and Cuban coffee in the bodegas. It ends on a mixture of balsams.


Paloma y Raices has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.


I know Sigs. Gini and Piazzi want me to think Frida Kahlo but Paloma y Raices takes me back to summer days of tuberose and mamey on Calle Ocho.


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


Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review DSH Perfumes Gekkou Hanami- Midnight in the Garden of Beauty and Death

1

Ever since we moved to the Washington DC area we have not taken advantage of all that the area has to offer. There is one thing we have done every spring since we moved here and we do it in a way different than most. In 1912 Japan gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the United States which were planted around the Tidal Basin in Washington DC. It took a lot of care and replacement of trees that died to keep the grove thriving; which it has. There is always a huge cherry blossom festival in the city during March and the area swells with tourists. This is where being local has its advantages as Mrs. C and I avoid the crowds by visiting after midnight on an evening with a full or near-full moon. The moonlight provides what I believe to be the perfect illumination to the spring shower of petals as they rain down with the breeze. As we sip our sake and walk through the trees we are met with the vitality of the young as they seal their attraction with kisses under the cherry trees. Mrs. C and I share a kiss of affirmation of many years of happiness. One thing which has always struck me on these evenings is the overall milieu of scents, there is an inherent delicacy as the grass, the flowers, the wood of the trees, the sake, the water, and the moonlight provide the veil over it all.

I would receive my sample of the new DSH Perfumes Gekkou Hanami a few days after this year’s visit. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz translates that to “sakura gazing in the moonlight” where she seemingly was inspired by the same thought. 

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Ms. Hurwitz mentions that the Japanese reverence for the sakura cherry blossoms is they are a symbol of beauty and death. It is part of the process as the shower of the beautiful petals comes as the blossoms begin to expire over a couple weeks. Ms. Hurwitz captures the delicacy and weight of those two terms within Gekkou Hanami.

Yuzu is the gateway to the grove. Ms. Hurwitz uses it as a tart kiss with which to enter into Gekkou Hanami. First up is the green of the grass with an accord of different green ingredients. This isn’t photorealistic it is the green blades as washed out by moonlight. It is sheer as is almost every phase in this perfume. The stage for the cherry blossoms is set by rose, lilac, and honey. Honey can be a problematic note but recently perfumers have been using it as an opaque effect upon which to float some other notes; which is what happens here. Then a triumphant cherry blossom accord arrives. All too often in a perfume based on this the perfume goes for overtly almost cough syrup sweet. That is not what you experience in a rain of cherry blossoms. What I smell both in reality and in Gekkou Hanami is the delicate sense of petals paired with the green of newly budded trees. Ms. Hurwitz captures it all as beauty has been served. For the death half of the duality she brings a base of cedar and frankincense. These are pitched with a little more strength as they tend to overwhelm the delicacy as the incense in the cedar paneled temple provides a meditative space to end upon.

Gekkou Hanami has 8-10 hour longevity and very little sillage.

Ms. Hurwitz has a special touch when she allows Japan to inspire her perfumery. Many of my very favorites are when she produces fragrance in this vein. Gekkou Hanami is an ephemerally beautiful piece of perfumery capturing midnight in the garden of beauty and death.

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

.-Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium- Still Life with Nathalie

When a store puts their name on a bottle of perfume they take a risk in potentially diminishing the overall brand. When a brand does it right it has the effect of burnishing the reputation of all involved. This has been the case in the line named for the iconic New York perfume store Aedes de Venustas. In 2012 when they released the first perfume under their name it was what I expected. A fragrance which was honed from decades of serving customers in the store and finding what styles leave lasting impressions. Owners Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner teamed up with Francois Duquesne as the creative directors. Over five more releases since that first one they have done nothing but confirm that initial impression. If there is an overall aesthetic to the line it is for richer, opulent constructions. The latest release Pelargonium adds in a formal elegance to that.

Karl Bradl (l.) and Robert Gerstner

Perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer was asked to work on Pelargonium. Her desire was to create a perfume which was like a still life painting done by a Dutch Master. Still Life as an art form was at its height during the latter years of the 1700’s. The name itself comes from an anglicizing of the Dutch word “stilleven”. The idea was to arrange common everyday objects and capture them using shadow, light, and color to provide new perspective. What it accomplished was to allow a viewer to see the everyday as something to appreciate. Mme Feisthauer takes one of the most common of floral notes, geranium, using it as the focal point around which she arranges the rest of her composition.

Nathalie Feisthauer

From the first days of my perfume obsession I have been very fond of geranium. The “green rose” effect it adds to a perfume has appealed to me. Only rarely is it allowed to stand out on its own. Mme Feisthauer chooses an Egyptian Geranium essential oil as the centerpiece of Pelargonium.

Before that geranium arrives Mme Feisthauer uses the lemon-tinted resin, elemi, as the opening. As the geranium begins to come forward so do a series of notes meant to surround but not override. Green cardamom and clary sage are used to support the green leafy nature of the geranium. Orris and carrot are here to give the rosy floral nature a bit of a modification. One of the reasons I think you don’t see geranium as a focus is it becomes very easy to experience it as a half-hearted rose. Which is why by using two rooty notes Mme Feisthauer turns that into something primitive and earthy. It also allows that green accord more traction, too. The earthiness is continued into the base with vetiver. The vetiver here carries a bit of smokiness with it which I liked more than if a straight vetiver was used. A little gaiac wood, moss, and musk round out Pelargonium.

Pelargonium has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

A Stiil Life is meant to find something beneath the common. Mme Feisthauer’s Still Life of Geranium does that. Every choice illuminates the focal point along with the other things in the picture. Pelargonium carries the elegance of a fine piece of art.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Nautica Blue Sail- Beach Fougere

When I was regularly attending New York Fashion Week there was one show I always looked forward to, Nautica. The reason was they almost always had a bottle of perfume to give away. Nautica is known for its sportswear inspired by the water. When it comes to fashionable American beachwear Nautica is one of the leading brands. Once they began producing fragrance in 1992 you will not be surprised to know the original Nautica perfume was a classic aquatic. Unlike the clothing, it didn’t stand out from the other aquatics on the shelf in the department store. They would sort of stumble along for years imitating whatever was popular in competent but uninspiring ways. That would change in 2005.

When I attended a Nautica show around that time I was given a bottle of Nautica Blue as a giveaway. By this time, I can say I wasn’t excited to receive it. It took weeks, maybe months, before my curiosity got me to give it a try. I received quite a surprise as Blue did something completely different than the other mainstream aquatics. Perfumers Maurice Roucel and Patricia Bilodeau added in a watery violet at the heart of the aquatic bracketed by pineapple and basil. It was an evolution of the boring to something invigorating. Consumers seemed to also enjoy the change and Blue has become the evergreen tentpole for the brand. I admire Blue so much when my press sample of the new Blue Sail arrived I wondered whether it would be as innovative for 2017 as Blue was for 2005.

Laurent Le Guernec

Perfumer Laurent Le Guernec wasn’t looking for innovation it seems like he was more intent on working within the classic fougere architecture with a few contemporary flourishes. While not boundary pushing, Blue Sail is a good mainstream aquatic fougere.

Blue Sail opens with an orange rind in place of the typical orange pulp. Paired with the very typical rosemary the rind has more pronounced green facets which allow the rosemary to intersect with it more smoothly than if it was just the fruit. The heart is lavender supported by the light woody cypress and the acerbic juniper berry. The juniper gives a transparent gin vibe to the citrus herbal lavender traditional core. Sandalwood and vetiver finish Blue Sail off where many fougeres find their base.

Blue Sail has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Blue Sail does feel a bit like a throwback to the early days of the fragrance part of Nautica except I like the modern twist M. Le Guernec adds to the fougere more than I liked any of those. If you’re looking for a good fougere to throw into your beach bag Blue Sail is a good choice.

Disclosure: this review is based on a press sample provided by Nautica.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jo Malone Star Magnolia- Garden Party

Nearly every perfume I smell conjures up a vision. Different places, specific kinds of ingredients, memories of the past. A few of them resonate with my imagination as to what event I might wear them to. When it comes to Jo Malone there are a disproportionate number of fragrances which seem perfect for a summer garden party. The qualities I find, which is part of the brand aesthetic, that put me in a linen suit on a lawn are these; transparency, brightness, and ease of wear. The latest release Star Magnolia captures all of that.

Perfumer Anne Flipo composed her first fragrances for Jo Malone a year ago with the five perfume Herb Garden Collection. She would follow that up with Basil & Neroli in the fall. Star Magnolia gets her out of the herbal side of Jo Malone and places her square in their floral wheel house. In those first six releases for the brand Mme Flipo had a clear command of what the brand has stood for since its founding. With Star Magnolia, she shows that understanding again.

Anne Flipo

Star Magnolia is primarily a lemon-magnolia-sandalwood construction. Mme Flipo adds in supporting notes especially in the heart but those three notes I just listed is what you will mostly remember after wearing it.

The opening moments are a sunny lemon. When it comes to my summer scents lemon is one of my more favorite choices as the lead citrus note. Here Mme Flipo adds some zip with ginger and some leafy green. The heart is where the magnolia shows up. Magnolia has a lemony character to it and the note sort of appears from within the lemon. Neroli helps amplify the floral while the green from the top persists into the heart. The final note is sandalwood leavened with a moderate amount of amber.

Star Magnolis has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

One reason I enjoyed Star Magnolia is the same reason I enjoy walking the lawn at a real garden party. There is something simply beautiful about the combination of flowers, grass and sun. Star Magnolia captures all of that. It makes for a perfume ideal for the warmer months coming.

Disclosure: This review was based on a press sample provided by Jo Malone.

Mark Behnke  

New Perfume Review Provision Maitri- Bark and Bite

One of the great things about independent perfumers is they can design their perfumes to satisfy their vision. A few years ago, I met west coast-based perfumer Sherri Sebastian at an Elements Showcase in New York City. On that day, she introduced me to her new line of perfume. There was one which just grabbed me; Purusa Root. It was a vetiver based perfume in which ginger played a prominent role. I eagerly awaited more from Ms. Sebastian.

It took nearly five years for that to arrive funnily enough at another trade show in New York City, Tranoi Parfum. I had been used to seeing Ms. Sebastian and her informing me something was coming; I expected more of the same. Instead she ushered me to a pedestal with her new brand and three new releases. The new brand is called Provision and it is a full-service beauty line covering body as well as fragrance. Ms. Sebastian was inspired by her current hometown of Los Angeles when designing the line. The three fragrances are all quite nice. Resonance is a warm resinous perfumed hug. A lovely comfort scent. Las Flores is an expansive mix of orange blossom and amber reminiscent of the blue sky over the Hollywood Hills. The one which intrigued me most was Maitri.

Sherri Sebastian

Maitri is an evolution of Root as it is again centered on a core of vetiver and ginger. In Root Ms. Sebastian took that combination deep in to the soil. Maitri goes the other direction as it climbs the tree above the ground as Ms. Sebastian adds both bark and bite to Maitri.

Maitri opens with a sparkly bergamot to provide a nod to the never-ending sunny days of LA. Then the vetiver Ms. Sebastian has sourced is a spectacular transparent version. Vetiver can sometimes wear very heavily. This version does not; it comes off equal parts green and woody. The ginger picks up on the former becoming an energetic dancing partner. This same duet is what made Root so memorable for me and it does so in Maitri, too. Where Maitri differs is in Ms. Sebastian’s use of oakmoss to provide some bite to the woody aspect of vetiver. The final piece of Maitri is what Ms. Sebastian describes as a “Mandarin musk accord” which appears as an opaque botanical musk.

Maitri has 8-10 hour longevity and below average sillage.

Ms. Sebastian has been one of the independent perfumers who has always been able to communicate a clear vision for her fragrances followed by execution. It is not as easy to do as it was for me to write. If you are looking for a great vetiver for the summer Provision Maitri is one to try.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Fath’s Essentials Lilas Exquis- Lilac Haze

I have mentioned this in previous reviews of heritage brands. They can’t just stick to reformulations of the past. At some point, they must apply the brand aesthetic to the present day. It is daunting when the reformulations have met with praise. Moving to the new holds pitfalls of a different kind. One brand which arrived a year ago has successfully negotiated the obstacles, Fath’s Essentials.

Creative director Rania Naim used perfumer Cecile Zarokian to reformulate Green Water and simultaneously release three new ones. This was a good collection overall and I had hope the brand could continue in this direction. Mme Naim wanted an equal set of fragrances which trended more feminine which you should read as more floral. She turned to another of the younger star perfumers, Luca Maffei, to achieve her vision.

Rania Naim (l.) and Luca Maffei

All four of the new perfumes are quite good and I will review all of them over the following weeks. The one which grabbed me from the first moment I tried it was Lilas Exquis. One of the more interesting aspects of the four new releases is all of them are deeply colored liquids. Lilas Exquis is said to represent Sig. Maffei’s favorite color and flower; lilac. I too am partial to the color and the bloom which piqued my interest how Sig. Maffei would approach Lilas Exquis. What he chooses to do is form a typical late spring milieu after a rain shower. He takes all the components of that and floats it on top of a sturdy base of musk and woods.

Lilas Exquis opens with a fascinating transparent fruity floral accord of hyacinth and blueberry. When hyacinth is kept at a lower concentration it imparts a watery effect along with its floral lift. The blueberry is almost like having it growing in the same flower bed as the lilac. Because the lilac accord is what comes next. Sig. Maffei coalesces it around a nucleus of violet. Wrapped tightly to it are lily, magnolia, and angelica. It forms a lilac accord as it comes in my window after a spring rain. This floats like a lilac tinted cloud. Tethering it to the ground is the base combination of Timbersilk and Ambrox as they keep the cloud from drifting away. As time moves on the woods become progressively muskier as ambrette seeds and other musks give some development from woods to animalic over the final hours.

Lilas Exquis has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Lilas Exquis is my favorite of these new Fath’s Essentials because of the transparency with which Sig. Maffei manages here. Lilac has always been something which comes over my window on the wind expanding to naturally perfume my office. Lilas Exquis also has that expansiveness which is what draws me to it. I have already had the opportunity to be wearing Lilas Exquis after the rain has activated the lilacs outside my office window. Lilas Exquis turned that evening into the most beautiful lilac haze.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Fath’s Essentials.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Reviews Molecule 04 and Escentric 04- Herr Professor Doktor Returns

There are a few perfumers who are also trained chemists. Obviously when I am with them we geek out about molecules that smell good. What has always occurred to me during those discussions is we are able to take them a level deeper because we understand the chemistry as well as the perfumery of it all. It seems like there should be a way for those of you who are not chemists to have a way to enter the discussion too. Enter chemist and perfumer Geza Schoen and his Escentric Molecules brand.

"Herr Professor Doktor" Schoen

In 2005 Hr. Schoen introduced the perfume world to an interesting concept in releasing a pair of perfumes. Molecule 01 would feature one aromachemical only diluted in alcohol; for the first one it was Iso E Super. Escentric 01 would be a perfume in which the featured aromachemical was present in high concentrations. It has turned out to be a winning combination allowing consumers to experience a single building block and then see it as part of a structure. It has been followed up by 02 which featured Ambroxan and 03 which featured Vetiveryl Acetate. Now we have arrived at a new pair of Molecule 04 and Escentric 04 around the aromachemical Javanol.

Javanol

As with all the previous pairs Javanol is being used because it has become used in many new releases. It is a cost effective sandalwood replacement. Focused more on the creamy sweetly woody nature of real sandalwood while removing some of the drier more astringent character. It is that kind of crowd-pleasing ingredient which goes a long way and lasts a long time. Things consumers seem to conflate with quality. When you smell Molecule 04 that creamy woody quality is front and center. Hr. Schoen in the press materials mentions he detects a grapefruit aspect. I’ve smelled Javanol many times and I must say I have never experienced it and don’t when I wear Molecule 04. Another thing about a fragrance like Molecule 04 if you choose to use it as a perfume you wear often you will likely stop smelling it on yourself but almost everyone else around you will still be able to. It is because Molecule 04 as a single ingredient leads to you filtering it out because you become habituated to the smell. It’s like working in a garage and not smelling the motor oil because it is just part of your environment. Same concept with Molecule 04 you won’t notice it but it isn’t gone.

While the Molecule half of the equation is of interest it is always the Escentric side which generally puts a smile on my face. In Escentric 04 Hr. Schoen puts a really big grin on my face.

What has made the Escentric series stand out is Hr. Schoen takes these materials which are base notes and moves them up the pyramid so that they aren’t the finish line they are there right from the start. In Escentric 04 he uses grapefruit in the early going. Presumably to accentuate the grapefruit character I miss in Javanol itself. What does stand out is Hr. Schoen’s use of baie rose. I know he spent a lot of time with this ingredient recently and in Escentric 04 he uses it in a very kinetic manner adding fresh herbal counterpoints to the grapefruit while underneath the Javanol lifts it all up. Orris and rose provide an almost traditional woody floral accord in the heart. The biggest difference is that Hr. Schoen has doubled down on his sandalwood aromachemicals adding Polysantol. This other sandalwood aromachemical amplifies the sweet woodiness and the creaminess. I am guessing just upping the Javanol level didn’t create the effect Hr. Schoen wanted as well as combining the two molecules. Whatever the structural reason is the aesthetic result is like a detonation of sandalwood with orris, grapefruit, and rose shrapnel flung in all directions. In the base, he brings back his original two molecules Iso E Super and Ambroxan to form a molecular quartet of synthetic woods which last for well over 24 hours on my skin.

Molecule 01 and Escentric 04 have overnight longevity and average sillage but remember once they settle into the synthetic ingredients it alters your perception of this.

When Hr. Schoen releases these pairs of perfume I call him Herr Professor Doktor as he seeks to educate and delight at the same time. With his fourth lecture, he has outdone himself. Escentric 04 is one of the best perfumes he has ever produced.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Escentric Molecules.

Mark Behnke