New Perfume Reviews Elisire Elixir Absolu, Eau Papaguena, and Ambre Nomade

I am so happy to see a new perfume brand which manages to limit their first releases to only five, I realize how much things have changed. The latest collection of only five came from a brand called Elisire. The founder Franck Salzwedel spent a large part of his childhood in Asia before attending fashion school in France. He would go on from there to work on helping fashion designers navigate the world of fragrance. He would jump to New York where his career in the visual arts as a painter would take off. Like many who share the experience of painting and fragrance together M. Salzwedel sees fragrances as colors. The desire to capture that vision in a perfume led to the founding of Elisire. All five of the first collection are worthy of mention and I will do short reviews of all five over the next two days.

 PierreNegrin

Pierre Negrin

One of the perfumers M. Salzwedel chose to work with was Pierre Negrin who did two of the five fragrances. The prevailing color for one of them, Eau Papaguena, is undoubtedly green. M. Negrin opens on an herbal version of the color as tarragon and basil provide the pungent start. A well-balanced use of spearmint adds a bit of lift to the herbs. It leads to a really delicate orange blossom heart which shades the green a couple hues lighter. The colors deepen in the base with vetiver, cypress, and incense heading for the center of the color wheel. I really like the shift from transparent to something which has a bit more presence by the end. If you like green fragrances this should be on your test list.

The other one by M. Negrin shares a kinship to the other but Ambre Nomade is like a glowing ember of pulsing orange. This also starts with an herbal duet of rosemary and sage but they are joined by a crisp apple, an energetic ginger, and a green lavender. This forms that glowing warmth which is banked a bit by some ylang-ylang in the heart which provides a bit of yellow shading. The base truly pulses with contained energy as M. Negrin combines patchouli, olibanum, vanilla, and musks to form the glowing ember. There are so many perfumes with amber in the base which are too timid. Amber Nomade is a bold exploration of amber as good as any I’ve tried recently.

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Ilias Erminidis

Perfumer Ilias Erminidis has done some tremendous work on the mass-market fragrances he has contributed to. M. Salzwedel gives him the chance to work towards a more niche aesthetic. As a result M. Erminidis takes the opportunity to create an olfactory mosaic of some of the best florals in perfumery in Elixir Absolu. It all starts with a fairly usual citrusy bergamot opening. What comes next is less common as he layers floral after floral to create a heart which always seems in motion as another floral arrives. Freesia starts it, then orange blossom, tiare, magnolia, ylang ylang, jasmine, and rose. These florals form a cohesive accord that is beautifully constructed. From this fantasia M. Erminidis goes for vanilla and sandalwood forming a comforting base note. It is the collage of florals in the heart which makes this one memorable.

I’ll conclude tomorrow with the two perfumes composed by Alberto Morillas.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre D’Orange Remarkable People- The Joy of Cardamom

3

Etienne de Swardt the owner and creative force behind Etat Libre D’Orange is one of my favorite people in all of perfumery. His fragrances perfectly mirror his personality. They both carry a broad pleasure in provocation while having a laugh at the absurdity of it all. The ability to not take it so seriously has led to some seriously amazing perfumes from Etat Libre D’Orange. The other thing I like about the brand is M. de Swardt has steadfastly kept from developing an identifiable olfactory trademark which represents the brand. One reason for that is he keeps working with a number of the best perfumers in the business. Inviting them to run away with him for a good time making a new perfume. For the latest release, Remarkable People, M. de Swardt convinced perfumer Cecile Matton to go for a ride with him to make an exuberant paean to those who choose to be unconventional.

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Etienne de Swardt

Mme Matton is collaborating with M. de Swardt for the first time. Remarkable People is actually the re-branding of the 2010 release called Josephine Baker made exclusively for European Sephora. It was made in small quantity and has been long discontinued. I never got the chance to try it because I hadn’t quite developed my system of getting European perfumes into my hands. Now with it as a part of the permanent collection it will see a little more exposure. I can honestly say I see very little of the chanteuse in this perfume and so the name change I think is for the better. What I do get is a perfume which is a good companion to last year’s Cologne. Both carry an infectious joie de vivre throughout. Remarkable People has a bit of a cologne architecture early before turning woodier at the end.

 cecile matton

Cecile Matton

Remarkable People opens with a fabulous mix of grapefruit and cardamom. The cardamom in particular is noteworthy for the way it melds with the slightly sulfurous quality of the grapefruit. I love cardamom in perfumes and Mme Matton has definitely found my sweet spot with the early moments of this one. Jasmine provides a floral change of pace before Mme Matton brings back the spices with a pinch of black pepper and curry as extracted via Mane’s Jungle Essence Process. This makes the curry presence less hirsute and more cleanly polite while still retaining some bite. The cardamom also remains into the heart to mix with all of this. The base is sandalwood and labdanum combined with one of Mane’s proprietary synthetics Lorenox. Lorenox is described as “woody, ambery, leathery, and aromatic.” In Remarkable People it is the leathery quality that comes out most directly.

Remarkable People has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

There have been a number of new perfumes this year which have made me smile due to their desire to be fun. I should’ve expected M. de Swardt to be one of those who could keep the party rolling. Remarkable People should put a smile on any perfume lover’s face.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Etat Libre D’Orange at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jardins D’Ecrivains Marlowe- The Scent of Innuendo

Jardins D’Ecrivains translates to Garden of Authors. Anais Biguine has collected six authors since the creation of her line in fall of 2012. I have really enjoyed her interpretation of literary figures especially the last two releases Orlando and Junky. Both of those took a very modern approach to their construction which made them stand out from the first four releases which had a bit more of a classical feeling to them which matched their literary inspiration. For the newest release Marlowe it looks like Mme Biguine wanted to find a middle ground between the two.

Marlowe-Portrait-1585

A Supposed Portrait of Christopher Marlowe c.1585- Artist Unknown

Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary of William Shakespeare during the Elizabethan Era. His best known play is Doctor Faustus. His life was cut short as he dies of a stabbing just after his twenty-ninth birthday. Those are the facts of his life which are broadly agreed upon. If it ended there Mme Biguine would probably not be putting his name on a bottle of perfume. Mr. Marlowe lived a life of many unconfirmed layers. He was rumored to be the actual writer of some of Shakespeare’s plays. There was talk he was a spy for the Crown. The circumstances of his death were maybe caused by a cuckolded husband or a jilted love, perhaps both. Or as an outspoken atheist perhaps the church did him in. What is speculated is much more fascinating than what is known. It is this mix of innuendo that Mme BIguine captures in Marlowe.

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Anais Biguine

Marlowe opens with a scrubbed clean tuberose. I am exhausted at the amount of times this polite tuberose has found its way into the latest perfumes. Thankfully Mme Biguine doesn’t just let it sit there she pairs osmanthus and elemi with it. The osmanthus has a bit of a battle in the early going to gain some ground against the tuberose but once it does the apricot facet forms a rich fruity floral accord. Elemi provides a lightly wooded lemony nuance to the tuberose and osmanthus. This is one of the few new fragrances I’ve tried with the cheerier tuberose which doesn’t feel like it just sits there wanting to be admired. The osmanthus really provides a lively partnership for it. They are so lively that they fairly trample the bit of myrrh that shows up in the heart. It is as fleeting as a matador’s cape and there is a slow amplification of the floralcy throughout the middle stage of development. The base is where Mme Biguine returns to her mix of white musks she used so successfully in Orlando. Here it washes away the florals in preparation for a leather accord which is greatly softened by the musks. A bit of oakmoss and labdanum provide a bit more steel to the base notes leaving Marlowe on a chypre-like final act.

Marlowe has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

I really enjoyed the middle ground Marlowe carved out for itself. While it reminded me of all that has come before from Mme Biguine’s literary garden it is enough of its own creation to find its own solitary patch of sunlight.

Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle of Marlowe provided by Jardins D’Ecrivains at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Olfactive Studio Panorama- Contemporary Green Architecture

At the end of 2011 when I was first introduced to the Olfactive Studio line of perfume I was immediately drawn in. Owner and Creative Director Celine Verleure has married photography and perfumery in a striking package. Through the six fragrances that have come over the last four years there has been a consistent progression towards a more modern aesthetic. Last year’s Ombre Indigo began the transition and it is the latest release Panorama which unabashedly completes it.

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Photo: Miguel Sandinha

Mme Verleure always begins with a photograph and usually it is one which already exists as part of a photographer’s collection. For Panorama she already had in mind the subject of the photographic brief, The Sheats Goldstein House in Los Angeles. The Sheats Goldstein House is an example of modern architecture from one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students John Lautner. It is one of the finest examples of modern architecture to be found. The unique nature of the house has found it in multiple movies. Mme Verleure commissioned Miguel Sandinha to photograph the residence and she would pick one of the shots as the brief for Panorama. You can see the picture she chose above.

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Clement Gavarry

Next step was to enlist perfumer Clement Gavarry in turning that visual into a fragrance. One of the things to notice about that picture is the actual part of the house takes up only a small portion of the overall photo. The great majority of it is the verdant greenery which surrounds the house and far off in the distance you see the skyline of LA. If you look at that photograph and take all that in you will get an idea of what is to come in Panorama as M. Gavarry makes a fragrance of varying hues of green including some truly inspired unusual choices. All together it makes one of the boldest artistic statements this brand has ever made.

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Celine Verleure

The accord that many will be talking about when trying Panorama appears in the first moments. M. Gavarry has constructed a wasabi accord and like that dried horseradish paste which accompanies sushi it captures your attention. When Mme Verleure told me about this being one of the components of Panorama I had to admit I was skeptical. That concern remained right up until I sprayed some on my skin. M. Gavarry has indeed created a recognizable wasabi accord, it has a cold spiciness with an accompanying desiccated quality. It is weird. It is also wonderful. Oft times something weird can be interesting but when you wear it all day it continually begins to rub you in the wrong way. On the days I wore Panorama it was exactly the opposite as I spent much of my time wanting more. One of the reasons that I think it doesn’t become irritating is because M. Gavarry uses bamboo and fig leaves to keep the oddness under control. Over an hour or so like a light show the bright vivid green of the wasabi changes hues and gets a few shades deeper. A freshly-cut grass accord leads down to a pairing of galbanum and green cardamom with violet leaves. This is where you get the clean lines of the glass and concrete structure of The Sheats Goldstein House. It is still green but it is a sleek metallic green like the reflection of the plants in the glass of the house. The final shade of green comes through a deeply coniferous fir balsam. It is given even more depth by the skillful use of myrrh, labdanum, and vanilla. Like the bamboo and fig on top these alter the fir balsam into something completely modern.

Panorama has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Panorama is the most experimental fragrance release from Olfactive Studio. I applaud Mme Verleure for being willing to move the brand in this direction. Panorama smells like nothing else in the collection and it is all the more fascinating for that. I have found it to be one of the few fragrances I have tried recently which has me completely intellectually engaged throughout its development. It is as architecturally unique in its construction as the edifice which inspired it.

Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle of Panorama provided by Olfactive Studio at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Von Eusersdorff Classic Opoponax- Classic Is As Classic Does

The word classic, when used to describe something, can be a double-edged sword. On the one side of the sword it can mean old or outdated. On the other side of the sword it can mean timeless. In perfumery it also holds the same double-edged impact. It can mean an old style of perfume which seems like something only people of an older generation would wear. On the other side it is a perfume that transcends trends and is relevant no matter the time period. One line which I think understands how to always stay on the positive side of the classic conundrum is Von Eusersdorff. The latest release Classic Opoponax is an example of a prototypical Oriental perfume.

Camille Henfling began the Von Eusersdorff line in 2010 and Classic Opoponax is the sixth release to date. Each release is centered on a single note around which a perfume is built. All five of the previous releases have represented one of the more common styles of perfume. Classic Opoponax returns to the same Oriental ground Classic Patchouli did back in 2010 as the first Von Eusersdorff release. Five years on Classic Opoponax shows the evolution of the brand as it has a much more assured sense of itself. When I think of what I consider an Oriental perfume this one checks off all of the boxes I need to like it very much.

camille henfling

Camille Henfling

Classic Opoponax opens with a shimmering floral layer of rose and jasmine. Typicaly those florals present themselves in a very extroverted way. In this case they form a floral layer with an opacity that draws you further in. what you find when you get to the heart is the promised opoponax. Opoponax is one of those notes which almost defines what I think of when I think of Oriental perfume. It is also called sweet myrrh and it is exactly that as it carries a sweet resinous glow. To make sure that glow is well stoked a very creamy sandalwood and a rich benzoin form the heart. As it slowly develops the rest of the Oriental mise en scene arrives as amber, castoreum, black patchouli, and vanilla form the base. This is really where classic steps forward in an excellent way as these are the bones of the typical Oriental base.

Classic Opoponax has 10-12 hour longevity and modest sillage.

Mr. Henfling clearly understands how to use the word classic in the most appropriate way. Classic Opoponax is a fabulous example of an opulent Oriental perfume that will carry you away to a different time and place. A classic time and place.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola- White Flower Joy Club

The collaboration between Neela Vermeire, of Neela Vermeire Creations, and perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has been a pretty spectacular success. Over the course of five fragrances they have explored much of Mme Vermeire’s Indian heritage. There is a lot to like about the collection but four of the first five releases definitely are on the deeper, more intense side of the perfumed spectrum. My personal favorite of the line is the one which plays against this, Bombay Bling. When I first wrote about it I described it as a Bollywood production number in a bottle. Bombay Bling wears its infectious spirit on its sleeve. I’ve been wondering when Mme Vermeire and M. Duchaufour might feel like getting a bit more playful again. The sixth release, Pichola, is that return to joy.

The name comes from the lake at the heart of city of Udaipur. There is a lot of talk, in the press release, about reflections on the lake and regal flowers. Reading that I expected to get another deep white floral like most of the rest of the collection. While the imagery is functional it does not describe the way Pichola wears on my skin. There is a moment in the very earliest going where Pichola does seem like it is going to be serious perfume. Just like every Bollywood production you’ve ever seen all of a sudden huge handful of flowers explode through the hard shell and the dance number is on. The transition from tight green opening into explosive transparent white flowers raining down is beautiful.

Bollywood_dance_show_in_Bristol

M. Duchaufour creates a hard green barrier consisting of cardamom, juniper, saffron, cinnamon, and, clementine. The early moments are wound as tight as an accountant’s nerves during tax season. This lasts a very short time before a troupe of white flowers come dancing through the stiff upper lip of Pichols forcing it to break into a smile. The winsome star of our show is a fabulous fresh tuberose absolute. Most hear tuberose and expect intensity. Of late there have been a lot of wan pretty tuberoses scrubbed clean and made insipid for the effort. The tuberose M. Duchaufour employs here has an incredible expansive quality without becoming overwhelming. You are never unaware of its presence but the other florals like orange blossom, ylang-ylang, and jasmine have plenty of space to dance happily alongside. It is in this phase of floral fandango where Pichola settles for hours. When it finally starts to move on it is time to rest from our exertions on a sweet woody bed of benzoin and sandalwood.

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

I am so happy to see Mme Vermeire return to a lighter style of construction. There is so much positive emotion on display it is infectious. I was uplifted each day I wore Pichola. Yes I want to smell good but some days I want to also have a barely suppressed laugh to go along with that, Pichola does that for me.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Neela Vermeire Creations.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review The Different Company I miss Violet- The Story of a Heartbreaker

Violet is one of my favorite floral notes in perfumery. Bertrand Duchaufour is one of my favorite perfumers. Over the years M. Duchaufour has been using a set of accords which he employs like a maestro calling forth the desired effect from a section of the olfactory symphony. Most recently he has perfected a leather accord, a vegetal green accord, and a violet accord. In the new I miss Violet for The Different Company he uses all of them in very different ways than he has in the past. It is another example, in a career full of them, of how he uses these proprietary constructs as the spine of many of his perfumes.

Creative Director Luc Gabriel envisioned the titular Violet as a woman forever in motion as she moves from place to place. As she leaves her temporary paramours behind she gives them a scent to remember her by and to miss her. M. Duchaufour imagines this scent to be a floral leather and he designed Violet’s parting gift to reflect our heroine’s wanderlust and her femininity. What is great about I miss Violet is the leather and the violet are present from beginning to end almost as a constant. The rest of the supporting cast is there to provide context.

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Bertrand Duchaufour

The soft supple leather accord and the violet accord slip into place from the very first moment. That vegetal green accord I mentioned is what compliments them early on. It makes the violet more alive by giving it an earthy foundation. That is no surprise. What I did find surprising was it took the softness of the leather and give it a bit of an unrefined roughness. Maybe a reminder that Violet will trample your heart eventually. M. Duchaufour creates a floral heart with osmanthus giving a floral which carries both a leather and fruity character making it a perfect connecting note between the top notes and the heart. The rest of the florals, mimosa, cyclamen, and iris combine with the violet. Underneath all of this is a healthy dose of Calone providing a bit of the open ocean for the flowers to float upon. This all settles on a soft kiss of musk, mahogany, and vanilla pulling the leather to the foreground in the end.

I miss Violet has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

M. Duchaufour has aptly drawn the fictional Violet out in three unique acts from heartbreaker, to ocean traveler, to the woman who enchants the next admirer in the new port of call. It is a great example of a very modern floral leather by M. Duchaufour.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I received at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aedes de Venustas Palissandre D’Or- Cinnamon and Cedar

I remember the first time I walked into the New York perfume boutique Aedes de Venustas. I think I stood inside the door with my mouth slack from the sensory overload of all these perfumes I had never heard of. Owners Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner were there to gently guide me through the offerings in the store. One thing I’ve come to realize over time is what an amazing job they do in curating what they offer for sale. They have few peers in the business who sell from a single storefront. Since 2012 that same careful consideration has carried over to their efforts to create a perfume brand which carries the name of their store. Over four previous releases they have covered a wide array of styles using some of the best perfumers working. For their latest release Palissandre D’Or they have outdone everything they have produced to date.

Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner

Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner

Mr. Bradl and Mr. Gerstner also collaborate with Francois Duquesne on the creative direction side for these fragrances.  The brief was to create a “scent of precious Oriental woods, in a smoldering palette of burnt sienna, lacquered red, and molten gold.” For the perfumer to realize this they chose Alberto Morillas.

M. Morillas is one of the greatest perfumers working today. The great majority of his work is on the more mainstream side of the perfumed avenue. Especially in the last few years he has been enticed to the niche side of the street to work there. What I am guessing entices him is the opportunity to work with some of the unique raw materials that just don’t fit the budget of a more commercial release. In Palissandre D’Or the ingredient he wanted to showcase was an Alaskan cedar which carries a rich leathery character along with the more familiar clean woody lines. Before we get to that in the base M. Morillas paints bands of “burnt sienna” and “lacquered red” which lead to the “molten gold” of the cedar.

Alberto-Morillas

Alberto Morillas

If there was any doubt I was going to like this perfume it is washed away by the early spices on top. M. Morillas takes nutmeg, baie rose, and coriander as a pedestal to display a fantastic cinnamon. If you’ve ever cooked with a high quality cinnamon you know there is a deep richness to it. The cinnamon which opens Palissandre D’Or carries the contrasting hot and sweet character of the very best Vietnamese cinnamon. There are very few perfumes which get cinnamon right but Palissandre D’Or can be added to the short list. M. Morillas uses the botanical musk of ambrette to lead to a Sri Lankan sandalwood in the heart. The heat of the cinnamon lacquers the sandalwood in a spice-laden shine. The moment where the cinnamon, ambrette and sandalwood come together is mesmerizing. M. Morillas wants me to be even more fascinated as in the base he combines three forms of cedar each with their own personality. Virginia cedar is that clean cut All-American wood. Chinese cedar carries a hint of smoky black tea to smudge that boyish charm a bit. The Alaskan cedar wraps that All-American in a leather jacket and turns him into a bad boy. Together this turns what, in other hands, would be a routine cedar base into something full of interesting texture and nuance.

Palissandre D’Or has 12-14 hours of longevity and below average sillage.

All five perfumes in the Aedes de Venustas line have been memorable and among the best perfumes of the year they were released. The entire team behind Palissandre D’Or have raised their collective bar to new heights. Palissandre D’Or is the realization of everything Aedes de Venustas stands for in terms of quality and discernment.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I received at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Puredistance White- Soft Focus

I really appreciate the effort Jan Ewoud Vos puts into every new release from his luxury perfume brand Puredistance. We went all of 2014 without a new release and when I received the press package for the latest, White, there was a reason. Mr. Vos had been collaborating with perfumer Antoine Lie on White. It was due to be released contemporaneously with Black, also by M. Lie, which was the last release. What is great was instead of pushing something out to satisfy a timeline Mr. Vos and M. Lie thought they could do better and so they returned to the beginning of the creative process.

jan ewoud vos

Jan Ewoud Vos

If Black was all about introspection and inward exploration; White was meant to be all about happiness and outward joy. There is no mention about what the discarded draft of White was centered on. The version which ended up carrying the name takes one of the more common supporting notes in many perfumes and gives it a starring role.

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Antoine Lie

M. Lie chooses a particularly bright bergamot to lead into a pairing of Rose de Mai and orris. M. Lie keeps this very light and slightly powdery. It has a very expansive footprint in the early moments as it seems to just suffuse itself throughout my awareness. I like a powdery floral and it did make me smile. I would guess if you are not a fan of powdery florals it might be more challenging. The star of White comes up through the powder as tonka not only arrives, it takes over. Tonka is most often used as a way of adding warmth and a slight bit of sweetness into a fragrance it is used in. M. Lie takes tonka, and using it in overdose, gives it a platform from which you can’t ignore it. The tonka used here, from Venezuela, rewards the scrutiny. By having it in high concentration the hay-like coumarin, the nutty character, and the slightly vanillic sweetness all have a more noticeable effect. If this was left in overdose it would become cloying and annoying. Instead M. Lie like an olfactory cinematographer softens the focal point by the addition of sandalwood, vetiver, and patchouli. They take that tonka and blur the edges making it just right while still retaining its starring role. A lovely cocktail of musks are the finishing touches to White.

Puredistance White has 24 hour longevity and average sillage, more than you might expect from a fragrance at 38% concentration.

White reminds me of waking up from a summer afternoon nap as the late afternoon sun flows into the room giving everything a soft glow. Mr. Vos wanted a perfume which would make one smile; I also found White to be a deeply comforting scent as well. It produced a smile of pure contentment each time I wore it.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Rubini Fundamental- Faith Restored (Part2)

Every year when I attend Esxence I wait for that moment. It comes when I am introduced to a new brand and it just captivates me from the first moment I smell the strip. This year that moment occurred when I heard the first words out of the young founder’s mouth. When I stepped up to the booth at the beginning of my third day Andrea Bissoli Rubini looked me in the eye and said, “I was born into a family of perfumers.” The earnest passion with which those words were spoken let me know that something special was on the way. The perfume called Rubini Fundamental lived up to every bit of the promise in those words.

Andrea Rubini

Andrea Bissoli Rubini

As I was smelling the strip Sig. Rubini told me his story. How he wanted to assemble a “Made in Italy” team. He asked nose Cristiano Canali to help design the perfume. He asked fellow blogger Ermano Picco to help refine the brief. He asked designer Francesca Gotti to create an unforgettable package to capture the past and the future. Each member of this team executed their task brilliantly.

Sig. Picco imagined Verona in 1937 as the small perfume shop in town serves the ladies in their iris-scented face powder. The actors still wearing their greasepaint. The alluring smells of the denizens of the local house of pleasure. Finally the smell of ripening Soave grapes on the vine ready to be harvested. These are the fundamentals of Fundamental.

Sig. Canali took a mix of great natural materials and combined them with modern synthetics which creates that Retro Nouveau vibe I like so much. Many attempt this but very few pull it off as well as Sig. Canali does in Fundamental.

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Side View of the Rubini Fundamental packaging

Sig.ra Gotti has a very unique perspective when it comes to packaging. She took this new material made from recycled Fiberglas, from boats, called Glebanite. Like an olfactory Oreo she sandwiches the bottle between two slabs of Gelbanite. When I saw it, and touched it, it felt like old stone. It wasn’t until I picked it up and saw how feather light it was despite looking so solid that it struck me that again the future was inspired by the past in Sig.ra Gotti’s design.

Above it all Sig. Rubini conducted his team of impassioned Italians to realize his vision.

Fundamental opens on a Hesperidic accord of bergamot, tangerine, orange flower, and a couple of synthetic citrus notes which add nuance and texture. The orange blossom in particular carries the early moments. Then we get the powdery iris as it floats above the top notes. The Soave grape accord also comes in with the powder. Sig. Canali finds the balance between crisp fruit and slightly alcoholic. It is as light as the iris making it the right partner for the heart of Fundamental. The thicker unctuous smell of the greasepaint also comes to provide the contrast to the pretty notes with a bit of bohemian insouciance. This is made up of vetiver and another set of synthetics which adds an olfactory thickness to Fundamental. We head further into the base with sandalwood and leather providing a carnal promise if you are just willing to take a step towards it.

Fundamental has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Everything about Fundamental makes me elated, and renews my faith, at the state of independent perfumery. Sig. Rubini assembled a group of like-minded visionaries. Together they carried themselves to the heights of creativity. I could wish that this was fundamental thinking for everyone making perfume. As long as Sig. Rubini can keep using his heritage to fuel his future I am sure that Fundamental is only the beginning of something quite marvelous.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample I received at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke