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

Colognoisseur Esxence 2016 Final Wrap-Up Part 1- People, Trends, and Teases

Esxence is always a joy for the opportunity to spend some time with my fragrant friends in real life. One of the early joys of Esxence 2016 was the time I spent with my fellow judges of The Art & Olfaction Awards. The conversations I had with Antonio Gardoni of Bogue Profumo and Sherri Sebastian of Sebatian Signs were mentally stimulating. We are all dedicated to helping these awards be the best they can be. It makes these opportunities when we can get together and talk all the more valuable.

I was once again the roving reporter for the Esxence 2016 video. It is an interesting perspective from which to observe the exposition. I had the opportunity to meet attendees from every continent on the planet. It showed me the breadth of communication fragrance can have without barriers of language or culture.

I also had the opportunity to meet someone I have wanted to for a long time. The more I do my Dead Letter Office columns the more I realize creative director Chantal Roos was ahead of her time. To finally have the opportunity to speak with her was a personal highlight for me.

Another personal highlight was meeting Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison who was attending as Managing Editor of Fragrantica. In his earlier incarnations as the male perfume critic at Now Smell This in 2005 until he founded one of the first solo fragrance blogs by a man, The Perfume Critic, he was an inspiration as I was just starting to write about perfume. It is rare to get the opportunity to thank one of those who inspired me to start writing.

Esxence 2016 entryway

When it came to trends at Esxence 2016 it seems like the Arabian market must be booming because there were multiple brands dedicated to appealing to it. The only problem is the great majority of these brands are using oud-centric fragrances. There has to be a real effort made to differentiate themselves. As I was going through the scent strips I brought home with me I had a hard time figuring out from a quick sniff which brand was which. This kind of anonymity by ubiquity does not bode well for these brands unless there is an insatiable appetite in the Middle East for these kind of fragrances.

The leather trend I noticed at Pitti last September seems to be continuing onward as there were a number of leather based new releases. This mini-trend of new gourmands was also showing up a little more.

I end as I always do with some blind items where I share some sneak previews coming later this year or next year missing some critical information.

-Snap! Crackle! Pop! One brand will be getting down with the Marquis de Sade.

-One brand will be telling a family love story of a love at first sight encounter.

-One perfumer is glowing with anticipation over his next release.

-One Creative Director is looking to head to the Far East for her next brand.

-This brand is going to re-invent its past.

-One of my favorite young guns is about to step up to a major label release.

That’s it for Part 1. I’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2 where I name the 10 best new fragrances I tried.

Mark Behnke