In the “things which make me feel old” category is the number of perfume brands which are celebrating double-digit anniversaries. It is a wonderful thing that these forerunner brands of artistic perfumery have found their respective audiences and thrived. But I remember when they started just after the new millennium began. It seems like forever ago. The latest brand to remind me of my mortality is The Different Company with their anniversary release, Le 15.
As I wrote in my Perfume 101 piece on The Different Company it has been one of those consistently good producers of perfume for these last 15 years. For this celebratory fragrance Luc Gabriel who has served as CEO and Creative Director for the brand since 2004 collaborated with perfumer Alexandra Monet. M. Gabriel wanted Le 15 to be “a perfume of immortality”. To capture that very grandiose brief Mme Monet chose to use the wood palo santo known for its mystical qualities. If you’re attempting immortality beginning with the wood of the gods is probably a good place to start.
For me one of the hallmarks of a fragrance of The Different Company is minimal amount of ingredients which produce an effect beyond what you might expect. It has been so from Jean-Claude Ellena in the beginning and continues with the current set of perfumers because of the creative direction provided by M. Gabriel. Le 15 fits right into the collection as the palo santo holds the center and it is surrounded by spices and resins.
The opening of Le 15 is an attention getter as Mme Monet mixes citrus and nutmeg in a spicy slap and tickle. It heads straight into the palo santo nucleus which is supported on the woody side by cedar. Mme Monet also uses Hedione to tease out the floral nuances present but the main reason it is present is to provide lift and expansiveness. Once the woodiness has expanded sufficiently Mme Monet slides in sweet myrrh and arid frankincense. The palo santo accord has the feel of a kind of woody incense and so the additional resinous notes fit right in. Later on a selection of skin musks provide the finishing touch.
Le 15 is an extrait de parfum and has 14-16 hour longevity with minimal sillage.
Le 15 is a fitting bookmark for a brand which has produced a few iconic perfumes over the last 15 years. That it comes from a perfumer new to the brand shows M. Gabriel is not stuck in the past but looking towards the future. Le 15 is a beautiful way of moving towards that horizon wrapped in a woody resinous embrace.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by The Different Company at Pitti Fragranze 2015.
Editor’s Note: The header photo is also from M. Gabriel. I suspect pretty soon he will be designing the bottles.