One of the more exciting things to a perfume nerd like me has been the final acquisition of the De Laire perfume bases by Symrise. Unless you read a lot of history that sentence probably underwhelms you. Let me see if I can get you interested. De Laire was a producer of perfume bases in the first half of the 20th Century. The concept was to take the new synthetic fragrance molecules and make them into pleasant accords meant to provide the foundation for a perfume to be built upon. Edmond Roudnitska began his career at De Laire making bases. One of the most famous De Laire bases, Prunol, is married to his use of it. Others you might have heard of are Mousse de Saxe, Amber 83, or Coroliane. These are the foundations of many of the most famous vintage perfumes. Now that Symrise has cleared all the legal hurdles to put these bases back into their perfumers’ rotation I was waiting for someone to use it in a modern perfume. A Lab on Fire Hallucinogenic Pearl is the first I am aware of to do this.
One of the great things about A Lab on Fire is the creative freedom granted their perfumers. Creative Director Carlos Kusubayashi has elicited some of the most innovative work from some of our best-known perfumers. Hallucinogenic Pearl freed Symrise Master Perfumer Emilie Coppermann to look for one of the classic De Laire bases to incorporate. She decided to use Iriseine.
Mme Coppermann opens with the botanical musk of ambrette paired with baie rose. The gentle herbal nature of the baie rose provides just the right amount of texture to the light musk. One of the things about ambrette is it can be so light as to be too fleeting. By adding in the baie rose it adds more presence. Then the heart begins with a fabulous violet which is everything I enjoy about this in a fragrance. This is where Iriseine comes forward providing iris as the leading edge of the base. What is also here is gorgeous depth courtesy of using a base instead of the iris by itself. For those familiar with the vintage perfumes like L’Heure Bleue which feature the same duo of violet and Iriseine this is many levels softer. It is what I mean when I say I want to see what a modern perfumer can do with a classic base like Iriseine. It is a modern evolution of what a De Laire base can achieve. It finishes with light woods and some synthetic musks recapitulating the ambrette from on top.
Hallucinogenic Pearl has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
The use of this historical base in a modern composition delighted me on every level. Just the shading of the Iriseine and violet would have made the perfume nerd happy. What really made me happy was in the hands of our most talented perfumers it seems like the De Laire bases are back to be used.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by A Lab on Fire.