One of my favorite winter soups is a potato and nori combination soaked in garlic and ginger. During preparation when I open the package of nori, I bring it to my nose to sniff. The vegetal musky briny odor which comes from the bag is satisfying. I’ve never thought to experience it in a perfume until I received my sample of Abel Cyan Nori.
Abel is one of the best new perfume lines to spring up in the last few years. Founder and creative director Frances Shoemack have worked exclusively with perfumer Isaac Sinclair since 2016. Their ethos is to work only with natural ingredients. From the beginning they have created a brand aesthetic which has shown off the best of what all-natural perfumery can be. Mr. Sinclair is another of the rare creatives who can extract the hidden power of the ingredients he chooses. What makes them more laudable is they are thoroughly modern in aesthetic. Cyan Nori might be the pinnacle of both.
In the press release they talk a lot about using a plant derived musk. Longtime readers and perfume lovers know about ambrette seed because it is an amazing source of musk. Ms. Shoemack and Mr. Sinclair don’t skimp on its use in Cyan Nori. It is the linchpin to something special.
It begins with a fruity duet of tangerine and peach. This bursts off my skin with a fresh energy. With most fruity top accords they weight too heavily for my taste. This one is at just the right level. Now is when the ambrette comes in. This source of musk has just a hint of the hibiscus flower it is harvested from when used at this concentration. It adds a subtle floral to the fruits until the muskiness takes over. This is not that furry growling animalic musk. This is a sleeker version with vegetal facets. Which sets up nicely for the seaweed in the base. The ambrette seems tailor-made to go with it. There is a briny part to go along with the glistening green. This is all kept at a pleasant level throughout as the nori wraps the ambrette in a perfumed sushi roll.
Cyan Nori has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
The precision of ingredients used by Mr. Sinclair is remarkable. There is an excellent balance achieved the entire way. I also keep returning to just how pleasant it is to wear this. It might be because it reminds me of one of my favorite recipes. It is more likely because it is refreshingly unique.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.