I am a perfume nerd. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that. You probably don’t know how much of a nerd I am. I comb the sites which discuss new perfumery materials for what is coming from each of the major ingredient producers. That is where chemistry nerd and perfume nerd intersect. When I read about an interesting material, I add it to a spreadsheet with a link to where I read about it. Waiting for the day it will find its way to perfume I’m reviewing. Such was the case for Bigarane.
Sophie Truitard accepting her ABIHPEC Award as "The Perfumer" in 2017
I have also taken to paying attention to who is doing great work in Brazil. Brazil is where the bleeding edge of perfume innovation takes place. It is where new materials are often used for the first time. This is for one of the national societies that is crazy for perfume. Every major perfume oil house has a large presence in Brazil. It is the test lab for the rest of the world. Which means there are perfumers who are working almost exclusively in that market. The perfume nerd catalogs those names, too. One which hit my list a year and a half ago was Sophie Truitard. She was named “The Perfumer” in the 2017 ABIHPEC Awards. I expected there would be a time when she made a perfume I could try.
One of the most successfully creative independent perfume lines is Andrea Maack. Created by the graphic artist of the same name from Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2011, she has shown a tendency to look for new exciting young perfumers to work with. I always look forward to a new release because it won’t be boring. When I received my sample of Andrea Maack Cornucopia everything came together.
I was kind of expecting a perfume from Mme Truitard because after ten years in Brazil, culminating in her award, she moved to the Paris office. That she was collaborating with Ms. Maack seemed like a perfect fit. Then when she decided to use Bigarane I knew this was a perfumer who had spent time working with it. The reason I was interested in Bigarane is it had been described as a greener analog of petitgrain. I have always enjoyed perfumes where the green aspects of petitgrain are amplified. An ingredient that started there always was going to end up on my spreadsheet. Befitting the three creative aspects I was so interested in Cornucopia turns out to be a three-layered perfume.
The first layer is a fresh green accord. Here is where I find the Bigarane. Mme Truitard displays it front and center. There is that focused brightness of petitgrain, but it is diffused through a green opaque lens. It provides a subtle citrus sunniness. It is an interesting ingredient which Mme Truitard supports with the odd enhancement of green pepper and crisp green apple. Those two ingredients play up the green of Bigarane and the snap of the lemon-like undercurrent. The heart accord takes this and goes herbal with it as angelica and cumin find a fascinating balanced pungency. It could have been a little too much except that it is counterbalanced with a green fig. This adds a fleshy fruitiness which tilts the heart accord into something weirdly gourmand-y for a minute or two. The base accord is a nuanced mix of incense, styrax, and black musk. The resins insert themselves into the heart and consume it in waves of incense and musk which is where Cornucopia ends.
Cornucopia has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Cornucopia satisfied the desires of the perfume nerd completely. If you have been a fan of previous Andrea Maack perfumes, this fits right into the overall collection. If you just want to try something delightfully different it is also not like any other new spring perfume this year. I am excited to see what comes next from Ms. Maack, Mme Truitard and Bigarane but they will all have work to do to better Cornucopia. For the time being The Perfume Nerd Abides.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.