I have been an admirer of the entire multimedia effort Stephen Dirkes has constructed for his Euphorium Brooklyn brand. I have found his style of perfume to have its own distinctive personality which seems to be closely attuned to mine. Which was one reason why upon receiving the new Spring release, Ume, I knew this would be no pale floral.
Steven Dirkes (Photo by Tal Shpantzer via talfoto.com)
One part of the multimedia I adore is the ongoing tale each new release tells us about the three men from the Euphorium Bile Works in Brooklyn circa 1860. They are Christian Rosenkreuz, Etienne Chevreuil and Rudolph Komodo. Over the first few releases we were introduced to each member of who I refer to as the Bile Works Boys. Now that we have moved past that it has become about their encounters outside of the factory. For Ume the factual event of the arrival of the first Japanese Embassy in 1860 is woven into an accompanying tale. The poet Walt Whitman wrote this as part of a fuller work he composed for this visit; “The box-lid is but perceptibly open’d-nevertheless the Perfume pours copiously out of the whole box.” Mr. Komodo a.k.a The Dragon takes his current female companion Sra. Bustello to meet the envoy and the poet. They end up receiving both at the Bile Works a few evening later. After a typical night of sensorial exploration, the envoy brings the evening to a close as he recites the story of “The Plum Blossom and The Butterfly”. A reminder that words are every bit as hedonistic as the more obvious ways. Mr. Dirkes translates that into a deeply sensual perfume centered around plum. As Ume tells its own tale of the plum blossom early in the spring.
Sra. Bustello and the Japanese Envoy connect over honey covered plums. Mr. Dirkes also provides sweetness enhanced plums in the opening of Ume. His choice is to use a lot of apricot. I think this is a great choice a high concentration of honey runs the risk of becoming unpleasant. Apricot does not, as it provides a capable honey substitute to saturate the plum in sweetness. That is all I perceive in the first few minutes before the apricot-plum begins to make room for some other things in the room. Which is mainly a lilting green tea and a tart spike of yuzu. This becomes entwined with spirals of incense snaking throughout. Simultaneously the clean woody lines of Hinoki provide a temple-like feel. Moss brings us back to the chilled earth still not quite thawed. Icy accords tussle with the soil.
Ume has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.
Ume is the kind of spring floral I need after months of trying the lighter ones. For me spring is the sensual practice of feeling the grass in my barefeet. Inhaling the growth just beginning. Ume may be the story of the Dragon and the Plum. It is also a poem to the sensual pleasures of midnight in the early spring.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Euphorium Brooklyn.