When I first started Colognoisseur January was a desert of new perfumes to write about. In the last few years that has changed. The last quarter of the year has been the time I receive the most new releases. It is overwhelming in a good way. I now look forward to January to allow me to backtrack and fill in some blanks. I feel strongest about doing this when I get a new collection and there is one which clearly needs to be written about first. When the others are also quite good but don’t necessarily do something so different as the one standout.
Which was where I was when receiving the three perfumes which make up Frassai’s El Sur collection. Creative director Natalia Outeda working with perfumer Irina Burlakova produced a nice set of fragrance. The thing was El Descanso immediately marked itself out as one of the best perfumes of the year. Which doesn’t mean the other two, Cuir Pampas and Rosa Sacra, also have their charms; just ones I’ve seen before. Because they are good, I don’t want them to get lost. I’m going to do short reviews of both today.
Cuir Pampas is meant to evoke the gauchos of Argentina. These are the South American counterpart to the American cowboy. They both wear leather and roam the wide-open spaces. The biggest difference which is referenced in Cuir Pampas is their hot beverage of choice. Mme Burlakova uses that difference to add a gaucho spin to the story of the trail rider.
It opens with the smell of well-worn leather and the bite of green mate tea. That is the warmth that wakes a gaucho up. It also is what wakes up the early going in Cuir Pampas. That bitterness is a compelling foil to the leather. This dynamic remains in place for a while as if it takes some time for our metaphorical gaucho to get his horse outfitted while finishing his tea. What comes next is sunrise on the grass fields known as the Pampas. The whole construct opens up through vetiver, hay, and labdanum. This is the joy of being born to ride.
Cuir Pampas has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Rosa Sacra also has some words meant to connect back to Argentina. In this case I didn’t find them to be particularly adept at describing the perfume. What Mme Burlakova creates is a tropical rose.
Using the spicy Ottoman rose as her core floral she dusts it with baie rose. The latter has an ability to accentuate many of the aspects of this rose. The herbal nature picks up the spices in the middle. It also has a fruity scent which deepens the floral quality of the rose. Also as part of this there is a humidity where I can almost hear the plink of droplets from the canopy raining on the bloom. It takes a decidedly woody turn with palo santo forming the base. The more subdued sandalwood-like nature of palo santo works especially well here. It supports and buoys the rose without overwriting it. What it leaves is a rose blooming deep in the rain forest.
Rosa Sacra has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
The entire El Sur collection is another creative triumph for Sra. Outeda. All three deserve some praise for her seeing her vision to fruition.
Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by Frassai.