While I realize it is probably economically untenable I have an irrational desire for perfume brands to have a place to take chances. I want a brand to have a subset where they attempt to push the limits of their core aesthetic. One of the few brands which seems to be doing this is Juliette Has a Gun. Owner-perfumer Romano Ricci debuted the Luxury Collection in 2013 following with a new release every year since.
I admire M. Ricci for doing this because each of these perfumes have made the effort to go beyond what you find in the main collection. They have also elicited very different reactions from me. The first release, Oil Fiction, was an admirable miss. Moon Dance was among the best things ever to come from the brand with a thoroughly modern violet composition. White Spirit, sadly, did not do the same for white flowers. Last year’s Into the Void felt like it wanted to explore the vacuum of space but with an overload of ambrox and norlimbanol it more explored my tolerance of those ingredients. This is what experimentation should be; a low success rate but the opportunity for the brand to breathe. I think those previous misses lead to Metal Chypre being another winner for me.
M. Ricci has an almost fetishistic desire to include ambrox in most of his fragrances. It means he has probably spent a lot of time learning the limits of its versatility. In Metal Chypre that experience turns into him using the ambrox in an austere effect which he uses to hyper focus the rest of the ingredients in Metal Chypre into something much more representative of the chill of space than Into the Void.
Ambrox provides that austerity right from the start. There is a sharpness to ambrox that puts it on my love it-hate it list. In Metal Chypre the needle-sharp spiky nature works because early on baie rose provides a sharp herbal contrast. Twin paths of rooty iris and leather come next. Each provides the setting for base notes of patchouli and tonka. These all are subservient to the ambrox which predominates.
Metal Chypre has 16-18 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is among my favorite uses of ambrox as a keynote I’ve tried. It comes from M. Ricci’s deep knowledge of the ingredient through his near-constant use of it. I could waggishly call him the Master of Ambrox. It is exactly what I like to see from a brand willing to try something different. Metal Chypre succeeds on that level.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Juliette Has a Gun.