It was right after the turn of the century that I began to dive deep into perfume. As the internet gave me a wider platform to chat with others my interest was nitro fueled. On a visit to NYC early on I was introduced to a new British line of perfume called Miller Harris. The entire collection was exactly what I was looking for, a more sophisticated version of what was at the mall. At the end of that day I walked away with a bottle of Citron Citron. The citrus-herb-wood combination was just a better cologne full of artistic intent. The Harris in the name referred to perfumer Lyn Harris. Over the next thirteen years she would ride the wave of interest in independent perfumers. She has been a touchstone to my earliest days. When I received a sample of Legendar Bigarade Santal it felt like Ms. Harris and I were completing a circle begun two decades ago.
Legendar is a European brand which lives by this credo, “Simple. To the point.” Their earliest products were folios and brass pens which epitomized this. I couldn’t discover what made them decide to add fragrance to this aesthetic. Choosing Ms. Harris is almost a fait accompli for it to live up to their desired aesthetic. She made two perfumes which both have leather being used differently. Juniper Leather is the one which would go most easily with the previous products. Juniper is part of an ink-like accord while a rich leather accord forms the base. It is good but just like twenty years ago it was the citrus-herb-wood combination of Bigarade Santal that I liked best.
Bigarade Santal starts with the bitter citrus promised as grapefruit and bitter orange form a tart slightly sulfurous top accord. I like when the rougher edges of citrus are on display. Ms. Harris allows them to show without predominating. Cardamom in its green form provides the herbal connection to the sandalwood in the base. Then she adds one of the best leather accords I’ve tried in a long time. Using birch tar and vetiver she transforms the sandalwood into a baby soft leather which I wanted to burrow into. It should be this rough cuir de russie leather and instead it is the supplest plush version you can imagine. It is a gorgeous end to the citrus and herbal pieces which led to it.
Bigarade Santal has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
As I close the circle begun twenty years ago it clicks shut with a leather snap. Perhaps twenty years from now I’ll find this was the beginning of another large circle back to where we began.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.