As I watch new brands begin to define their aesthetic some common themes come up. Most often a creative director will choose to work with a small set of perfumers, one to three to help in the early days. I am a proponent of this especially for new brands. Defined working relationships can lead to consistent results. What is surprising are the outliers. Creative directors with such clarity of vision they can work with any perfumer. The ability to coax exactly what you want from a perfumer is the essence of the best creative directors. In just a couple of years Thibaud Crivelli has shown he is one of these. Maison Crivelli Hibiscus Mahajad shows another side of his vision.
M. Crivelli from the beginning laid out his desire to have textural perfumes. Before I ever tried one, I was skeptical he could do it. Fromm the first set of five through to this, his eleventh he has achieved it. He has done it working with a variety of perfumers. Quentin Bisch who he collaborates with here is the eighth different nose in eleven releases. The other change is to create a fragrance at extrait strength. Working at new concentration and with a new perfumer should be difficult. The result makes it look easy.
Hibiscus Mahajad is inspired by “hibiscus tea in a gemstone market”. That description describes the idea trying to be realized. A floral steamy accord over harder glossier ingredients. It is achieved through two separate accords.
The choice to use a hibiscus accord is an interesting way to allow for the texture to be engineered through balancing the pieces. In this case three interesting ingredients comprise the accord. First is Ebelia which carries a dewy cassis-like scent profile. Also present is the lily surrogate Nympheal which also has a dewy floral quality more green than typical lily. The third piece is Rose NeoAbsolute this is a recent addition to the perfumer’s palette. It is achieved by taking the rose petals which have been distilled once for their essential oil and doing it a second time. It forms a fascinating rose with deeper facets. Together these are what forms the hibiscus accord. The dewiness is what will add the steam to form the hibiscus tea.
It is this accord where the perfume opens. Added to it is a sprig of herbal spearmint and a stick of cinnamon. These coax out some of the greener and spicy subtleties lurking in the hibiscus accord. Which allows for the second half of this to come together.
Vanilla leads the way adding just the right amount of sweet counterbalance to the top accord. Ambrette forms a bridge to the leather accord waiting. A warm amber comes along with the leather to create that glossy surface. Prodded by the description I was thinking about topaz as I wore this. A deeper colored gemstone to complete the initial vision.
Hibiscus Mahajad has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Having this at extrait concentration is an added benefit. All of what I described isn’t propelled off your skin. It rises in undulating waves like swirls of steam off the cup of tea as you look at a topaz through a loupe. Because it is concentrated it is going to be a great floral choice for the upcoming colder months. It will be enough to tide me over until M. Crivelli is ready to give me something new.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.