I have been having multiple discussions lately on who the greatest living perfumer is. It is a silly debate with no clear-cut correct answer. Any perfumer in the discussion has the credentials to deserve the dubious accolade. It also brings out what qualities I see as important in my own personal assessment. One name I mention almost immediately is Alberto Morillas. For over thirty years M. Morillas has worked at every level of perfumery. If there was a sector where he hadn’t been quite as prolific it was niche. Which was why when I heard he was going to make perfume for the Swiss brand Mizensir I had to find out more.
Last summer I dove in blind to pick up a bottle of Eau de Gingembre. Since I posted that review I have acquired all the subsequent releases. If there is an emerging aesthetic it is that of M. Morillas fusing high quality natural ingredients with high impact synthetics. The entire line has the feel of an ongoing masterclass in how to get the most out of both sides of the perfumer’s palette. The latest release, Bois de Mysore, is an example of how to build an accord to replace an endangered species.
Mysore sandalwood was so overharvested for its qualities that the Indian government had to step in and regulate it to protect it. There is no other source of sandalwood which provides the nuance and depth of genuine Mysore sandalwood. Perfumers have turned to other sources from other countries. These are all great sandalwoods but they lack the grace notes of the Mysore version. This leaves a perfumer in the position of having to create an accord to replace the unobtainable. In Bois de Mysore it feels like M. Morillas is presenting his version of a Mysore sandalwood accord.
Bois de Mysore is not meant to be just a sandalwood soliflore. M. Morillas wants to create a complete perfume; it is only in the final half of the development where the sandalwood accord is most prominent. Before that Bois de Mysore opens with a breezy mix of mandarin and neroli. It makes a very enticing first impression. Jasmine holds the heart picking up both of the top notes to form a citrusy floral opening. Now M. Morillas begins to assemble his pieces. First are green cardamom and violet leaf. One of the things I always remark on in Mysore sandalwood is there is a bit of a raw green underpinning. The cardamom and violet leaf provide that to the Sri Lankan sandalwood M. Morillas uses here. As the sandalwood rises the green notes fall into line behind the wood. There is another quality I associate with Mysore sandalwood and it what I call an “ashy” character. It is almost a mineral kind of effect but not quite. M. Morillas uses the synthetic musk ingredient Vulcanolide to provide this. When this all comes together it is a beautiful reminder of what an expertly constructed accord can do.
Bois de Mysore has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Throughout my days wearing Bois de Mysore that final part of the development always was on my mind as I would enjoy the slow build to the complete accord. Just one more data point when having that discussion about great perfumers.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.