When I was a semi-frequent attendee of New York Fashion Week I was always fascinated with one thing every season. Every designer would be working on their own. Keeping their designs secret. Not speaking with one another. Yet as every season unfolded there was always one fabric color which seemed to show up on every runway. One year as an exercise I kept track of the use of “firecracker red”. By the end of the shows I had seen it 168 times. How does this happen I wonder? Is there an unconscious zeitgeist among the designers?
It happens in perfumery, but it is usually around a specific ingredient. Something new which perfumers can’t wait to use. That makes sense to me. When I look back over a year it sticks out. This year there also seems to be a strong trend pointing towards a color as inspiration. Puredistance Rubikona is the most recent fragrance to add to it.
It is not a surprise that Puresdistance creative director Jan Ewoud Vos is inspired by color. He has been inspired by the connection of scent and color called synesthesia. The entire collection of perfumes by the brand are influenced by it. I do not have that kind of association. I consider myself scent color blind. When challenged with a perfume inspired by synesthetic considerations, I must perceive it from my handicapped perspective. Rubikona is meant to be a perfume of a ruby sitting on blue satin displaying the different shades of red inside the jewel.
Mr. Vos collaborated with perfumer Cecile Zarokian for the first time since 2016’s Sheiduna. Mr. Vos and she had begun collaborating based on a phrase “chic inside out”. Living up to that meant the color red to both of them. That was further refined to a blood red ruby as the place for Rubikona to begin from.
When you think red in perfume rose is probably where most begin. Mme Zarokian also begins with rose in Rubikona. She then accomplishes a remarkable effect of turning that floral into a cut ruby. By using orris and ylang-ylang she creates a red rose which has greater depth and subtle shadings. Mme Zarokian has made some of my favorite rose accords. The one here is as good as it gets. She uses the powder and the root of orris to go high and low. The ylang-ylang flows adding the carnal fleshiness I adore when used this way. It is a slowly rotating Calder of a rose presenting different faces as it lazily twirls. Then Mme Zarokian delights me a second time as she creates a faux-gourmand accord as the base. She begins with a deep earthy patchouli which seems appropriate to an intense rose. Then the patchouli moves towards its gourmand-like chocolaty aspect as orange blossom and a creamy vanilla meet it there. A clever twist of clove and it forms an haute cuisine dessert course for the end of this.
Rubikona has 16-18 hour longevity and above average sillage.
I said I don’t have scent-color synesthesia, but I might have discovered I have a different form. I’ve been thinking how to describe the gourmand-like phase since I first tried this. One night I went to get my favorite treat. I take a square of orange flavored dark chocolate and squirt whipped cream on it. On the second day I was wearing Rubikona it was right at this phase on my skin. As I bit down, and the flavors washed over my tongue Rubikona radiated off my skin to join in. I’ve not heard of taste-scent synesthesia but that might be my thing.
Rubikona is one of the best perfumes of the year. It is testament to the shared vision of Mr. Vos and Mme Zarokian. It feels like a natural to wear this Holiday season.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Puredistance.