I have always enjoyed the way my love of perfume has allowed me to see the natural world differently. It also flows the other way. This happened most remarkably when I encountered tuberose in its natural state. After all the mid-century perfumes which featured this overheated flower, I expected to smell it from yards away. Instead I found something that was much greener, almost mentholated. When I returned home and picked up a couple of those vintage classics that green thread leapt out to me. It was as if it took smelling the real thing to unlock the part of my mind that perceives tuberose. Shawn Maher for American Perfumer Benton Park searches for that natural scent of tuberose.
This is the second perfume Shawn Maher has composed for the limited editions of Dave Kern’s store American Perfumer. These perfumes have been some of my favorites every year. One is because Mr. Kern has found some of the best American independent perfumers and asked them to create without restrictions. For a creative mind this is a blessing. Benton Park was born from discussions around the way tuberose smells in the wild.
Mr. Maher always lets us into his creative process through his Scent Notes blog on his website. He mentions that he did some research to find out the headspace analysis for tuberose. This is the scent of the flower as analyzed scientifically to determine its composition.
The other piece of Benton Park is vetiver, Mr. Maher and Mr. Kern talked about how different vetiver’s scent profile is depending on which part of the world it comes from. Two different sources add in their differences as complement to the tuberose accord.
Benton Park opens with a sprightly green mixture around limonene and a set of mint-like ingredients. Regular readers know I have a bug about mint. Which is why I use mint-like to describe it. These are fresh green ingredients closer in scent to mint than anything else I can think of. When you smell natural tuberose there is a mentholated chill that fizzes through your nose. This accord captures that. Mr. Maher then rounds out the accord with some of the more recognizable pieces of tuberose. This is where using an accord rather than tuberose oil itself is a huge improvement. It allows for a precise tuning of the accord to a specific effect. Once it is together it is the natural inversion of the green over the narcotic floral.
Waiting for it is the vetiver accord. Mr. Maher takes a foundation of double distilled vetiver. To that he adds vetiver from India and Haiti. Vetiver has a sharp green grassy piece and an earthy woody piece. The Haitian version has the green out front while the Indian one has the woody part. As they interact with the foundational vetiver it forms a rounded vetiver accord which is ready to meet its tuberose partner.
When it happens the icy green of the tuberose adds a fall morning chill to the grassy green of vetiver. I almost checked to see if I could see my breath. It is a fascinating interaction. The chill felt great on a blazing hot day I wore this on. A set of musks provide the grounding the keynote accords need to complete things.
Benton Park has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is one of the most unique interpretations of tuberose I have encountered in perfumery. It is nature through perfumery.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Shawn Maher.
Editor’s Note: These limited editions have proven to be extremely popular, selling out very quickly. Mr. Kern, to make it more equitable uses a lottery system. There are 25 signed and numbered bottles for sale. The lottery is scheduled for May 29, 2021. If you are interested you can send your name, phone number, and address to firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered. Or you can supply the same info on the Instagram page @theamericanperfumer via message.