During Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2015 I met a young independent perfumer from Vermont named Beckie Sheloske. At that time she was collaborating with a friend on a new line of perfume. What I found interesting about Ms. Sheloske was her ability to work outside the typical independent perfumer’s palette. I expected to hear more from her because of her distinct style of composition. Then I didn’t. Until earlier this year when I was contacted by, Serena Rogers, the creative director of a new brand, Curata. I found that Ms. Sheloske had collaborated with her on the brand’s first perfume Dulceo.
Ms. Rogers wants Curata to be a brand which represents “sustainable luxury”. A part of that is to create products which exemplify the second word in that. The idea that if something is compellingly rich enough the other word carries meaning, too. When working with botanical products one of the difficult aspects of finding that luxury tipping point is having enough depth to a perfume. Most botanical perfumes are only a few layers deep. The best botanical perfumes have sustainability in an artistic aesthetic which finds something more. That is what I found with Dulceo.
Dulceo fits squarely within the current trend of floral gourmands. Where it parts ways is in the transparent part which has become so prevalent in the commercial versions of this style. This is no wispy veil; it is perfume which wants you to notice it. Ms. Sheloske again uses alternative ingredients over what might have been “obvious” even in an all-botanical setting. For Dulceo it is in those selections where it soars.
The top accord is tropical fruits of orange and guava bound together with neroli and palmarosa. That last ingredient is what I am talking about when I say Ms. Sheloske works off a different palette. Palmarosa has a very green effect it complements the green within neroli with more strength. Those two notes support the orange and guava to form a tropical accord that is not insipid. Ms. Sheloske shows the same skill at balancing jasmine, frangipani, cassie flower, and tuberose in the heart. You can read that list and expect white flower power on the way. Ms. Sheloske instead blends them together in a perfumed lei which forms a luminous whole. I particularly like the way she manages the indolic nature of her ingredients. She doesn’t scrub them clean, but she does find a way to make them purr instead of growl. Then we get to the gourmand base. When I saw the name Dulceo my mind went to the caramel sauce “dulce de leche” used in Latin American cooking. It is a lighter version of caramel. Ms. Sheloske also uses a lighter version of caramel in the base. Where she adds remarkable depth is in the addition of cocoa to the caramel. Cocoa usually has this nature of dustiness when used. Ms. Sheloske finds a way to make it lusher through adding vanilla. When this comes together it forms a delicious gooey candy accord.
Dulceo has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
As an introduction to a new brand Ms. Rogers has lived up to her desire for sustainable luxury in Dulceo. As a re-introduction to Ms. Sheloske I hope I am not waiting four more years before trying another perfume from her; it is just too long. If you are looking for an all-botanical floral gourmand with depth; Dulceo is where you should be searching.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Curata.