I’ve spent a lot of time in the American southwest hiking in the desert. It remains one of my favorite places to have experienced. Over the years my impression of the desert as a place lacking life was changed to one of the most dynamic places I have spent time. When you come to the desert with that mindset it rewards you with some of the subtlest pleasures of nature if you look for them. The Different Company Al Sahra is inspired by the most famous desert.
Al Sahra is the local name for the Sahara Desert. I’ve never visited, and it might be fallacious to extrapolate that all deserts smell alike. When I tried Al Sahra it was the desert which greeted me. Perfumer Emilie Coppermann forms a perfume of shifting finely-drawn accords.
Creative director Luc Gabriel turned to Mme Coppermann for the ninth time. They have formed one of those creative director-perfumer collaborations which has created some memorable perfumes. Al Sahra is among the best of their concoctions. They wanted to make a perfume style they dubbed “mineral Oriental”. While I was waiting for my sample to arrive, the perfume that phrase promised in the press release piqued my interest. It is because perfumers have been given a set of new materials with which to form these mineralic scents. Mme Coppermann is one of the more innovative which further heightened my expectations. What is in the bottle is a creation which moves as the sands do on the desert. Allowing the wind to bring you the scent of things in the distance. Making you find the life that is on the sea of sand.
Mme Coppermann opens with an accord of sun heated sand. She uses some of those mineral ingredients as well as violet and salt. It is the salt which takes the mineralic accord from dried earth to flowing sand. The ingredients used for mineralic effects tend to be concentrated like hard-packed earth. This top accord has the flow of sand carrying a languorous kinetic aspect. Then a transparent lily rises gaining strength as you notice it growing. A fantastic sizzle of cinnamon reminds you the sun is still high in the sky. It all cools down as night falls. The woods bleached by the sun are represented by sandalwood. Incense and labdanum give a resinous tint to the evening. Patchouli assists the transformation from mineralic to earthy. As you lift your eyes to the sky the evening zephyr blows across it all.
Al Sahra has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Al Sahra fits with the series of colognes Mme Coppermann produced in her first The Different Company releases. This isn’t as heavy as Oriental might make you believe. It should be a great choice in the summer months. Al Sahra found the beauty of the desert within its shifting sands.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by The Different Company.
One of the purposes of Under the Radar is to give me a chance to extol the virtues of a fragrance which might have fallen through the cracks. I’m also using it to make sure the fragrances that got bumped and moved off the review schedule get a second chance to be discovered. I really enjoy the opportunity I have to try new perfumes but sometimes their getting into my hands can be a story in and of itself. The three The Different Company L’Esprit Colognes, South Bay, Kashan Rose, and White Zagora seemed like they were never meant to be in my hands. The initial samples were lost in transit then I couldn’t seem to get a sample from the stores carrying them. It wasn’t until meeting creative director Luc Gabriel at Esxence that I finally had the set to try. It turns out that was the first fortuitous event in this complicated tale.
The L’Esprit Cologne collection are all signed by perfumer Emilie Bevierre-Coppermann and it is one of the best nouveau cologne collections of the last couple of years. Of the new ones Mme Bevierre-Coppermann has added to the original three and helped define the evolving new aesthetic for the lowly cologne. The one which does this the best is South Bay.
In South Bay Mme Bevierre-Coppermann chooses to turn in a very citrus focused fragrance over an intense bed of woodiness. There is a floral transition within the heart where South Bay transforms from fresh citrus into clean woods. Throughout the development South Bay is energetic and sunny.
South Bay uses grapefruit as the main citrus note and Mme Bevierre-Coppermann takes mandarin leaves to add leafy green and to accentuate the sulfurous aspects of the grapefruit. Tamarine base provides the juicy sweetness of tangerine and clementine. This a gorgeous citrus fantasy and I enjoy this opening so much it almost beckons me to re-apply often, which I do. Grapefruit wood begins the transition to the base and it is joined with freesia and a very mannered application of Eglantine Rose. That very sweet rose contrasts the grapefruit and complements the Tamarine with the grapefruit wood completing the transition. The base of South Bay is simply sandalwood and vetiver. The sandalwood is dry and creamy and the vetiver is woody with a green tint. There is nothing terribly groundbreaking here. Sometimes a perfumer needs to know when to keep it simple and Mme Bevierre-Coppermann has made the correct choice here.
South Bay has 6-8 hour longevity on me and average sillage.
I just returned from my summer beach vacation and South Bay was frequently my scent of the morning, afternoon, and evening. As I mentioned above, the opening is enchanting and topping it up multiple times a day allows me to keep enjoying it. The rest of the development is no slouch, as well. The opening is just magical for me. If you’re looking for a new summer fragrance don’t overlook South Bay even though it has been around for a year.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by The Different Company at Esxence.