New Perfume Review Jeroboam Ligno- Pillars of Patchouli and Ambergris

I have written in the past about how important it is to good perfume making to have a great base accord. It has become a literal raison de etre for the Jeroboam perfume collection. Before they even designed their first perfume creative director Francois Henin and perfumer Vanina Muracciole created a base. The idea was to use the same musky base for every Jeroboam perfume. I loved the idea but was a bit disappointed in the original set of perfumes released in 2015. It seemed like they were still figuring out how to use their accord to its best effect. That would change in the ensuing releases culminating in last year’s release of gardenia focused Boha. It was exactly the kind of perfume this type of construction should result in. I suspected they had finally found the pathway forward; the latest release Jeroboam Ligno confirms this.

Francois Henin

For Ligno M. Henin and Sig. ra Muracciole turn to two of the most recognizable pillar ingredients, patchouli and ambergris, to build a magnificent edifice atop the musky base.

Vanina Muracciole

Ligno opens with what I suspect is a fraction of patchouli because the greener herbal qualities are amplified. She adds clary sage and pine to provide sharp edges to the patchouli. This top accord has an almost minty freshness to it which is fun. The full spectrum patchouli comes forward in the heart as the earthier qualities I enjoy about it are now more prominent. At the same time a briny ambergris forms an odd complementary harmonic. I liked the juxtaposition of earth and sea, not opposites but two phases of a greater whole. Then that musky base comes to form the place where the patchouli and ambergris will float on. As this triangle comes together a few grace notes of geranium, saffron, and castoreum each find purchase on one side of the polygon.

Ligno has 14-16 hour longevity and moderate sillage as an extrait.

Ligno is another excellent use of this base developed in the beginning of the brand. Each new release has been better than the last; Ligno continues that trend.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Under the Radar: Jovoy Psychedelique- Sea of Brown Paisley

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I’ll admit that the line-up for future Under the Radar columns comes from my standing in front of the shelf of perfumes I am currently wearing. As I look over that shelf, I think that one needs some exposure. January has always been a month where I break out my patchouli heavy hitters. I don’t know what it is, but I have come to like my patchouli-focused scents coming out of the Holidays. I think part of it is as a tonic to the deluge of spring rose perfumes that will be arriving soon. Many perfume lovers look to avoid some of the deeper shades of patchouli. I understand that. The beauty of modern perfumery is perfumers have such an expanded palette of patchouli-based materials there is a patchouli out there for most tastes. Right now I just want a patchouli perfume unafraid to lay it all out there. To draw me into its depths. That perfume is Jovoy Psychedelique.

Francois Henin

Currently the name of Jovoy and its founder Francois Henin are well-known among those who look for contemporary perfume. M. Henin has been one of the most committed promoters of the independent perfume movement. Opening stores in Paris to display the best of this sector of fragrance. To play it safe he decided he needed his own brand to make sure he had one he knew he could count on. Jovoy was founded in 2011 with an initial collection of six, five of which are still in production today.  I own three of them. Private Label was my first introduction to perfumer Cecile Zarokian. Amber Premier is one of the warmest ambers I own. Psychedelique is the one I spend the most time with; my eyes closed breathing in with a smile.

Jacques Flori

Psychedelique was composed by perfumer Jacques Flori. M. Flori uses a rich source of patchouli as the center of his fragrance. It can make it seem like Psychedelique is a brown paisley pattern where the supporting ingredients lighten or deepen the patchouli in the middle of it all. It is that sense of motion which makes Psychedelique stand apart.

Patchouli has two main aspects to its scent profile; a deep earthiness and a chocolate-like one. M. Flori shifts between the two as the perfume develops. At first it is that earthy quality, but it is kept at a slightly lighter level. A lovely flare of citrus provides points of light amidst the brown. The citrus turns to a dried fruit accord while the patchouli exerts its chocolate nature. This is the part of patchouli that doesn’t get used as much lately. I feel as if I’m sliding across a giant fondant. The earthiness returns for the base. This time it carries the slightly mentholated nature patchouli can show at higher concentrations. Amber and vanilla come to dry things out over the final stages.

Psychedelique has 14-16 hour longevity and above average sillage.

There will be a night, sometime soon, where after I’ve taken care of the Colognoiseur tasks for the day I will spray on some Psychedelique for the rest of the day and to sleep in. I’ll have dreams of being on a sea of brown paisley. If you want to join me put Jovoy Psychedelique on your radar.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jeroboam Boha- My Kind of Gardenia

If there is a perfume ingredient I am picky about it is gardenia. My grandmother’s Florida pine house was surrounded by the bushes. The blooms floated in bowls of water throughout the house. As the overhead fans stirred the humid air I was surrounded by the scent of gardenia. If there is one thing many gardenia perfumes lack for me is the significant green component of the actual gardenia. Many focus on the floral qualities. If they miss out on the underlying green it isn’t for me. Jeroboam Boha gets it right.

Francois Henin

Jeroboam is the perfume brand founded by Francois Henin and perfumer Vanina Muracciole. The idea was to create a foundational base accord of musks which they would build upon for each release. It has been a mixed bag for me with the first releases not quite coming together. That changed with Origino and Ambra. All the Jeroboam perfumes are at extrait strength. In conjunction with the musky base accord it creates an intimacy which I find appealing. In Boha it is at its best.

Vanina Muracciole

One other thing about gardenia perfumes is they are often quite dense. The power of white flowers wants to trend that way. What sets Boha apart is that Sig. ra Muracciole makes the gardenia more expansive without sacrificing presence.

The green thread is placed right from the start. Green almond, bergamot and violet leaves form a green accord of foliage and stem. Above that blooms the gardenia. Sig. ra Muracciole constructs this with jasmine and orange blossom to round things out. The top accord slides underneath the florals as they become more expansive. The gardenia becomes more effusive without becoming transparent or, alternatively, cloying. She finds a precise balance where the hidden indoles can snake out of the center right down to that musky base. It harmonizes beautifully which is further accentuated by the addition of a rich sandalwood.

Boha has 14-16 hour longevity and very little sillage. This is a skin scent.

Boha is the best of the Jeroboam perfumes to date. M. Henin and Sig. ra Muracciole have fully realized the potential of their aesthetic. Boha is the kind of gardenia perfume I am looking for.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jovoy Pavillon Rouge- Pirates of Old Hollywood

The life of a pirate has always been an object of fascination. For the current generation Captain Jack Sparrow has imprinted his swashbuckling charm onto the screen. While Johnny Depp has created a modern take on the genre it has also added some dirtiness to it. You might not want a perfume which picked up some of the scents of the things we see in the Pirates of the Caribbean. As one much older I was inspired to make a home-made eye patch along with a sword out of a broomstick by Errol Flynn. I watched the 1935 film “Captain Blood” whenever it came on our local UHF TV station. Mr. Flynn was a Pirate of Old Hollywood. Finely coiffed, a crease in his pantaloons, and shiny new blade. Even the shipboard scenes looked like drawing rooms on the waves. When I read the promotional materials for Jovoy Pavillon Rouge I realized this was an Errol Flynn style of fragrance; not a Johnny Depp one.

Marie Schnirer

Jovoy creative director Francois Henin chose perfumer Marie Schnirer to create this Old Hollywood Pirate perfume called Pavillon Rouge. This is a mannered construct of an unrealistic depiction of a pirate. Even so it has a cocky grin Errol Flynn would be proud of.

We find our well-coiffed buccaneer in the hold examining the sacks of spices he just took off the burning ship astern. He takes a swig of the fine whisky while the smell of the spices from the pillaged sacks rises underneath. He muses that the scent of booze and spices smell like victory. He accepts his leather jacket from the crew member who washed the blood off. It adds a nice contrast to the whisky and spice. He walks to the other side of the hold where the sacks containing black tea, dried leaves of tobacco, and coffee all swirl around the boozy leather clad pirate. He emerges from the hold to the cheers of the crew. As he relaxes in his polished wood captain’s quarters the remains of the scents of the hold remind him it was a good day for the Pavillon Rouge.

Pavillon Rouge has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Pavillon Rouge is a classic style of perfume capturing a classic style of pirate. I enjoyed unleashing my Pirate of Old Hollywood sans eye patch and broomstick.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jovoy Remember Me- Where Gourmand Is Going

It seems like we are at the beginning of a creative upswing around the gourmand genre of perfume. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is purely creative. The gourmand style has only been in existence for 26 years and it has only seen any kind of serious consideration over the past decade. That means there is room for imagination to flourish. Another reason is the younger perfume generation seems to prefer floral gourmands. These have been some of the early mass-market winners. Which should then lead to the independent and niche perfume brands to provide more sophisticated versions. The great majority of the gourmand perfumes rely on strongly edible sweet central accords. There has been a lack of trying to find a contrasting accord which explores the places they mesh while providing depth. Perhaps Jovoy Remember Me is an example of where gourmand is going.

Francois Henin

Creative director for Jovoy, Francois Henin, and perfumer Cecile Zarokian took a trip to Doha, Qatar. They were there looking at the uniquely Middle Eastern ingredients which have become popular in perfumery. While they were taking a break from their business they stopped to visit local friends. Which is where inspiration would strike. They were served a Qatari drink called Karak tea. It is an offshoot of chai tea most are familiar with. The scent of the drink struck both as it was paired with a breeze flowing through the frangipani growing in the garden. They walked away wanting to capture this as a perfume. If that was what ended up in the bottle, and it does, that would have been enough to be a memorable gourmand. What elevates Remember Me is Mme Zarokian contrasts it with one of the best leather accords she has produced.

Celine Zarokian

It opens with the spices of cardamom and ginger. A dollop of lemon chills the heat, of especially the ginger, as Mme Zarokian pushes the concentration of that ingredient. Black tea, milk and vanilla provide the rest of the chai accord. It is creamy with a curl of steam rising off it. Mme Zarokian then floats the frangipani over the top. This sets up the final accord of luxurious suede leather. All refined leather carries a sweetness. This accord picks out that thread, so it can harmonize with the chai and the frangipani. It sets up a fascinating triad. Underneath which slips the rawer, but smooth, aspects of the leather. It is a compelling give and take over the hours it stays on my skin in this state.

Remember Me has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Remember Me occupies a unique space within the gourmand genre. There are few fragrances similar and none which are better than it. These are exceedingly small data sets. Although I think that might be changing. If it does Remember Me might be remembered for being one of the earliest bellwethers of a new day for gourmands.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jeroboam Ambra- Room for One More?

It has taken awhile but I finally had to scrape some ice off the windshield earlier this week. The warmer weather has kept me from reaching for my fall stalwarts. I always notice as I perform my autumnal perfume rotation how many are ambers. There is something about the sense of warmth and comfort I get from amber which makes it the right choice for me this time of year. My favorites are the ones which wear close to my skin so they scent my sweater allowing them to gently accompany me throughout my day. It was with some interest I received a sample of Jeroboam Ambra.

Francois Henin

Jeroboam is a collaboration between creative director Francois Henin and perfumer Vanina Murraciole. I tried the debut collection of four at Esxence 2015. The connective tissue of the Jeroboam releases is they feature musk. All the Jeroboam fragrances are at extrait strength which means they wear close to the skin. This can sometimes lead to a perfume feeling less exuberant. An extrait done well though is like riding on a fragrant cloud. It wasn’t until the Holiday release of Origino at the end of 2015 where Jeroboam came together as a concept for me. A warmly enveloping nutmeg and sandalwood fragrance on a musky foundation; it was made for the festive time of year. It took almost two years for M. Henin and Mme Murraciole to release two more.  Vespero is a nice geranium, cedar, patchouli and musk perfume. Ambra is the one which caught my attention.

Vanina Murraciole

Amber as the ingredient in an Oriental construction is an accord. Mme Murraciole constructs a compellingly dense one for Ambra. It plays into the advantages the extrait concentration brings by keeping it banked like embers in a fireplace.

Geranium is where Ambra opens and this is becoming a consistent characteristic of Jeroboam as a single ingredient puts the welcome mat out only to be left behind. In Ambra it is the four legs upon which Mme Murraciole builds her amber accord; incense, patchouli, peru balsam, and musk. The musk provides a nice complementary roundness to the overall amber accord. This is so restrained but it has hidden depths which I could feel myself chasing down on the days I wore Ambra. It is the pulsing heart which beats for hours. Over time vetiver finds a way into the spaces within to add the finishing touch.

Ambra has 12-14 hour longevity and little sillage.

I have a hard time believing I need another amber perfume but Ambra gives me something different from my other favorites. I think it is the concentration which imparts an intimacy. In any case it looks like I’ll be making room to add one more to my group of amber fragrances.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples I purchased.

Mark Behnke