I have looked on with interest as those who write or make videos on perfume move into making perfume. There have been enough that I consider successes that I think I know the most important piece, honesty. The good fragrances which have come out of this have almost uniformly been created with a genuine perspective born from experience. Freddie Albrighton made his first move towards making perfume collaborating with Antonio Gardoni on two versions of Doleur. Mr. Albrighton’s vision was obvious throughout both perfumes. Earlier this year he announced he was releasing his own collection: Freddie Albrighton Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa, Boys, and Mabel’s Tooth. It also showcases his desire to follow his own path.
Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa is his version of the trite fruity floral style. This is not the fresh floral of the mainstream. Mr. Albrighton creates something much denser in effect. The main protagonists are apricot and frangipani. They form a fog of fruit and flower. As I cast about inside of it, I discover a spicy layer of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Each of these spices has characteristic scent profiles. He uses them to add energy to his fruity floral haze. This segues into a patchouli, amber and cedar base accord. These provide a contrasting earthiness and dry woodiness which pushes back against that spicy fruity floral intensity.
Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa is the most accessible of the three releases. If you want a fruity floral with presence, it is a good place to experience Mr. Albrighton’s concepts. I was looking for something less definable. What he serves up is two variations on a gourmand style. I’ve said repeatedly that I am looking for a fragrance to take some chances in this genre. Both provide that.
Boys is the latest attempt at a milky gourmand. In the earliest stages it proceeds straightforwardly. Some sweet berries form a smoothie with creamy milk. Mr. Albrighton adds a candied effect through his use of violet to add a second vector of sweetness with the berries. What I’ve been looking for is a fragrance which will push back against this with panache. That is what happens as the twin tones of leather and latex sandwich the gourmand accord. As I wore this it went back and forth between the scent of shiny rubber latex mutating into a classic biker leather accord. Over time the gourmand accord finds a fantastically weird balance with the rough trade accords. It ends on a suite of white musks lifting it all up.
I’ve had these samples for a couple months. Mabel’s Tooth is the reason I’ve taken so long to write about them. I have been enjoying spending time with it because I’ve found something new with each experience. It is the most complex of these first three. A mesmerizing ride each time.
It opens with the fizz of aldehydes circling a cup of hazelnut flavored coffee. Except this coffee has been in the carafe for a few hours. It has a pronounced bitterness which the hazelnut barely touches. Next comes an overstuffed heart of foodie ingredients. A sticky caramel, the maple syrup of immortelle, a stewed fruit accord, and the golden animalic purr of honey. This is where Mr. Albrighton convinces me of his skill. This would be a difficult balancing act in any perfumer’s hands. What I find pleasing is Mr. Albrighton doesn’t really try to tamp down any of these ingredients. Instead he looks for a place where they can converge. The middle phase of this is so much fun. This is where I got lost in his vision. I was so enthralled it takes the base notes of cedar and animalic musks to bring me back.
Mr. Albrighton has shown himself to be another independent perfumer for whom creativity is his guiding principle. It makes for fragrances which provide an honest perspective.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample set provided by Freddie Albrighton.