I’m going to share a secret. When I get a box of new samples if you have a catchy name, I am going to try you sooner than others with more pedestrian ones. When I received my winter box from Nordstrom, and I ran across The Nue Co. Forest Lungs sample it was prioritized.
I spent a lot of my childhood among the Florida pines. I spent a fair amount of my adulthood hiking the mountains out west among the majestic fir trees. Whenever I was out among them there was a moment when I would stand still while taking a deep breath. The scent of the pines would fill me with the happiness I sought while walking outdoors. This is the peace which always drew me to hiking.
The Nue Co. came to my notice last year with the release of their first fragrance Functional Fragrance. Founder and creative director Jules Miller has built her full-service beauty brand around the products adding to your well-being. The fragrances are no different. Ms. Miller looks to find scents which can lessen stress. Functional Fragrance was a simple combination of green cardamom and palo santo for a meditative woody effect. Forest Lungs is the follow-up. Working with perfumer Guillaume Flavigny, Ms. Miller again keeps it simple. This time it works a little better on a fragrance level.
Flavigny uses only a few ingredients. It starts with an accord of pine and cedar. A lot of time pine smells like a Christmas tree. M. Flavigny uses the cedar to make it more expansive. Like that scent of the forest as you walk through it. As you trek you also release the earth beneath your boots. M. Flavigny takes patchouli leavened with vetiver. The latter adds the green connectivity between the patchouli and the woods. The final little surprise is a bit of benzoin to represent the droplets of sap on the trunks.
Forest Lungs has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
I don’t have many pine trees near Colognoisseur HQ. After wearing Forest Lungs I now have some of them on my desk in the sample. All I have to do is spray some on and breathe deep.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.
Much of my childhood was spent in the sunshine in South Florida; the nights left their impression, too. As soon as I could stay up as late as I wanted that meant I was awake after midnight most nights. There is a stillness to that time of day even in an urban area. In the tropics there are also the scent of the many night-blooming flowers which are indigenous. Jasmine is the most common. When I smell a really deep jasmine it makes me think of the post-midnight hours. This is how I experienced The Harmonist Moon Glory.
The Harmonist is the brand founded by Lola Tillyaeva in 2015 based on Feng Shui principles of Yin and Yang. Each perfume carries the energy of one or the other. The inaugural collection was 10 perfumes with which Ms. Tillyaeva collaborated with perfumer Guillaume Flavigny. I somehow missed out on these entirely. Thankfully I am getting a new opportunity to get acquainted with the brand through this first release in the “Prequel Collection”; two new releases for 2020 the first of which is Moon Glory.
Moon Glory is meant to be the Yin member of the Prequel Collection. It is intended to capture the energy of a full moon shining upon a tropical garden at twilight. It is that scented demarcation of day to night as the night-blooming flowers provide the sensation. M. Flavigny uses jasmine with the unusual “queen of the night” flower to create a fulsome dusky floral accord at the center of Moon Glory.
That jasmine is what greets you from the start. This is not the transparent airy jasmine analogs. This is deeply narcotic full-spectrum jasmine. M. Flavigny then adds a syrupy complement with lychee. It is as if the sweet blooms float on a similar flow of lychee. This repeats itself as queen of the night appears providing a lighter harmonic of sweet floral which is deepened by honey. It is the opposite of the top accord where jasmine is carried by the lychee, in the heart the honey carries the queen of the night. M. Flavigny buttresses the tropicality with precise amounts of ylang-ylang and passionflower. This pulls together into a deeply satisfying floral accord. M. Flavigny rests it on a base of sweet sandalwood and warm Peru balsam.
Moon Glory has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I know many want their spring florals to be more delicate, not me. Moon Glory is the kind of depth I prefer in a floral perfume without becoming overwhelming. I think it could easily be worn in place of the typical spring style perfumes. Maybe you just need to embrace the flowers which come out at night.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle provided by The Harmonist.
There is a Beavis and Butthead laugh track to some of the recent names of Tom Ford Private Blend. I hear their insane giggle when I see a perfume named Fucking Fabulous, “I know I am Beavis, hee hee hahaha.” Lost Cherry, “go help her find it Butthead, mmm mmmm hah hee.” Now we can add Tom Ford Private Blend Rose Prick to those, “You said prick heh heh heh.”
The names are part of Tom Ford’s penchant for provocation which has done well for his brand. The thing is the perfumes choose to be less so. Although Lost Cherry is a fantastic take on that fruit as the center of a perfume. Rose Prick falls into the same category as Fucking Fabulous did. Taking excellent materials to make something not as interesting as it could have been.
The same creative team is on hand as Karyn Khoury creatively directs perfumer Guillaume Flavigny. This time the quality is in using the three primary natural rose ingredients in Rose de Mai from France with Turkish rose, and Bulgarian rose. These are the richest roses you can use. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like they find harmony in Rose Prick.
The opening of Rose Prick is the best part as M. Flavigny uses Sichuan pepper and turmeric. It provides the herbal fruitiness of the pepper as the earthy glow of the turmeric creates a halo effect around it. This descends onto the mixture of roses. Each of these roses have distinctive personalities and they seem to be pushing against each other rather than trying to find a greater harmonic. When I was wearing Rose Prick it was like a diva-off between the roses. Each wanted the stage to herself while trying to shove the others out of the way. It makes for a kinetic floral heart which might work for some. This time I found it distracting. I just wanted one of the roses to win. I was glad when the patchouli and tonka in the base came around so that I had something else to focus on instead of the extroverted florals.
Rose Prick has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Rose Prick falls into the same ground as Fucking Fabulous; both average styles of perfume with excellent ingredients. Those quality materials help make them stand apart. If you are a real rose lover, I suspect the jostling character of the rose divas in the heart will appeal. If you aren’t, Rose Prick might be one diva too many.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Tom Ford Beauty.
When I received my first five samples from the new brand Ex Nihilo there was one which captured my attention straight away. It caught my attention simply by its name, Vetiver Moloko. I think Stanley Kubrick’s movie “A Clockwork Orange” based on Anthony Burgess’ novel is one of the great movies of the 1970’s. At the beginning of the film our protagonist Alex is sitting in the Korova Milkbar sipping a Moloko Vellocet, drug laced milk. The drink will lead the gang out to a night of “ultraviolence” and catalyze the rest of the movie. What was brilliant about that opening scene is visually it set the tone for everything in less than a minute. Seeing a fragrance called Vetiver Moloko made me wonder if the same could be done with a perfume.
The Korova Milkbar as depicted in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange"
The Ex Nihilo creative team of Olivier Royere, Sylvie Loday, and Benoit Verdier would ask perfumer Guillaume Flavigny to create something “unusual and addictive”. To not only take something as well-trodden as vetiver but to also give it a twist worthy of the name. M. Flavigny succeeds beyond my expectations. He keeps it simple but he creates milky addictive vetiver as requested.
M. Flavigny opens this with Bulgarian Rose. The slight citrus haze over a spicy core draws you in. Brilliant bergamot provides sparkle. M. Flavigny brings his milk accord forward to mix with the rose in equal parts. This is a fabulously entertaining part of the development. It is almost as if a rose has been pulled out of a glass of milk dripping white liquid off of the petals. I was sorry to see things move along but there are things left to do this night. Cypress and amyris form a woody bridge to the vetiver. M. Flavigny chooses an earthy vetiver as his source. It has the smell of the ground trod under my boots. The final nod to the Moloko is a shot of vanilla to keep it sweet and to connect back to the milk.
Vetiver Moloko has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Vetiver Moloko is easily my favorite of the first five Ex Nihilo perfumes I’ve tried. I still have four more to track down but I will be surprised if they are better. There is a real aesthetic at play in these Ex Nihilo perfumes which I really enjoy. There is a lot of interpretation of classic perfumery design and it shows this creative team carries a unified vision for the brand. My advice is to try them all but if you’re only going to try one Vetiver Moloko is the one you should get my droogies. Viddy that!
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample purchased from Surrender to Chance.