When I am at a large perfume exposition like Esxence 2016 there comes a point where I am running out of time and I start just grabbing samples for me to try out later. As I pack to return I make up a box of all of these. This year upon my return the box went missing and I only found it a few weeks ago. In every year past I have found something in the box which makes me wonder why I didn’t take the time to learn more about it at the show. This year’s after the show winner is Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger Poudre de Liberte.
Co-owner and creative director Virginie Roux found me on that last day. She stopped me and gave me samples of her entire line. I had tried them in the past and found them to be well-done but none had connected. When I was sorting my samples as I was packing I looked at the name and locked in on one word “poudre”. Esxence had displayed some spectacular non-powdery iris perfumes. Looking at the name I expected a riff on powdery iris, maybe rose, so it was put in the box. When I found the box there was something giving off a spicy candied fruit vibe I was liking. I started working through the perfumes I thought it had to be; my eye lighting on Poudre de Liberte and then deciding it had to be something else. Eventually it was nearly the last sample left in the box. Of course it was what was causing the smell I was enjoying.
Not sure what the powder is supposed to be in Poudre de Liberte because Mme Roux and longtime collaborator perfumer Jean-Claude Gigodot have created an Oriental gourmand with only a so fleeting you have to be looking for it rose providing any tenuous connection to powder.
Poudre de Liberte opens on a collection of rich spicy notes with cinnamon leading the way. This is the candied red hots version of cinnamon with as much sweet as heat. Candied fruits with apple the most recognizable match up with the sweet. Then M. Gigodot creates a leather candy bowl to hold all of them in. The refined leather accord is surprisingly complementary here with these sugary sweet notes. If you want some powder, there is a tiny bit of rose but it is never really powdery to my nose. This all ends on a woody foundation of cedar and sandalwood on top of some white musk.
Poudre de Liberte jas 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Poudre de Liberte is a fun perfume. The idea of a Corinthian leather candy bowl full of red hots and hard candies brought a smile on the days I wore it. It is one which will bring a smile to anyone who loves sugary candy perfumes. If you are looking for powder you’ll need to go somewhere else.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger at Esxence 2016.
Andy Tauer takes us to the south of France in the Midi-Pyrenees to St. Rome de Cernon with 44oN03oE. This area of France is known for its wild mountain lavender. Hr. Tauer takes this mountain lavender and forms a singular lavender essential oil which carries with it all of the beautiful floralcy of lavender. There is also a bit of a citrus aspect and of course the herbal nature all of the best lavender essential oils have. This one has that herbaceous quality in abundance. Also growing around the lavender fields are majestic black pines and juniper. Hr. Tauer takes a fantastic pine resin and uses the very astringent juniper berry to create a craggy mountainside accord. The lavender has not fallen by the wayside as it still is present in and among the pines and juniper. This is one of the best lavender accords I have smelled in a very long time. There are times when I often think I am “over” a note. Thankfully talented perfumers like Hr. Tauer are there to show me new things. 44oN03oE finishes with smooth nutty sweetness courtesy of chestnut and vanilla. 44oN03oE is one of Hr. Tauer’s best compositions of the last few years and he has had a very good last few years so that is saying something. 44oN03oE lives up to exactly what the idea of Terroir Perfume should do by sweeping you to a mountainside in France via perfume.
Vero Kern whisks us away to the ylang-ylang plantations of Ambunja, Madagascar in 14oS48oE. Fr. Kern’s plantation is right on the edge of the tropical rainforest ringed by evergreens. By using those evergreens to blunt the usually extroverted ylang-ylang. It sets up a delightful tension between the woods and the flowers. As we move deeper in the forest pink peppercorn and mimosa add to the evergreen and ylang-ylang. As with the other perfumes in this collection there is a real moment in the heart of each which is breathtaking. The one which Fr. Kern has constructed for 14oS48oE is the most mesmerizing of all of them. Every time I’ve worn this about an hour and a half in it nearly stops me in my tracks with its beauty. The base evokes the harvest and distillation of vanilla and vetiver as they provide the foundation for this perfume. The press release mentions a roasted corn note but I have not found it to be present on my skin. The base is green acerbic vetiver leavened by rich vanilla. It is so rare to find a perfect accord which demands your attention but Fr. Kern has accomplished that and more with 14oS48oE.
Jean-Claude Gigodot takes us to 46oN08oE which is in the Parco Naturale dell’Alta Valle Antrona on the Italian-Swiss border just east of Zermatt. We find ourselves among the windswept pines on the Val d’Anniviers at 2000m of altitude. M. Gigodot has also found and sourced a fantastic pine essential oil to open 46oN08oE. All three of these perfumes I am reviewing today have significant coniferous contributions but the one M. Gigadot uses has the most depth and nuance to it. Because of that he lets it have the opening moments all to itself. Also because of the quality of this pine oil he wisely adds in only a few complementary notes. A bit of oakmoss to capture the lichems growing on these woody sentinels. A dollop of woodsmoke like a fireplace in the distance is hanging among the pines. M. Gigadot keeps this simple because all of his natural ingredients are so good they bring their own inherent complexity without needing extraneous notes to draw you to them. 46oN08oE is the most linear of the five Terroir Perfumes but it is also probably the single best ingredient of all five, too.
44oN03oE, 14oS48oE & 46oN08oE have 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
The three perfumes today show how the creative team at Richard Luscher Britos is ready to invite other perfumers into their family adventures. Like the best of guests on an adventure they only add to the story in extraordinary ways; Hr. Tauer, Fr. Kern, and M. Gigadot have advanced the concept of Terroir Perfume brilliantly.
Disclosure: This review was based on samples I purchased.