New Perfume Review Libertine Smoked Bloom, Sweet Grass, and Troubled Spirits- A Strong Spine

One of the things I appreciated about all the Libertine perfumes I tried was the way independent perfumer Joshua Smith seemingly constructs them. Every one of the eight perfumes I tried had a strong spine of three ingredients. Mr. Smith would then flesh them out by adorning them with interesting supporting notes. The three perfumes I am reviewing today; Libertine Smoked Bloom, Libertine Troubled Spirits, and Libertine Sweet Grass all stand tall.

Smoked Bloom is all about illuminating the two faces of osmanthus. I adore the apricot and leather nature of this floral ingredient. Mr. Smith adds amplification to the top and contrast to the bottom.

It starts with a dried apricot finding another voice coming from the osmanthus. There is a high-low effect as the apricot comes off as desiccated and concentrated while also having the lighter quality which comes from osmanthus. While this is nice it is Mr. Smith’s choice of bay leaf which changes it. The pungent spice adds an interesting harmonic to the early moments. As this evolves the leather part of osmanthus begins to appear as vetiver beckons it. This is the foundation of 70’s powerhouse fougeres given a floral tint. Sandalwood provides the base note for Smoked Bloom to finish on.

Smoked Bloom has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Joshua Smith

Sweet Grass is my favorite of the eight I tried. Some of it is because it was the biggest surprise. I saw hay and tobacco with the name and expected a festival of dried leaf sweetness. I got something delightfully different.

It starts with the sunny powdery floral puffballs of mimosa finding the coumarin of tonka bean to begin the dried grass vibe. There was an earthy piece of the top accord I couldn’t identify. According to the note list Mr. Smith used boletus which are a species of mushroom. This is the gentle scent of garden soil combining with the mimosa and tonka. The real sweet grass shows up as hay and tobacco form the center. This is the conjunction of sweetness which comes from being dried out. It fits ideally with the top accord to form a sunny narcotic uber accord. Much later it seems like there is a bit of musky sweat which finds its way into the final stages.

Sweet Grass has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Troubled Spirits is the most straightforward of the Libertine perfumes I tried. This time the spine is all together at once as the scent of a barrel aging alcohol is conjured.

Right away a sturdy oak is given some softness via vanilla. A bright amber forms the contours of the barrel accord. As much time as I have spent walking through aging rooms this accord is reminiscent of it. There is a bit of rose and much later patchouli that peek out but this is really all about the barrel.

Troubled Spirits has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

The two that I didn’t review, Soft Woods and Fin de Siecle are also fine examples of Mr. Smith’s style of perfume making as he assays fir and rose, respectively. This is an impressive beginning to his perfume career. One I expect will continue rising on a strong spine of creativity and ingredients.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Libertine Fragrance.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Reviews Libertine Sex & Jasmine, Eros Fig, and Gilded- More Please

There are a lot of times when I am trying a new perfume, I say to myself I want more. This usually applies to my favorite ingredients. I am also aware that the imaginary request would just throw the balance off. It doesn’t make the voice go away even if I apply logic to it. I recently discovered three new perfumes which serve me up all I want of jasmine, fig, and immortelle.

Libertine Fragrance was started by independent perfumer Joshua Smith. On his website he went into the creative process with this as his guiding principle, “perfume without pretense”. From the moment I received my sample set I was struck by the way he designs with a palpable vigor. His perfumes are the answer to my plea for more. I will spend the next two days covering six of the eight perfumes Mr. Smith has made. I start with Libertine Sex & Jasmine, Libertine Eros Fig, and Libertine Gilded.

Joshua Smith

When I say I want more as it applies to jasmine I’m talking about indoles. They have been synthetically engineered out of most perfumes which feature it. My delight in Sex & Jasmine is they are here in a way that they live up to the name.

It opens with that jasmine exuding the sensuality all indole laden forms of the bloom possess. Mr. Smith adds in a gorgeous patchouli as the partner. This slides sinuously through the jasmine finding the right places to elicit a response. It rises in intensity until it releases itself onto a base of sandalwood and vanilla. Figuratively falling onto the sweet woody foundation they provide. A hint of ambergris adds the briny scent of the sheen of sweat at the end.

Sex & Jasmine has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

When I want more from a fig perfume, I am asking for the fruit to be included. Fig leaf is a staple ingredient of Mediterranean style fragrances. The pulpy fruit is left out of the equation. In Eros Fig Mr. Smith adds it back in.

It begins on a very Mediterranean top accord as citrus, fig leaf, and spice create a familiarity. It changes as the dried sweetness of the fig paired with the green of blackcurrant bud forms a decadent accord. The Mediterranean opening finds a new gear with the depth of the heart notes. The botanical musk of ambrette seeds swirl through this adding a hint of clean sweat. It leads to a viscous honey base note which coats the fig in flows of warmth.

Eros Fig has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

When I want more from immortelle, I just want a perfume which doesn’t try to hide the maple syrup quality of it. In Gilded Mr. Smith surrounds it with ingredients which are meant to amplify it.

Right from the start the combination of dried brush and maple syrup indicative of immortelle rises. In the early moments green cardamom and cinnamon provide some energy keeping it lighter. Orange blossom coaxes the sweet side back to the fore for opopanax and a brown sugar accord to elevate it to new heights. A bit of soothing light woods adds the finish.

Gilded has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I’ll conclude this set of reviews with Smoked Bloom, Troubled Spirits, and Sweet Grass, tomorrow.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Libertine Fragrance.

Mark Behnke