New Perfume Review Trussardi Eau de Parfum- Wake Up the Echoes


Due to a generous reader I was able to experience the earliest days of Trussardi. From 1993-2004 the brand put out a series of perfumes which were taking advantage of the new freedom beginning to show up in modern perfumery. I suspect it was a little bit ahead of the curve as none of these perfumes were commercial successes. I think if they had been released a decade later, they would have been lauded instead of left behind. Over the years since, the brand went the other way producing more consumer-friendly fragrances which have seemingly had better sales. One of my readers asked if I had tried Trussardi Eau de Parfum (EDP).  I would get it in an envelope of samples a few days later. The correspondent was right this was new ground for the brand.

Violaine Collas

What is frustrating with perspective is to realize the Trussardi of the 90’s was artistically sound and chronologically adrift. What I realized as soon as I tried Trussardi EDP was this was a perfume firmly anchored in the current modern trends. Perfumers Violaine Collas and Julie Masse create an opaque summertime floral which is constructed of gauzy layers which add up to something substantial.

Julie Masse

The first layer is a sharply delineated neroli. The perfumers soften it with mandarin giving the citrusy parts of the flower some volume. A smart use of tomato leaf picks up that characteristic green in neroli with a slight vegetal twist. This is a like a white scarf with a silk screen of oranges and tomato vines.

The heart uses jasmine as the keynote. It is surrounded by the powder of lavender and the intensity of dahlia. It forms a deeper hued accord of flowers. The top accord settles right into it. Violet comes along to stitch it all together. It ends on a base of suede and patchouli which is way lighter than it sounds. The soft leather accord comes across in whispers. The patchouli also has a similar lighter presence. The earthy and animalic find a pleasant harmony.

Trussardi EDP has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I have not explicitly followed the most recent efforts from Trussardi but the ones I have tried still seemed safe to me. Trussardi EDP works its magic inside the current contemporary state of perfumery with panache. It just might be the harbinger of waking up the echoes of those glory days of the 90’s.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Tallulah’s Camellia- Spring Floral Abstract

One of the things I enjoy knowing is when a flower can’t be extracted into an essential oil. What that means is a creative team must create their own reality. When you have a scent from the real-life bloom it is easier to simulate that. What if the flower you want to emulate has no scent? What does a creative team decide? Shay & Blue Tallulah’s Camellia offers an answer to that.

From its founding in 2012 there has only been one creative team at Shay & Blue. Owner and creative director Dom de Vetta and perfumer Julie Masse. This is the twenty-fourth perfume they have made together. I think this kind of long-term association is to the advantage of an independent brand. Knowing where they have been allows them to decide where to go. It also lets them translate a flower that is purely visual into fragrance.

Julie Masse (l.) and Dom de Vetta

Camellia is a late season flowering shrub. It puts out deeply colored silky soft flowers. My grandmother had a few scattered among her gardenias. When she told me it had no scent, I stuck my nose inside a bloom to confirm it. What Mr. de Vetta and Ms. Masse do is use the balance they have made an attribute of the brand to create their own abstract of camellia.

What do they think represents the scent to go with the vision? The floral accord is primarily a combination of the spring-fresh qualities of lily and bluebell. Both have a gentle green facet. They both also have a chilliness to them which seems appropriate for a flower which is around in the colder months. This gentle accord is given a bit of depth through gardenia. A suite of light woods and some teas are what interact with the camellia accord over the life of the fragrance on my skin.

Tallulah’s Camellia has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

To answer the question I posed at the start. According to this perfume camellia smells fresh which I can endorse. It fits my memory of them. Tallulah’s Camellia is the oddest of spring florals because it is an abstraction of the concept. A good one.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Goutal Le Temps des Reves- Summer Dreams

As we enter the figurative final weekend of summer represented by Labor Day in the US it feels melancholy. The summer has always represented a time of free-spirited exploration. More than any other season it carries a hint of laughter with it. The first verse of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” captures the loss of it, “Nobody on the road/Nobody on the beach/I fell it in the air/The summer’s out of reach”. This is where perfume steps in to save the day with a fragrance which captures the summer in a bottle. Goutal Le Temps des Reves does this nicely.

Camille Goutal

Camille Goutal has done an admirable job transitioning the venerable line for a new generation. She made the conscious decision to make perfume to appeal to a twentysomething European woman. For the last four years she has been more successful than most in achieving this. I have found the releases since this change to be of the kind of style within this trend that appeals to me. Le Temps des Reves continues this.

Mathieu Nardin

Perfumers Mathieu Nardin and Julie Masse were asked to design a perfume which captured their memories of summers in the South of France. It is composed of classic Mediterranean ingredients with one clever twist.

Julie Masse

The ingredient which they use as their keynote is orange blossom. Before it arrives the unique twist, I mention comes first. In the wine country of France there is a kind of green vegetal undergrowth called garrigue. The perfumers wanted to add an accord of that which is where this begins. Using bergamot and myrtle they form the kind of undergrowth you tramp through on the way to the orange grove. When you break through the scent of orange blossom is there to greet you. This is the joy of a sunny day as the mellow floral comes to greet you. Sandalwood represents the wood of the trees. A set of white musks then add the expansiveness to it all to find the transparency desired.

Le Temps des Reves has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is my favorite of the recent transparent Goutal creations. It has a sunny disposition to spare which just says summer to me. In a few weeks when it seems the summer’s out of reach Le Temps de Reves will let me dream it is still here.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Blackberry Woods- Fruity Done Right

There are times when realization hits me like a facepalm right in the center of my forehead. It changes my perception of a brand along with my preferences. I have written many times about my lack of interest in perfumes which feature berries or non-citrus fruits. Most of the time it is because they appear at elevated amplitude which moves beyond my ability to enjoy them fully. When I received my sample of Shay & Blue Blackberry Woods I learned something about myself.

Dom de Vetta

Ever since Dom de Vetta founded Shay & Blue in 2012, he has created perfume with the same perfumer, Julie Masse. Blackberry Woods is their twenty-third fragrance together. I look forward to their new releases but until a few days ago I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Now I know. Blackberry Woods is another brilliant fruit-centered perfume from this brand. What is it that sets this apart from others? It is the balance they achieve. The fruit is not blaring it is part of a simple ensemble where Ms. Masse finds ways to make it shine.

Julie Masse

The blackberries are what greeted me straight away. This is not that thick jellied version. It is more like freshly picked berries right off the vine. Dew glistening in the nooks and crannies. This type of fruit carries a natural musk which Ms. Masse teases out. Neroli comes next and it also carries its own sparkling personality into the duet with blackberry. There is an uplifting quality here I usually don’t encounter in the typical fruity floral. The final piece is cypress. This is a clean sophisticated woody foundation that allows the blackberry and neroli to shine on for hours.

Blackberry Woods has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I don’t know why it took Blackberry Woods to realize what it is I liked about Shay & Blue. The facepalm moment happened when I looked at the group of blue bottles on my shelf all having names with some fruit In their name. The ones which I wanted to own are all fruity. Blackberry Woods will soon be joining them.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Armani Prive Musc Shamal- A New Breeze

I love learning about new perfume ingredients. Once I encounter something, I look forward to it being used in a perfume. I had the opportunity to smell the ingredient Noreenal. It is an exclusive ingredient for the Mane perfumers to use. My chance to smell it came about through a discussion with a Mane chemist about the effect adding branching and double bonds to long chain aldehydes has. What Mane discovered is if you add both branching and a double bond you get an unusual scent profile for an aldehyde. It still has the effervescence typical of these molecules. In the case of Noreenal it adds a fresh citrus-like scent to it. This is like a stiff breeze from out of a citrus orchard. I expected to encounter it in a Mediterranean style perfume. Instead it is used as a nose-catching opening for a classical rose and musk perfume, Armani Prive Musc Shamal.

Julie Masse

It seems appropriate that the first perfume I am aware of to use Noreenal is named after a Middle Eastern wind, shamal. I wonder if perfumer Julie Masse was waiting for a brief which mentioned a fresh wind to add Noreenal to. It fits ideally in a perfume named Musc Shamal.

That Noreenal is where Musc Shamal opens. Mme Masse uses enough to capture the natural effect it is mimicking. The freshness fused on the kinetic energy of an aldehyde makes this compelling. Mme Masse amplifies the citrus quality to add to the desired effect. The breeze crashes into a floral heart of deep rose before the other ingredient on the label flows into sight. Mme Masse forms a mixture of musks capturing both fresh and animalic aspects. The cleaner musks reiterate the opening Noreenal breeze while the deeper musks combine with amber and vanilla for a warmer accord.

Musc Shamal has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

My affection for Musc Shamal is due to the way Mme Masse unleashes a new breeze across a classical fragrance form.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by Neiman-Marcus.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue White Peaches- Frozen Peaches

When we moved to Poodlesvile I had some favorite fruits and some that were low on the list. One that was low on the list was peach. One thing living in an area surrounded by farms has taught me is that there isn’t just one kind of peach and the variety makes the difference. We have a huge peach orchard near the Colognoisseur Home Office. On a summer day I go over and grab a basket of what ever is ready. There is a point in the summer where there is a variety which is the ideal crisp refreshing fruit you want to bite into. If peach was low on my list when we moved here it has changed. Peach is a familiar ingredient in perfumery. One could even say it is too familiar. Which is why Shay & Blue White Peaches is such a nice change of pace.

Dom de Vetta

Shay & Blue has been one of those underappreciated perfume success stories. Founded in 2012 by Dom de Vetta he has overseen the production of a line of 22 perfumes working exclusively with a single perfumer, Julie Masse. If there is a consistent theme to the ones I enjoy most, is the creative team presents something I think I know in a new framing. Which is exactly what occurs in White Peaches. Peach is used as part of the classic peach chypres as well as a semi-gourmand peaches and cream; most of the time. In this case Mme Masse finds a refreshing chilly heart to the peach.

Julie Masse

That difference appears right from the start as this peach has that crisp snap to it that is unusual. Mme Masse underpins it with the support of narcissus to further keep things focused. Then in the heart she takes the herbal quality of elderflower and subsumes it into what she calls a “granita” accord. There is a hint of grape floating here along with the elderflower. This comes together like a frozen drink featuring St. Germain liqueur. It finishes with a gorgeous sliver birch wood foundation.

White Peaches has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Outside of citrus I tend to avoid the heavier fruits in warm weather. White Peaches is the antithesis of that as I will be reaching for it on the warmest days this summer. Probably on a trip to the orchard to pick up some real thing.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Kings Wood- Szechuan Pineapple

There are many things I believe contribute to the long-term success of an independent perfume brand. I write often that a clear creative vision shared with a single perfumer creates an aesthetic that becomes as recognizable as the bottle or the label. The lines which have all of that tend to be better. There is one brand which has all of that, but I wonder if there is another factor which might be missing; distribution.

Dom De Vetta

When I was working at CaFleureBon in 2012 we heard about a new English brand called Shay & Blue. Creatively directed by Dom De Vetta who started the brand after his time with Jo Malone. He also made the decision to work with an in-house perfumer, Julie Masse. They kept their goals modest working out of a boutique in London. It was always on my list of brands I expected would do well if it was more widely available. A couple years ago that became the case. What also happened was a creative uptick from a brand which I already admired for that. The most recent release keeps that roll going.

Julie Masse

Shay & Blue Kings Wood takes two of the most popular perfume ingredients of the last couple of years; Szechuan pepper and pineapple and shows them to their best effect. Mme Masse expertly finds new aspects of both to include in a modern evolution of fougere.

When I sprayed Kings Wood on I braced myself for the pineapple. It’s not my favorite ingredient. For the first minute or so the insipid sweetness I find unappealing was out in front. Then the Szechuan pepper I have found so versatile steps up and turns the pineapple in to something much more palatable. There is a kind of green herbal character to the Szechuan pepper. Mme Masse uses that to strip away the tropical fruit juice by overwriting it with that herbal-ness. That leaves an unripe tart fruit to represent the pineapple. It went from insipid to inspired in a flash. The Szechuan pepper accentuates the part of the pineapple I do like. This opening then nestles into a soft green fougere accord. It is a beautiful setting as the plush green picks up the green threads from the top notes. Making this a contemporary version of a fougere. The base accord is made up of oak and leather. Mme Masse uses a polished version of both wood and animalic effects.

Kings Wood has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

There have been a lot of pineapple perfumes this year which have shown me that there is more to it as an ingredient than I thought. Kings Wood is right at the top of that list. I’m beginning to think it has more to do with the brand and the creative team than the ingredient. Kings Wood is ample proof of that hypothesis.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Scarlet Lily- Intelligent Accord

It is a great thing when a good European-based brand finds its way to the US. I always root for the good ones to have as much coverage as they can. The English brand Shay & Blue is one of these. Started by creative director Dom De Vetta five years ago it was a UK exclusive for a long time. Mr. De Vetta founded Shay & Blue after a tenure at Jo Malone London. As he started Shay & Blue he had the freedom to be a little more creative which has become one of the brand hallmarks. He has worked exclusively with perfumer Julie Masse developing an effective partnership which also helps define the Shay & Blue aesthetic. The latest release is Scarlet Lily.

Julie Masse and Dom De Vetta

Lily is a hard note to feature in fragrance; in its most prevalent version it can have a sterility to it. What gets forgotten is there are other versions of lily instead of the white version seen at weddings and funerals. There is a tawdry pink version called the Stargazer Lily which has a spicy core to it which imparts a bit more life into things. It is that one which is featured in Scarlet Lily.

Mme Masse opens Scarlet Lily floating on a watery lotus. It is a lovely choice as the aquatic nature is burned away by the spicy lily as it rises over the lotus like the sunrise. To keep the spicy heart out in front Mme Masses uses red pepper to provide an opaque piquancy. To buff the floral parts a bit of muguet and ylang-ylang provide support. All together it forms a lively spicy lily accord which is where Scarlet Lily lingers for hours before descending into the warm embrace of amber at the end.

Scarlet Lily has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Scarlet Lily is yet another reminder of the top-notch collection Mr. De Vetta is compiling here. They are all simple constructs but each carries more heft than their simplicity would imply. Scarlet Lily is another which shines by forming a compelling accord intelligently.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Shay & Blue Dandelion Fig- Dandelion Break!

Among the things which symbolize summer to me is a field of grass dotted with the puffy white pop-poms of dandelions. There was a hill near where I grew up which I would roll down coming up at the bottom with dandelion fuzz in my clothes and hair. Those were the lazy serene days of summer with the smells of grass and dandelions the scent of that. It was shown in a more amusing way by the comic strip Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed. The strip below shows how a dandelion break can be just the antidote needed in times of stress.

When it comes to perfume, dandelion is not something found very often as an ingredient. A bare handful of fragrances list it as a part of the formula. It was why I was very interested to try the latest release from Shay & Blue, Dandelion Fig.

Julie Masse and Dominic de Vetta

Established in 2012, by Dominic de Vetta, Shay & Blue is one of those well-kept secrets within niche perfume. Mr. de Vetta worked at Jo Malone prior to moving to his own brand. One of the things I always think about is a Shay & Blue fragrance is an adventurous take on the same kind of perfume architecture of his previous employer. Focusing on a couple of ingredients whose names are on the bottle but with a different kind of verve to it. For all the releases to date perfumer Julie Masse has been the nose. Together Mr. de Vetta and Mme Masse have created a very coherent collection of which Dandelion Fig is among the best of them.

Dandelion Fig is a soft paean to a midsummer’s day. Despite the use of the sharp green facets of dandelion leaves Mme Masse uses lemongrass and grass accords to soften those spiky moments. The early moments of Dandelion Fig are fresh because of the lemongrass while the cut grass accord and the dandelion leaves provide a pillowy verdancy. It is then made even more softly green by the addition of tomato leaf. Mme Masse uses it to change the green from grass to garden. To add to that juniper berry is along for the ride. It adds a refreshing zing to things adding to the energy from the lemongrass. The fig shows up in the base as a healthy shot of what I think is stemone which is shaded towards its greener incarnation by the other ingredients which preceded it. Once this all flows together it is a beautiful marriage of particularly complementary notes.

Dandelion Fig has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I really urge you to reach out and try all of the Shay & Blue releases to date. It is a line worth the effort. If you need a place to start Dandelion Fig is a great choice. I have admired the brand since it was founded but with Dandelion Fig it has come of age while allowing me to have a dandelion break, even in the middle of winter.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review L’Occitane L’Homme Cedrat Cologne- Violet Hued Aquatic

I own several L’Occitane fragrances. They have always been a solid line of fragrance which I think is a bit underrated. That is why I always check in when I’m at the mall. Over the Holidays when I stopped in I found something new a flanker to Eau de Cedrat released in 2015. That perfume was very straightforward as a clean citrus. It is typical for much of the brand’s offerings. The new flanker, L’Homme Cedrat Cologne, succeeds because it is not so typical.

Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t something so unique but perfumer Julie Masse does a nice job at adding in some atypical aspects to the traditional citrus perfume making it more interesting than its cousin. One of the things which made this stand out was the use of violet leaves to provide the aquatic accord. It has always been a part of the perfumer’s palette but I’ve noticed it being used more often in lieu of the more typical suite of ozonic notes. At its heart L’Homme Cedrat Cologne is a Mediterranean style fragrance.

Julie Masse

L’Homme Cedrat Cologne opens with the title note in place from the very first moment. Then Mme Masse surrounds the tart citrus with a lively selection of spices; ginger, black pepper, and chilly mint. That last note is there to begin the transition to the aquatic phase of the violet leaves. The mint is that sensation of cooling sea spray on your face. The violet leaves provide the expansiveness and wateriness of being on the water. In the heart lavender uses both halves of its dual nature as the herbal side picks up the spices while the floral nature provides a new vector. The base is back to generic as it is cedar and white musks an appropriate, if not terribly exciting, finishing accord.

L’Homme Cedrat Cologne has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I mentioned above I like the overall L’Occitane fragrance collection quite a bit. The best of them do provide something a little different which is exactly what L’Homme Cedrat Cologne does.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by L’Occitane.

Mark Behnke