New Perfume Review Legendar Bigarade Santal- A Two Decade Circle

It was right after the turn of the century that I began to dive deep into perfume. As the internet gave me a wider platform to chat with others my interest was nitro fueled. On a visit to NYC early on I was introduced to a new British line of perfume called Miller Harris. The entire collection was exactly what I was looking for, a more sophisticated version of what was at the mall. At the end of that day I walked away with a bottle of Citron Citron. The citrus-herb-wood combination was just a better cologne full of artistic intent. The Harris in the name referred to perfumer Lyn Harris. Over the next thirteen years she would ride the wave of interest in independent perfumers. She has been a touchstone to my earliest days. When I received a sample of Legendar Bigarade Santal it felt like Ms. Harris and I were completing a circle begun two decades ago.

Lyn Harris

Legendar is a European brand which lives by this credo, “Simple. To the point.” Their earliest products were folios and brass pens which epitomized this. I couldn’t discover what made them decide to add fragrance to this aesthetic. Choosing Ms. Harris is almost a fait accompli for it to live up to their desired aesthetic. She made two perfumes which both have leather being used differently. Juniper Leather is the one which would go most easily with the previous products. Juniper is part of an ink-like accord while a rich leather accord forms the base. It is good but just like twenty years ago it was the citrus-herb-wood combination of Bigarade Santal that I liked best.

Bigarade Santal starts with the bitter citrus promised as grapefruit and bitter orange form a tart slightly sulfurous top accord. I like when the rougher edges of citrus are on display. Ms. Harris allows them to show without predominating. Cardamom in its green form provides the herbal connection to the sandalwood in the base. Then she adds one of the best leather accords I’ve tried in a long time. Using birch tar and vetiver she transforms the sandalwood into a baby soft leather which I wanted to burrow into. It should be this rough cuir de russie leather and instead it is the supplest plush version you can imagine. It is a gorgeous end to the citrus and herbal pieces which led to it.

Bigarade Santal has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I close the circle begun twenty years ago it clicks shut with a leather snap. Perhaps twenty years from now I’ll find this was the beginning of another large circle back to where we began.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfumes Review Trudon Parfums II (Deux), Olim, and Revolution (Part 2) – Earthworks

I introduced the perfumes from famed candle maker Cire Trudon yesterday in Part 1. Today I am going to focus on three of the five done by the same perfumer. Longtime Executive Director for Cire Trudon, Julien Pruvost, must have spent some time deciding which perfumers would be best to translate the candle into perfume. The perfumer he chose to do three of them is Lyn Harris. I was surprised to see her as the signatory for these fragrances because up until now she has been the Harris part of the niche brand Miller Harris which was one of the original niche perfume brands. I own quite a few of these and her style is distinct to that brand. What I found interesting here is it seems like M. Pruvost found ways to shade that style into something more befitting a brand going from solid to liquid. The three perfumes they collaborated on form what I think of as the Earth trio of the Trudon Parfums Collection.

Julien Pruvost

II or Deux is Ms. Harris’ ode to pine. When I was reading the note list this was the one I expected to smell like a candle. What I found once I wore it was this was the least like that as Deux is a pine tree with the sap oozing from its bark. A sharp green leafy accord summons the pine made more so by black pepper. This makes it seem a bit like the earth floor is rising to the pine then juniper berry provides the foundation of the “sap” accord which incense slowly tunes into you can see the amber droplets against the wood. The woodiness and the sap rise at the same pace until they fade away. I really have enjoyed this through the first few cool mornings of fall.

II (Deux) has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Lyn Harris

There are sometimes sniffing something on paper gives me a false impression. That’s what happened with Olim. On paper this comes off a bit jumbled as if it was a pileup on the freeway. On skin this turns into a slowly developing study of spice and resins. It begins with a fougere accord of lavender and anise which is what lingers on the skin as slowly spices add to it as clove, and baie rose take their time evolving the lavender. This all becomes very earthy as equally languidly patchouli grounds all of this to the level that you feel like there are tiny grains of topsoil nestled in the sprig of lavender. The warm combination of myrrh and benzoin begin to move the patchouli out front as an earthy accord forms over the final hours.

Olim has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

If you’re going to call a perfume Revolution and you’re talking about the French Revolution while you’re known for making candles; this is where you expect to find the smoke behind the fire. Except the fire here is that from muskets. Revolution is really all about the cordite and cobblestone accord in its base. Before we get there Ms. Harris sets the scene with some elemi and angelica seeds. It is the scrubbed clean smell of the cobblestone street prior to the first shot being fired. Ms. Harris then composes an accord that captures the street material and the smoke floating above it. Cade oil, incense, and opopanax form the smell of gunpowder after its been fired. It is one of those odd real-life smells I really like. Ms. Harris has found it here. Then patchouli, papyrus, and labdanum capture the uneven pavement misted with a veil of dew to display a version of earth which is made up of stones put together to form a road.

Revolution has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

In conclusion the five perfumes making up the Trudon Parfums Collection are a quite strong debut. I am very much looking forward to what comes next from M. Pruvost and his perfume line.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Trudon Parfums.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Miller Harris Poirier D’Un Soir- Take Another Look

In the ever accelerating cycle of new releases which overwhelms me it is easy to lose brands underneath all the noise. That has unfortunately happened to Miller Harris. Miller Harris is a British brand who is overseen by the perfumer Lyn Harris. Back in 2003 I was introduced to the line with Feuilles de Tabac and I was immediately drawn in. I would go on to extensively explore the line and Ms. Harris was feeding my frenzy by producing four or five new releases a year. There was a clear bright aesthetic on display and it very much appealed to me.

Releases began to slow down and the last one I remember trying was 2011’s La Pluie. There were plenty of other brands vying for my attention. The allure of the unknown was more compelling than trying another Miller Harris. Then while in Milan for Esxence I attended a breakfast where the new Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection was premiered. There is a television commercial running in the US now for one of the older automobile brands, Buick. In the advertisement I am urged to give Buick “another look” because things have changed. I was thinking a lot about that commercial as the three fragrances, Cassis en Feuille, Coeur de Jardin, and Poirier D’Un Soir were presented to me. It was time to give Miller Harris “another look” because Ms. Harris has definitely changed things up.


Lyn Harris

This collection is meant to capture a garden at morning, afternoon, and evening. Cassis en Feuille captures the morning with green blackcurrant wrapped around a dewy rose. Coeur de Jardin is the afternoon when all of the buds have attained full bloom. A rich floral trio of tunerose, rose, and jasmine re-create the heady natural bouquet. The final perfume for the evening, Poirier D’Un Soir is the one which captured my full attention. If I was pressed to describe a Miller Harris perfume I would use words like bright, citric, or transparent. The entire Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection breaks with that impression with Poirier D’Un Soir moving the furthest away from that description.

Porier D’Un Soir starts off with a pear poached in rum. The common bond in all three fragrances in the Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection is pear in the top notes. The other two use it in a way I am used to seeing it. In Poirier D’Un Soir by soaking it in rum it transforms the pear from something crisp to something sensually unctuous. It is a rough and tumble boozy beginning. Ms. Harris doubles down as she takes blackcurrant buds and tagetes to make an astringently green floral accord which is made less acerbic with the presence of peony and rose. What truly showed me Ms. Harris was working from a different palette was the next ingredient, birch tar. Sticky redolent birch tar bubbles up gathering all of these notes in a sticky brown matrix. Just when you think this might be getting a little too far afield Ms. Harris reels it all back in with a soothing base of cedar, and ambrette seeds.

Poirier D’Un soir has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

The entire Le Jardin D’Enfance Collection is worth “another look” for Ms. Harris’ willingness to make a break from what has worked so well over the years. If you do give this brand “another look” I think you will be pleasantly reminded of why you like this brand so much previously. I know that Poirier D’Un Soir has renewed my interest in what comes next for Miller Harris.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Miller Harris.

Mark Behnke