There is nothing which makes me more pleased than to watch a perfume brand begin to hit their stride. I call this the inflection point. What it signifies is a brand has developed their core principles and aesthetics. Then they produce a perfume which shows the development phase is over as all these ingredients take it to a new place of creativity. Maison Crivelli Osmanthe Kodoshan represents that kind of transition.
Creative director-founder Thibaud Crivelli began Maison Crivelli in 2018. What made me interested in them from their beginning was M. Crivelli’s belief in creating perfume which had texture from a specific keynote. That is a difficult aesthetic to achieve. I’ve read that statement numerous times. It has been a mark of failed aspirations almost all of the time. M. Crivelli has lived up to his artistic vision admirably.
There has been a steady improvement in each succeeding release. Over the last year it really seemed to coalesce. With Citrus BatiKanga and Iris Malikhan it was right on the verge of something special. Osmanthe Kodoshan is that perfume.
Another thing to be admired about M. Crivelli is he has imparted his vision of texture and keynote to different perfumers. I would’ve thought this was a concept which would have flourished better under a single partnership of creative direction and perfumer. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Perfumer Stephanie Bakouche returns for her second collaboration with M. Crivelli.
I’ve written hundreds of words about my affection for osmanthus. It is another of those two-faced ingredients which I think is what speaks to me. it also means it is an ideal choice for the focal point of a textural type of fragrance. It brings its own with it. Here they delve into the darker parts of it finding the shadowy pockets within.
One thing which is becoming a consistent piece of a Maison Crivelli perfume is an opening accord which sets the textural table without employing the keynote. It is at its zenith in the combination of star anise and Szechuan pepper used to begin Osmanthe Kodoshan. The black licorice whip intensity of star anise lays down lashes across the fruity spiciness of the pepper. There is a graininess to this which is so appealing. The first time I tried this I wished there were a pause button on my nose so I could hold this for a few seconds longer. What was to come was even better.
The osmanthus leads the way. This is appealing to me because of the natural apricot and leather scent profile it carries. Both pieces can be turned in a direction using the supporting ingredients. Here the concept is to take it in a deeper darker direction. A back alley osmanthus. This is done with a slightly smoky black tea taking the apricot in a dried fruit direction. This concentrates the fruitiness. It is helped by the remnants of the anise and pepper top accord. An insistent swirl of frankincense brings attention to the leathery side of things. It is anchored there through a rich narcotic tobacco, earthy patchouli, and a velvet oakmoss. These recapitulate the graininess of the opening accord as you slide your fingers across a grained leather swatch. Taken together it is mesmerizing
Osmanthe Kodoshan has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is the best perfume Maison Crivelli has made to date. It achieves higher levels of everything the brand says it desires to. If you haven’t discovered them yet, you should before they really take off. Everything I could want from an osmanthus perfume with texture is found in Osmanthe Kodoshan.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.