When I was five -years old; and when I had hair, I was not one of those children who resisted going to the barbershop. My father and I would go every four weeks. I would get a crew cut and he would get a shave along with his trim. This was in the mid 1960’s before barbershops tried for cachet. They were functional emporiums who took more pride in turning the chairs over efficiently. I think, unlike some of my other friends, I enjoyed my visits to the barbershop because of the scents within. There was lavender, orange blossom scented Florida Water, the talcum powder, polished wood, and for me a piece of vanilla taffy after I was done. I can close my eyes and still smell it all over fifty years later. I haven’t encountered a perfume which captured this until I received my sample set of the new Franck Boclet releases. In there, my memories were waiting.
Franck Boclet is a European designer of men’s clothing. Starting in 2013 he began a fragrance line with four debut releases. Each perfume was named for an ingredient which would be the putative keynote. Which in most of the cases it was. I have found the perfumes to be a solidly executed concept through all the ones I have tried. I am interested enough that the samples don’t get shunted aside when they arrive because I always sort of expected there would be one which would resonate for me. The new release Geranium is that perfume.
This works because it is not just geranium and a bunch of supporting players. It is a fragrance of three distinctive phases which perfumer Sebastien Chambenoist blends together quite pleasantly. The geranium is more like the first among equals.
Geranium opens with a tart citrus and lavender top accord. It is like a bracing tonic. The lavender elevates the lime and grapefruit. Orange blossom connects the top accord to the geranium in the heart which is then given a light powdery finish with heliotropin. The base is sandalwood sweetened with vanilla and deepened with a bit of musk.
Geranium has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
Everything about Geranium has crisp attached to it. It is an all-business versatile fragrance that could easily be used for any occasion. When my dad and I would walk outside after our haircuts he would look down and give me a wink. Geranium feels like that wink turned into a perfume.
Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Franck Boclet.
How does one continue when tragedy strikes? How does one carry on in the name of a creative spirit lost to us? In December of 2011 perfumer Mona di Orio passed away suddenly. In the years since there have been new releases of perfumes she had finished before her passing. Mona di Orio the brand was now at a crossroads; become a legacy brand re-releasing the previous perfumes made by Mme di Orio or move forward with new perfumes that capture Mme di Orio’s signature aesthetic of light and shadow. Creative Director and partner of Mme di Orio, Jeroen Oude Sogtoen has decided to do both. Two of Mme di Orio’s early releases Lux and Nuit Noire are now being re-launched. Concurrently M. Sogtoen has decided to ask perfumer Melanie Leroux to take the brand forward and they have created the new release Myrrh Casati.
Jeroen Oude Sogtoen
A key component to moving forward is to create perfumes in the style of Mme di Orio. They have chosen to coin a phrase to define this, Monaesque. The definition in the press release is, “It is the harmonious nature between light and dark notes, the olfactory chiaroscuro, which distinguishes each scent as Monaesque. The melody of the notes reveal an orchestrated arc of the claire obscure, unconventional, richly faceted, and completely original.” With M. Sogtoen to oversee the new perfumes to come and having worked so closely with Mme di Orio there could be no better person to make sure these principles are upheld.
La Marchesa Luisa Casati by Giovanni Boldini
Marchesa Luisa Casati is the inspiration for Myrrh Casati. Marchesa Casati was known for arriving at fetes with her leashed cheetahs or wearing live snakes as accessories. Her style would inspire fashion designers John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Now it was time for her to inspire a fragrance. Perfumer Melanie Leroux would construct a fragrance around the sweet intensity of myrrh but she adds her version of olfactory cheetahs and snakes with licorice and saffron playing a prominent role.
Myrrh Casati opens on a duet of red berries and pink pepper. This sets a bit of the spicy shadow over the bright fruit to lead into the appearance of the myrrh. Myrrh is one of my favorite incense notes as it carries the darkness of frankincense but with an inherent sweetness which makes it more opulent. When used well it can form a kinetic core to a fragrance. Mme Leroux does a good job of allowing it to form a foundation early on. Then she swirls in three notes which make Myrrh Casati for me. First a bit of green cardamom adds contrast. Saffron adds that exotic spicy quality unique to it. Finally, licorice makes an appearance in rich herbal strands. This is the heart of Myrrjh Casati and all of this blends together fantastically. As we move towards the end Mme Leroux adds in some more incense and benzoin to bolster the myyrh so it can stand up to the patchouli, nagarmotha, and guaiac. These last three notes form a sort of faux oud accord. It is never as pushy as real oud would be it is a lighter hint of oud and it goes well at the end of Myrrh Casati.
Myrrh Casati has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.
If you are going to carry on a tradition as rich as that Mme di Orio left behind then you need to make a strong statement. Myrrh Casati is that statement of intent to carry on the aesthetic Mme di Orio honed and refined over so many years. M. Sogtoen and Mme Leroux have provided with Myrrh Casati the definition of what it means to be Monaesque.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Mona di Orio at Pitti Fragranze.