I have a few friends who are artists for a living. It is always interesting to visit their studios. As I sit talking with them, I see the beginning of future pieces, the lengthening of vision, and the near completion. It is a process always in flux. When I return months or years later all the categories will have changed as each piece develops. One of the things I have enjoyed about the 1+1 series of fragrances that come with each current issue of NEZ magazine is this process is given some light for a perfume.
NEZ Kraft Gomme is the latest release tied to Issue eleven of NEZ. As the series name implies it has been an artistic collaboration between a non-perfume artist and a perfumer. For Kraft Gomme musician Woodkid and perfumer Marie Salamagne provide the pieces to this equation. With every one of the releases there has been an accompanying booklet describing the creative effort which results in the fragrance in hand. It is among the best written pieces explaining how a perfume can come together in a purely artistic way. There are no commercial concerns only decisions of vision.
When Mme Salamagne met Woodkid for the first time she brought three different mods. Two of them were inspired by his latest music called “S16” which is the symbol and atomic number for sulfur. Those were smoky. The third was inspired by the scent of clay as used on a potter’s wheel. Interestingly when she presented the mod to him, he smelled his old art studio beginnings and books. They would move forward on all three but over time it was his desire to return to his art school roots which began to be where the process was heading. Once that was decided there were additional notes to flesh out the concept. The name comes from the adhesive backed paper tape used to mask and wrap things.
When I received my bottle of Kraft Gomme I wasn’t reminded of art school. I was closer to Mme Salamagne’s clay. Which is where this begins as beeswax, myrrh, and linseed oil form the top accord. This is what she presented on that first day. This hit me completely as what I experience when I sit in the room with my friend who makes ceramics. As she spins the wheel and molds the wet clay the early moments of Kraft Gomme smell just like it. The catalyzing ingredient is the linseed oil. The myrrh and the beeswax have a recognizable scent profile. The linseed oil finds places to stitch the two together into something unlike either of them. In these early moments I smell that wet mound of clay being shaped by my friend.
The accent ingredients are cigarette smoke, cedar, and tolu balsam. This smells like many of the art studios I visit. A smoldering ashtray, sharpened pencils, and polished wood the creative’s milieu. Over time the clay reasserts itself as ambrox becomes its partner over the later stages.
Kraft Gomme has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I am not sure how easy it is to enjoy the clay accord. To me it reeks of the raw materials of an artist. To others it might just be a sodden dense gray lump. I do think the fingers of Mme Salamagne and Woodkid shape it into something interesting. But you will have to like the clay to enjoy this because it is there throughout. It is yet another testament to this project and the way it brings new life to perfume making.
Disclosure: The review is based on a bottle supplied by NEZ.