One of the things I have attempted to do as long as I have been writing about perfume is to give credit to creative direction. As I began my learning curve on the way fragrance was created, I learned the person in that position is critical to a brand’s success. There are many of them for whom the brand and the creative director are synonymous in my head. I can’t think of one without the other. Then there are a rare few who do it across multiple brands with varying aesthetics in each case. One of my favorites is Rania Naim.
Mme Naim is working again for the brand Panouge as she oversees the Matieres Libres collection. The name translates to “materials in freedom”. It also shows the faith Mme Naim has in talented perfumers. In this four-perfume collection she turned to perfumers Patrice Revillard and Marie Schnirer to each create two. I am going to review all four today and tomorrow starting with Datura Amaretti and Rose Agathe.
Those who read my Sunday column know I enjoy making cocktails. One of my favorites is a mixture of two liqueuers Cherry Heering and Amaretto called “Cherry Pie”. The interplay of sweet cherry and boozy almond as the scent of it is part of the appeal when I make it. M. Revillard was thinking of poison flowers and De Medicis as he composed this. We may not have been seeing things the same way, but Datura Amaretti is fun.
The way it comes together is through a syrupy cherry the slightly boozy datura and the toastiness of almond. It is this which creates the central accord. He uses cedar as a foundation but the pleasure of this is all in that cherry pie cocktail for my nose.
I am beginning to believe that if a rose fragrance has rose oxide in it that I’m going to enjoy it more. Rose Agathe has a lot of it, and I really like it. What Mme Schnirer does is to start with that metallic variant of rose as her nucleus. In the early going she embraces the chrome-ness of it all as if this is a metal rose. Elemi and black pepper provide a reflective surface for the rose to encounter. It changes as the base goes leathery. She uses that accord almost as if this is a rose brooch on a jacket. She then completes this with a stony accord of damp rocks. Bringing this around again to metal and stone in a fascinating scented rondo.
Both perfumes have 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Tomorrow I will review Patchouli Figue and Absinthe Gaiac.
Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by Panouge.