New Perfume Review Huitieme Art Shermine- Iris Hair Shirt

Pierre Guillaume is seemingly ever in motion as he moves from one collection to the next. One of my favorites is the one he started in 2010 called Huitieme Art. The concept is to showcase a new raw material or accord. It has been a consistently evolving enterprise over the last five years. The thirteenth release called Shermine is a great example of what I admire about this collection.

M. Guillaume’s brief for Shermine was “Fourrure D’Iris” which translates to “Iris like Fur”. Before I ever got a sniff that had me interested. Even the name reflects this as it is a portmanteau of the last letter of iris and ermine. He mentions in the press release that this is a “materials-driven” fragrance. Most of the time when you can see the architecture in such a severe way it leads to something a bit sterile. What keeps this from happening in Shermine is that the material, or more properly accord, which is doing the driving is anything but reserved.

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Pierre Guillaume

Shermine opens on an alternating piquant and bright top accord of lemon and pepper. The note wrinkling nature of the pepper prepares the stage for the “iris fur” accord. M. Guillaume has built this on a foundation of iris mixed with rosewood, cardamom, and lavender. This is a fabulous artifact of the perfumer’s skill. The iris is in a fur coat. That mix of wood, spice, and floral does not leap out and say “fur” to me but in Shermine it sure achieves the desired effect. To further define it M. Guillaume adds some of the animalic musks and a pinch of vanilla. This is an iris with a hairy-chest; thrusting it out for all to see. The base is meant to support but not supplant the heart. As such guaiac, vetiver, and patchouli provide a more restrained foundation than you might expect. From about thirty minutes in until the end this is all about this hirsute iris.

Shermine has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is exactly what makes the Huitieme Art releases so much fun. This is an iris with no hint of powder. The rootiness is much more in the foreground. Basedon a couple of side projects M. Guillaume showed me at Pitti Fragranze It feels like he is starting to re-examine the more animalic materials and accords in his palette. If Shermine is the first in a line of unique animalice I can’t wait for what is to come next.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Huitieme Art at Pitti Fragranze.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Metal Hurlant- White Line Cruising

When I was with Pierre Guillaume at Esxence back in March he gave me a preview of all six perfumes in the Collection Croisiere. The previous five releases have been M. Guillaume’s perfumed version of a resort collection. They all carried aquatic, beachy themes. By the time I had gone through those I probably had an impression in my mind what was coming next. For the recently released sixth member of the Collection Croisiere, Metal Hurlant, it is a very different type of cruising M. Guillaume is talking about.

When I met my wife she was a motorcycle rider. I never caught the bug but I did accompany her on many of her trips, following behind in the car. These were invariably summer trips and when we would get to our destination there was a distinctive accord to the crowd. It smelled of gasoline, the leather of the riding wear, and the human musk of having sweated through a day’s ride. There are a number of unusual smells I find appealing; gasoline is one of them. I don’t know if it is the chemist that draws me to the smell of refined petroleum but I have always found it pleasant. M. Guillaume must also find it so, as well. Metal Hurlant is the smell of the open highway astride a motorcycle with nothing left out.

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Pierre Guillaume

Metal Hurlant opens with that gasoline accord. Trust me when I say this is a realistic gasoline accord. If the smell of gasoline is unpleasant to you the first minutes of Metal Hurlant will be a tedium. If you want a perfume which presents something different this gasoline accord is most definitely that. This isn’t the smell of gas in a tank. Instead it is the smell of a bit splashed on the chrome fuel tank evaporating into the air. It has all the acrid facets you would imagine to be there. But because it an expansive version it makes it more approachable. The expansion of the accord over the first few minutes was completely fascinating on the days I wore Metal Hurlant. Soon enough I was slipping on my riding leathers. This is a leather accord of well-used leather. It is the raw transformed into something semi-refined over years of wearing it. The leather becomes the primary horsepower in Metal Hurlant but the gas is not gone. The final bits are the animalic musks. If you’ve ever sweated underneath a leather jacket when you finally take it off there is that unmistakable smell of musk and leather. That is what M. Guillaume captures over the last few hours.

Metal Hurlant has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

After five very pleasant releases I was overjoyed that M’ Guillaume decided to move away from the beach and straddle a motorcycle. Metal Hurlant captures all the smells which represent cruising between the white lines of the highway. If you are looking for a different perfume experience take Metal Hurlant out for a ride.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Pierre Guillaume at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Mojito Chypre- Wasting Away in Mojitoville

There are times when I get a sneak preview of an upcoming fragrance from a perfumer that I just count the days until it is released. When I was at Pitti Fragranze last September Pierre Guillaume showed me his idea of a fun in the sun perfume. I sprayed a little on that day and it was easily one of the best things at the entire expo but it wasn’t to be released yet. Flash forward seven months to Esxence and the same sequence as the perfume now had a name Mojito Chypre and it would be the fifth fragrance released in Collection Croisiere. My waiting is over and Mojito Chypre has now been released.

Having grown up in South Florida musician Jimmy Buffet was a Native Son and Partier-in-Chief especially in the Florida Keys where we had a weekend place. There were way too many nights we sang at the top of our lungs, “wasting away in Margaritaville!” with Mr. Buffett. There was a smell to warm liquor infused nights on the outside deck. Mojito Chypre captures that sense of carefree fun except the drink of choice is the rum and mint concoction called a mojito. M. Guillaume adds in a strawberry to his perfumed cocktail which definitely makes everything even more fun.

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Pierre Guillaume

The first half of Mojito Chypre is that party. The rum is flowing the lime, mint, and strawberry are being muddled and releasing their flavors along with their scents. There are so many boring strawberry-themed mass-market perfumes out there. I want to grab them by the collar and have them smell this and see how it is done. There is never any moment in the opening hours, when the mojitos are flowing, when this perfume becomes too sweet, too fruity, or too much. M. Guillaume has mixed a perfect cocktail. If Mojito Chypre was just this it would be wonderful. M. Guillaume does not forget the second half of the name and there is this moment when the bottles are empty and you’re just left with the smell of late night woods and water. That is represented by a shift to patchouli and veitver as they provide the foundation for the oakmoss to rest upon. All together it makes for an excellent chypre accord. Just to make sure all the fun hasn’t disappeared M. Guillaume adds a bit of vanilla as a reminder there was a party going on here.

Mojito Chypre has 10-12 hour longevity with above average sillage.

I’m having a lot of fun describing Mojito Chypre with lighthearted terms. What I don’t want to get lost is what an accomplished perfume this is from M. Guillaume. There were so many ways this could have gone wrong. Instead it has gone deliriously right. I know I will be humming a lot to myself this summer, “wasting away in mojitoville” as I wear Mojito Chypre.

strawberry mojito

As a special bonus those who read my The Sunday Magazine column know I like making cocktails. This seems like the place to share my Strawberry Mojito recipe.

Strawberry Mojito

½ fresh lime

Six leaves of mint

1 ½ sliced strawberries

2 oz of white rum

2 oz club soda

In a large glass place squeeze the lines and place the limes in the glass. Add in the sliced strawberries, and the mint. Use a muddler to crush all of them together. Add in ice, the rum and the club soda and give it a stir.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Pierre Guillaume.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Jangala & Long Courrier- Cruising with Pierre (Part 2)

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Continuing the reviews of the new Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere with Jangala and Long Courrier.

In most of the islands there is this wonderful mix of rainforest which grows right next to the ocean. If you spend anytime walking thorough these jungles there is this bit of natural scent collision as the breeze off the ocean carries the smell of the sea deep into the verdancy of the rainforest. It is a heady mixture of green and ozonic. M. Guillaume’s attempt at this is called Jangala. M. Guillaume is the second perfumer who has recently used a bit of eucalyptus to simulate the smell of fresh scrubbed air as you breathe in. This air is what you experience after the rain has fallen in the rainforest. Everything is dripping with water but the air smells clean and sweet. M. Guillaume uses cardamom and ginger blossoms primarily to simulate the tropical forest. Then the sea breeze makes its way between the trees infusing everything with a marine lift. The damp earth of the rainforest floor is recreated with an accord of sandalwood, coconut, and vetiver. It is a moment in time and place captured in perfume.

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Pierre Guillaume

Long Courrier is what happens when M. Guillaume’s deft touch with gourmand notes decides to set sail. It is like fusion cooking as cocoa and vanilla bob upon the ocean. In the press materials M. Guillaume says he wants Long Courrier to be “the delicious scent of suntan lotion”. I think he did his job too well because it is much more delicious than it is skin product. There is much of the sea and sand around to not let you forget this is aquatic, though. It opens with a sea accord buoyed with the use of a particularly luminous orange blossom. It transforms into something opaque and ethereal as it slowly drifts away. What is left behind is a strong vanilla and cocoa accord along with the smell of the ocean underneath. I found this combination oddly compelling each day I wore this. It was always confusing as it felt like I was eating confections while floating on the ocean. M. Guillaume makes this work and in the final part of the development it is mostly vanilla and ocean on top of sandalwood which finishes Long Courrier off.

These four fragrances are just the start and I got previews of the upcoming four releases which will happen over the rest of 2015. The one called Mojito Chypre I have smelled on a strip twice and now I am eagerly awaiting its release as it is the perfect bartender’s scent. M. Guillaume has lived up to his promise to make me love aquatics all over again without using a drop of Calone.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Pierre Guillaume at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere Entre Ciel et Mer & Paris Seychelles- Cruising with Pierre (Part 1)

Over the past year or so some of my favorite perfumers have decided to take on one of the most tired perfume tropes there is; the aquatic. What has made this particular fragrance genre so banal is the overuse of the aromachemical Calone. The great majority of aquatics start and finish with a huge quantity of this and no matter what you try and put around it the Calone is most of what you experience. The aquatics which have made me sit up and notice again have been largely a “Calone-Free” zone.

Prior to seeing Pierre Guillaume in Milan at Esxence 2015 he had told me he was working on a collection of aquatics. I didn’t hide my disappointment very well and he promised me he would do it without Calone. In what will eventually be a collection of eight fragrances I have the first four. The collection is called Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere. M. Guillaume did what he had asserted he could do he has created an entirely Calone-Free set of perfumes which take a very tired style of fragrance and re-invigorate it. I like all four of these and I am going to split my review up into two parts. I will start with Entre Ciel et Mer and Paris Seychelles.

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Pierre Guillaume

As one who grew up next to the ocean I think one of the things which bores me to tears is that perfumers and creative directors don’t realize there are so many different natural fragrances to the seashore. M. Guillaume does understand this and in Entre Ciel et Mer captures one of the key odors I connect with the ocean; the slightly iodine-like smell of the sea spray. M. Guillaume employs a new molecular distillation of sea algae from the Pacific. When you hear algae I imagine you are thinking “low tide” and the pungency which goes with that. Scrub that from your mind and instead think of the spray as the waves crash and you breathe it in fresh and damp. It really is a remarkable evocation of the crashing surf that M. Guillaume has achieved. He adds in a bit of thyme and ambergris but the star of this show is the algae. It all eventually ends on a sandalwood finish.

Paris Seychelles is all about the smell of the person sunning themselves on the beach. M. Guillaume wants the smell of sun warmed skin coated with suntan lotion on top of the milieu of the beach and the tropical flowers growing at the ocean’s edge. The bite of black pepper grabs my attention before we dive into his skin accord. He starts with the mixture of salicylates that form the typical suntan lotion accord. A bit of lily picks up the floral facets. Some coconut milk finds the creamy parts. Monoi oil brings in the tiare and completes the foundation of the skin underneath. All of this is accomplished while it is clear the sand and the surf are still around but off in the distance. It is the memory of beach vacation as it lingers for days after your return.

On Monday I’ll cover the remaining two perfumes, Jangala and Long Courrier.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Pierre Guillaume at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Huitieme Art Parfums Liqueur Charnelle- Snifter Stylings

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Pierre Guillaume has successfully spread himself over three distinct lines each containing their own aesthetic. Huitieme Art Parfums has come to be the one in which M. Guillaume experiments. He has featured new raw materials or attempted to create specific accords new to his palette. For the latest release Liqueuer Charnelle it is a “cognac bouquet” he is working towards.

glass-of-cognac

Cognac is one of the more complex bouquets to try and capture because it is a complicated process which leads to the bottle. After taking grapes and allowing them to ferment it is distilled multiple times to concentrate and raise the alcohol level. This concentration has an effect of also making even the most subtle of aromas when it was more dilute now more prominent. After being aged in oak barrels it is blended to produce what goes in the bottle. When drinking a snifter of cognac I spend as much time inhaling the sweet slightly fruity fragrance as I do sniffing it. To re-create this is not so easy because the pleasures of a fine cognac is the fragility of the bouquet. To turn it into a perfume was going to take precision and patience.

Pierre-Guillaume_2Pierre Guillaume

M. Guillaume takes the approach of allowing a few of the components of the eventual accord to have a little time by themselves in the early moments. As a result the opening carries a mix of pink pepper and black pepper. Then the other pieces of what will eventually form the accord begin to assemble. A bit of violet and a pinch of astringent green. A touch of elemi along with a soupcon of raspberry. These allow for vanilla, oak, and tobacco to form the spine upon which these notes will flesh out the cognac accord. There is a moment about an hour in where Liqueur Charnelle rises like the finest cognac being swirled in a snifter. As Liqueur Charnelle proceeds to the end the cognac accord decays and what you are left with is sweet tobacco and wood.

Liqueur Charnell has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

There is a fantastic atmospheric feel to Liqueur Charnelle that made me feel as if I should be sitting in a private club while wearing it. That the cognac accord is so well realized is part of it but it is also the richness of the perfume itself. It feels elegant in a very louche way. I like the way it makes me feel refined while in my everyday clothes instead of a smoking jacket. If you like boozy fragrances Liqueur Charnelle is one of the best in this category.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Huitieme Art Parfums at Pitti Fragranze.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Pitti Fragranze 2014 Final Wrap-up Part 1-People, Trends, and Teases

Italy is blessed with two of the best perfume fairs in the world and Pitti Fragranze is the one which occurs in the fall. Ever since I knew about the existence of Pitti Fragranze in Florence, Italy I have wanted to attend; for the twelfth edition I finally made it. It was a wonderful experience for me as most first times are. I will split the final wrap-up into two parts talking about some of the people and trends along with some disguised teases of things I was given sneak previews of. Tomorrow in Part 2 I’ll call out the top 10 new perfumes I tried.

The first person I met in the first minutes of my first Pitti Fragranze was Andy Tauer. It was a special delight to have the opportunity to chat with him in person. I have always considered Hr. Tauer to be one of the founders of independent perfumery. After nearly ten years of doing this he still has a beguiling passion for creating perfume which comes through even more strongly in person. It was nearly the perfect way to start my experience.

One of those independent perfumers who has helped infuse independent perfumery with a signature style is Pierre Guillaume. He was another whom I never met in person before. When we started trying his new perfumes early on Saturday morning we had a great time laughing and discussing not only his latest but a couple of things he made just for the booth. It will be hard to wear a perfume by M. Guillaume from now on without hearing his laugh and sensing the joy in his creations.

Another person I was happy to meet was Georg Wuchsa of Aus Liebe zum Duft/First in Fragrance. He has been so supportive over the years in getting samples to me I was happy to have the chance to thank him even if it was a sort of hit-and-run encounter on the last day.

When it comes to new trends one stood out very vividly to me as I worked my way around the booths. Tuberose is the new Oud. It often felt like every other brand displayed a perfume to me containing noticeable levels of tuberose. One of the reasons for that is I think the perfumer’s palette has been expanded with new extractions of tuberose which allows for wider latitude in composing with a note which can be very intense. I smelled tuberose after tuberose but I barely smelled any new ouds. Even the Zarkoperfume Oud’ish seemed to be reluctant to display its oud outwardly.

Map of the Heart redMap of the Heart Red Heart v.3

Another trend is the unique bottle is back. The redesign of the new Mona di Orio bottles fit in my hand with a weight and presence. The Pierre Dinand designed bottles for Neela Vermeire Creations gives that entire collection an elegant container for the equally opulent contents. Pierre Dinand was also the man behind what has to be my favorite bottle of the whole fair. When I was making my first circuit of the floor I was stopped dead in my tracks by a set of three heart shaped bottles by the new brand Map of the Heart. That one of these hearts also contained one of the best new perfumes of Pitti just turned it into the complete package.

Finally I did get some confidential information that I am going to share as what are called “blind items”. These are teases with most of the identifying information about who and when disguised.

One perfume brand showed me two upcoming releases one of which will take the brand in a different direction.

One perfume brand showed me the very distinct architectural inspiration for their next release and just the visual has me excited for what is to come.

One perfume brand showed me the final version of a perfume I have long been waiting to smell. It surprised me at how it was realized but the tiny area of skin it was on might have been my most sniffed patch of skin throughout the entire exhibition.

One perfume brand is going to make their take on the cologne and it is one of the best I have smelled in the Nouveau Cologne category.

Come back tomorrow for my top 10 new perfumes from Pitti Fragranze 2014.

Here are links to the live recaps of Day1, Day2, and Day3.

Mark Behnke

Parfumerie Generale 101- Five to Get You Started

Pierre Guillaume has been producing perfumes since 2001 when he releases his first fragrance under his Parfumerie Generale label. That first perfume PG02 Coze was my introduction to this idiosyncratic perfumer. M. Guillaume is a perfumer who works on the more ethereal side of the perfumed spectrum. Many of his perfumes have an opaqueness to them that sets them apart from many other lines. That gauziness can be seen as a drawback by those who like a lot of oomph in their perfume. I find it draws me in close; to lean in to gather up the delicate tendrils with care. Over the past fourteen years the collection has grown to over 30 perfumes. Here are the five I would suggest are a good starting place.

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Pierre Guillaume

PG10 Aomassai– M. Guillaume has a reputation for composing great gourmand perfumes. In my opinion Aomassai is the greatest within the collection. A roasted hazelnut accord is decorated with caramel, cinnamon, licorice, and herbs. This is not an opulent gourmand it is a droll gourmand.

Querelle– This is the fragrance which makes me ask over and over why caraway is not used as a topnote alternative to bergamot. In Querelle M. Guillaume uses black caraway and sweet myrrh to draw you into a heart of rose and vetiver. Frankincense and ambergris finishes this which is my favorite of the entire Parfumerie Generale line.

L’Ombre Fauve– Even though I’ve said M. Guillaume likes to keep it lighter L’Ombre Fauve shows what he can do when he turns to the dark side. I have seen some of the more intense entries in the Parfumerie Generale line described as having a “furry” quality. L’Ombre Fauve might be the most prominent of the “furry” PG’s. Intense red amber, civet, and a cocktail of woods keep it simple but incredibly animalic.

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PG24 Papyrus de Ciane– M. Guillaume is a student of the history of perfume and for Papyrus de Ciane he wanted to use the classic Mousse de Saxe base that forms the foundation of the great Caron perfumes. M. Guillaume takes that starting point and imposes his style upon it. A veil of green galbanum, a watery green accord, and incense set up the darkness of the Mousse de Saxe. The success of this perfume is I never think of the original source of Mousse de Saxe I just enjoy a modern take on a classic base.

PG25 Indochine– M. Guillaume’s inspiration was a sepia toned photograph of the Mekong River. Indochine is a perfume of tints. A bit of pepper is cooled off by a breeze of cardamom. Rich honey is drizzled over a woody thanaka accord. Benzoin is the final ingredient. Indochine feels like it is unstuck in time both vintage and contemporary at the same time.

Parfumerie Generale is a line I often recommend and it has become much easier to experience as it is more widely available these days. Give these five a try and if they appeal to you there are many more worth trying.

Disclosure: This review was based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Parfumerie Generale 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense- Wearing Lemon-colored Shades

Pierre Guillaume is always worth paying attention to because he is always exploring the limits of his perfume composing abilities. When a perfumer does this it grabs my attention because in this “play it safe” world of fragrance M. Guillaume takes risks. As a result I find everything he does captures some part of my imagination. For 2014 M. Guillaume has begun the Signature Collection wherein he returns to some of the original fragrances from his Parfumerie Generale line and give a new spin to them. Earlier this year Coze, Cuir Veneum, and L’Eau Rare Matale were the first three to get this treatment. I enjoyed them but there wasn’t one I preferred over the original and it wasn’t close. At least in those cases M. Guillaume was picking a part of the fragrance to alter which I preferred he left alone. Even now I had to go back and look at my notes to remind myself about them. The newest Signature Collection, Parfumerie Generale 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense, will share neither of those issues as I definitely think it is better than the original and I won’t be needing a mental nudge to remember this one.

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Pierre Guillaume

I have held a fond space for 07 Cologne Grand Siecle which was released in 2005 because M. Guillaume made one of the most realistic lemon accords I’ve ever smelled. He also did this using almost exclusively all-natural ingredients. All together the juice in the bottle represents the fleshy pulp, the slightly green rind, and the tart juiciness of a lemon fresh off the tree. I would stack the first 15-30 minutes of Cologne Grand Siecle up against anything I own and it would be a competition. Even just revisiting it for this review I am once again in love with this olfactory lemon. But there is a problem for all that the lemon is as good as it gets it is also pretty much all that is there. I said I’d stack up the first 30 minutes against anything else because after that it is pretty much gone. That’s on me whose skin actually holds even the most transient of fragrances for hours. Cologne Grand Siecle is almost undetectable after an hour. I have always been left wanting M. Guillaume to go back and add a heart and base to that lemon note worthy of it. In 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense he turns the intensity of the original lemon into a more diffuse brilliance while losing none of the captivating subtleties. He then adds in depth with a real warm heart and a fabulous green base.

Meyer_Lemon

The combination of bergamot, bigarade and lemon leaves create the lemon accord of the original but this time it has a gauzy quality to it. By which I mean instead of blinding you with its light it is like experiencing it behind sunglasses. Because it is more easily experienced it allows for a slightly closer examination and that is worth doing. The lemon leaves add a bitter green character that truly stitches together the bigarade and bergamot into the key accord. A really well-chosen minty flare of green draws your attention to the earthier smells of hay and tobacco. The base continues with the green as vetiver and oakmoss dominate the final phase. This time the lemon is present throughout the entire development over many hours.

Parfumerie Generale 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense has 6-8 hour longevity and modest sillage. It is an Eau de Parfum concentration and that also contributes to its longevity and sillage.

7.1 Grand Siecle intense has taken the original and made it a complete composition. In computer lingo when you name something X.1 it generally represents a slight upgrade. 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense feels like a whole new olfactory operating system and should be called 8.0 except Intrigant Patchouli already has that number. Know this, 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense is no mere iteration it is the realization of the brilliant single phase of the original into a beautifully complete perfume.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample purchased from Luckyscent.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Parfumerie Generale PG 26 Isparta- Portrait of Pierre?

It has been almost two years since Pierre Guillaume has released anything new for his Parfumerie Generale line. The early part of 2014 has seen four new releases. The three new reimaginings of his early fragrances PG 02 Coze, PG 03 Cuir Venenum, and PG 06 L’Eau Rare Matale which have turned into PG 2.1 Coze Verde, PG 3.1 Arabian Horse, and PG 6.1 Vetiver Matale. These three fragrances are interesting exercises in variation but I found I preferred the original over the newer versions. They have enough of the structure of the earlier with minor variations that expose interesting aspects of the perfumes but nothing truly exciting sprung out and so I was left hoping for something more stirring from his new release PG 26 Isparta.

Rose Pickers, Isparta, Turkey

Rose Harvesting in Isparta

Isparta is the name of the province in Turkey where the rose oil from “Isparta Summer Roses” is produced. The rose oil produced is said to be “intense, rich, slightly spicy” due to harvesting in the morning before they have reached full bloom. Personally I prefer the Turkish or Moroccan rose because of that slightly spicy quality it brings to a fragrance along with the more familiar rose floralcy. M. Guillaume also likes contrasting what has come previously within the Parfumerie Generale collection. The other previous rose-centric fragrance PG 13 Brulure de Rose was the more refined rose one finds more prominently in perfumery. Brulure de Rose was a sunnier rose allowed to blossom in the midday sun accompanied by raspberry and M. Guillaume’s signature gourmand notes of cocoa and vanilla. Isparta is the rose cut off in its prime with its potential needing a bit of energy to release it. In Isparta that energy comes, again, from raspberry. It seems a number of perfumers have discovered this combination of raspberry and Turkish rose, Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady by Dominique Ropion being the best example. Isparta shares some of the same early beats of that as the rose and berry combination is ascendant but Isparta goes for a more sheer effect over the rest of its development as the resinous suite of notes paired with oud and patchouli are precisely applied to keep Isparta sotto voce all the way.

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Pierre Guillaume

Isparta opens with that raspberry and rose duet; the juiciness of the berries along with the spicier quality of the rose seem like perfect complements. The piquancy is blunted by the sweet and the sweet is reined in by the spiciness allowing for the floral component to have a little more prominence. A bit of calamus adds a tiny bit of green to the early moments but it is more of a grace note than a note. The heart is a resinous coffee klatch of peru balsam, benzoin, and incense. They serve to add a dryness to the opening accord and they also seem to serve as restraint from keeping that roseberry accord from becoming too overwhelming. The resins hold their own until the base notes of oud and patchouli take their place and usher the rose into its final phase. As I keep saying it feels like this should be overwhelming and intense with these kind of raw materials but M. Guillaume has found a way to keep it much much sprightlier than this note list should have produced.

Isparta has all-day longevity and average sillage.

Some are going to call Isparta “Portrait of a Lady 0.1” and that would be the easy interpretation especially based on the top notes. It is the rest of the journey in Isparta which truly shows how different it is. This also feels like a natural aesthetic progression for M. Guillaume which I think began with PG 24 Papyrus de Ciane and has continued in PG 25 Indochine and PG 22 Djhenne. That perhaps makes PG 26 Isparta the complete portrait of Pierre Guillaume.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample purchased from Surrender to Chance.

Mark Behnke