In my regular poker game it is dealer’s choice. Which means whoever is dealing calls the poker variation for that hand. We have one player who delights in games which result in multiple wild cards where five of a kind usually wins. We also have one player who despises this type of game because you can go from winning to losing with just one wild card. It is difficult to decide whether to stay in or fold because of that kind of uncertainty. In perfumery it is rare to find one which also wants to embrace that type of uncertainty in its development. Art de Parfum Le Joker lives up to its name.
Creative director Ruta Degutyte takes a risk by overseeing a perfume of deep contrasts. If you focus on one part of it throughout you have a smooth experience. Except right next to that is a piece of chaos, a wild card ingredient which actively changes things. It makes for a fragrance which is in flux just like my poker game with everything wild.
It opens with two of my favorite ingredients, baie rose and Sichuan pepper. Each by itself is its own type of multi-variant piece of a fragrance. In Le Joker the baie rose has a slight turn at the beginning until the Sichuan pepper card is turned over. It immediately changes things. As much as I enjoy both by themselves here, they form something different. The herbal quality of the baie rose gets speared by the intensity of the pepper. It becomes a bit of clash of profiles. The heart notes of anise and nutmeg provide some relief while also showing their own contrast. The slightly sweet nutmeg tames some of the tension of the top notes. The anise adds back some volume to the herbal quality re-establishing it. The final card is the oud-like nature of nagarmotha given a clean woody pushback via cedar. It makes for an odd pseudo-oud accord which wants to be a fresher version. A touch of patchouli adds a final twist of earthiness.
Le Joker has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Le Joker is not going to be a crowd pleaser. Like my friend who doesn’t enjoy the wild card games. Many perfume lovers will find the constant push and pull of this is not their idea of a good time. For those who are looking for a little bit of uncertainty in their perfume Le Joker is a whole deck of wild cards waiting for you to discover it.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle provided by Art de Parfum.
In a business environment which seems to tell the independent perfume brand that a new release every few months is a necessity; I admire those who go their own way. Which means that they run the risk of being forgotten by me as I navigate my overflowing desk. One brand which is doing things on its own timetable is Art de Parfum.
I met founder and creative director Ruta Degutyte in the fall of 2016 at a trade show where she was debuting her new brand. When I had the opportunity to sit down with her new collection, I saw a cohesiveness within that which made me feel this was one to keep an eye on.
Just after the New Year Ms. Degutyte contacted me and informed me the sixth perfume had been released; Encore une Fois. I’ll admit I had forgotten about Ms. Degutyte and Art de Parfum. Encore une Fois reminded me why I had seen such potential.
Collaborating again with perfumer Sofia Koronaiou they decided to go in a different direction. If the first five perfumes were about establishing an Art de Parfum aesthetic; Encore une Fois is about showing where it can go. What I mean by that is the first five releases were great examples of existing styles of perfume. Encore une Fois is an existing style of perfume given a gourmand twist.
When I saw the description of Encore une Fois and the quote “the salty intimacy of loved skin” I was expecting a typical aquatic of ozonic notes, ambergris, and fresh florals. All of that is here but it becomes fascinating as a twist of incense and caramel turn things upside down in the later going.
In the first seconds on my skin it is all those typical “sea salt” accord ingredients matched to a sunny bergamot. The top accord of too many to count aquatics. Rapidly they are covered with a set of alternatively fresh florals, peony, violet, and muguet. This is a nice change to the fresh air accords usually employed in aquatics. As I was admiring that a set of skin musks provide the salty sun-kissed skin effect. Again typical of the genre. Then something atypical happened. A strong swirl of dry incense accompanied the Ambrox while a luscious caramel oozed into sight with benzoin and balasam. It had my attention now. Ms. Koronaiou has found an odd intersection within these ingredients which works. I kept thinking this was a salted caramel skin accord. What helps is the Ambrox and musks make the caramel quite expansive instead of a leaden weight on the base. It all comes together in a transparent aquatic gourmand.
Encore une Fois has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Transparent floral gourmands are the current trend in mainstream perfume. I’m not sure when I have ever tried a transparent aquatic gourmand previously. I like this one so much I am hoping it also starts a trend. I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait for the next release but if taking the time to get it right, as in Encore une Fois; take all the time you need.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Art de Parfum.
There are times when I receive a new perfume brand with multiple releases and it just takes me a long time to finally get around to writing about them. When I attended Tranoi back in September of 2016 I met the founder of Art de Parfum, Ruta Degutyte. I was in my typical drive-by mode and Ms. Degutyte gave me samples of her five debut releases. Very slowly over the past few months I have spent time with all of these perfumes.
One of the things I think Ms. Degutyte got right was to create a small group of perfumes as her introduction to the market. Working with perfumer Sofia Koronaiou they developed a broad collection of different styles. In Sea Foam they composed a stylish aquatic with typical fresh salt air and the grass on the dunes. Gin & Tonic provides what the name promises as there is astringent juniper, citrus, green cucumber and a nicely realized tonic accord. Excentrique Moi brings back the citrus only to send it deep through an unusual hibiscus and black tea heart accord before grounding itself in patchouli. Sensual Oud is one of those straight forward rose-oud combinations with saffron added it is a nice version of a classic fragrance style. The fifth one Signature Wild was the one which connected with me.
Signature Wild feels a bit like the culmination of much of what I experienced in the other four Art de Parfum releases. What made it stand out for me was there was more of a developmental trajectory as Mme Koronaiou moves it from boozy spice through floral to leather.
Signature Wild opens with a big slug of cinnamon. I enjoy an overdose of cinnamon especially when it stays more on the dusty spicy side versus reminding me of red hots candy. The cinnamon is matched with cardamom to bring some contrast. Davana provides a boozy undertone to all of it. A smooth transition from the top accord to the orange blossom heart is performed by a group of dried fruit transforming the spice into a delicate orange blossom. Signature Wild doesn’t linger there for too long because there is a sturdy leather accord which wants its presence felt. This is a leather handbag accord polished and rich. Vetiver, balsam, and labdanum modulate the leather throughout the later stages.
Signature Wild has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Ms. Degutyte has done an excellent job overseeing the premiere of her brand. There is a feel of coherence even though these five fragrances contain some diversity. There are connective aspects between two or three throughout them. Signature Wild was my favorite but all five are worth seeking out because it is a good example of a new brand which has gotten off to a great start.
Disclosure: this review was based on samples provided by Art de Parfum.