I have written in the past about how important it is to good perfume making to have a great base accord. It has become a literal raison de etre for the Jeroboam perfume collection. Before they even designed their first perfume creative director Francois Henin and perfumer Vanina Muracciole created a base. The idea was to use the same musky base for every Jeroboam perfume. I loved the idea but was a bit disappointed in the original set of perfumes released in 2015. It seemed like they were still figuring out how to use their accord to its best effect. That would change in the ensuing releases culminating in last year’s release of gardenia focused Boha. It was exactly the kind of perfume this type of construction should result in. I suspected they had finally found the pathway forward; the latest release Jeroboam Ligno confirms this.
For Ligno M. Henin and Sig. ra Muracciole turn to two of the most recognizable pillar ingredients, patchouli and ambergris, to build a magnificent edifice atop the musky base.
Ligno opens with what I suspect is a fraction of patchouli because the greener herbal qualities are amplified. She adds clary sage and pine to provide sharp edges to the patchouli. This top accord has an almost minty freshness to it which is fun. The full spectrum patchouli comes forward in the heart as the earthier qualities I enjoy about it are now more prominent. At the same time a briny ambergris forms an odd complementary harmonic. I liked the juxtaposition of earth and sea, not opposites but two phases of a greater whole. Then that musky base comes to form the place where the patchouli and ambergris will float on. As this triangle comes together a few grace notes of geranium, saffron, and castoreum each find purchase on one side of the polygon.
Ligno has 14-16 hour longevity and moderate sillage as an extrait.
Ligno is another excellent use of this base developed in the beginning of the brand. Each new release has been better than the last; Ligno continues that trend.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.
Now that summer seems to have finally passed, I can start enjoying my spicy perfumes. Spice heavy perfumes might be my very favorite style of perfume, but they are best in colder temperatures. It is one of many reasons I look forward to fall. Perfume companies also are aware of this dynamic and so I get new spicy perfumes to consider this time of year. The latest to catch my nose is Comptoir sud Pacifique Eclats d’Amandes.
Comptoir sud Pacifique is one of the long-time perfume producers few know about. They have a very narrow corridor of distribution. I have always kept an eye on them because when you can find them there are some excellent perfumes within the collection. For 2019 Comptoir sud Pacifique wanted to try for a gourmand style. Working with perfumer Vanina Muracciole they produced two perfumes. The first Vanilla Café hewed closely to the South Pacific tropical vibe characteristic of the collection. The one which captured my attention because it was all gourmand without the island milieu was Eclats d’Amande.
Mme Muracciole chooses two interesting keynotes in cinnamon and almond. Cinnamon is a tough ingredient to use well. Too sweet and it smells like red-hot candies. Pull back on it and it just smells woody with no fire. Find the sweet spot and cinnamon causes a perfume to simmer. That’s the kind of cinnamon here. By pairing it with the nuttiness of almond she allows that quality to tease out the woodiness of the cinnamon. It is a kind of cinnamon not encountered often in fragrance, but one I enjoy. Tonka bean provides a toastier almond as it mixes with it. Cedar arrives to continue to amplify the woods in cinnamon. It heads to a sandalwood base given some character with some heavier musks.
Eclats d’Amandes has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Eclats d’Amandes is just the kind of spicy perfume to ease me into the autumn. The choice to interrogate the woody facets of the keynote spice without losing the fire makes it different than most cinnamon based perfumes.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Comptoir sud Pacifique.
There are times when the name of a perfume describes what is in the bottle perfectly. This is the case with Masque Milano Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the Japanese art form where broken pottery is repaired with lacquer infused with precious metals. It takes something which was ruined and reconstructs it with valuable materials making for an improvement. If there was an analogous effort to be made in perfumery it would be in having a chypre without oak moss. Could a creative team reconstruct chypre using unique materials to bring new life to the form?
Riccardo Tedeschi (l.) and Alessandro Brun
If I was asked which creative teams I would like to see take this on, surely one of my top answers would be Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi of Masque Milano. They have been one of the top creative directors in all of fragrance especially over the last few years. They mix an unapologetic willingness to take risks while using young rising perfumers who also want to push at the boundaries. For Kintsugi that ascending star is perfumer Vanina Muracciole. What they have achieved is to take the wreckage which is oak moss-free chypre and put it back together with unique materials for a completely modern chypre.
It starts off in the depths of creamy magnolia and powdery Rose de Mai. This forms a rim of the bowl etched with these flowers intertwined. It transitions through an ambery suede accord in the heart. This provides the canvas upon which to assemble the pieces for a nouveau chypre. The heart of the accord will be the heart fraction of patchouli. This is the concentrated earthiness of this well-known ingredient. It has become a favorite fraction because of the feeling of putting my nose in the dirt and inhaling. Mme Muracciole then uses violet leaves and raspberry leaves to add back the greener facets of the patchouli while adding in a shimmer of metal and hint of leather, respectively, to elongate the leather in the heart through to the base. Ambrinol adds the briny muskiness of an ambergris substitute. Benzoin provides the bite of a good chypre accord while a touch of vanilla smooths it all out.
Kintsugi has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Kintsugi is a monument to everything right about the philosophy behind Masque Milano and why they are one of the best perfume brands in the world. They are fearless in taking a shattered form, like chypre, and gluing it back together into a thing of new beauty.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.
If there is a perfume ingredient I am picky about it is gardenia. My grandmother’s Florida pine house was surrounded by the bushes. The blooms floated in bowls of water throughout the house. As the overhead fans stirred the humid air I was surrounded by the scent of gardenia. If there is one thing many gardenia perfumes lack for me is the significant green component of the actual gardenia. Many focus on the floral qualities. If they miss out on the underlying green it isn’t for me. Jeroboam Boha gets it right.
Jeroboam is the perfume brand founded by Francois Henin and perfumer Vanina Muracciole. The idea was to create a foundational base accord of musks which they would build upon for each release. It has been a mixed bag for me with the first releases not quite coming together. That changed with Origino and Ambra. All the Jeroboam perfumes are at extrait strength. In conjunction with the musky base accord it creates an intimacy which I find appealing. In Boha it is at its best.
One other thing about gardenia perfumes is they are often quite dense. The power of white flowers wants to trend that way. What sets Boha apart is that Sig. ra Muracciole makes the gardenia more expansive without sacrificing presence.
The green thread is placed right from the start. Green almond, bergamot and violet leaves form a green accord of foliage and stem. Above that blooms the gardenia. Sig. ra Muracciole constructs this with jasmine and orange blossom to round things out. The top accord slides underneath the florals as they become more expansive. The gardenia becomes more effusive without becoming transparent or, alternatively, cloying. She finds a precise balance where the hidden indoles can snake out of the center right down to that musky base. It harmonizes beautifully which is further accentuated by the addition of a rich sandalwood.
Boha has 14-16 hour longevity and very little sillage. This is a skin scent.
Boha is the best of the Jeroboam perfumes to date. M. Henin and Sig. ra Muracciole have fully realized the potential of their aesthetic. Boha is the kind of gardenia perfume I am looking for.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.