måndag 31 december 2012

The perfumed year 2012

Photo:Mr Parfumista (c)

Here we are again, another year has just accelerated away and unfortunately I think of 2012 as a year with much horror and fear in the world. But in the little world, the 2012 in Perfumeland, I think 2012 was a good year with many good releases and new findings when it comes to perfumes that suits me anyway. 2012 to me was above all two great perfumehouses:

* I became familiar with the great, high-quality perfumeline of Ramón Monegal, the spanish answer to Patricia de Nicolaï. Patricia a descendant to the Guerlains and Ramón a descendant to the Guerlains of Spain, the house of Myrurgia, both perfumers genuinely educated in the art & craft of perfumery and both starting their own perfume houses, free to create after their own ideas & noses. The Ramón Monegal line contains almost all variations of perfumery, and all with a personal twist. This line is a complete perfumewardrobe :-) and I'm really looking forward to additional creations during the coming years, I'm missing testing a new RM every second week :-). Luckily I have two more from the line internationally realeased 2012 to review that I have saved for 2013: Agar Musk and Cherry Musk. I'm also thrilled to test the special 2012 Christmas/New Years blend, a perfume that captures the essences of Ramón Monegals beautiful hometown Barcelona.

* I also finally get the beautiful perfumes of Puredistance and the launch of 2012, the classical styled Opardu was also my best fragrance of the year. The Puredistance is a sort of a perfumebrandbuildingconcept by the perfumeinterested, brandbuildingprofessional Jan Ewoud Vos. The house uses hired, well-known perfumers, Annie Buzantain for the female perfumes, IAntonia and Opardu and Roja Dove for the masculine one, M. The concept seems to be very successful as the emotions conveyed are intimate, familiar, timeless understated elegance of high quality as if Puredistance already is classic house. The feeling of brandbuilding never occurs as in the case of the total contrast to Puredistance, the tiresome, so obvious brandbuildingconcept Byredo, oriented to anxious thirty-something urbanites.

As for the new perfumeyear 2013 I hope that the new EU legislation/self regulation of the industry (per 1/7) will not hit as hard as one can read from different initiated source; ie that many of the classics will not be recognizable anymore and that many fragrancehouses have to redo a great part of their fragranceportfolios. Therefore Dior with its critizised renaming of  the Miss Dior Cherie to the classical Miss Dior name probably has been in the forefront, they save the name and fill it with a content that will be compliant even after the new regulations becomes effective.

lördag 29 december 2012

Best of 2012

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

When it comes to perfumereleases 2012 was a good year bringing some beautiful stuff to us Parfumistas.
Here are my top ten from what I have sampled of the 2012:s in no particular order:

Nuit Etoilée (Annick Goutal): NE was a growing liking for me, it unfolds it's full beauty in the summerheat.
Urban, woody-herbal to me.

Impossible Iris (Ramon Monegal): Probably this was released before 2012 but as the exceptional Ramon Monagal line was launched internationally this year I include it. An elegant iris that is amplified by a light berrynote and contrasting flowers. A harmonious blend.

Ivoire (Balmain): What a sucessful reformulation! I like this fruity and sparkling version even better than the stricter original galbanum-accentuated Edt which is a great classic.

Opardu (Puredistance) Dreamy, elegant, powdery lilac that captures the spirit of the Paul Poiret fashion of the 1910s. Already a classic in my book.

Chypre Palatin (Parfums MDCI): Retrostyled with the dry gunpowdernote that I appreciate so much. And some slight animalic notes lurking in the background.

Poudre de Riz (Huiteme Art): Boozy notes and subdued tropical flowers in a dry powdery context creates an elegant, retrostyled fragance.

Songe d'un Bois d'Ete (Guerlain): This wellbalanced spicy, leather, oud with a intricate note of jasmine and cardamom is my favourite of the Les Deserts de Orient trio. At the moment at least, Rose Nacree du Desert comes close and could take over some day.

Dama Bianca (XerJoff): Wellbalanced white flowers contrasted by a wheat-malt note over a beautiful base of vanilla. The elegant comfortscent of the year.

Oud Stars Al-Khatt (XerJoff): Elegant, creamy, white flowers with jasmine as mainplayer, interacting with a beautiful laotian oud. As Ubar in an oud-interpretation.

Rose Etoile de Hollande (Mona di Orio): A soft, dark, velvety, resiny, medium pink rose, retro in style. The last creation of Mona, named to her honour by her businesspartner Jeroen Oude Sogetoen.

Vero Kerns beautiful chypre Mito, the leather/tobacco Speakeasy (Frapin), the woody-spicy Bois Noir (Robert Piguet) and the Neela Vermeire Creations trio Bombay Bling, Trayeé and  Mohur should also be mentioned among the best of 2012.

If I had to choose just ONE it would be Opardu for its timeless features and its appearance. It's almost as I'm sniffing a classical floral-powdery Guerlain or even a classical Chanel in the style of No 22.

onsdag 26 december 2012

Vero Profumo - Kiki Extrait

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Kiki Extrait from swiss perfumer Vero Kern is, together with Kiki Edp, the most original lavendeldominated perfume I have experienced so far. Kiki Extrait is'nt just an artful, a bit quirky creation, it's a creation of high quality materials (as my amateurnose understand it) and it is exceptionally beautiful.

Kiki Extrait starts with a very natural lavendernote, like the scent from fields of lavender in bloom, carried by a warm summerbreeze. The initial lavender is almost crisp and resting on some light green notes, there is no dusky and sultry nuances of the lavender that is present in some lavender perfumes. As Kiki Extrait dries down, interesting things happening: The lavender steps a bit in the background, but is still there during the whole dry down, gets darker and an velvety facett evolves, that gives Kiki Extrait a texture of a medium, lavender colored high quality silkvelvet. There are also traces of an attractive, chalky note and after a while Kiki Extrait takes another, additional, interesting twist: An accord that reminds me of the notes of wheat and beer occurs, the fragrance oscilliate between the fresh wheaten note and the fermented, tangy beernote. There is also an earthy accord lurking in the basenotes, and the longer Kiki Extrait dries down, the more the passionfruit comes forward. The wheat/beer twist is an unexpected and very successful contrast in the fragrance, that provides substance to the frag and maintains the interest for Kiki Extrait during it's whole dry down. Kiki Extrait is an example of a true nichefragrance, a piece of art where  pleasing the "nichecrowd" is  not the obvious motive.

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Compared Kiki Extrait to Kiki Edp, the Edp is more of a comfort, almost gourmand, fragrance with it's dark patchoulinote and sweet, much more pronunced, passionfruit contrasting the lavender. Kiki Edp is the Angel of lavender IMHO. Both Kiki Extrait and Kiki Edp are must haves, well worth owning as they are different fragrances, sharing a common lavender theme. To sum the impressions up: The Extrait smells somehow quirky-elegant and the Edp quirky-comforting.

Kiki Extrait could be worn in any occasion. It is subtle and creates a pleasant aura around the wearer. Just as Kiki Edp, the extrait is suitable in winter but as not as sweet as of the Edp, Kiki Extrait could be worn also in the summer. Sillage is medium and longevity 12h+.

Rating: 5

Notes: Bergamot, citron, blackcurrant, passionfruit, lavender, geranium, musk, patchouli, oponax, amber, caramel

måndag 24 december 2012

An unscented Christmas ...

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

I wish all readers of this blog a Merry Christmas!
This Christmas Eve will be unscented or at least almost, maybe a few spritzes of a light citrus cologne will be refreshing/tolerable. This as I'm going through the worst flu that has struck me in 10+ years and even if I'm feeling better, thinking of perfume is still too much. The perfume that I intended to wear is Amouage Beloved. I have not even sniffed at the sample I received last summer as I knew at once that I wanted to save it for Christmas Eve. If I'm fit for (perfume)fight to New Years Eve I'll will probably test it then instead. Review will of course follow.
Anyway, in the meantime: I've scheduled reviews of  some very interesting/beautiful perfumes for some of the coming days.

Happy Holidays to All!

lördag 22 december 2012

The spirit of Puredistance...

Just wan't to share the Christmas Greetings from one of my top favourite houses, Puredistance. I think this personal and informative "Christmas Card" perfectly catches the intimite aura of the Puredistance fragrances.
Unfortunately I have not managed to transform the pictures into a proper size so one have to use a magnifier to read :-)  Anyway, the Christmas Card tells about the 2012 launching of the brand in some more exclusive perfumestores, the introduction of the Chinese market and the launch of the new perfume Opardu. News for 2013 are that 2 ml spraysamples (already in E-shop it seems as) and a 60 ml bottle will be introduced  (until now 17,5 and 100 ml avaible in bottlesizes)

Picture: Puredistance (c), all rights reserved

torsdag 20 december 2012

Robert Piguet - Oud

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)
Oud by Robert Piguet is, as all five fragrances in the Nouvelle Collection, created by the Piguet housenose Aurelien Guichard

Oud starts with an almost animalic note accuented by the dry leather smell of antique books. Soon the the animalic touch disappears and soft leather, minty herbals and a green, woody notes takes the center of the stage. The pepper typical for the syntetic oud also appears but in a very balanced way, not overwhelming, at all, just a gentle touch. As Oud is a linear fragrance, it also continues like described during the whole dry down. Comfortable and pleasant. To my nose the topnotes is the most interesting part of Oud and I wish the initial animalic touch would be present also in the basenotes. To me Oud is somehow the Oud of the cold north. When I smell it, I can imagine the snowy, coniferous forests of the Nordic countries in the middle of a hard winter.

Oud doesn’t follow the most common rose-saffran-oud path, instead it follows the alternative track the colder, leather, herbal, oud. The latter is, to western standards, more masculine than the former oudstructure, which is a masculien one in the Middle East. Oud is a versatile and good everyday oud, not extreme in any sense and a good “beginners oud”. Oud is the oud-herbal-leather equivalent to the everyday rose-saffron-oud Juliette Has A Gun Midnight Oud, which also is a good and wearable “beginners oud”. Sillage is quite impressing and longevity is for 24h.

Oud was the fragrance within the Nouvelle Collection that I had highest expectations about before I started sampling. Despite Oud is a well made, balanced, comfortable and very wearable fragrance, it turned out to be the one that moved me at least. Maybe it’s just too perfect and to me BoisNoir is a notch more interesting when comparing the two Robert Piguet woods in the Nouvelle Collection.

Rating: 4 (Dec 2012) 4+ (April 2013)

Notes: Saffron, fir balsam, styrax, myrrh, woody notes, oud, patchouli

Update April 2013: Probably my testingexperience of RP Oud in December was affected by the outbreak of the worst flu I have had in 10+ years  just a few days later. Now I feel it's nuances better and i doubt it's a beginners oud any more. The animalic notes are for example still present in the basenotes, blended with the cold confierstyled woody smell and the oud that feels somehow cold in this creation.  There is also an almost leathery/metallic accord that reminds me of a sort of darker interpretation of the great Frapin Speakeasy.

måndag 17 december 2012

Robert Piguet - Casbah

Picture: Kasbahs in Aït Benhaddou, southern Morocco
Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (cc) Wikkimedia Commons, some rights reserved

Casbah is an oriental spicy perfume, dominated by incense, created by Aurelien Guichard for Robert Piguet
as a part of the Nouvelle Collection.

Casbah starts with an accord that reminds me of grated orange peel that has absorbed a spicy mix dominated by incense. As there is no orange peel in the note description, I guess there is a note that emerges from the incense combined with some other note/notes. Because incense is the most dominating note in this well balanced fragrance. The incense is there together with the orangepeel and spicy smell troughout the whole composition. The cedar and the vetiver of the base is detectable in the later stages of Casbah and adds an almost tart aspect to this composition that overall seems to be a linear fragrance in construction.

To me Casbah is most of all an incensefragence that is embedded by spices and tobbacco which makes the incensenote rounder and smoother, in some stages almost balmy. Casbah evokes the picture of an oriental spice market to me or maybe the smells from inside the casbah, from the kitchen and from the Hammmam. But there is also, an in this context strange trace of catholisism in the fragrance, as I think the incense in Casbah is like a gentler version of the note as presented in Commes de Garcons Avignon. There are also similarities with Montales Full Incense but the latter has more of resin-ambery notes where Casbah has its spices instead.

Even if note the most imigative incensefregrance on the market, Casbah is a very wellconstructed, wellblended incense fragrance of high quality that causes compliments from surrounding people. It's definitly easier to wear than Avignon but it's no less characterful. The blend is very powerful and has to be applied with caution. The sillage is medium and the longevity is 24h+. Casbah is the perfect fragrance for the cold and dark winter and will be the perfect match for Christmas, drinking mulled wine in front of a fireplace with icy winds wining outside the doorstep.

Rating: 5

Notes:  Angelica, nutmeg, pepper, iris, incense, tobacco, vetiver, cedar

fredag 14 december 2012

Frapin - Caravelle Epicée

Picture: The Noord-Nieuwland in Table Bay, 1762, oil on canvas
by anonymous artist, Cape Town, South Africa
Caravelle Epicée is a fragance that I tried some years ago and liked very much but than went on sampling other frags and havn’t come to test it again than recently. And I have to say that like this beautiful spicy creation at least as much this time. Caravelle Epicée is a unisexfragrance in my book and its created for the perfumehouse of Frapin, not for the beveragesdivision J by Jeanne-Marie Faugier.

Caravelle Epicée starts with a gentle, very true, spicy accord. I can smell different shades of pepper, cummin, saffron, nutmeg and other spices in a wellblended mix where the spices are interacting and none is dominating over the rest. The accord is in the same time soft in character. After a while CE:s spicyness becomes creamy in texture, there are also woody notes which balances the spices. There are also notes of dry coconut, as the smell from the coconut shell from a unopend nut. When Caravelle Epicée reaches the basenotes there is a slight sweet woody note, putty in character, probably from sandalwood. In this stage, Caravelle Epicée reminds me of an unsweet Bois de Paradis by Parfum DelRae, without the sweetened berry and plummy notes of the latter. There is also smilarities with the basenotes of Yves Saint Laurent NU Edp and also something similar to the base of Donna Karan Black Cashmere. Caravelle Epicée has a dark, rich and vevety dept in the basenotes that triggers the imagination. Caravelle Epicée mediates something vintage. Not exactly a vintage smelling perfume but the images of times that have gone. More exactly the image of an elegant lady from the Jugendera (Art Noveau) dressed for the winter season in silkvelvet in muted colors and fur. Or the image an old sailingship “Caravelle” carrying the valuable spices over the oceans on the old spice route.

Caravelle Epicée is one of the best spicy fragrances I have tried, if not the best. It’s wellcrafted and balanced, comfortable, feels very natural, as the percieved notes where the real spices and wood. Caravelle Epicée is a fragrance which creates images and makes the wearer daydreaming of sailing ships carrying its precious cargo over the oceans or about elegant art noveau ladies. There is something in the overall impresson that reminds me of a sort of soft Opium by Yves Saint Laurent but with much more spices and without carantion and cloves. Also Idole by Lubin comes to my mind but that one is airier and somehow lighter, more of a sommer spicy fragrance.

As indicated above, Caravelle Epicée is perfect for winter, and espceially as a Christmas fragrance, with its delicious, spicy apperance. Sillage is close and longevity good, for a day at least.

Rating: 5

Notes: Nutmeg, coriander; chili pepper, pepper, caraway, guaiac wood, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, tobacco.

onsdag 12 december 2012

Ramón Monegal - Ambra di Luna

Picture: Mondaufgang am Meer (Moonrise over the sea)
oil on canvas, 1822 by Caspar David Friedrich
Ambra di Luna is a true oriental (amber) fragrance from the excellent Barcelonean perfumehouse Ramon Monegal. As all the perfumes of the house, Ambra di Luna is created by the founder and owner Ramon Monegal a perfumer with more than thirty years experience from creating perfumes.

Ambra di Luna starts with an accord that resembles the dry, paperlike, amber note in Trouble by Boucheron.After a while Ambra di Luna gets sweeter and the furry, animalic note that have been taken to an extreme (in a very positive way) in one of my all time favourite ambers L’Ombre Fauve by Parfumerie Générale, is lurking in the background. This dark, dirty note is balancing the sweetness. After a while also a decadent, on the verge of withering, jasminenote comes forward and togheter with the furry note and amber it creates an almost vintage part of the fragarance.

As it dries in the later stages an accord emerges which is similar to the bubblegum, amber accord in the sweet, contemporary amber, Jean Paul Gaultier 2 but in Ambra di Luna the pink bubblegum is just an accent in the ambery accord and not at all as strong and sweet as in JPG2. There is also a slight leathery impression when indulging the basenotes.

Ambra di Luna has both classical, almost old fashioned phases, combined by contemporary, in the topnotes and in the early basenotes with the light bubblegum amber. As always with the Ramon Monegal perfumes, an interesting blend where the wearer could expect interesting twists during the whole dry down. Overall Ambra di Luna conveys the atmosphere that is present in music and paintings from the romantic era in the 19th century.

Ambra di Luna is not as powerful as most of the Ramón Monegal fragrances, but lasts more than a day anyway. The style is subdued, close to the skin, amber-animalic-resin-powder and Ambra di Luna is most distinctive to the wearer her/himself. This is a fragrance for the colder months, suitable both for daytime and eveningwear. On the unisexscale I think Ambra di Luna is a bit more feminine. Ambra di Luna is a must try for amber lovers!
Rating: 4

Notes: Amber, labdanum, jasmine, castoreum, sandalwood

måndag 10 december 2012

Carner Barcelona - Rima XI

Picture: Meadow Elves (Ängsälvor), oil on canvas
by Nils Blommér 1850
Rima XI is a transparant spicy, floral, light gourmand perfume created by perfumer Sonia Constant for the Barcelonean nichehouse Carner Barcelona. Sonia Constant also created the powerful Cuirs for the house last year and with Rima XI she explores a quite different, lighter and more delicate style. The appearance of Rima XI lies in between Tardes and D600 by Carner Barcelona and closer to Tardes of the two.

Rima XI starts with an almost gourmand accord, similar to the bread and apricot acccord in Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau or the gourmand sandalaccord of Parfumerie Generale Praline de Santal, which to me is a Jeux de Peau follower. There is an almond, cardamon accord that shows up early in Rima X and which is more and less present during the dry down of the perfum. After a whlie, Rima XI suddenly evokes the olfactory image of a sort of sharper Bois Naufragé by Parfumerie Generale, the wood dried in the sun at the beach by the sea and the woody, sandy, slight salty nuances that emerges from this. After a while the sweet, gourmand, character appears again, like an almondcookie, it’s almost like the smell when sniffing in a cookie jar. There is also a discrete flowernote sneaking in to the blend.  This pastry impression remains during the whole development of Rima XI. There is not a oversweet impression, it’s surprisingly light and transparent and there is absolutly no risk that Rima XI will be overwhelming. The almondcookie seems to be offset by a note similar to spicy tea and this balances the fragrance in a delicate way. This accord reminds me of yet another Parfumerie Generale fragrance, Un Crime Exotique but tuned down multiple levels. As UCE is an extreme when it comes to “spieced beverages” inspirated perfumes, readers that dislike UCE should not fear trying Rima XI. As Rima XI is resting in the basenotes the impression still are flowers, almondcookies, spices and tea supported by woody notes.

Rima XI to me is a very versatile fragrance, contemporary in style despite its inspiration from a poem of the 19th Spanish poet G.A.Bécquer: “I am a dream, an impossible; vain ghost of mist and light; I am bodiless, I am untouchable; I cannot love you. – Oh, come, you come!”. IMHO this poem also could describe a the subtle precense of a beautiful perfume, like for instance Rima XI.

Rima XI is wearable year around and could be described as a comfortable and reliable parfume with a close sillage which makes it very officefriendly. The longevity is good. The spicy character, even if light, makes it suitable for daytime wearing during the upcoming Christmas just like another good fragrance for daytime Christmas fragrance, Aus Liebe Zum Duft No 1 (from the excellent german perfumeshop with the same name) which has similariteis in style with Rima XI but as a stronger and masculine alternative.

Rating: 4

Notes: Cardamom, black pepper, mint, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, jasmine, coriander, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla, benzoin, soft amber, musk

lördag 8 december 2012

Perfumeshopping for Christmas

 Picture: Merry Old Santa Claus, 1 January 1881
in Harper's Weekly, Wikimedia Commons

I'm fully aware that an entry with the theme "advices for Christmasshopping" could be endless. Therefore I try to restrict, limit and structure it in some bullet points:
  • All the beautiful perfumes that I have reviewed during the year (and the years before). Have in mind that all perfumes rated from 3 up to 5 have in common that they are all good perfumes. The final rating is in the nose of the wearer, ie my 3 rated perfume could be your 5 rated. Some favorite fragrances when looking back on the testings of 2012 (so far): Balmain Ivoire, Puredistance Opardu, Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris and Umbra, Robert Piguet Bois Noir and Mademoiselle Piguet, Chanel Coco Noir, Maria Candida Gentile Cinabre, Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin , Huitième Art Poudre de Riz, Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilée, Vero Kern Kiki Edp, ByKilian Ambre Oud, Amouage Opus VI., Carner Barcelona D600, Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Rose Etoile d'Hollande, Histoires de Parfums 1876 Mata Hari, Parfumerie Generale Corpes et Ames Eau de Toilette Apaisante, Frapin Speakeasy. This first bulletpoint was of course almost endless :-)
  • For safety reasons: Chanel No 5 in all, or the favorite cocntentration. If the information provided during this autumn from the perfume master Octavian at 1000 Fragrances is correct, there will be no recognizable No 5 when the batches maufactured before June 30, 2013 ar sold out. This as the EU legislation,or IFRA selfregulation or both, will be significantly thougher after this date. And if this will not come into force, the person gifted (or yourself) are the lucky owner to a true and timeless classic.
  • And of course, my usual nagging about to enjoy the easy to buy classics from different categories in the ordinary perfumeshop: For example: Boucheron (signature), Chanel No 19 Edt and Edp, Guerlain Shalimar, Lanvin Arpége, YSL Rive Gauche, Prada Infusion d'Iris Edp, Thierry Mugler Angel and Alien, Dior Poison (and flankers) and Dune,  Oscar de la Renta Esprit d'Oscar are all good fragrances, easy to catch.
  • To attract someone to the perfumeaddiction: Gift with samples or decant-sets. First I'm a bit local:  A very good and reaible source for samples and decants, especially when it comes to the ELDO line (also carrying full bottles) is Riktig Parfym (Real Perfume). Fragrance & Art is another very good swedish E-tailer. F&A provides samples of all the fragrances sold. Well-stocked Aus Liebe zum Duft also provides samples of the perfumes in their assortment.The samples are almost always in spray and contains highly enough to provide sufficient testing.
  • Discovery or samplesets as from Puredistance, Mona di Orio, Parfums MDCI and affordable high quality perfume in basic30 ml bottles from Parfums de Nicolaï.
  • If investing in for example a rare Chanel or Guerlain, the Belgian Perfumeheaven Place Vendome is the real expertise to consult. Excellent and rapid customerservice.

torsdag 6 december 2012

Histoires de Parfums – L’Olympia Music Hall

Picture: L'Olympia, Paris 9em, France,
Photo: KoS, ref PA00089012, (cc) Wikimedia commons,
some rights reserved
L’Olympia Music Hall is another temptating Histoires de Parfumes fragrance (this house ruins me :-) created by the house founder and owner Gérald Ghislain. As in 1889 Moulin Rouge the parfumer is inspired of a parisan musical establishment: L’Olympia Music Hall.

L’Olympia Music Hall starts up with a beautiful, sparkling leather accord where the citrus notes are glimmering and makes the very true leathernote uplifting and captivating. The leathery note continues to be present during the whole dry down of L’Olympia even if teken a step to the background in the later parts of the fragrance. There is the scent of fine leather, as from the inside of an elegant handbag, an impression that deepens when the flowers and a quickly glimpsed accord of powder, occours. There is also a distinct, cold flowery, almost, green note that is present from early on and which also remains in the basenotes. Probably this note appers from the crisp “watery” flowers of lilac and freesia that is listed in the middlenotes. This accord, together with some of the peppery peony accord of Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine,   counterbalances the wellblended classical rose-saffron accord and adds additional sparkle to L’Olympia even in the later stages of its dry down. When L’Olympia reaches the basenotes the spicy aspect of saffron is reinforced but counterbalanced with dark patchouli and also with sweet, dark notes as licorice. There is also a  hint of a mouthwatering berrynote present. The leather in this part is tuned down and almost like velvet in texture ie like suede. A pleasant but distinctive musk is finally linking the basenotes together.  The musky, flowery facets that still remains in the base, reminds me somehow of the musky basenotes of the Vert Pivoine mentioned above. Also when L’Olympia lingers for multiple hours in the basenotes, it’s a beautiful fragrance, even if not as original as the opening with the leather accord which is so true to the real scent of leather. To me L’Olympia appears to be a successful mix of a good feminine leather fragrance as for example Cuir de Lancome and a dark, spicy, rose patchouli as for example Midnight Oud by Juliette Has A Gun and Agent Provocateur (by Agent Provocateur).

If L’Olympia embodies the establishment as well as 1889 Moulin Rouge captured the fin d’siecle mood of that establishment, I’don’t know as I don’t know anything about L’Olympia. But I trust the perfumer and assume there were rumbling and colorful shows going on there as very much is going on in this fascinating, distinctive and wellcrafted perfume.

L’Olympia is a perfume of high volume which is acting out its energy underscored by all the interesting notes. It’s appearance reminds me vaugly of the aura of the grand perfumes of the 80s, which is a pleasant discovery in the stream of beautiful, wellbehaved, subudued, powdery, musky, florals we are used to at the present. Under these conditions there is necessary to apply L’Olympia sparingly, a spritz too much and it becomes overpowering. L’Olympia is perfect for evening wear but could also be worn daytime during the winter. Great sillage and stayingpower.

Rating: 4 

Notes: Mandarin, lemon, bergamot, orange, pink berries, black pepper, saffron, rose, freesia, lilac, peony, blond wood, patchouli, frankincense, styrax, suede, vanilla, chocolate, licorice, white musk

måndag 3 december 2012

Serge Lutens - Une Voix Noire

Picture: Billie Holiday and her dog Mister, backstage dressing room,
probably at the Downbeat, NYC, Juni 1946
Photo: William P. Gottlieb, Wikimedia Commons
Une Voix Noire, the latest exclusive from Serge Lutens is a strange creature, almost as last years exclusive De Profundis. I suppose Une Voix Noire is created by Christopher Sheldrake as almost all the Lutens fragrances. Voix Noire is inspired of, and a homage, to Billie Holiday with her dark, dramatic voice (and life), often wearing a gardenia in her dark hair.

Une Voix Noire starts with a dreamy, almost dusky, putty, gardenia accord or a white flower that could be gardenia as it is somehow indefinable. The abstract gardenia is not fresh, it’s a gardenia that just started to wilting. There is also a green, slight mentholic note following, a note that is also present (but more clearly) in Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. As Une Voix Noire further developes, a note of strawberry appears. The note is not the syntetic, sickly, sweet strawberry note in candy or bubbelgums, the note is less sweet, darker and as the smell of the whole plant, the strawberries, leaves, steam and root with some dry, sandy earth on the rootlets. Soon thereafter a metallic note emerges, a note of steel but also with facets of blood. This stage is a bit gruesome and there is also a dusky, moist, almost sour and rottening vegetating note in the background, a facet that reminds me of the damp floral water note in Kerosene Whips and Roses. There are no distinct basenotes, of course they are there, some slight woody nuances could be noticed, but overall Une Voix Noire seems to be anchored in subtle dark rummy and tobbacconotes. The booziness is dark and minmalistic as is the tobbacco. There is not the blond, dry and almost fresh tobbaco of, for example Frapin Speakeasy, but a dark, slight moisty pipe tobbacco just taken out from the tobbacco envelope to be stuffed in the pipe. The dusky gardenianote is fleeting in the blend, making Une Voix Noire to a beautiful, dark, mysterious and strange composition that leaves me wanting to try this fragrance repeatedly, just as De Profundis a year ago. After two days of wearing it finally klicked which fragrance Une Voix Noire reminds me of when it has dried down and lingers there on the skin until the morning after: The a bit weird and special creation Psychotrope by Pierre Guillaume for Parfumerie Generale, which I like much. The Psychotrope is lighter in its tonality and there are different flowers but there I something in the texture, in the metallic and in some facets almost syntetic feeling that unite these two fragrances.

Just as the stunning De Profundis, Une Voix Noire is a contemplative fragrance that demands peace and quiet to be properly perceived and to evoke the imagination of the wearer. Une Voix Noire could of course evoke the picture of the dark jazzclubs where Lady Day performed, but I also think it has an almost macabre side, the bloody, metallic accord that also could conjure some unpleasant associations.

As concluded from above, Une Voix Noire is a fragrance for quiet days at home, at least until the wearer is familiar with this strange creature. Then it could be worn anyway, preferably during autumn and winter. The sillage is medium and the longevity is very good. 

Rating: 5

Notes: Gardenia, tobbacco, rum