måndag 25 januari 2016

UNUM - Opus 1144

Picture: Central tympanum, the Western (Royal) Portal at cathedral of Chartres (ca 1145). These architectural statues are the earliest Gothic sculptures and
were a revolution in style and the model for a generation of sculptors.

Photo: Cancre (cc) some rights reserved, Wikimedia commons
Opus 1144 is the second fragrance from the Italian nichhouse UNUM. Opus 1144 is inspired from the gotic era which was started approximately 1144. The fragrance is inspired from the stone in the cathedrals and the grey skies of Normandy, a birthplace for the Gotic style and culture.Just as with LAVS, Opus 1144 is created by Filippo Sorcinelli with help form the secret parfumer.

Starts like a natural lemony (not chemical lemon pledge) contemporary Shalimar without the animalic notes in the original one and less vanillic then the "Route" Shalimars-line. In the Opus 1144 middlenotes the powder intesifies and becomes deeper, a sort of wet, chalky, putty powder. Now the vanilla also intensifies, probably because a clear musky note, complementing the discrete, cold flowers which are also present. In this stage Opus 1144 reminds me of a more vanillic and less flowery Oriza L. Legrand  Jardins D'Armide .  Also the oriental vanilla Kèora from Jean Couturier comes to my mind. As Opus 1144 dries further down it becomes darker, deeper, balsamic, resin and ambery now with slight salty, animalic notes from the ambregris. Tanken as a whole Opus 1144 is quite linear even if the fragrance changes to deeper nuances as it dries down.
Picture: Unum Opus 1144
Photo: PR Unum (c)
Even if classified as unisex, Opus 1144 to my nose is very feminine, like a fluffy angorajumper. Unfortunately, Opus 1144 doesn't remind me of medival times at all, to me it's more of a fragrance for a very feminine and elegant lady. The concept is not new, this is a classical fragrance directly in the footsteps of Shalimar. Opus 1144 powdery elegance is combined with a certain cosy comfort. It's perfect for autumn and winter, could be worn during the day but most people would classify it as an evening perfume. Sillage is medium+ and longevity overnight, a cosy, lemony, powdery, vanillc accord remains after 24 h. This is strong stuff (perfume strength) and one has to apply sparingly.

Those who like powdery fragrances as Huitème Art Poudre de Riz which is less sweet than Opus 1144 as also deep, woody vanillas like Montale  Boisé Vanille will probably also like Opus 1144.

Rating: 4

Notes: Jasmin, mandarin, elemi, bergamot, iris, orchid, cashmere wood, musk, ambregris, vanilla, benzoin, leather, sandalwood

måndag 18 januari 2016

Les Cocottes de Paris - La Castiglione

PictureVirginia Oldoini
Countess of Castiglione (1837-1899)
Photo from 1865, Wikimedia commons
La Castiglione from Les Cocottes de Paris is inspired from Virginia Oldoini an italian Countess of Castiglione, who was an influential mistress of Emperor Napoleon III. She also supported the art of photography and ordered pictures to immortalizing important phases of her life and became a famous model in early photography. According to the legend, La Castiglione during the last years of her life, lived in a totally blacked apartment without mirrors in the Place Vendome. She refused to be remembered of her bygone beauty and she was just going out when it was dark outside.

The fragrance La Castglione is probably inspired from the later, dark years. It starts interesting, with an accord of pickled citron and the smell from an old attic, the old attic smell is a lighter and not as distinct as the in Parfumerie Générale L'Ombre Fauve. As L'Ombre Fauve is one of my all time favorites, this is a positive remark. Then other dark notes as a soggy patchouli and a well balanced liquorice steps forward founded in woody balsamic notes. Myrrh adds a cold and uplifting counterbalance to the dark and deep mix. There are also herbal elements that brightens which prevent the fragrance from beeing dusty and stuffy. In the basenotes La Castglione reminds me in spirit and appearance of Gucci by Gucci Edp

Picture: La Castiglione
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
La Castiglione is a fragrance for autumn/winter good for evenings but also as a mysterious daytimefragrance. Sillage is close and longevity for a day. La Castiglione is definitly my favorite of the Cocottes.

Rating: 4

Notes: Mugwort, citron, copaiba, liquorice, patchouli, cedar, ambergris, myrrh, styrax

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to try.

torsdag 14 januari 2016

Les Cocottes de Paris - Melle Cléo

Picture: Cleo de Merode (1874-1966)
Photo: Unknown photographer 1903
Wikimedia commons
Melle Cléo is the last in the trio of courtesans in the Les Cocottes de Paris line. The fragrance is inspired from Cleopatra de Mérode a famous ballet dancer in the Paris Opera who was linked to the king of Belgium, Leopold II. Cléo was also a trendsetter and considered as the most beautiful women in the world during the latest years of the 19th century.

Melle Cléo starts very sweet, it smells like a jammy rose together with a fresh, just baked, vanilla bread which is wrapped in a white, crispy, cotton kitchen towel. After a while a the juicy note of litchi arrives and adds a fruity vibe to the fragrance as also sweet flowers. The rare perfumenote of night blooming cersus which (according to Fragranticas database of notes) is a  tropical cactus plant with flowers which smell like vanilla, is probably responsible for the special smelling vanillic accord in Melle Cléo. Probably the cotton flower also is responsible for the fabric texture mentioned above. In the basenotes, Melle Cléo becomes less sweet, even if still almost edible. The just baked bread texture returns in the musky basenotes. There is also something that similar to a lighter version of the blurred biscuitnote which is a present undertone in some flower fragrances from ca 2006 such as Burberry London for her and Agent Provocateur Maitresse. As the basenotes dries down, Mello Cléo smells almost the same but an octave darker, it's also a note that is close to light fresh tobacco present in the late stage of the fragrance.

Picture: Melle Cléo
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
The notelist of Melle Cléo truly mirrors how the fragrance really smells which is not very  common. Melle Cléo could by the first glimpse be taken as a mainstream, sweet, fruity floral but when sniffing it thoroughly the very special notes described above comes through, announcing that Melle Cléo is a very special creature after all.

Melle Cléo is appropriate year around and I can imagine it will bloom beautifully during warm, humid summerevenings. Sillage is medium and longevity very good, it lasts for longer than a day.

Those who likes fruity floral fragances as for example Eau d'Italie Graine de Joie and Robert Piguet Jeunesse will probably also like Melle Cléo.

Rating: 3

Notes: Rosewood, bergamot, litchee, night blooming cereus, ylang-ylang, rose, cotton flower, lichen

måndag 11 januari 2016

Les Cocottes de Paris - La Belle Otero

Picture: Agustina Otero Iglesias (1868-1965)
"La Belle Otero"
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
Les Cocottes de Paris is a brand started by Anaïs Biguine who also started the Jardins d'Ecrivains brand, inspired by litterature and gardens, some years ago. In the new brand, the inspiration comes from some famous nineteenth century courtesans who were active in the french capital. La Belle Otero is the first of three fragrances to be tested, inspired of a spanish artistAgustina Otero Iglesias, who is said to have "devoted her life to dancing, men, precious stones, gambling, parties and all above freedom". The fragrance is said to be an invitation to misbehave and I can agree with that when testing La Belle Otero.

La Belle Otero starts sharp, fruity, boozy, chemical, almost as something that could be a sweet fruity floral celebrity fragrance but less sugary. Than the fragrance becomes more flowery, the violet accentuated by a crispy narcissus takes the center. There is almost a lipsticknote present but without the characteristic powdery-creamy smell that is the lipstick standard. The fruity note is still present in the basenotes, balanced by sandalwood and with musk which reinforces the blend. There is something vaugly dirty and decadant glimpsing through the floral-fruity facade, like dirty underwear hiding under a brand new amazing haute couture gown.
Picture: La Belle Otero
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
Strong syntetical violet and narcissus over a light sandalwood infused by fizzy. musky, fruity elements is the synthesis of La Belle Otero. It's a demanding fragrance with rough edeges but in the same time a somehow pleasant fragrance to wear. It's a dangeroues fruity floral, something dark and beastly are lurking in the background. I think the syntetic smell is a bit too much in La Belle Otero but leaving that a aside, this is a intriguing and in the same time happy and taken as a whole, nice to wear fragrance.

Those who likes fragrances as Rober Piguet Jeunesse, Eau d'Italie Graine de Joie, Parfums MDCI Cio Cio San and By Kilian Playing with the Devil (which is much darker) could probably appreciate La Belle Otero.

Rating: 3

Notes: Neroli, pepper, absinthe, ginger, fig, violet, musk, lavender, narcissus, buchu, lavender, iris, frankincense, sandalwood 

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to test

måndag 4 januari 2016

Huitème Art - Shermine

Picture: Greta Garbo as Ivana Ivanova
in a gigantic foxfur in the 1930s movie
The Battle for House Burlesque
Sourse: Furglam.com
Shermine is the latest launch from the Pierre Guillaume subline Huitième Art. Perfumer is as always Pierre himself.

Shermine starts citric with a distinct element of the typical carrot irisnnote, which highlights the roty aspect of iris. Cold, spicy, herbal notes which are somehow enveloped in a warm, furry, setting, soon appears. The citric accord remains during the whole dry down but deepens, in an accord reminding of pickled lemons. The lavender which appears as a flowery element interacting with the cold iris, is concentrated and clean but not bright,. it's not as herbal or sharp that mostly is the case with lavender. Shermine in this part reminds me in style and apperance with Houbignant Iris de Champs. I don't know what the magic mix is which creates the furry, slight animalic impression, no animalic notes are mentioned in the notelist. Only the olfactory magican Pierre Guillaume knows. There is also a touch of a gourmand in Shermine but not as much as in the fruity lavender Vero Profumo Kiki.The base of Shermine is clearly woody-musky at the beginning, then it transforms to be sweeter and with a more powdery texture. Just as Kiki, Shermine is an intriguing and also slight demanding fragrance to wear. It never becomes boring and it's a pleasure to be wrapped in, one can imagine an exclusive furstole, lined with cool silk and warm fur on the outside.

Picture: Shermine, the picture tells all about its appearance.
Photo: PR Huitème Art (c)
Even if retro in style, Shermine is sort of a 2015s version of the legendary fougère Guerlain Jicky. Shermine hasn't almost any similarities, expect the lavender, with for example Serge Lutens Gris Clair which  features incense and is overall more contemporary in style.

Despite containing fougère accords, lavender and woods, I find Shermine quite feminine, maybe the furry and slight gourmand accord is responsible for that. Shermine is suitable for the colder months or as a evening fragrance. The silage is medium and longevity more then a day.

Shermine is definitly another winner from Pierre Guillaume, one of the very best releases in last year.

Rating: 5

Notes: Pepper, lemon, cardamom, rosewood, iris, lavender, vanilla, musk, vetiver, patchouli, guaiac wood.

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to test