Souvenir Scent – Paglieri 1876, Agrigentum, Florentia, Venetiae (2016)

Perfume can carry us away in an instant; to faraway places, to memories of time long past, to new horizons and places we didn’t know exist, and even to the abstract of unlimited imagination. Of course, it works the other way around too; when we travel, what better way to keep a memory than to buy a special perfume connected with that place, and to revisit through scent, when you long for a break or a memory.

As a perfume lover, we like nothing more than getting hold of liquid holiday memories in pretty bottles, (hello city exclusives!) preferably closely related to the destination, and even if scented memoirs are not a new thing, the Italian brand Paglieri 1876, which makes a speciality of scenting the most famous cities in the boot country, was new to me.

Through a dear friend I got to try the three of their perfumes; Venetiae, Agrigentum and Florentia

Florentia has notes of bergamot, rose, clove, cedar, iris, leather, styrax, amber, tonka bean and sandalwood.

And obviously, Florentia is an iris fragrance, based on the Iris Florentina, (how could it not be?) and what a pretty one it is. Up top it’s crispy with a little peppery clove, while a fresh-ish rose, aided by the dryness of woods, alludes to starched white shirts cool against sun warmed skin. The iris that follows, throws on a hand-tailored Italian leather jacket, and becomes warm, noble-spicy and the tiniest bit dirty. While I might not truly need more iris perfumes, this lovely Florentine postcard would surely come home with me as a souvenir if I came across it in its name town.

Venetiae; Geranium, cinnamon, rose, sea-notes, freesia, saffron, oud, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber.

Most astounding Venetiae doesn’t start by hitting you with the rose-oud hammer, rather it opens on a combo of spice, rose-oud and… nothing! …Nothing? Air perhaps?

I couldn’t understand why something could smell of air until I realised that it was the scent of Copenhagen air, salt-water air, which was a part of this rather unusual oud opening. Like a little riddle hidden inside the perfume, I was delighted that my reaction was actually sea-air, rather than ‘someone trying to recreate salty air, but it just smells hideously synthetic’. The secret being in the dosage I believe, which is minimal. The rest of the perfume is nicely done; woudy (wood and oud in just the right amounts), enough flowers to waft a bouquet breeze and warm spices round of Ventiae. Yes, in a weak moment, I could see myself buying into the salty gondolier air and the merchant bazar of Venetiae.

Agrigentum; mandarin, lemon, orange, almond, ylang-ylang, jasmine, violet, patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, praline.

Agrigentum starts as an alcohol-free cocktail hour and turns into a creamy gourmand. The citrus fruits are juicy, refreshing yet sunny and sweet, with a hint of berries adding tartness. The almond, paired with ylang-ylang, vanilla and praline is sweet, yet not completely tooth-decay-category. It’s Dolce Vita, Baby. The sun is shining and even The Godfather is having dessert in the shade, while Etna looks too cute and postcard pretty from a distance to be worried about.

Agrigentum is too gourmand for me, but then, I have yet to travel to Sicily, who knows which perfume I’ll choose to bring home as a souvenir?

Perhaps in future perfumeries with regional perfumes will replace all kitschy souvenir shops, perfumista heaven?

Did you bring perfume home from your holiday?

 

I’ll Take My Perfume Fearless, Please – Camelia Intrepide Atelier Cologne, Tobacco Mandarin and Leather Artemisia Jo Malone

I’m still here, writing from my old patience-trying PC, which is in desperate need of being exchanged for a younger model.
When it comes to perfume and younger models, not so convinced…. As much as one understands the need for new blockbusters and niche-cum-mainstream/ mainstream-cum-niche, the new models seem to all be cut of the same caramel soaked pie in the sky.
Some companies thrive by using the gray area, the high-end department store, as a force, by making interesting yet wearable fragrances on a certain level with a strong brand profile.

I would count among them brands like Jo Malone and Atelier Cologne. Pretty on the shelf, great design and accessibility and wonderful customer service.

The 2016 Atelier Cologne release Camelia Intrepide is a name created of the fantasy note of a scentless flower and ‘intrepid/bold’, add the story of a female aviator (C-Amelia Earheart) from the PR, the fragrance has something to live up to. It’s created by Jerome Epinette and notes are; lemon, bergamot, nutmeg, camellia, orris root, violet leaf, Turkish rose oil, leather and amber.

We all know by now that notes are a guideline only, however here I was completely baffled that notes and fragrance had anything to do with each other. For the longest time, I’ve been looking for a smoky tea perfume, and basically, here we have it. On a friend, it behaved differently, much cuter, peony-rosy and ambrox like, but on me, it stayed smoked tea with a hint of bergamot with just a drop of rose. The scent strip smells that way too. Is it my smoked tea? Not sure, perhaps it isn’t quite intrepid enough for me…

Whereas the Jo Malone main collection has left my purse closed so far, I have on several occasions been pretty smitten with the seasonal Limited Editions. As the name suggests, these can be hard to come by, especially if you are the type who wants to try before you buy. If you do not have a JM shop near you, before you get around to try a LE, it’s likely to be sold out. I was quite excited to find that the new JM stand in a Copenhagen department store carries the LE, and the lovely SA was even happy to fill testers for a picky customer like myself. From this Limited Edition called ‘The Bloomsbury Set’, I chose Leather Artemisia and Tobacco Mandarin (both by Yann Vasnier).

Members of the Bloomsbury Group 1915

Tobacco Mandarin has notes of mandarin, sage and honeyed pipe tobacco. The mandarin is not a loud citrus burst, more a warm flavor, a backdrop to the tobacco. The tobacco is hay-like, it’s sweet but not overly so, and there’s only the vaguest hint of something smoky. That’s it really, at least to me… Pleasant, probably an office kind of scent, if one likes such terms.

The other one I was curious to try was Leather Artemisia, being quite a fan of artemisia also known as wormwood. According to the PR these are the notes “the striking green facets of anise-tinged absinthe blend with aromatic artemisia, soft orriswood and the deep richness of leather enhanced by the amber woody notes of Cypriol”. Orriswood??? Is that like Krispy Kreme? Like there’s no orris and no wood, so if we call it orriswood we are not lying? Orris is the iris root, and I’m quite sure they are incapable of growing into trees? Sorry, this is just me not liking the fancy-schmancy gloss-over ingredients which seem to pop up everywhere.
Leather Artemisia has a bit of green sharpness in the opening, where after the wormwood (also not wood, but different to orriswood, wormwood is the name of the plant ;-)) takes over with its dominant herbal sweetness with a touch of fennel, so characteristic for this plant. The leather is more suede than leather, and the overall feel is rounded, making for an amiable scent.

Both can be shared, and both are nice but kind of ‘thick’ in the structure making them more scent than perfume.

Overall, these three fragrances are all very nice and quite office friendly, but next time I would wish for a bit more intrepidness all round.

 

pic by me.

From L’Attesa to Zaffran- mini reviews PK perfumes, FM parfums, Opus Oils, Masque and Slumberhouse

 

I have a bit of a thing for saffron, in food, in perfume, to look at… It’s quite magical, so I’m always exited to see if perfumers can give this a twist, or make it stand out in a particularly beautiful way.

Zaffran was sent to me by the kind Paul Kiler of PK perfumes. It’s a strong saffron opening which is both leathery and astringent thanks to vivid orange-citrus notes, before slowly mellowing into a mélange of discreet warm spices and taking on the skin like quality of costus. Definitely does what it says on the box, and does it with aplomb.

Pouvoir Mystique by Fabio Luisi (FM Parfums) has almost the exact opposite development of the Paul Kiler’s Zaffran. It’s a skin and fur-like opening, which at first gives a gauzy impression which surprisingly develops into a smooth leather. The saffron here is wafting softly above the composition throughout, lending a little bite to the caressible opening and an edge to the leather of the dry down. It’s a fragrance which would lend itself to lavish spraying as a snug undercoat, the way I sometimes use EdC, with perhaps another perfume dabbed at the wrists.

Ode de Vampyre by Opus Oils, isn’t a soli-saffron. Although quite a perfumey-perfume it’s a bit of an enigma as it seems to shift a lot on me. While reminding me of other perfumes, especially certain 1980s creations, it isn’t easy to pin down. (Mostly) It opens slightly mossy on a beautiful fruity-rose note accompanied by saffron giving off a ray of sunshine. The milky sweet sandalwood blends beautifully with buttery iris. I like this perfume oil a lot, and would be very curious to try the EdP version. There’s no vampirism about this one, that’s unless you bathe in it, and you imagine vampires the equivalent to being locked in a confined space with ladies having massively over applied their 1980s perfumes. And BTW the notes of cedar wood, saffron, dark Rose, orris root, sandalwood, black agar, vetiver, honey and temple incense, make it sound a lot darker than it is, with neither oud, incense or honey being very dominant just adding to the overall oriental plushness.

Still talking of perfume notes I love, but moving from indie to niche, how excited was I to read of the new perfume L’Attesa from Italian House Masque Milano iris and champagne!

The opening is all iris, a rooty orris, leathery in feel. It’s modern sensual, creamy perhaps but not powdery. I do understand the talk of the yeasty part of champagne being what is tried to achieve here, and perhaps I get a whiff of it, though sniffing at an open bottle of Cremant (opened solely for purpose of writing this naturellement), I must say that L’Attesa never really smells like this, nor has it got the bubbly feel of my two go-to champagne fragrances; Arpège and Vega. (I realise talking of iconic fragrances is setting the bar high.). I was quite surprised when in the middle of the development of L’Attesa I was suddenly reminded of the sorrowful chrysanthemum in the outstanding Lutens’ De Profundis. If you’re looking for a leathery iris which still has a floral quality, this one is worth a try.image

Another Champagne perfume I was keen to try was Sådanne by Slumberhouse (how cool to finally have a perfume name for which my Danish keyboard has the letter, without needing to symbol-insert). The name doesn’t mean much by the way. Sådan means ‘such as’, ‘which are of a kind’ or ‘(t)here you are’, sådanne would be dialect of sorts and doesn’t exist as a correct word. It opens on a great big authentic strawberry syrup note. I’ve seen it compared to Victoria’s Secret Strawberry and Champagne, which I happened to come across in the Super Market the other day, and I don’t see the similarity. Sådanne has a beautiful sweet and dense strawberry note whereas S&C is like tinnitus for the nose. comparing them is like comparing silk and polyester. Anyway, in Sådanne I do get a tiny bit of a yeasty undertone from sparkling wine. After the strawberry has faded away, although animalic ambergris is mentioned, the sensation I get is that of soft moss, cedar and musk, no beasts to be scared of here (says the vintage-lover 😉 ). It’s a bit of fun, but not quite enough Champagne for my taste.

 

Pics my collages, in the main one, you might be able to see an amazing necklace by my friend of Trine’s Treasures

 

Anubis the Embalmer – Guerlain Vintage Djedi (1926)

In 1926 the perhaps most unusual Guerlain perfume ever saw the light of day. Inspired by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb in 1922, and the Egyptomania which followed in its wake, Jacques Guerlain created this broody, dry perfume, named after an age-old Egyptian magician who was able to ‘resurrect the decapitated’.

Curious as most perfume-nerds, a sample of Djedi in the reissued 1996 version has been in my collection for a very long time. It was a disappointment to me, having more in common with ‘Vetiver pour Elle’ than Pharaohs or any exoticism or glorious descriptions I read around the net.  Nothing dark or that unusual even, just rose and vetiver and gone in an hour or so… DISAPPOINTMENT! But hey, one less perfume unicorn to worry about, thought I.

When Guerlain enthusiast, collector and connoisseur ‘Bragmayer’ offered to send me some of the ‘REAL’ Djedi (from a 1936 bottle), I was at first only mildly interested (Mea Culpa). It wasn’t until he told me the most incredible story of a main ingredient of Djedi that I was all ears. Could Djedi be all it was hyped up to be after all?

What I’m about to write I haven’t tried to verify from any other sources, but since the story is simply to good not to share, I will recount it here and leave it the rest up to you…

From the middle ages up until early 20th century Mumia, powder of embalmed bodies/ mummies, had been used for medical purposes. Many stories around the net goes into this fact, only a short while ago Elena Vosnaki wrote a piece on Mumia at Fragrantica, so I won’t write further about this.wikipedia mumia

Certainly Mumia, at the time of the making of Djedi, would have been a known, if out-dated, remedy, and familiar to chemistry trained Jacques Guerlain. As a perfumer we could assume he would not have been oblivious to the scent either, which would have been that of 1000-year-old resin formulas, rather than of decayed corpses. What Bragmayer told me is, that original Djedi has some of this ‘vintage mummy’, or so-called ‘Mumia’ powder in its formula. The thought of this is as fascinating as it is macabre, and perhaps I love the thought of it even more, for not being able to ever verify it. I’m sure no Guerlain perfumer of sound mind, would ever tell us if this were actually true.

What is true, is that upon smelling real Djedi, and even with the expectations now raised sky-high, I was blown away by the first sniff. I have never smelled anything like it. I wrote in a comment recently that Djedi might be the closest thing in my mind, that perfume has ever come to art, and I stand by that. It keeps unsettling me, keeps showing new facets which are so unusual, one should think it impossible to wear Djedi as a perfume, and yet, having worn it several times in order to write this post, I find it highly wearable, at times even addictive.

Bone-dry, as Djedi is on the one hand, I also sense a green undergrowth dampness. The colour scheme has not a single primary colour, nor does it let light through its fumed layers. It is all hues of dark greens and browns in all varieties, a mud-luscious Nile-green perhaps, or dust-withered papyrus ochre?

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The damp and dry does somewhat remind me of ancient enclosed spaces – stone, moss and smoke – of old attics and mausoleums, but it also reminiscent of fairy tale woods; Show White, Hansel & Gretel or The Little Red Riding Hood. A deep forest which is both lying-in-wait dangerous and caressingly familiar at the same time, I would almost say that Djedi works on the subconscious level similar to fairy tales.

Suitably mummy-esque and living up to the extraordinarily-aged magician’s name, Djedi last forever, and somewhere in the middle of the development I was actually reminded of vintage Habanita, with its sweet tobacco note supported by resins. The smoke could hint at ancient magic ceremonies, the resins (mummified or not) at burial rituals. But even if I sense vetiver, patchouli, clove, musk and leather, even if I could perhaps call this an animalic leather chypre, Djedi remains enigmatic and elusive. Djedi remains a mystery.

 

I wasn’t initially going to mention Verdi’s Aïda, thinking it just a bit too obvious. But the music from the closing scene has a similar eeriness to Djedi.

Radames condemned to die by being locked in a subterranean tomb sees the stone closing upon him. It turns out Aïda has locked herself in there with him, foreseeing his destiny. Singing their farewells to each other and the world, the priests above praise the God Ptah.

La fatal pietra sovra me si chiuse… (The fatal stone has closed above me)

*Anubis was the God associated with mummification

 

Quick Sniffs – Maison Incens’ Tabac Licorii, Figue Oudii, Musc Kalirii, Figue Eleii, Cuir Erindil

Today I want to talk about 5 perfumes from Maison Incens. The man behind the brand is Philippe Constantin and the perfumer Jean-Claude Gigodot.

I happened upon the brand by chance. A girl on a Fragrantica asked for liquorice perfumes with a salty feel (Scandinavian salty liquorice), and that’s where I came across Tabac Licorii. We decided to spilt a bottle, and I received samples from the rest of the line at the same time.

Tabac Licorii; Star anise, licorice, tobacco, violet, sea water and musk.

To me it smells of earthy tobacco and oak moss, sometimes there’s a bite of liquorice sometimes there isn’t. The same goes for the saltiness; like the sea breeze it comes and goes with the ebb and flow.image It’s a very rounded fragrance with a very natural feel, if somebody told me it was a 100% natural perfume, I wouldn’t have questioned it. As a liquorice fragrance, this might be a disappointment, but if you’re looking for a unique fragrance with a natural and cosy outdoorsy-feel, you ought to try it. It dries down a little warmer and perhaps muskier with a tad more liquorice, but still within a very natural feel. Perhaps the most masculine of the lot.

Interestingly the samples came without labels, so a fun sort of blind sniff at first, which luckily turned out to be easy’ish to verify due to strong compositions and the individual colours of the juice.

Figue Oudii; bergamot, orange, fig, ylang-ylang, violet, iris, leather, cedar, oud, sandalwood, amber and musk.

There are two fig perfumes in the line-up, the first one being the heaviest and perhaps more unusual of the two. It’s the unlikely combination of fig and oud, and if Tabac Licorii, was perhaps less true to its name, Figue Oudii certainly is. Fig is prominent, and it’s as if the oud is just the extension of the fig foliage. I should never have thought it but these two complement each other nicely. On the other side of the spectrum there’s creaminess from ylang-ylang, leather and sandalwood, which gives the whole composition a warm oriental feel. If you’re looking for an oriental perfume with more than a twist, give it a try.

Musc Kalirii; bergamot, orange, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, leather, vanilla and sandalwood.

Is characterised as a Woody Floral Musk, and funnily, it’s what it is, but again not your usual FWM: the flowers aren’t dainty but sort of ‘casually present’, the wood is not synthetic ‘blonde woods’ or whatever they are called now, but just a little woodiness, and the musk is neither laundry musk nor an animalic skank-fest, but just a bit of warmth underneath the composition.image

Figue Eleii; fig leaf, green notes, tuberose, iris, cedar, sandalwood and musk

At first sniff this one is much closer to the normal idea of a fig perfume; it’s fig, it’s green and those together translate into summery green freshness. However, it’s wonderfully paired with a creamy, milky tuberose and a more-buttery- than- not iris note, which gives this perfume a gorgeous opaline feel. I enjoy wearing this one a lot.

Cuir Erindil; bergamot, mandarin orange, incense, spicy notes, iris, myrrh, leather, musk, sandalwood and vanilla.

Although nowhere mentioned, I could swear the first few seconds of the opening smells of a mix of menthol and camphor. I’m reminded of tigerbalm in a leather bag, as the leather almost immediately takes hold of the scentscape. It’s proper leather, not suede, a little biting almost, but it softens fairly quickly into a warm and mellow base of resins, iris and just a touch of vanilla.

What I especially enjoy about all Maison Incens’ perfumes, is the daring to make perfumes that are a little different, and still eminently wearable. They are deceptively simple and quiet, but keep showing new facets with each wear and lasts way longer than I would have thought upon application. Another thing that hit me was, that I never feel overwhelmed with scent molecules blowing up in my face, rather there’s a naturalness about them which seems to leave a lot of space to take in other things than your perfume.

 

Pics by me.

What is Your Cup of Tea? and an aside on experimental infusions – Jo Malone Oolong Tea, Midnight Black Tea and Golden Needle Tea

The sheerness and longevity issues of the typical Jo Malone output has not exactly made them high on my favourites list, yet the combination of finding a new favourite in (the limited edition) Tudor Rose and Amber as well as wearing (another LE ) White Lilac and Rhubarb at lot this spring, when I first heard of the new ‘Rare Tea Collection’ I was intrigued.

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The collection has a new and interesting price point, they are 300€ each for 175 ml, so I bought three small decants from a split of the ones that I thought might be what I was looking for in a tea fragrance. The three I left out were; Silver Needle, delicate floral, enveloping musk and a rose (- did anything ever NOT spell out my name quite so loudly?), Darjeeling Tea with freesia, jasmine (- ‘It’s not you it’s me, Honey’), Jade Leaf Tea, sencha, pomelo and maté (– chase me with maté tea).

What I have been looking for in a tea fragrance for some time, is a note of that dark smokiness, a real ‘brew’, a tarry, leather substitute note almost. A black tea that isn’t sweet. No more Chai Tea Lattes or Fresh Green Tea kind of thing. With 6 perfumes to choose from, each focussing on a different tea, surely it wasn’t too much to hope for, that one of them had that note?

The Rare Tea Collection contains 6 fragrances all ‘tea infused’. I’m not sure that the ‘infusion’ is not exactly my problem, but more of this later, first up the three fragrances that I ventured to try.

Midnight Black Tea; funnily I am not entirely convinced I would have smelled black tea at all had I not known of it. Midnight Black Tea has notes of vanilla, amber, guaiacwood and puh erh tea. On the strip I got more sweetness, and I detected something berry like and what seemed like almonds, none of which appeared on (my) skin. Its honeyed amber, a little inoffensive wooden smokiness and a touch of delicate spices is lovely and cosy, even if not exactly groundbreaking. It has good longevity, and for me it has just the right kind of airiness to not become cloying or sticky. It’s strikes a similar chord as Ambre Narguile, Nu_Be Helium, Oajan etc.

Golden Needle Tea; is another one where I’m not sure exactly how important the tea is. Supposedly it’s yunnan. The notes say; leather, sandalwood, benzoin and spice. It actually smells golden upon application. It took me some time to figure out why.

Last year, and here we actually get to the infusion part, I spend some time in the spring and summer collecting various plants, roots and resins infusing them (with perfumers alcohol) as an experiment and as a way of getting to know some plants and notes better. Among the stuff I retrieved were the fresh tears from the spruce tea, Picea abies. imageThe stuff is as sticky as it is fragrant, which is VERY. However, the scent is truly magnificent, with its golden bitterness. It’s almost as if you can smell the colour of the amber ‘stone’ it might turn into in some thousands of years given the right circumstances. It is this exact smell that I’m reminded of in Golden Needle, not ‘just’ myrrh or other resins.

A short note on the infusions is, that an infusion of a material is only very rarely a lasting or strong scent in itself, and wonderful as a 100 hour tea infusion sounds, it doesn’t really say much about whether it will actually add any significant flavour to the fragrance or not.

Back to Golden Needle and the slightly bitter resiny feel; it also reminds me of orange oil and ginger powder (remember always, we are talking Jo Malone, these associations are homoeopathic doses). It goes into a lovely suede like leather before resting on a sandalwood base. And a few hours in, best as you think it ends there, that little golden sticky resin pops up again, now as a faint driblet.

Oolong Tea has notes of cacao, tonka, hay and tobacco, and to me is the tea’iest of the lot.

It is powdery cacao dust, dry hay and smoked tobacco combined with a moist tea feel. I’m briefly reminded of the tea note in Bulgari eau parfumée au thé bleu, not least because of the buttery orris vibe I get, not that it’s mentioned anywhere in the minimalist note list. The tobacco sways and sometimes adds to a smoky tea feel and sometimes to a teaspoon of honey in a slightly bitter brew. It’s somewhere between haughty and enveloping and as such the perfume keeps itself poised and interesting, by always changing its nature slightly each time I wear it.

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As it is I like all three, especially the last two, yet not enough to splurge on a humongously large bottle. I prefer my tea to be more than infused; I want the builders brew version of infusion, also when it is wrapped in a sheer and airy composition. And perhaps just a little bit more Mad Hatter than Tea in China.

So, like with my coffee search, my tea search goes on too. In the meantime I shall enjoy the scent of the Oolong Tea à la Guerlain called L’Heure Bleue, but that’s another story and it will have to wait for another time…

Have you found your perfect tea perfume yet?

No Smoke Without a Fire – Habanita* (vintage, 1988 EdT and 2012 EdP)

When I started reading blogs and investigate fragrances beyond the mainstream selection, the first thing I was drawn to explore was the beginnings of the oriental genre.

I ordered a decant of Habanita from The Perfumed Court of the 1988 EdT version. The 1988 version truly is a 1980s perfume, it has atomic power sillage and a cloud of patchouli and clovey cigarette smoke seems to grow by the minute. At least that was my first impression, and the few millilitres used of this rather aged decant, can verify that this beast only comes out of its hiding once a year to check whether my first impression was all down to ‘beginner’s nose’. I can tolerate it much better now, but I can’t say that it’s something I wear. So you will understand: my beginning with Habanita was not a love-affair, but a case of due respect and polite distance keeping, lots of smoke, but little fire.**

image1I am not sure quite how, perhaps as a double lot, but at some point I got quite a vintage bottle of Habanita pure parfum, which because of my previous history with the Lady in question, was approached with great tentativeness. Vintage Habanita is a different thing completely to the 1988 version. Probably due to age, ingredients and/ or the parfum strength, vintage Habanita wears rather close to the skin. You’re not enveloped in a mushroom cloud, and rolled in a mountain of stale ash-tray; this is quite a ‘personal-space’-perfume.

Vintage Habanita smells like sweet honeyed tobacco, warm and rich. There is smoke too, but it is more campfire than French bar before the smoking ban. Perhaps it’s a bit of incense, and galbanum which gives that feel of nice smoke full of memories, rather than ash-tray. There’s an ambery dusty feel, surely helped by a measured dose of heliotrope, and it’s followed by a dry down of incredible warmth and embrace. Aged patchouli, perhaps a little leather and some musky animals make me fantasize that it would be the scent of leaning in on this handsome fellow.gregory peck smoking In deed it would be gorgeous on men as well as women. My feel for vintage Habanita is that this is a perfume which hasn’t yet become an icon. She’s not glamming it up, like an aging celebrity, trying to remind everybody how amazingly sexy she was is, she just ‘is’, without even trying.

I sniffed the new 2012 Habanita shortly after its release, but I sort of forgot about it again. I still had my 1988 picture of Habanita, and a quick sniff of the new thing was not enough to banish it. However, I recently received a sample of the EdP and decided to give it a go.

It has the honeyed tobacco, which is just great as a sweetener as it never feels gourmand in any way but grounded and a bit tough. The smoke comes in the shape of leather and tar, which later mingles with a bit of powdery amber, so here too we are spared the smoke cabin feel; no one will mistake you for a smoker wearing this. There’s a bit of rubber to Habanita too. She’s a tough cookie, a Marlene Dietrich, compared to the Gregory Peck of the vintage version, but not a caricature. Even if scent wise it differs from the vintage version, I feel the soul of this 2012 version is much truer to its earliest predecessor than to its immediate one (1988) in that it doesn’t try too hard but is comfortable and at ease with what it is. Habanita 2012 still wears her name and notoriety with pride, her fire still burns but she’s in no need for a smokescreen.

 

Have you tried Habanita in any versions?

 

*I didn’t start out thinking I would compare the versions I have but just write about the vintage, well, I guess I couldn’t help it.

**please note that I probably feel about cigarettes and tobacco the way tea drinkers do about coffee; they tend to love the smell of the freshly grounded beans but hate the drink, and while I love the tobacco scent, I’ll rather cross the road than have to walk behind a smoker.

Oops, Not Last after All- Patou Pour Homme vintage VS 2013

By Santos89

Yes, I know what I said last week, but today is a special treat for you, in that a wonderful fellow Dane and perfume-enthusiast kindly volunteered to do a guest post on Patou pour Homme. Santos89, as he’s known as in the perfume community, adds a masculine touch to Sounds of Scent that I have long wanted, as I found my knowledge of classic masculines to be woefully lacking. As you can probably tell from this review, Santos89 loves perfume, has a fondness for both old and new, but a heart that beats for the 1980’s.

 

Patou Pour Homme is possibly the most elusive and sought after fragrance, ever created for men.

This oriental fougere was released in 1980, and was not a big hit. Patou tried to make it a hit, it even featured as Don Johnson’s fragrance on the hit show Miami Vice. However, their efforts did not bear fruit.

Though no discontinuation date has been firmly established, the consensus seems to be that it was killed off in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Shortly after Procter & Gamble took over the Patou license, and discontinued most of the range.miami-vice-dj35

A few years ago, the company Designer Parfums decided to revamp some of the classics, and fortunately Patou Pour Homme was amongst them.

Jean Kerleo’s masterpiece was reimagined by perfumer Thomas Fontaine.

Now before delving into the details, I have to make it clear that you will not find a 100% carbon copy of the original Patou Pour Homme. Due to restrictions imposed by the EU and IFRA, the original formula had to be altered. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

The vintage:

The opening of the vintage is stunning. In fact every single aspect about this fragrance is stunning, and shows Kerleo’s brilliance.

The first notes to hit are clary sage and lavender, backed by subtle hints of basil.

These notes quickly subside and let the heart notes shine. The patchouli, vetiver and caraway come in to play, and is backed by hints of fir.

The basenotes are then introduced, with leather and civet being the main player, whilst subtle hints of vanilla and tonka bean can be noticed.

Words can’t really do justice to this composition, because whilst all the notes can be picked out, the real beauty is how smooth and well blended it is. Every single transition happens smoothly. It’s dark and brooding, but in a pleasant way that leaves you wanting for more.

The reissue:

I had read lots of differing accounts about this one. Some claim it to be a far cry from PPH, whilst others claim it to be a fairly faithful reissue.

The opening is lighter than the original. The citrus is easy to pick out, and is accompanied by hints of pepper, galbanum and bergamot.

The opening is short-lived, as the jasmine, lavender and tarragon are presented.

The leather, olibanum and patchouli are then introduced, backed by subtle hints of amber.

The smoothness of the original is somewhat lacking. But the overall feel is present. The smell is there, though not identical.

Overall:

If you desire a carbon copy of the vintage PPH, then sorry, the reissue will not be satisfying.

If you desire a modern take on PPH, that keeps the DNA intact, and has the same feel and vibe, then this is for you.

Both are stunning compositions, and I tip the hat to Thomas Fontaine, as he did a magnificent job with the modern constraints imposed on him.

If all else fails, I’d consider the reissue as the best homage to the original that I have ever experienced.

 

 

 

 

Last But Not Least- Jean Patou 1980s Que Sais-Je VS 2015 Que Sais-Je

I don’t want to risk boring everyone, including myself, but I felt that I should perhaps do this last little review and comparison because so far, from the ones I’ve tested, Héritage Collection Que Sais-Je actually comes the closest to the idea of the original.

Ma Collection Que Sais-Je by Jean Kerléo from the 1980s reissue of Henri Almeras’ original is sweet. SWEET. QSJ4mindreIt is peach, honey and hazelnut. It sounds like dessert, it smells like dessert. If you think gourmand perfumes were invented with Mugler’s Angel in 1992, think again.

QSJ is peach; golden and warm, marinated in a dark acacia honey with hazelnuts. It reminds me of some of those syrup and honey drenched Middle Eastern desserts you eat accompanied by sweet tea, served on a beautiful silver tray. It’s sweet but the honey is naughty too, even a bit animalic. And there’s more than that, underneath lurks a leather-moss base, probably with some musk too to accompany the honey, which makes for a beautiful dissonance to the sweetness, and makes sure you can call this buxom Mademoiselle ‘fruity-chypre’ s’il vous plait. It’s a quite stunning perfume, but in order to fully enjoy it, you need to be able to have your cake and eat it. All of it.

 

Now to Thomas Fontaine’s new Héritage Collection version of Que Sais-Je. As I hinted at, there are definite similarities here, but the size of the sweet desert from Ma Collection has been massively reduced.QSJ3 Let’s say QSJ went on a strict diet, and while she looked great and voluptuous before, the loss of calories doesn’t deter from her beauty, but accentuates other sides to it. While still adding the honey and peach blend, Fontaine has made more space in this composition, and with some of it he makes room for a few white flowers; bits of neroli sprinkled on top of the peach, and some jasmine and perhaps a touch of rose and orange flower in the heart. The hazelnut has been substituted by a dry, almost raspy patchouli which cunningly takes the fragrance from fruity-floral to the classic chypre (cheekbone-) structure. It has been done so elegantly, it feels timeless rather than vintage.

The two are by no means identical, but with HC Que Sais-Je, I both smell the idea from the old and recognise the reason for the change. I might still slightly prefer the honey drenched cake of the old version for its stangeness if nothing else, but even a perfumista can’t live on cake alone and some days you might just prefer the lighter touch as well as its stylish elegance.

 

Review based on my own flacon and a sample I bought by FiF. Pictures mine.

 

Jean Patou Colony -1980s reissue Ma Collection vs Héritage Collection (2015)

Henri Almeras’ Colony from 1938 is described as ‘a fruity chypre with a prominent note of pineapple, Colony was inspired by the warm climate of tropical islands.’ Once again, I do not own the 1938 version, but the 1980’s reissue by Jean Kerleo which went under the name Colony Ma Collection (MC).

What I get from my 1980s Colony matches the description above pretty perfectly. Colony opens on a mossy green note paired with an old-fashioned ‘pineapple’, which probably will not instantly translate as pineapple to anyone used to the very literal fruit notes in today’s perfumes, where even the difference between clementine and tangerine, nectarine and peach is discernible. I would think that this pineapple is pineapple in the way that people talk of ‘red berries’ in coffee or ‘chocolate’ in wine. For me sniffing Colony, I get an instant feel of pineapple, albeit perhaps more as in a still life painting than in a pineapple on a plate waiting to be consumed. It’s not a refreshing feel; rather humid warmth runs through its veins. There’s a touch of spice to the composition and tropical floralsy, but underneath it all, a well-worn, weather-beaten leather is the soul of Colony and keeps the perfume in tropical chypre land. Many hours later when everything fruity and leathery has left the skin, a warm blurry musk with a hint of powder makes for that sensual vintage dry-down.

I love how Colony is both tough leather and a tropical dreamscape from a time when ‘Colony’ was a name that could actually be used for a perfume.

Top notes: pineapple, ylang-ylang
Heart notes: carnation, iris, vetiver and opoponax
Base notes: leather, musk, oakmoss

And how does the new Heritage Collection Colony (HC) by perfumer Thomas Fontaine fare in comparison?

Top note: bergamot, pineapple, orange
Heart note: jasmine, rose, carnation, nutmeg
Base note: leather, patchouly, vetiver, ambergris

The PR now talks of a green fruity-floral fragrance. The top note pineapple is more ‘realistic’ fresh cut pineapple, and its sidekick bergamot makes the green notes a lot fresher, rather than the earthy moss in the MC version. Obviously the feel is very different, HC’s refreshingly fruity, as opposed to MC’s humidly tropical. What I really get after that is a rather indolic jasmine, and at times I could have sworn that I get something civet-like. Leather- not openly so, to me Colony HC stays indecently floral. In the late dry-down a faint but deeply resonant ambergris rounds off the composition.

The density of Ma Collection Colony is here substituted with a modern transparency; if we are indeed still in the territory of former colonies, surely someone turned the air-condition on.

The steamy but tough Colony Ma Collection in the zaftig shape of pineapple, moss and leather, is no more, and the substitute indoles of Colony HC make for only suggestive indecency. It is the lightness and space in the new fragrance which makes it both very contemporary and despite its many beautiful traits, makes it a little difficult to capture, perhaps less intimate. As with Vacance; if you’re looking for an identical version to the old Ma Collection, this is not it. It is however, in its own right both beautiful and a little different with a hint of vintage. So if you like your fruity-florals, grown-up, light but still a little naughty with a smooth ambergris finish you should give it a try.

 

Just because I had to =^..^=

Just because I had to =^..^=

 

Disclosure; I purchased a sample of Colony HC from a retailer. The amazing 1930’s postcard of a pineappleseller is from Etsy seller MinistryOfArtifacts, all other pics mine.