Sunday, 27 September 2015

Maai Review

To judge by the deep amber colour of the juice, Maai contains a good deal of natural extracts and this suspicion is borne out by its complex, if slightly muddy scent. 
An animalic white floral, Maai explores the clean/dirty paradigm beginning with an aldehydic tuberose/ white flower/ rose accord. Among tuberose’s principal odiferous constituents is methyl salicylate (wintergreen), whose phenolic/camphorous smell is here emphasised, though ultimately pulls up short compared to C. Sheldrake’s Tubéreuse Criminelle (Serge Lutens, 1999). As the fragrance develops, the sharp soapiness is overcome by a honied sweetness that serves as a bridge to a base chock full of leathery resins and animalics. This represents Maai’s Unique Selling Point and many have hailed the fragrance as a return to the classical aesthetic. Civet, castoreum and the like however, constituted only one part of the animalic equation in vintage perfumes and most obviously missing here is a complementary nitro-musk style complex to soften the feel. Maai has a wild, barely tamed quality to it that betokens a certain amateurishness. Its fetishisation of the fecal also comes at the expense of balance. 

Nose: Antonio Gardoni
House: Bogue Profumo
Release date: 2014
Notes (per Fragrantica): aldehydes, tuberose, rose, jasmine, resins, musk, civet. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Flower Review

Key to understanding Alberto Morillas’ Flower is an appreciation of the enormous contribution Sofia Grojsman has made to perfumery with fragrances like Trésor. As previously mentioned, Grojsman effectively introduced a new style of scents built around a monolithic ‘hug me’ accord of Galaxolide, Iso E Super, Methyl Ionone and Hedione. In roughly equal proportion, these materials combine to produce a soft-focus, clean, powdery accord of good substantivity and radiance that can be used to make up a high percentage of the finished product and straightforwardly modified.
Beginning with this template, Flower develops the ionone facet into a pastel violet accord which is then clasically complemented with rose. Hedione provides a jasminic lift, its green and white tonalities dovetailing with some hydroxycitronellal type muguet notes. The musk complex meanwhile, is rendered a little more sophisticated with Helvetolide adding subtle fruity, pear nuances, the whole thing being sweetened up with a moderate dose of vanilla. In terms of development, there’s little to speak of, though as the fragrance reaches the end of its evaporation curve, the pale woodsiness becomes a touch more apparent.
As so often, the cross-over in trends between functional and fine-fragrance works to the latter’s detriment and Flower’s dryer-sheet associations are ultimately hard to shake.

Nose: Alberto Morillas
House: Kenzo
Release date: 2000
Notes (per Fragrantica): cassis, hawthorn, bulgarian rose, orange, opoponax, jasmine, parma violet, vanilla, musk, incense.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sauvage Review

Last month, I posted my initial impression of Dior’s latest male release on Basenotes, following the very briefest of in-store sniffs. Then, I pegged it as a ‘...very generic modern fougère: a fresh head accord of sundry hesperidic notes linked to cologney, dihydromyrcenol lavender, the whole thing backed up by some powdery dry woodsy-ambers and musks’.
Having had the opportunity to spend a little more time with the fragrance, I can’t say my thoughts have greatly changed, but it’s worth adding a little flesh to the above skeleton.  
The fragrance opens with a standard smelling citrus accord built around bergamot and melonal/calone (/vel.sim.) that’s tartly breezy. The linalool/linalyl facets are freshened up with a good dose of dihydromyrcenol lending the composition a legible masculine cologne character. This metallic coolness carries over to a fruity green heart that has a distinctly oily, violet leaf quality – an oblique reference perhaps to J.-L. Sieuzac’s 1988 Dior classic, Fahrenheit. Sauvage though, has a much more pronounced woodsiness, with plenty of Iso E Super radiance that ties in with a powdery base of desiccated woody ambers and, carrying on the laundry detergent theme introduced by dihydromyrcenol, clean polycyclic type musks.
Dior’s answer to a question nobody asked.

Nose: François Demachy
House: Dior
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, sichuan pepper, ambroxan.