Saturday, 30 January 2016

No.002 Gorse Review

Inspired by the scent of Ulex europaeus, Gorse is a very simple smelling perfume. The plant’s famously coconutty scent is here translated into a monolithic lactonic complex constructed around C-18 aldehyde (so-called) that’s topped with a tart yet juicy lemon note.
Even at £60 for 100mL, it’s hard to justify.

Nose: Unknown
House: Laboratory Perfumes
Launch date: 2012
Notes (per Fragrantica): citruses, cardamom.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Palo Santo Review

Shyamala Maisondieu’s Palo Santo (Sp. ‘sacred stick’) takes its name from the wooden chips or sticks burnt by curanderos (shamans) as part of folk healing practices. In Perú, Palo Santo typically indicates Bursera graveolens – a member of the Burseraceae family and so related to Frankincense and Myrrh. As painstakingly catalogued in Duke’s Handbook of Medicinal Plants of Latin America however, the appelation Palo Santo is applied to a wide variety of plant species across the region and it is important to note that here, it is Guaiacwood being referred to.
By accenting various of Guaiacwood’s facets, an opening impression of eggnog is created, blending lactonic (methyl laitone), boozy (davana), and caramelic sweet (vanilla, maltol) notes. As the augmented milkiness settles, the titular wood’s spicy and balsamic qualities appear at the fore, supported by vetiver that provides a subtle impression of smoke, and a fond of pale woods and musks. Substantivity is excellent, though the extended drydown develops little, remaining lightly creamy, resinous, woody and above all, sweet.

Nose: Shyamala Maisondieu
House: Carner Barcelona
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): artemisia, rum, milk, guaiac wood, tonka, vetiver, vanilla, sandalwood.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Foudre Review

Taking for inspiration the smell of champaca flowers just before a storm, Foudre (Eng. lightning) is a highly textured scent composed around two principal materials.
The first, extending from the head- through the heart-notes is Robertet’s Champaca Olessence: a soft extraction with natural Nerolidol (rather than the traditional concrète) whose delicate floral odour displays facets of apricot jam, lemony magnolia and honied rose. Supporting this, and apparent through the entire evaporation curve, is the spicy, musky, woody, wet-concrete scent of Cashmeran dosed at the sort of levels I’ve not noticed since Maurice Roucel’s Dans tes Bras, where it was used at a massive 25%. As the latter’s name suggests, the molecule has a certain human quality to it and in the base of Foudre this is accentuated with a blend sensuous musks.
The concept is both modern and beautiful, but to my nose the Cashmeran is just too assertive and does the champaca a real disservice. Were I able, I would reduce the former, allowing the floral accord to play a larger part. If it didn’t turn the whole composition too citrusy, I would also consider dialling up the Aldemone for its ozonic note (or look for another ozonic material) since this would better capture the sense of an impending thunderstorm. From others in the line, Guillaume has shown himself skilled at doing the ozonic thing and I wonder why he was so restrained here.
Saying all this reflects my slight disappointment in what I perceive as the disconnect between the promise extended on the inside of the sample jacket and what my nose and brain tell me; had I tested Foudre completely blind, I would certainly have perceived it differently. 

Nose: Pierre Guillaume
House: Pierre Guillaume La Collection Croisière.
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Basenotes): Champaca Blossom, Vetiver, Pepper, Aldemone, Black tea absolute, Cashmeran.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Paloma Picasso ('80s EdP) Review

Paloma Picasso was a wonderfully satisfying animalic chypre with the emphasis firmly on the animalic.
Above a notably mossy patchouli fond sits a soapy floral blend of rose, muguet and sweet jasmine/Hedione, propped up by some vetiveryl acetate and MCK-like woody notes; all totally classical. The twist however, comes in the form of a very healthy dose of castoreum (synthetic, presumably but smelling quite real) that lends the composition an irresistably warm, leathery dimension.
Seamlessly blended, perfectly judged and unlikely to smell as good in its current iteration.

Nose: Credited to Paloma Picasso
House: Paloma Picasso
Release date: 1984
Notes (per Fragrantica): neroli, coriander, carnation, angelica, bergamot, lemon, rose, jasmine, hyacinth, ylang, patchouli, mimosa, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss, vetiver, civet, castoreum, musk.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Panorama Review

One of the problems with soliverts is they often end up smelling more like a pleasant accord than a fully fleshed out perfume (cf. Cartier’s L’Heure Vertueuse). Clément Gavarry’s proposed solution is Panorama: a multifaceted study in green that aims to showcase the full spectrum of possibilities.
The perfume’s central theme revolves around the fruitiness of galbanum, the grassiness of hexenol and the unripe figiness of stemone. Some very tame patchouli provides a link to the light base that’s musky and resinous (raisin-like labdanum, myrrh). If Panorama were a painting, it would be a work of Impressionism: up close, the brush-strokes are clearly discernible revealing the artist’s hand but from a distance, they fairly blur. Where the contrast is largely between shades than colours, this works against the fragrance and it comes off a bit underwhelming. Sillage drops dramatically after an our or so, too. 

Nose: Clément Gavarry
House: Olfactive Studios
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): lemon, bergamot, violet leaf, fig leaves, bamboo, cardamom, galbanum, cut grass, balsam, myrrh, patchouli, musk, labdanum