A selection of mini-reviews published on social media between January and March 2019. For more, please click here.
Opus XI from Amouage (Pierre Negrin; 2018)*
Now that the frenzied pitch of oud mania has abated, the air is clear for some genuinely interesting, innovative takes on the material. The latest is Opus XI, in which Amouage's Creative Director Christopher Chong takes inspiration from fake news - and the fragrance industry’s heavy use of lab-made agar substitutes - to produce an ingenious mix of natural and synthetic ouds. With support from bitter herbs and spicy resins, the star ingredients form a rocket-fuelled inferno of a scent, somehow redolent both of smouldering plastics and body-heated leathers. Consider me convinced.
Smelling this you’re reminded that François Demachy worked at Chanel and was almost certainly well acquainted with Egoïste. That scent’s distinctive baked-fruit-plus-sandalwood identity is the backbone of Santal Noir. The rose note is an added twist.
Rose Kabuki from Christian Dior (Francois Demachy; 2018)**
The fine, white, sweet powders of theatre-land are convincingly sprinkled over a sheer, decorous rose. Ellena probably executed this concept more memorably in Rose Ikebana, but the lack of prominent fruity-watery notes makes Kabuki worth checking out.
Belle De Jour from Christian Dior (Francois Demachy; 2018)**
I love pears, but I concede that sometimes they feel like little more than mushy apples for little children. Their somewhat shapeless, inchoate personality is brought to the fore in this silly, far-too-sweet confection.