Friday, June 29, 2012

Persolaise Review: Mito eau de parfum from Vero Profumo (2012) + Escale À Parati from Christian Dior (2012)


Serendipity is surprising at the best of times, but perfume serendipity tends to be especially astonishing. A few weeks ago, I drew a parallel between the creations of Angela Flanders and Vero Kern, and now, as if under the secret guidance of some scented sprite, the latter has released a fragrance whose drydown is comparable with that of Flanders' FiFi-award winning Precious One. Mossy, flinty and metallic, the final stage of Mito is as potent an affirmation of the chypre as Flanders' creation.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. And I must take my time here, because an appraisal of Vero Kern's work deserves as much patience as she puts into producing it. Mind you, perfume fans the world over have barely been able to contain their excitement at the prospect of a new creation joining the much-revered Kiki, Rubj and Onda, so perhaps it would be more fitting to abandon decorum and rush straight into the lush, Mediterranean garden that is Mito.

The opening certainly speaks of rapidity: the citrusy greenness (achieved by soft galbanum and possibly lemongrass and verbena) is so all-enveloping and immediate, it pulls you away from wherever you may happen to be and propels you right into the centre of the world Kern has chosen to create. But after this insistent preface, the pace calms down somewhat, allowing you to admire the scenery and - pardon the cliché - stop and smell the flowers. And what wondrous scenery it is. Inspired by the sumptuous Villa d'Este, Kern has engineered a near-holographic olfactory landscape of hyacinths, magnolia, jasmine, grass and even water trickling into marble fountains. Nothing is over-emphasised, although there’s no hint of minimalism: Kern enjoys largesse, but she knows how to balance extremes.

As the perfume’s heart rate continues to fall, there is a sense that day turns to evening and proceedings head indoors. The floral notes remain discernible, but now they’re a slight distance away, as though carried on a wind billowing through net curtains. And as a twilight mist begins to creep in through the foliage, the mossy, leathery base notes appear... which brings us back to Precious One and the notion of formidable, uncompromising individuals creating equally impressive fragrances.

Kern was always going to have a tough time meeting the standard set by her first three creations, but she’s risen to the challenge with the finesse and attention to detail for which she is so rightly praised. Although it may not be as domineering as its predecessors, Mito is as intelligent and complex a piece of work as we’re likely to see this year, providing much-needed reassurance that it is still possible to work within classical structures and find new stories to tell. Or perhaps instead of ‘stories’, I ought to say ‘myths’, because ultimately that’s what this fragrance is about: making the past relevant to the present without damaging its intrinsic, unknowable timelessness. No mean feat.


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In brief... After the disappointing Escale Aux Marquises, Dior have steered their cruise range back on course with the new Escale À Parati. Despite the reference to South American locales, this isn't a cocktail of pineapples and guavas. In fact, it's that most European of creations: a fresh, aromatic cologne, heavy on woods and synthetic musks. François Demachy seems to have taken his cue from his lab-mate Thierry Wasser's Cologne Du Parfumeur (which itself followed the lead set by Alberto Morillas' Cologne for Mugler) and created a picture of well-groomed, linen-clad passengers warding off the tropical humidity with lemons and limes. If the equally cologne-like Escale À Portofino is a wander through a Neapolitan fruit market, then Parati is its sweeter, more powdery, 'dinner-at-eight-and-don't-forget-the-bow-tie' counterpart. Escale Aux Marquises aside, I'm more than happy for this ship to keep sailing.

[Review of Mito based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Vero Profumo in 2012; review of Escale À Parati based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Christian Dior in 2012.]

Persolaise.

2 comments:

  1. I feel a lemming coming on. Mito sounds wonderful I'm so pleased modern perfumers are exploring what's achievable within the chypre genre in current times

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alityke, Mito really is wonderful: very convincing both as a green scent and a chypre. Let me know what you think of it when/if you try it.

      Delete

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