Friday, 18 May 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: January to March 2018 [part 1]

For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Agar Ebene from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2018)*
One of five new entries in the Hermessence collection composed by Christine Nagel. This one takes a clean, yet very dark, sultry wood note and wraps it around the swaying hips of the velvety-suede texture we last saw in the masterful Cuir D’Ange. Arresting, subtle work and a great addition to the brand.

Cedre Sambac from Hermès (Christine Nagel; 2018)*
Astonishing contrast between the dry tangy feel of cedar and the indolic, floral sweep of jasmine. The spectacle of the two of them running side by side in perfect balance is an absolute joy to behold. 

Bohea Bohème from Mona Di Orio (Fredrik Dalman; 2016)*
Tremendous cardamom/eucalyptus opening, with sugary lavender. Like camphoraceous branches swaying along banks of a pink, crystalline river. Grows thinner and can’t help but disappoint towards the end. Well worth checking out for the first two acts.

Artisan Pure from John Varvatos (Rodrigo Flores-Roux; 2017)*
A genuinely delightful citrus opening - tart, sweet, fizzing and exuberant - moves into a subtly honey-like mood and a base of cologne-inspired herbs. Certainly keeps to the concept of whitewashed purity. 

Sauvage eau de parfum from Christian Dior (Francois Demachy; 2018)*
My auto correct keeps wanting to change ‘sauvage’ to ‘salvageable’, to which I feel like replying, ‘No, not really.’ I remain mystified as to how anyone buys, wears or enjoys this faux-citrus, faux-woody abomination. Is it all down to the power of Depp??

Intense Black Aoud from Montale (2017)**
The rose-and-leather combo of the original Black Aoud made smokier and perhaps more charred in the base. Projects the requisite, slow-paced Dubai nonchalance.

Arabians from Montale (2017)**
All the Dubai cliches: saffron rose; air-conditioned heat; the glass of skyscrapers. Perhaps a touch more restrained than most of the brand’s output. Concludes with a very spiky, unconvincing sandalwood.

For Him Bleu Noir eau de parfum from Narciso Rodriguez (2018)
The Bleu Noir (black and blue??!!?) version of For Him is now available as an eau de parfum. I can’t say I’ve made up my mind about it yet, but it’s certainly compelling enough for repeat wearings. It feels like a return to the uplifting, finely textured woods of the 80s and 90s, somewhere between Fahrenheit and CK Crave and something else I haven’t quite worked out yet. Still heavy on the musks - as per usual for this brand - but also reflective of an adolescent tenderness, like a painting of a gorgeous youth, all cheekbones and soft curls.

Le Parfum In White from Elie Saab (2018)*
The Elie Saab scent parade continues with this In White flanker to the successful Le Parfum. As with the others, it’s the kind of non-hip-swinging orange blossom that doesn’t especially grab my attention, but doubtless thousands of offices up and down the land will have their air conditioning systems infiltrated by its undemanding personality very soon.

L’Eau D’Issey Pure Nectar De Parfum from Issey Miyake (Fanny Bal & Dominique Ropion; 2018)*
This one was a genuine surprise. I’m quite fond of the Pure edt and edp we’ve had so far: convincing updates on the original from the 90s. But this goes off in an unexpected direction, plumping up that watery lily of the valley with a sweetness that somehow doesn’t feel very Miyake. But then maybe that’s the point.

Times Square from Masque Milano (Bruno Jovanovic; 2017)*
Snowy tobacco? Gummy-sweet leather? Violet-scented cough syrup? I understand that it’s meant to be as frenetic and untidy as the eponymous landmark, but these ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ ideas often come across as crass in perfumery. 

Tango from Masque Milano (Cecile Zarokian; 2013)*
Another well-lit Cecile Zarokian bonfire, featuring massive, scorched ambers and leathers beneath a bright citrus note. There’s something of the ancient apothecary about it: the hand of a sage reaching into a dusty cupboard and giving a potion to Romeo.

Mandala from Masque Milano (Christian Carbonnel; 2017)*
Brusque woods and a queasily sweet berry note lead to a slab of granite and a warm, stubbly incense. I found it rather crude, but Madame Persolaise decided it was snuggle-worthy.

Montecristo from Masque Milano (Delphine Thierry; 2013)*
Appropriately enough, there is a feeling of confinement in the cumin-heavy, funky leathers; a sense of being strapped into a well-worn armchair. And then comes a tough, burnt muscularity, breaking free. Interesting work. 

Art Addict from Roads (2017)*
A huge, grimace-inducing melange of super-sticky fruit - apple, lychee, papaya - layered over gloopy musks. Not sure what sort of art it’s meant to be, but its craving is clearly for little more than sugar.

End Game from Roads (2017)*
Intriguing opening - flinty church floor covered in soap suds - gives way to the overly familiar, rooty, smoky strains of vetivert. I wonder if the name is some wry concession of defeat, because vetivert overdoses all end up smelling the same.

Fool Around from Roads (2017)*
Well, yes, if you’re 5, then your idea of fooling around might be to wring your hands in an oversized bowl of artificially-coloured, sickly gummy-fruit sweets and wipe them all over your face, but thankfully, some of us grow up and discover other pleasures.

Flower Mountain from Roads (2017)*
A curious, just-about-compelling contrast between streamlined white florals and a cooling, minty, pine-like facet. A breeze on a craggy summit, perhaps. The best of the brand’s 2017 releases.

Unsaid from Roads (2017)*
Shrill, strident, unrefined clash of all the pseudo-cypress materials that attempt to convey outdoorsy freshness. Even men in the 80s knew better than to wear this sort of thing. Unsaid? More like: the less said, the better.


* sample provided by the brand
** sample obtained by the author


  1. I can't get enough of your mini reviews! Now I need to revisit the Masque Milano line and find samples of the new Hermes releases. Thank you, Persolaise.

    1. Neva, thank YOU for reading. And yes, some of those MMs are worth seeking out.


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