Friday, 18 January 2019

Persolaise Review: Impression Cedarwood Heart from Ostens (Alexis Dadier; 2018)



Wearing OstensImpression Cedarwood Heart has made me wonder - not for the first time - why so many of us are averse to green perfumes. They’ve been around long enough to have infiltrated the collective consciousness, yet they consistently fail to perform at the tills, even if they come bearing the Chanel logo: several sales assistants have told me that they can go through a whole year selling no more than a couple of bottles of No. 19 (to which my immediate response is, “If that’s true, thank you very, very much Chanel for continuing to make the stuff!”).

Part of the reason may stem from an unfortunate chain of olfactory associations. Green notes aren’t miles away from the slightly sulphurous aspects of grapefruit and vetivert, ingredients which, for some reason, induce gut-churning revulsion in several people. But I wonder if the real cause runs deeper. There’s something about the nature of galbanum - the pre-eminent green material - that is downright frightening. It appears to bring about such an opening of the senses - a trippy feeling of experiencing one’s surroundings in super-detailed, panoramic audio-visuals - that it begins to make you think you’re seeing not only your physical space with heightened clarity, but also your temporal geography. The past and the future appear alongside the present like tangible entities. And that is pretty scary.

It is this chrono-bending quality that Alexis Dadier exploits to the full in Cedarwood, which sees him using galbanum, pipe tobacco, pine, cedar of course, and a strange, mist-enveloped vanilla to tell a story that’s as rooted in childhood tales of Hansel & Gretel as it is in more adult expressions of virility and in visions of a mysterious, white-surfaced world just on the brink of tomorrow. In short, it is a beautiful, layered, compelling piece of work, and although I suspect it’ll join the ranks of the unjustly unpopular greens of perfumery, I hope Ostens follow Chanel’s lead and never stop making it.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Ostens in 2018.]

Persolaise

6 comments:

  1. Carolyn Middleton18 January 2019 at 16:24

    Oh my goodness, Persolaise, what an interesting article - thank you. Even before I knew what a 'green' perfume was, they were my favourites - I wore Chanel No. 19 when I was in my late teens, & Goutal's Eau de Camille is a much missed, often worn, all-time favourite, & I also adore Penhaligon's Bluebell. The only other hint I had, prior to reading what you say, that 'greens' were such a turn off for many people, was that quite recently my best friend of many years commented that she had never seen what I saw in Bluebell, as she didn't particularly like it! Given we've been friends for more than 40 years, & I must have worn Bluebell regularly for at least half that time, it was a bit of a revelation & still makes me chuckle when I think of her facial expression when she told me - "didn't particularly like it" was a rather large understatement, methinks!

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    1. Oh dear! How often we rely on our friends to be discreet. Thanks for sharing that little story, and for reading.

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  2. As a huge fan of green perfumes I'd never have thought that the majority does not like them. Just recently I was wearing Sisley's Soir de Lune which to me is a bitter green chypre and I got so many compliments from various people that I'm considering buying a smaller bottle. Not to mention that I liked it a lot. It reminded me of JL Scherrer and Piguet's Bandit, both true beauties.

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    1. Hi Neva. I think lots of people enjoy smelling them on others, but don't seem to be able to wear them on themselves. Anyway, you keep going with the Sisley.

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  3. Big fan of Chanel 19 here, particularly in hot weather. Galbanum cuts through the heat and humidity in Virginia.
    I had never heard of the Osten line and now I'm interested in a few of the others, in addition to Cedarwood Heart.

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    1. Thanks so much for writing, and yes, galbanum has a powerful 'opening' ability. Do let me know what you make of Ostens.

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