Friday, 15 February 2019

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: October to December 2018 [part 1]

A selection of mini-reviews published on social media between October and December 2018. For more, please click here.

Impression Cashmeran Velvet from Ostens (Sophie Labbé; 2018)*
Brings out the spiciest facets of cashmeran, using leather and - most prominently - sandalwood to present a dark, unexpectedly aggressive rendition of velvet. Is the fabric protective or oppressive?

Impression Patchouli Heart I from Ostens (Domitille Bertier; 2018)*
A confident, obvious patchouli, heavy on coumarinic lavender rather than the crass synthetic woods so ubiquitous in today’s masculines. Nice touch of fuzziness. A fougère for bearded times?

Impression Patchouli Heart II from Ostens (Sophie Labbé; 2018)*
A curious take on patchouli, with herbs (rosemary?) and chilled spices helping the main ingredient shed some of its excess weight. Displays that fog-dispersing quality that can make a scent either bracing or strident.

Poivre Electrique from Atelier Cologne (2016)*
With a name like Poivre Electrique, I was hoping this would be an industrial - maybe even futuristic - take on one of perfumery’s most intriguing materials. But instead it’s a woody leather, heavy on musks and cedar. Well made, to be sure, but not as exciting or sparky as its moniker would suggest. The standout in this genre remains Blackpepper from Comme Des Garçons. 

Issara from Dusita (Pissara Umavijani; 2015)*
The dry, tobacco-like feel beloved by the brand - with a violet-like edge - lays a path to a wide forest, crisp and piney. But the journey ends too quickly.

Les Années 25 from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2018)*
Given this perfume’s name, it’s either ironic or apt that I’m late to sing its praises. But although it’s a limited edition and its supply has probably been exhausted by Andy Tauer’s many fans around the world, I must give it a mention, as it is one of the most gorgeously retro-loving creations the Swiss perfumer has presented to us since Une Rose Chyprée. I’ve often said that the ghosts of many old Guerlains can be seen floating in his work, and Les Années 25 is a case in point. Like a well-behaved Shalimar projected through the opulent, drapery-heavy world of The Age Of Innocence, it places an oversized - and characteristically beautiful - citrus accord over curvaceous resins - lots of benzoin - and Tauer’s beloved sandalwoody amber. As easy to behold and as complex as a baroque ball gown - covered in embroidery and fine bead work - it shows not only that Zurich’s fragrance wizard still has several tricks up his sleeve but that the past continues to offer many olfactory riches for those willing to appreciate its merits. Seek out a sample before they’re all gone.

Volume 2: Precision & Grace from The Beautiful Mind Series (Geza Schoen; 2015)*
Schoen has presented his Beautiful Mind series as an attempt to highlight and draw inspiration from the talents of (conveniently photogenic?) individuals who are famous for laudable achievements, rather than merely for being celebrities. That’s all well and good... until you smell the scents. Precision & Grace was reportedly created in collaboration with the ballet dancer, Polina Semionova, but conceptual trappings aside, it is a very high-street-friendly fruity-floral - pears, glacé cherries and jasmine - with a predictably musky base and a heavy use of the perfumer’s beloved pink pepper and Iso E Super. Why choose a highfalutin marketing schtick if you’re just going to create a fairly pedestrian product... or is this a case of wanting to have your fruitcake and eat it too?

Liquid Illusion from Juliette Has A Gun (2018)*
Like an angrier Apres L’Ondee (or does ‘angry’ actually mean ‘modern’ when it comes to perfumery these days?) linking arms with the sass of Byredo 1996Liquid Illusion embeds lipsticky violet and the bitter-almondy note of heliotrope on those woody-ambery base materials that are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Thankfully, they’re not allowed to dominate here. I’m not sure what the eponymous illusion is, but as far as pictures go, I suppose this one is pretty enough.

It was part of the brand’s original line-up in 2000 and it remains one of their best releases. An update on Shalimar. Or a modern oriental. Or even, if rumours are to be believed, a submission that was rejected by Gaultier (in favour of what would become Le Male) and was then gratefully accepted by Malle. Whichever way you choose to look at it, the scent has turned into something of a modern icon, with its ballsy slug of civet, its perfectly-judged cinnamon note (both lickable and elegant) and its who-needs-virtue-just-turn-off-the-lights-and-take-me-now base of musks and vanilla. The essence of suave seduction, it is Clooney in a bottle. And in case you’re wondering, yes, all you ladies are allowed to channel your inner George too. But who’s the ravageur and who’s the ravagee? That’s something you’ll have to decide.


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

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