Indie scent creations tend to be either reactionary monsters or paeans to the past (or both, come to think of it). Ryder, the latest from Matthew Zhuk's UK brand, Ex Idolo, falls into the latter category, in the sense that it reinvents nothing, but it does offer the satisfaction that can be derived from seeing an excellent idea being executed well. In this case, the idea is a classic amber: resinous, vanillic and smoky. And the execution is mostly faultless, with touches of hay, tobacco and spices to add hints of 'lift' at the top without detracting from the drydown-focussed intentions of the whole; this stuff has a low centre of gravity and it means you to know it. Up close, there's an off-putting, cardboard-like note with a synthetic edge which elicits a sneer and spoils the overall balance. But reservations notwithstanding, Ryder suggests that the brand's debut, Thirty Three, was no fluke. Akin to a sheen on a plane of polished wood, it is both pleasant to behold and easy to relegate to the background, attributes which are, at times, the very qualities one requires from a scent. That said, I do hope Zhuk gives us something a touch more exciting next time.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Ex Idolo in 2015.]