When we were talking about cravings for salty perfumes last week, I began to compile a list of such fragrances. On the face of it, a salty perfume seems like a strange idea, because salt doesn’t have a strong smell. At most I notice the tangy iodine whiff from granulated table salt like Morton’s or the slightly marine sweetness whenever I open my jar of fleur de sel — thin, crunchy flakes gathered from the top of salt dunes. But think of what you experience when a salt crystal melts on your tongue—a rush of sweetness that’s followed by a mild saline bitterness. That’s how I imagine salty scents.
A great illustration for this salty impression is Parfum d’Empire Azemour les Orangers. Created by perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato, the founder of the Parfum d’Empire line, it’s an homage to his parent’s orange grove in Morocco. When I first tried Azemour, I was instantly smitten with its green richness, effervescent citrus notes and moss and musk drydown.
Azemour is deliciously salty and savory. When the composition opens up on the peppery leaves and bergamot, I imagine a watercress salad tossed with lemon juice and green olive oil. Once the composition reaches its mossy drydown, it has a saline brightness that reminds me of thin focaccia covered with crunchy salt flakes. The beauty of Azemour is that while it suggests a gourmand impression, it never registers as a foody perfume.
Like all fragrances of its type, a green chypre heavily accented with moss, Azemour sets the cool citrusy notes against warm woods. When I compare it to Ô de Lancôme or Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte, two fragrances in a similar style, I notice how transparent and radiant this blend feels. The bitter orange is a recurring leitmotif in Azemour that ties all of its elements together. There is a flash of bitter orange zest in the top notes, along with the tangy green leaves. The softness of orange blossoms sweetens the heart of the composition, but not enough to compete with the salty impression I enjoy so much.
Azemour is easy to wear and has the casual feel of a citrus cologne which makes it equally appropriate for both men and women. It feels uplifting on a winter morning and refreshing on a balmy summer evening. Like other Parfum d’Empire fragrances, it has great lasting power on me—the citrusy brightness wears off quickly, but the moss and musk linger on my skin for hours. Whatever the changes that I experience from Azemour, one thing remains constant, from shimmering top to the languid drydown, it’s an elegant and polished perfume.
Parfum d’Empire Azemour les Orangers features notes of orange, clementine, tangerine, grapefruit, coriander, cumin, black pepper, pink pepper, blackcurrant, galbanum, neroli, geranium, orange blossom, rose, hay, moss, henna and cypress. Available at Beautyhabit, Luckyscent and First in Fragrance. $75, 50ml, Top of FormBottom of Form $110, 100ml
Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Sample: my own acquisition
Photography (top image) by Bois de Jasmin, all rights reserved.