Aedes de Venustas Palissandre d’Or : Perfume Review

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Aedes de Venustas is a niche’s niche. A brand developed by Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner, the owners of the eponymous New York artisanal perfume boutique. In collaboration with several renowned perfumers, they’ve released Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum, Copal Azur, Iris Nazarena, and Oeillet Bengale, all four standing out in the crowded niche field. The fifth launch, Palissandre d’Or, likewise has much to recommend itself.

aedes

The concept is a new take on woods. Palisander, rosewood, is a precious variety, with a bright, crisp aroma that doesn’t resemble a wood as much as a flower. At the same time, it has sharpness and vigor, ideal qualities to weave into woody and oriental perfumes. Rosewood, on its own, is not a common theme, however, so Aedes’s decision to let it strike out solo is brave. Even more so is the request to perfumer Alberto Morillas to make it new and modern.

Morillas is the perfect choice for this task because he is a technical genius, and even in his most commercial projects—Valentino Valentina, Marc Jacobs Daisy, Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium—you can notice his sensual touch. Few other perfumers are able to finesse musks and woods into a suave, second skin effect, and this is exactly what makes Palissandre d’Or distinctive.

At first, the fragrance feels bright and radiant, with soft-focus citrus and coriander creating an uplifting sensation. The spicy freshness is an ideal counterpoint to the rich woody-musky backdrop, and even though I keep expecting it to fade, it never does. Instead, it hovers like gentle mist, lightening and softening the edges. The woody layer of Palissandre d’Or is reminiscent of pencil shavings soaked in black tea. Inhale deeper, and you will notice the mineral scent of moss and snow covered stones. Keep all of this in mind—soft incense, wet woods and cold moss, and imagine a tender layer of floral musk. The woods shimmer, but the musk keeps the effect subtle. Palissandre d’Or lasts for hours and leaves a distinctive trail, so you will have plenty of time to notice all of its details.

Palissandre d’Or, which by the way is completely unisex, is a good choice if you like the scent of woods and yet don’t wish to smell like a carpenter’s shop. (I do, but I imagine that I might be in the minority.) I broke it down to give you a layer by layer impression, but in wear, it’s a classical Morillas composition—seamlessly blended and impeccably elegant. The refinement and subtle sensuality notwithstanding, Palissandre d’Or is atmospheric. On these cold spring days, I find echoes of it in the smells of wet timber covered with apricot petals, freshly ploughed earth and melting snow near our violet patch. In the fall, on the other hand, I will surely recognize a wisp of distant bonfires and iced branches. Palissandre d’Or is a mood, a place, a fantasy.

The downside is the price. It’s high by any standard. As much as I adore the heavy glass packaging and all of the thoughtful elements, I would love Aedes perfumes just as much in simple bottles with fewer frills. At the end of the day, it’s what’s inside the bottle that matters the most, and luckily for us, Palissandre d’Or is fabulous.

pallisande-dor

Aedes de Venustas Palissandre d’Or Eau de Parfum will be available in 100 ml/$245. Also sold in a purse spray ($110) with three 10 ml refills ($195).

Sample source: Aedes

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56 Comments

  • Sandra: Nice Review Victoria
    Though I live close to this store I have never had the desire to try any of the Aedes scents. April 24, 2015 at 8:35am Reply

    • spe: I’ve sampled at the local Barneys, but they get muddled with my chemistry. That and the fact that I’m not fond of deliberately unisex scents. April 24, 2015 at 10:20am Reply

      • Sandra: I don’t like deliberate unisex either April 24, 2015 at 11:07am Reply

        • Victoria: You may not like Palissandre then, because it’s definitely unisex and possibly even slightly masculine (in a conventional way). Of course, your skin will determine the final effect. April 24, 2015 at 4:12pm Reply

      • Victoria: I guess, they aim for that kind of androgynous effect, although Oeillet Bengale wasn’t as deliberate to me. April 24, 2015 at 4:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like Palissandre, but my favorite from the range is Oeillet Bengale. It’s hard to find a good carnation, and this one hits the spot. April 24, 2015 at 3:47pm Reply

  • Brooke: Uh oh – new fragrance genre alert: niche’s niche! But you are so right. Aedes does have a way of standing out in a very robust market. I’m very much looking forward to trying this. April 24, 2015 at 8:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I kept thinking of the best way to describe a niche perfume boutique liking a niche fragrance. 🙂 But their perfumes are very good. April 24, 2015 at 3:54pm Reply

  • The Scented Salon: Yes, the bottle weighs a ton and is a beautiful display piece, but all the scents I’ve tried, though well-made, left me cold. In fact, that is exactly how I would describe this “brand”: cold. Many would adore these sophisticated compositions, but I love my perfumes full of warmth.

    Speaking of a rosewood theme, Idole by Lubin is my all-time favorite red wood. I don’t know if it smells like rosewood but it is a warm and rich composition that could satisfy the rosewood aficionado. April 24, 2015 at 8:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Cold is actually a very good way to describe the aesthetic of the brand. I keep thinking of them in the shades on the cool spectrum.

      Idole is one of my favorites, and I like your suggestion of this warm woods blend as a contrast to Palissandre. April 24, 2015 at 3:59pm Reply

      • limegreen: Thank you for reviewing this, Victoria. Makes me want to sample it — rosewood “flower” seems intriguing and I love woody fragrances.
        I like this idea of “cold” spectrum perfume — maybe that’s why I love Iris Nazarena (also love no. 19) for the mostly warm climate here. April 25, 2015 at 8:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Rosewood contains lots of linalool, the same component present in many flowers, citrus rind and spices (coriander!) So, the combination of coriander and rosewood is really harmonious. 🙂 April 25, 2015 at 9:29am Reply

          • limegreen: Now I will definitely sample this perfume!
            And your description looks like a perfume note in the making for the BdJ archives. 🙂 April 25, 2015 at 5:27pm Reply

            • Victoria: I should write something up on rosewood one of these days. My woods note collection really needs to be expanded. April 26, 2015 at 10:53am Reply

  • Patricia: I love woody fragrances, and this one sounds delicious. The hefty bottle is a work of art. Too bad it comes with an equally hefty price tag. April 24, 2015 at 8:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it’s luxurious in many ways. Sigh… But Oeillet Bengale was my splurge, and I don’t regret it. Palissandre comes close second, though, since I love this kind of soft, musky wood. April 24, 2015 at 4:03pm Reply

  • solanace: That store in NYC looks like the coolest place on Earth, and their fragrances sound very appealing, focusing on carnation, iris and now this soft rosewood. I look forward to trying them.

    By the way, my father had a piece of Amazonian rosewood when I was a kid, and it smelled delicious, very much like a flower, I agree. April 24, 2015 at 9:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I miss their store here in Brussels, mostly because it has such a cool ambiance, a cross between an 18th century boudoir and a curio shop.

      Amazonian rosewood is one of the world’s wonders; it’s just tragic how it has gotten rare. April 24, 2015 at 4:07pm Reply

  • Austenfan: This sounds very enticing, it will be added to the To Sample List.
    I enjoyed Iris Nazerena but not enough to want to own a bottle. I’m sure though, that it is mainly to do with the fact that I already own lots of irises.
    Off the top of my head I think Morillas did Omnia as well didn’t he? That one has that subtle skin like effect which makes it so wonderful to wear. April 24, 2015 at 9:54am Reply

    • Theresa: I like Omnia a lot – I think it has been my only truly successful blind buy! at first I dismissed it thinking that its scent evaporated after 5 minutes, but after a few more tries, I discovered that it lingered all day, but in a very subtle way. I like to wear it now on those days when I want to be cozy but understated. sometimes I wear it to bed. April 24, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

      • Victoria: I had a similar experience with Omnia. At first, I dismissed it for being bland, but after wearing it a few times, I found that it had lots of presence and a very distinctive character. Not a sillage bombshell, but a gorgeous, harmonious perfume. April 24, 2015 at 4:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: Same here on Iris Nazarena. I liked it, but I still prefer Iris Silver Mist and No 19 for my perfect irises.

      Omnia is Morillas’s fragrance too, and it’s one of my favorites on days when I want a subtle sillage but clear character. That Bulgari discontinued it is unbelievable. April 24, 2015 at 4:09pm Reply

  • Annikky: I was hoping you’d review this one and it sounds beautiful. The first three scents all seemed interesting and elegant to me and looks like Palissandre d’Or continues the tradition. April 24, 2015 at 4:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: It does! Interpreting woods in a novel manner is always difficult, but Palissandre delivers on its promise. I guess I can pick something else for my carpenter workshop fantasy. 🙂 April 24, 2015 at 5:17pm Reply

      • Annikky: What would you pick for that? April 25, 2015 at 6:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Diptyque Tam Dao, L’Artisan Navegar (and Timbuktu), Donna Karan Black Cashmere. The latter is carpenter’s shop perfumed with church incense, quite a quirky combination. April 25, 2015 at 9:15am Reply

          • limegreen: When you mentioned a carpenter’s workshop in your review, my first thought was Creed’s Royal Oud which I enjoy. It is a disappointment for those expecting a more typical oud but it really is about being surrounded by fresh wood shavings in a wood shop. I was given a test strip of Bois du Portugal once and boy it was like antique wood cabinets, in a good way.
            (Victoria, do you have a special secret hobby in woodworking?) April 25, 2015 at 5:25pm Reply

            • Andy: I’ve enjoyed both Creed Royal Oud and Bois de Portugal as well (though I think I may have told you that already). That MPG one I’ve come around to lately, Santal Noble, conjures a similar feel to me, like the smell of some special wood carvings. If that’s a fragrance category you like, I think you should try it! I only worry you might find it too sweet. April 25, 2015 at 9:18pm Reply

              • Victoria: I agree on Santal Noble, which is a cross between a carpenter’s shop and a patisserie. 🙂 April 26, 2015 at 10:51am Reply

                • limegreen: Ah, a FRENCH carpenter who has taken a break from woodworking to have a macaron and une cafe. 🙂 April 26, 2015 at 11:19am Reply

                  • Victoria: Ha! That’s perfect! 🙂 April 26, 2015 at 11:29am Reply

              • limegreen: Was it Cary Grant or Frank Sinatra who wore Bois du Portugal (can’t remember)?
                Carpenter woodshop cabinets = ? April 26, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

            • Victoria: I don’t, but I love woodworking as an art form and the scent of woods. I was just tidying up at my grandmother’s, and she had a few felled trees that I wanted to move. The wood is old, so the truck broke up easily into pieces, and the scent was wonderful–earthy, musky, ambery. Sometimes the best perfume ideas can arise out of the least glamorous circumstances, like cleaning the yard. April 26, 2015 at 10:56am Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you for a lovely review, you describe it so evocatively that once more I feel a little bit as if I’ve tried the scent. I am very partial to ‘fresh spicy’ and woody, as you say, there aren’t so many in that genre.

    I couldn’t agree more with all the comments on Omnia, I own it and on top of the terrific drydown I enjoy, at his heart, the chai tea note although it doesn’t last very long.

    Also, recently I have finally tried Sensuous Noir and was blown away by the woodiness, I could smell on my skin the morning after. It’s a consolation that in contrast to Palissandre d’Or it is within my budget and I can see a full bottle of Sensuous Noir joining my collection quite soon. You have so many things to smell in your garden at the moment! Enjoy. April 25, 2015 at 8:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I like the combination of bracing top notes and the elegant, lingering drydown. It makes Palissandre versatile, and whenever I need a pick me up, it does the job well. It’s elegant, but it’s not too demanding either. At least, I don’t find it so.

      Elisa likes Sensuous Noir very much, and I agree. It’s a terrific woody blend. Whenever people say that you can’t find decent fragrances at the department stores, I always point it out (+ Bottega Veneta, Prada, some Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, Chanel, YSL, etc, etc.) April 25, 2015 at 9:27am Reply

  • Karen: Hmmm, well you make us all want to give it a try, that’s for sure! One thing that has struck me lately, as I try my Frederic Malle samples, is how different a fragrance can be when worn than just the notes listed. For instance, I just knew that Parfums de Theresa would be wonderful – it sounded perfect! Alas, on me – nope, just didn’t work.

    So while I’m not drawn to scents listed as “cold”, I will definitely try this one simply to see how it works on me. Almost as much as the chemical composition of a perfume seems to be the person’s chemical composition (and weather temperature, humidity, etc). Although there are some fragrances that work year-round no matter what.

    And another note on that beautiful image they used. I know many commented on it on your last review. April 25, 2015 at 11:09am Reply

    • Victoria: We smell differently, notice different notes and like different things, so one person’s exciting discovery is another’s dud. Le Parfum de Therese is one of the most difficult perfumes in Malle’s collection, so if you have a sample still, just don’t give up on it yet. I fell in love with it slowly, and it also wasn’t an instant hit for me. Which other Malles did you try so far? April 25, 2015 at 3:13pm Reply

      • Karen: I actually passed that sample on to a friend who is just beginning to think more about perfume – her one fragrance so far is #5 extrait and for some reason as soon as I smelled it I thought of her! She loves loves loves it and was thrilled to find something that worked. So thrilled that after son’s wedding, we are planning a day trip up to NY to perfume shop and hopefully catch the new Met exhibit, Sultans of Deccan India.

        Let’s see, beyond CF (got a sample in Budapest) which I just ordered a travel spray of to take when our son gets married, I received: Eau de Magnolia on a scent card – loved it so took a chance on a 10ml spray bottle. Our new magnolia trees have been blooming and with my recent events, honoring the trees that have brought me great happiness in a challenging time felt right. I know there may be a difference between scent card and body, but I have a very strong feeling this is going to be beautiful on.

        Musc Ravageur I am liking quite a lot – not sure yet if it’s a love, love, love for me but am willing to give it time. Plus, it’s so different than anything in my collection!

        Noir Epices I passed on to my son – it’s perfect on him, but didn’t work for me. (was trying some spicier fragrances, not my usuals).

        Dans tes Bras is another I’m giving time to – not an immediate love love love (hello CF and PoaL!!!), and…..

        Une Rose – a love love love! I shake my head thinking can I please fall head over heels with something other than flowers/roses/gardenia/etc. But, maybe not!

        Also, Jo Mallone’s Velvet Rose and Oud carried me through all of my recent challenges – creating a cloud of warmth and stunning beauty. Got compliments and loved having something bring me comfort and a reminder of beauty and my roses that will (hopefully) be blooming in another month!

        Also, I’ve got two more samples coming with my FM order, and will report back! April 25, 2015 at 4:23pm Reply

        • limegreen: Karen — hope your adversity passes. One can count on perfume to help! And this blog. 🙂
          Just popping in to tell you that Dans Tes Bras is perhaps my favorite “personal” Malle. I received a sample with an order and first reaction was “uh….” but it has overtaken Carnal Flower as my favorite. It does grow on you, don’t know what it is about skin chemistry and nose adaptation but it’s a fun discovery. Une Fleur de Cassie also took time but I love that one, too.
          Too bad about Noir Epices, but at least your son likes it! This one blossomed on my skin where on paper it was just okay. Smelled it in the smelling chamber and that’s what changed my mind about trying it on skin.
          Have fun at the Malle Boutique in NY! (Eau de Magnolia is perfect for spring/summer.) April 25, 2015 at 5:18pm Reply

          • Karen: Thanks Limegreen! Yes, on the road to recovery after a health issue. Amazing though how fragrance helped me so very very much through some challenging times! Plus, as I told Victoria BdJ was (and is!) a place where I could come and just read about beautiful things.

            It’s so fascinating, isn’t it how perfumes work on us! I’m going back and forth smelling Dans des Bras and CF – I’ve lived CF for so long, and parsed out my sample – I’m excited to be getting a small bottle. Our son’s wedding is in St Thomas and I thought it would be fun to wear such a tropical fragrance, although I will definitely have a few other options along with me!

            I have to give a shout out to the SA at Frederic Malle’s Madison Avenue shop, Anthony who helped me choose my samples. He was terrific – as I’m sure are all of the SA there! April 25, 2015 at 5:35pm Reply

            • limegreen: Just being nosy — what samples? 🙂
              Carnal Flower is so beautiful and will be gorgeous in the tropical climate. What a nice scent memory to make for your son’s wedding. I feel CF is too special to wear often, can’t explain it. Dans Tes Bras I can wear any time, regardless of weather. It’s different from anything I have, because like you, I have a lot of florals (and citrus)!
              Here’s to your good health! 🙂 April 25, 2015 at 6:42pm Reply

              • Karen: So embarrassed to say I forget! Fingers crossed package arrives tomorrow and I will let you know. I’m really looking forward to Eau de Magnolia. April 26, 2015 at 7:45am Reply

                • limegreen: If your friend loves no. 5, she may enjoy a sniff of the Malle Iris Poudre when you go to the boutique.
                  (IP is something I revisit — has not “taken” but it may. Just a Lipstick Rose “caught on” for me.) April 26, 2015 at 1:16pm Reply

            • elisa p: I will second the shout out to the SAs at the Madison Ave boutique. They are knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful and don’t care if you don’t purchase anything . I did a drive-by sniff of Cologne Indebile last week and I believe it was Anthony as well who was happy to assist. Anyway, congrats on your son’s milestone! Enjoy! April 26, 2015 at 12:19am Reply

              • Karen: How nice you are nearby! I did think if I lived nearby my wallet might be feeling the effects of my perfume addiction more than it does already! April 26, 2015 at 7:47am Reply

                • elisa p: Yes, it requires considerable restraint! 😉 I’m pretty close to Aedes, too, but have only been there once and it was not an inviting experience. I would love to sample their fragrances but am not compelled to go back there 🙁 April 26, 2015 at 2:04pm Reply

        • Victoria: Hey, one can’t have too many roses (or great florals, for that matter!) 🙂 Dans Tes Bras was also not an instant love for me, but it got strangely compelling over time. It’s the kind of perfume that becomes better in wear, and it has a great sillage and presence. April 26, 2015 at 10:58am Reply

          • limegreen: “strangely compelling” — yes!
            It was like a spell that got stronger, couldn’t believe I was reaching for it more and more, almost as if to convince myself that I couldn’t possibly like this, but trying to figure out what it was that drew me to it. I haven’t figured it out yet, it’s still elusive, but now I love it.

            I know our noses adapt, but can our skin adapt as well, like a chameleon except with smell and not color? I know there were those studies about the brain and our sense of smell, but there’s still so much to understand. April 26, 2015 at 11:26am Reply

            • Victoria: It’s such a fascinating area of research, and yes, there is still much to learn. Every year more and more interesting information comes out. April 26, 2015 at 11:45am Reply

          • Karen: Interesting! I’ve taken to checking with my hubby about my perfume’s longevity and sillage. It seems that many fragrances fade rather quickly on me – including those that last forever on others.

            Perhaps with the samples I am not using as much as I normally would, so will give Dans des Bras a few more spritzes and see how it goes.

            And yes, why not just jump in the ocean of roses and florals if you want to swim! April 27, 2015 at 6:41am Reply

            • Victoria: I have the same trouble with samples. I simply don’t apply enough out of the dab vials, and dabbing doesn’t cover nearly as much area as spraying. April 27, 2015 at 8:37am Reply

  • Tara C: I ordered this blind based on a friend’s recommendation who knows my tastes. I love cold scents and all the Aedes scents so far, so I feel optimistic. April 25, 2015 at 6:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Can’t wait to hear what you think, Tara! I really hope that it lives up to your expectations. April 26, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

  • Andy: Like all the Aedes releases, this sounds lovely. I can agree with the categorization of the Aedes scents as cold, overall. I think that slightly stark feel manages to suit me well anyway though, as I like perfumes that feel like they have lots of open space built into the formula, so to speak. April 25, 2015 at 9:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s such a great way to describe them. They are clear, but they have lots of depth, which is really hard to do. April 26, 2015 at 10:50am Reply

    • Karen: Open space in a perfume! What a fascinating phrase, I think you really nailed the concept perfectly. (although I haven’t tried any by Aedes) Perhaps this is the concept instead of “cold”. April 27, 2015 at 6:43am Reply

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