Aedes: 5 posts

Aedes de Venustas Grenadille d’Afrique : Perfume Review

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When Serge Lutens came up with an idea for Shiseido’s Feminité du Bois, he was asked so often about his “vision of a woman” that he got exasperated and said that he wasn’t making a perfume that smelled of any woman, that he merely wanted the smell of Moroccan cedar. That was in the early 1990s. I’d wager that today few briefs will surprise a perfumer, even as in the case of Aedes de Venustas’s Grenadille d’Afrique, the request is for ebony, “from crackling sap to balmy resin and from smoky wood to sun-heated stone… [and] also the primal landscape in which it grows.” For this, we have to thank Lutens and other niche pioneers.

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At first glance, Grenadille d’Afrique is a classical Aedes perfume–dry woods, peppery spices, amber, a hint of incense. With seven fragrances in its collection, the New York boutique has put together a coherent, well-edited lineup. Even if it’s famously enamored with incense, its touch is delicate enough, neither the church nor the ashram. Grenadille d’Afrique, however, brings a new element that I haven’t noticed before–retro glamour.

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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.

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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.

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Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur : Perfume Review

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Andy on his love of incense.

If there’s one thing I smell to feel better, it’s frankincense. Whether I need a break from typing, am feeling stressed, need to be jolted awake—I often simply reach for my pouch of frankincense tears and take a deep whiff. Even if I rarely find the time to conduct an incense ceremony all my own, just a brief inhale of frankincense has come to feel like a special, private ritual to me. I mention my habit of smelling this special resin because Aedes de Venustas’s Copal Azur, created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, captures every element of frankincense I love, from brisk piquancy all the way down to rich, balsamic sweetness.

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Soon after Copal Azur melds into the skin, it emanates with the sparkle of citrus zest and spices, calling to mind the act of crushing peppercorns and cardamom pods together in a pestle. As this initial fiery sizzle begins to soften, the frankincense starts to shine through with a nearly pine-like, aromatic freshness. The overall effect is bracing and crisp, uplifting enough to widen one’s eyes for a moment, but devoid of any rough edges.

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Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena : Perfume Review

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Andy’s take on Iris Nazarena.

Some fragrances make me dream of faraway places, others awaken long forgotten memories. But Iris Nazarena, the second launch from New York-based fragrance boutique Aedes de Venustas, evokes various shades of the color grey (and no, I don’t mean the book by E. L. James). Grey is my favorite color, one that fascinates me in all its beautiful tonalities from light to dark. Likewise, there is nothing bleak or dull about Iris Nazarena, and as I smell through its layers of woods and incense-tinted iris, I’m taken by its complexity.

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As it unfolds on skin, Iris Nazarena remains fairly linear, with the focus on iris throughout the entire development. As it wears on, the iris is subtly transformed by various accompaniments, incense being one of them. Perfumer Ralf Schwieger reportedly composed Iris Nazarena with Chanel No. 19 in mind as a point of contrast, attempting to create a fragrance that interpreted iris in a different manner.

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Aedes de Venustas Signature EDP: Perfume Review

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by Suzanna

Aedes de Venustas is the hip West Village fragrance boutique that since 1995 has been a Mecca for the connoisseur of niche perfumes.  The Aedes brand roster includes both the popular and the polarizing; there are scents that smell of flower stalls and scents that smell of olives and damp cobblestones.  The shop also carries bath and body products, home fragrance, and candles like the ultra-covetable Mizensir Sapin de Noël.

The boutique now has its own house fragrance, the eponymous Aedes de Venustas Signature eau de parfum authored by Bertrand Duchaufour, he of the upcoming L’Artisan Séville à l’aube and the nose behind the wildly creative Eau d’Italie Sienne l’Hiver and cult favorites Avignon and Kyoto for Comme des Garçons. Aedes de Venustas signature is Duchaufour’s second scent for the boutique; the first was released under the L’Artisan brand and has no relation to the new Signature scent.

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