Raunchy: 17 posts

Sultry, animalic perfumes

Charenton Macerations Christopher Street : Perfume Review

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The first thing I noticed about Charenton Macerations Christopher Street was that it was a proper, old-school chypre (a perfume based on an intricate combination of citrusy, floral and mossy notes).  At  long last, I should add. It was composed by Ralf Schwieger, author of Lipstick Rose for Frédéric Malle and lately several fragrances for Atelier Cologne and Etat Libre d’Orange.

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Charenton Macerations is a new indie brand created by fragrance consultant Douglas Bender, and Christopher Street is the debut perfume from this indie outfit. The notes of Christopher Street are supposed to give an olfactory picture of this New York neighborhood, and to that end one might want to read the brief as given on the Charenton Macerations Web site. Early on, Bender wished to “…combine classical floral elements with more subversive tones of metals, smoke, watered down alcohol, wet woods, clove, burnt coffee, and dark tea” that would represent, well, a lot of things having to do with the history of Christopher Street and its casts of characters.

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Comme des Garcons Black : Fragrance Review

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If you’ve never tried any Comme des Garçons fragrances, think of the stuff you might smell at your car mechanic–tar, machine grease, burnt rubber. Today’s collection includes more than a dozen perfumes, so there are exceptions, but by and large, they have an industrial, deliberately synthetic feel (even if it’s created through natural materials.)  To some people, these are the ultimate edgy perfumes, to others–they are smells you want to cover up, rather than sport on your skin.

kandinsky

Whatever camp you belong to, the new Black Eau de Toilette is likely to be a love or hate perfume. Black doesn’t lie–this is a dark, potent brew. If you’ve ever dreamed of smelling like molten asphalt or barbecued ribs or some cross between the two, then your wish can come true thanks to the folks at Comme des Garçons.

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Aftelier Perfumes Sepia : Fragrance Review

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Natural perfumer Mandy Aftel created Sepia out of an exchange with fellow California perfumer Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio.  This, the third installment of Nathan Branch’s Letters to a Fellow Perfumer project, involved each of the perfumers working with a material they had not used before.  Erickson chose black and blue hemlock spruce absolutes for a perfume that became Forest Walk.

Aftel originally selected natural alpha ionone (a violet-like smell) and a fire tree absolute for an idea she had to depict her feelings about California’s Gold Country and its ghost towns, of “the beauty of what remains after something is ravaged by time.”  Shortly into the project, Aftel abandoned both of these original materials, replacing them with flowering tobacco absolute and blond cedarwood and from this built her fragrant tone poem of both an imaginary past and a present reality.

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Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient : Fragrance Review

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During my last trip to the Middle East almost three years ago, my camera broke down, and I couldn’t take a single photo. At first, the missed opportunity to capture the blazing whiteness of marble buildings, the majestic and scary beauty of the desert, and the dazzle of gold displays made me wince with regret each time I came upon another beautiful scene. But after a while, I realized that maybe my camera wouldn’t be necessary after all; the scents surrounding me were so strong and vivid that today I have no trouble recalling either the aroma of ripe dates–caramel and honey!–or the heady fragrance of cardamom and rosewater flavored coffee. And of course, the perfumes! Both the men and women I encountered were exquisitely perfumed. Smoky roses, honeyed oud mixed with patchouli, sandalwood roughed up by smoky leather… I had to fight the urge to ask every other person in the street what they were wearing.

But out of their hot desert context, some of these perfumes felt heavy and one-dimensional when I tried wearing them back home. They were still beautiful, but they required a certain mood or an occasion, and for this reason I wore them much less often than I anticipated. Similarly, Middle Eastern inspired fragrances like Montale and SoOud were compelling in theory, but in practice I rarely craved them. When Guerlain announced its Les Déserts d’Orient collection, comprised of Rose Nacrée du Désert, Songe d’Un Bois d’Été, and Encens Mythique d’Orient, I was worried that it might be overly glitzy and flamboyant for me.

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Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune : Fragrance Review

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As far as the French language goes “Pamplelune” is a portmanteau that combines the French word for grapefruit (pamplemousse) with the French word for moon (lune). In the perfumista’s lexicon, however, Pamplelune denotes the 1999 fragrance by Mathilde Laurent for Guerlain for its original Aqua Allegoria line.  As a grapefruit scent, it is both revered and feared; whether one can wear this take on sulfuric citrus depends on whether one associates grapefruit with fruit or with funk.

Although the Aqua Allegoria line is meant to showcase lighter, less complex fragrances, Pamplelune is anything but simple.  After the explosive opening it follows through with tart/sour bergamot and twiggy petitgrain notes before morphing into a cheerful black currant-accented floral that is tethered to a sweet and vanillic patchouli base.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Pascale in Recommend Me a Perfume : September: For the iris, have you tried Guerlain’s Après L’Ondée ? Mesmerizing. My favorite part is the drydown, but it’s a soft whisper and evaporates from my skin before long. Maybe… September 20, 2014 at 9:33pm

  • Pascale in Recommend Me a Perfume : September: No no worries! I studied abroad in Paris last year and most of my free time was spent sniffing around the city – I was bound to come across them… September 20, 2014 at 9:29pm

  • limegreen in Recommend Me a Perfume : September: Sorry to be redundant! :) You’ve been busy then! re: your incense memory: A Tom Ford SA told me that he did NOT care for Sahara Noir because he grew… September 20, 2014 at 8:46pm

  • Pascale in Recommend Me a Perfume : September: Just did a bit of research and Avignon sounds lovely – my parents are Catholic and took my to church every Sunday when I was little, so that incense smell… September 20, 2014 at 7:00pm

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