Ralf Schwieger: 12 posts

Gallivant Bukhara : Perfume Review

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Gallivant is an indie perfume house that wants to make us travel via its scents. Its journeys have previously included well-trodden places such as London, Amsterdam and Istanbul, but however popular the destination might have been, the route was anything but. Gallivant’s creator,  Nick Steward, likes to surprise, and all of his compositions treat their journeys as adventures. Bukhara is easily my favorite for its originality and intriguing complexity.

Let me say that nothing is easier for a perfumer than to take a city on the Silk Road as inspiration and load the composition with enough amber to break a camel’s back. Steward didn’t do that. He worked with perfumer Ralf Schwieger to create a fragrance that is radiant, luminous and modern. It has warm, dark elements, but they’re woven as seamlessly into the composition as the complementary colors of Bukhara’s famous blue mosaics.

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Atelier Cologne Figuier Ardent and Figgy Favorites

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Patricia is in search of interesting fig perfumes.

There are many perfumes that for me weren’t love at first sniff, but which I grew to appreciate over time. Most notable are Chanel Coromandel, whose earthy patchouli was definitely an acquired taste, and Chanel No 5, which I’m approaching sideways through the more modern and wearable No 5 Eau Première.

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However, I haven’t had many fragrances that were initially a hit but later a miss. Atelier Cologne Figuier Ardent from the Collection Azur has proven to be one such fragrance, and I’ve been trying over the past several months to recapture what I saw in it at the beginning of our relationship. Its opening promises much, but it doesn’t deliver.

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Atelier Cologne Cedrat Enivrant : Fragrance Review

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Atelier Cologne’s challenge is to take the citrus cologne idea and spin it into several guises–rose, patchouli, iris, vetiver, and even leather. The most successful variations, on the other hand, are the brand’s perfumes that dance around the classical citrus but smell modern and distinctive. Orange Sanguine does the seemingly impossible with its long lasting juicy orange, and now Cédrat Enivrant reinvents the bitter lemon.cedrat atelier

Citron, cédrat in French, is a large fruit with tart flesh and sweet, edible peel. It smells like lemon peels crushed with dry Mediterranean herbs and a handful of cherry blossoms. In comparison, the ordinary lemon is downright boring. For Cédrat Enivrant, perfumer Ralf Schwieger took the floral citron and accented it with enough lime and basil to give his fragrance an instant bracing effect. It’s as if you had crushed  lemons and limes for a pitcher of lemonade and then took a deep inhale of the messy, oily pile of peels. The initial jolt is enough to wake you up!

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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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Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine : Perfume Review

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A Russian friend told me that when she first moved to Sicily twenty years ago she couldn’t get used to the overabundance of oranges. Back in Moscow you had to queue for hours to get a box of precious Jaffa oranges but the sidewalks in the villages around Palermo were covered with fallen fruit. Or in what seemed to be a case of utter decadence, people would use oranges to polish copper. “Imagine cleaning your dirty pots with oranges!”

orange-sanguine

I think of this story whenever I cook with oranges or try an orange based fragrance. I imagine myself eyeing in dismay the piles of orange opulence–wasted, unwanted!–and stopping to stuff yet another orange into my purse. Even though oranges for me are not a rare luxury, I find their vibrant color and exuberant taste irresistible. My kitchen is never without at least one orange, and there is often a small bottle of Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine (Blood Orange) in my purse.

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