Aeon 001 by Aeon Perfume

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: spices, smoky notes, white flowers, honey, tobacco, resins, vetiver

Comment: Aeon 001 is a limited edition release
Limited to 333 bottles, Aeon 001 is touted as an "experimental vetiver" scent. With the perfumer's identity kept tightly under wraps, Aeon 001 is housed in a unique handmade bottle – designed to visually suspend the liquid in mid-air and made of temperature-resistant borosilicate glass.

The opening is slightly smoky, with a syrupy brightness that would lead one to conclude the inclusion of some citrus. Exhibiting light white floral flourishes, salty nuances and a suggestive animalic demeanour, one wouldn't really deem it a vetiver-centric composition. Yes, the vetiver is discernible but it plays more of a supporting role. Instead, it's more of an oriental, with the vetiver buried underneath lashings of amber and tobacco. As a result, Aeon 001's composite aroma is akin to a less floral version of a bakhoor fragrance.

Personally, it's a disappointing realisation, as one is an avid vetiver fan and highly anticipated the "experimental vetiver" claim. Still, for what it is, it's a reasonably well-blended effort, which doesn't smell overtly synthetic and is sure to please some. However, its staying power is under five hours with moderate sillage.


Share

Incarnata by Anatole Lebreton

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: raspberry, violet, rose, rhododendron, iris, lipstick, suede, myrrh, amber, benzoin, vanilla
Developed as an ode to lipstick and femminity, Incarnata attempts to venture where Frédéric Malle's synthetic-smelling Lipstick Rose failed, while striving not to make the same mistakes.

Personally, one believes Incarnata to be stylistically closer to Hilde Soliani Profumi's Vecchi Rossetti, with the same aldehyde waxiness but less powdery. Being slightly denser than Hilde Soliani Profumi's superb creation, Incarnata is yet another violet-rose infused iris offering that's well-executed. Exuding some raspberry, a touch of leather and a richer oriental base, it also alludes to the late-drydown of Parfum d'Empire's Cuir Ottoman, while still retaining that cosmetic waxiness.

With barely any sweetness, it's a very good effort that would have fared better with greater tenacity and a little more originality. Still, it comes warmly recommended.


Share

Tacit by Aēsop

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: yuzu, citrus, Genovese basil, clove, Haitian vetiver
Based on traditional Eaux de Cologne and the aromas of the Mediterranean, Tacit is the first fragrance release from this Australian botanical brand in almost ten years.

Composed by Céline Barel, its soft demeanour conforms to the given name. The customary use of bergamot is replaced by yuzu, yet the citrus accords aren't fresh, tart or effervescent. Instead, they are reticent and slightly sweet – complementing the basil's spicy-aromatic properties, which also yields spearmint-like facets. With just a touch of clove, salty herbaceous whispers elegantly segue into a translucent woody base of vetiver.

Providing minimal sillage, and remaining evident on the skin for less than three hours, Tacit smells very natural and is well-blended. Unfortunately, one is unable to ignore its mediocre performance, especially for an Eau de Parfum. Based on that alone, Czech & Speake's Vetiver Vert would make a more robust alternative, within the realm of citrus-aromatic vetivers.


Share

Outrageous! by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle

*****
Year: 2007

Notes: grapefruit, lime, green apple, mint, cinnamon, neroli, orange blossom, white rose, amber, Texan cedar, clean laundry accord, musks

Comment: Outrageous! is a US exclusive
Composed by Sophia Grojsman, and sold exclusively at Barneys and Barneys Co-op stores, Outrageous! is a shameless mass market fragrance. In contrast to Frédéric Malle's prestigious niche reputation, many were left confounded when it was initially released. But, with slightly different packaging and a lower price, one suspects that the whole affair was some twisted tongue-in-cheek experiment.

Opening with a harsh and metallic resemblance to a caipirinha accord (courtesy of some grapefruit, lime, mint and cinnamon), the green apple exacerbates the composition's already screechy and artificial manner. With a light white floral core, the base is just as contemptible as the top notes – comprised of white musks, synthetic woods and a clean laundry accord (or a cocktail of aldehydes and amyl salicylate). As a result, it smells more like designer sport dreck than anything resembling high-quality niche.

In summary, it's an ozonic woody-musk concoction, with fruity undertones, which smells musty, uninspired and excruciatingly cheap. Providing below average sillage and tenacity, Outrageous! is a real oddball, and serves as both a curiosity and major misstep for this French niche house.


Share

Tonka by Laboratory Perfumes

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: mandarin, pink pepper, Peruvian pepper, woodland aromatics, tonka bean
Described as "exotic and indulgent", Tonka opens with a pleasant citrus-peppery coupling that's reminiscent of a Dolce & Gabbana masculine offering.

Comprising of mid notes that are termed as 'woodland aromatics', it's mostly a gentle and silky woody mélange that becomes spicier over time. With the composition exuding a warm earthiness, the tonka bean takes some time to fully surface. But, when it does, it places an emphasis on its vanillic and spicy properties.

With Tonka being the fourth Laboratory Perfumes release, it's encouraging to sense an improvement over their last three questionable efforts. And although one wouldn't deem it as exotic or indulgent, it's still quite pleasant and would make an ideal office sent.

Projection is moderate, with respectable tenacity.


Share

Oxford by Ruth Mastenbroek

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: bergamot, rosemary, basil, clary sage, galbanum, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, amber, oud, vetiver
Inspired by Ruth Mastenbroek's student years at Oxford University, during the '70s, Oxford also tries to capture "the excitement of leaving home for higher education". However, one isn't entirely convinced by the concept, as personal olfactory memories of university life are so subjective (as well as socioculturally diverse).

Set on a woody-oriental canvas, a jasmine chord intermingles with some bergamot and an array of herbaceous-greens. Interestingly, there's also a vanilla-infused fruity aspect to the composition, which is very reminiscent of the pineapple-blackcurrant pairing in Ruth's eponymous effort. With a notable structural uncertainty, such déjà vu doesn't help matters at all. As for the drydown, it's a predictable woody-amber affair, with the oud providing a dark woody grittiness where the inclusion of some cedar would have sufficed.

Offering moderate projection and good longevity, Oxford is ultimately a middling creation that calls into question Ruth's (academic) humility more than her skills as a perfumer.


Share

Rozy by Vero Profumo

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: melon, blackcurrant bud, coriander seed, nutmeg, blackcurrant leaf, rose, tuberose, vanilla, labdanum, styrax, honey, sandalwood

Comment: Voile d`Extrait review
With Vero Profumo's fifth release, Rozy comes across as the older sister of Rubj. It's still a rich floral effort but drier, more complex and somewhat elegant.

After application, an array of spices soon temper the fruity opening, before allowing the florals to surface. With labdanum, styrax and honey featured, one gets a distinct leathery or smoky incense aura later throughout – so much that, within the context of the tuberose core, the aroma is reminiscent of champaca incense sticks. The honey lends a subtle animalic facet, but also provides the perfect foil for the emergence of sandalwood.

Rozy isn't as bold as Rubj but one enjoys the structure of the former much more. It's also a more subdued and contemplative effort, with a lovely sandalwood denouement. And although both staying power and sillage aren't as impressive as one was expecting, it's still very well-executed.


Share

Mito by Vero Profumo

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: citrus, peach, cypress, galbanum, hyacinth, white magnolia, magnolia grandiflora, champaca, jasmine, tuberose, labdanum, moss, musk

Comment: Voile d`Extrait review
Mito is Vero Profumo's fourth olfactory offering, inspired by the 16th and 17th century gardens of Villa d'Este, in Tivoli, Italy.

Based on the green floral-chyprés of yesteryear, such as Chanel's Cristalle and No.19, Christian Dior's Diorella, and Balmain's Vent Vert, Mito serves as a faithful tribute to this nearly-extinct scent family. It's sweet, lush and angular, with citrus-infused peppery-green top notes. The peach is ripe and succulent, providing a fruity warmth and depth, and the galbanum and cypress aren't afraid of exhibiting their sharp, dry and verdant properties.

As it approaches the mid notes, what soon follows is an armada of florals, with the magnolia and jasmine being particularly discernible. By this stage, grassy traces from the opening still remain, but the moss base ensures that the green premise is maintained. With a mossy saltiness permeating throughout the floral sweetness, the composition gradually becomes earthier over time.

But it's only after the floral sweetness has largely faded that one detects an Onda-esque base (even though no vetiver is listed). And while what went on before was beautiful and alluring, by this point, Mito is now too similar to the drydown of Onda. Personally, one would have preferred a more unique drydown instead.

As it stands, Mito is still a respectable creation and every bit as good as Onda. However, insubstantial staying power still seems to be an issue with this house, although its sillage is moderate. With so many reservations, one is unable to unconditionally praise it but it still comes recommended.


Share

Caffe delle Vergini by Hilde Soliani Profumi

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: coffee, ink, two types of vetiver
Going by the listed notes, one was expecting Caffe delle Vergini (allegedly the name of the first Italian bar that women could enter) to be something special. Unfortunately, this woody-aromatic is very much a let down.

Opening with a dry and (disappointingly) fleeting coffee accord, the ink acts as a faint segue between the two main components (an olfactory idea already explored by Lalique's Encre Noire). However, one is hard-pressed to detect the two types of vetiver, let alone their complex woody properties, and instead senses that the vetiver used is possibly a highly rectified vetiveryl acetate.

With a mild aqueous leaning, as opposed to an earthy one, it continues to evolve in a way that confounds one's original expectations, while exuding a sweet floral cleanness. It's only when the composition approaches the drydown that one can't help discerning certain olfactory parallels between Caffe delle Vergini and Gendarme's Gendarme.

As it stands, Caffe delle Vergini fails to fully exploit its touted vetiver premise and, instead, comes off as some coffee-infused Gendarme flanker. Based on the fact that one anticipated a lot more, especially with regards to the vetiver aspect, it simply fails to deliver.

Longevity and projection are both respectable.


Share

Bosschiisssimo by Hilde Soliani Profumi

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: bergamot, eucalyptus, Canadian pine, Siberian pine, moss

Comment: Bosschiisssimo is part of the Profumo e Gusto in Libertà Collection
During a dinner at El Molino restaurant, in the ski resort of Cavalese, chef Alessandro Gilmozzi presented Hilde with a special dessert, called Essence. Tasting it brought back personal memories of walks taken through pine forests, as well as walking barefoot in the woods during summer. Bosschiisssimo encapsulates these personal experiences.

Opening with a menthol-tinged bergamot opening, the coniferous accords quickly present themselves, emitting fresh, verdant and slightly woody properties. Some moss lurks beneath the surface but it intensifies over time. As the composition evolves, its tone becomes darker and earthier.

The green coniferous aspect gradually fades, as a more notable woodiness replaces it. Sadly, it turns out to be an underhanded serving of cedar. With hopes of a substantial moss base now dashed, any personal interest in the remainder of the drydown comes to a grinding halt.

Just like Fighisssimo, Bosschiisssimo is a woody-green effort that's greatly marred by poor tenacity, as well as the unexpected inclusion of cedar. Had things been very different, a bottle might have been on the horizon.


Share