Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Nov 2011: Exclusive Interview with Vero Kern


Strolling the streets of Zurich well before breakfast on any given day, you might just be fortunate enough to find perfumer Vero Kern walking her adorable jet-black Petit Brabancon Isidor whilst taking in the morning. And if you were to strike up a conversation with her, you would find her warm and obliging. One of four children from a cultured bourgeois family, Vero's parents were very close to nature and instilled in their children a strong "consciousness of being"... a feeling that is intensified whilst she meanders the empty laneways as many still lie in their beds.

For one who might be invited to visit her modest two-room apartment, they would find a space which carries Vero's distinctive fingerprint: a sanctum which communicates her love of interior design, her appreciation of Art Deco objects and furniture, and her eye for the quirky and avant-garde. The walls and ceilings of her abode she has meticulously painted by hand... a shining starscape of Arabic letterforms adorn the ceiling of her corridor, and a dreamy pool of Japanese lotus flowers the ceiling above her bed; one that she can "dive into when I wake up and open my eyes in the morning".
A second room blooms with Rosa Centifolia motifs - a design she applied after completing her studies in Paris and started her life as a parfumeur-créateur.



Whilst a basement room is used chiefly as a showroom, Vero's kitchen serves as the creative epicentre of her work; her kitchen table peppered with aromatic materials and instruments which serve as the building blocks of her craft.
"Creating perfume - the use of aromatic material - to me is similar to cooking".
I ponder for a moment, recognising the kitchen as the heart of the home, and Vero as a master chef. I resolutely believe she has put her heart into every bottle she has blended and manufactured by hand.

Vero's long strawberry-blonde tresses have more recently been cropped into a tidy short do, and she cuts a striking figure in clothes which she hand picks for their eccentricity and/or conventionality.
"I love fashion and especially designers like Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten and Rick Owen. I also find my dresses in second hand shops and at flea markets".
Her love of travel, reading, cinema and music serve as inspiration for the way she approaches her scents. I pose the following questions to her...

First of all, tell us about the name Vero Profumo.

Vero Profumo is a play on my name, and the Italian word "vero" which means "real / authentic / pure". I was originally inspired by a movie by Dino Risi in the 1970's; the name was "Profumo di Donna" or "Scent of a Woman". The idea that every woman with her individual skin, her sensuality and eroticism, has her own smell fascinated me, and so it all started - to dive deeper into olfactive sensations, to know about perfumes and then finally the decision to become a perfumer and make my own erotic scents.




Is there an underlying philosophy that pervades your work?

I try to create high quality fragrances both artistically and aesthetically speaking, which have to satisfy my high standards as well as those of my clients. I try to go my own way 100% and do not follow any trends. I'm looking for originality, opulence and eroticism in scents. They have to surprise and touch me. I'm not interested in 'clean' scents - I need scents with character both in my creations, and on the wearer. Besides this, I love everything that reminds me of the smell of skin.

How do you challenge yourself when it comes to conceiving and producing a new perfume?

For me, creating is like a drug, a complete passion. So ideas for new creations can arise at any time, and anywhere. I do constantly write down what is inspiring me and later use this as an important creative resource. I am very inspired by most unique raw materials that I discover. Because the extraction of fragrances always become more careful and more efficient, there are more and more wonderful raw materials to be found. Unfortunately however, these are often very expensive and thus remain just something to dream about.




Perhaps your unique selling point are your stunning extraits. Some might consider it a risky decision to debut with a series of pure parfums, but you have been amongst the very first to do so and succeed. What was the thought process behind this? Why extraits over the perhaps more conventional EDT or EDP?

The main reason for this decision was my longing to compose high-quality scents in a classical style, but also to find an exclusive niche. The extraits - which at this time are very rarely manufactured - was, and still are, my niche. They are a relic of classical Haute Parfumerie. For me, it means the most sensual way to be perfumed and I am still fully convinced about this. Another reason was that the extraits allowed me to produce all myself in small amounts in-house. Later, for the eaux de parfum production, this was no longer manageable - neither in quantity nor logistically.

Speaking of the Eaux de parfums, with their release also came a new packaging solution for all your perfumes. What was the reason for this? Where are your beautiful new EDP bottles produced?

The new packaging across the line was necessary for the production of the Eaux de Parfums. The new EDP line is a direct result of multiple requests from different clients of mine. The cultural differences with regard to scenting oneself are numerous. Perfume application by dabbing as I offer it with the extraits, is not something very known in certain countries. A further reason for the EDP production was also the high price for the extraits.
The eaux de parfums are also well crafted, and the selected raw materials and special packaging make the final product no less expensive. Unlike commercial mass production, the costs of the eaux are very high and therefore also as a final product are found in a high price segment. For my bottles I was searching for a long time. Usually there are only a number of large 'mega companies', offering standard bottles in thousands of units. Boring and not affordable. After a long search in 2006, I finally found a small company in French Normandy. Still in the hands of same family for almost a century, they manufacture flacons using ancient styles and methods, in reasonable quantities (from 1000 units), and importantly for me - also in coloured glass. Entirely coloured throughout with pigment - not simply sprayed onto the bottle with paint. I always wanted coloured bottles... they protect better against light and preserve perfectly the fragrance also. To have coloured bottles was also an aesthetic choice. Both bottles - extrait and eaux - come out of the same range and have quite their price. The mould I have chosen is from the 1940s. The way they work with glass, as they have done for almost 100 years seemed to me to be pure alchemy - powerful and archaic.



When you set out to create a new scent, do you think of it in terms of "creating a perfume for evening" or "for winter"? Do you feel fragrances are seasonal or specific to a certain time of day?

I never think in these terms. I understand wearing fragrance as a personal extension of the wearer. My term would be: 'reasonably compatible with one's own body and skin chemistry'.
This can now vary seasonally, for example, by sweating more in summer or by eating different food in winter - it can thus change our skin chemistry. However, olfactory perception is completely subjective and individual and this includes the choice of a fragrance that I can't influence with "seasonal" creations. I can understand that you can have different smell 'likes' and from time to time these can change. This being said, I never did understand why one might change their fragrance three times in one day. For me, it is the absolute highlight of olfactory sensation if the chosen scent connects completely with the person's character and style - like a single form of identity.


On a previous occasion you once divulged to me that you visited L'Osmotheque in Versailles on numerous occasions to study vintage perfumes and reveal their secrets. What have you learned from the classic perfumes you've studied, and how has it influenced the way in which you created your own?

The visit to the Osmotheque for me is a journey through time and the past; a revelation, a highly artistic and unique olfactory dream inspiration. Classical compositions usually contain a relatively high proportion of natural raw materials which together with the synthetic components build up a high degree of complexity and unique erotic aesthetics which I find contemporary perfumery mostly lacks. I try to bring back this idea, this kind of aesthetic in my own creations. Not only do I share a great love for the classic scents, it is also true that I have limited or zero access to some modern materials. At the Osmotheque, I studied the works of Francois Coty, Ernest Beaux, Germaine Cellier, Jean Carles and Jacques Guerlain. I admire all of them for the beauty and unique originality of their compositions.


From your own line, which perfumes speak to you the most on a personal / emotional level? Besides your own, what are some of your favourite scents (either found in nature or commercially produced)?

I love all three of my compositions. Each of the scents is a part of me and for this reason, there aren't any favourites. Because there is a permanent smell in my immediate environment, I do not get very often perfumed. However, if I do, when walking the streets I feel sexy and I float like Sugar Kane in the movie "Some Like it Hot" - 50cm above the ground - missing only the ukulele!
I love fragrance compositions that touch me in some way. Fragrances that bare a secret and affect me erotically. I also like scents with animal notes like honey, castoreum, civet, ambergris, opulent floral scents, rose, tuberose and jasmine.



How has Vero Profumo been received in the international marketplace?

The brand is developing very well and I am happy and grateful for this. Sometimes I think I am dreaming. I never thought I would be, within three or four years, just as far as I am now. Success doesn't usually come overnight. It not only needs good ideas, but also a lot of patience, perseverance and good luck to be able to participate in an international market which is known to be fully saturated.

How important are industry events such as Exsence to you and your business?

The Exsence expo sees itself as a platform for niche products. Here, new brands find potential buyers which will be nicely presented and communicated accordingly to an interested audience. In addition there is a program with themed presentations (for example, about the future development of perfumery and cosmetics) for an interested audience. The press, in turn, are also interested in the presence of perfumers, and particularly with personal presentations and interviews. Their press reviews are creating the needed attention to the product, which is highly appreciated by the distributors of the relevant brand... in my case this is Campomarzio70 in Rome. But I feel that my presence at these events is not always necessary. When I am in attendance, I do give great importance and attention to personal presentations in those stories selling my products.

In terms of marketing your business, have modern technologies (social networking, blogs etc) played a pivotal role?

The blogs were of great help to get my brand known. I was and still am very grateful to their interest and writing about my products. For me, it would have been absolutely impossible to start big advertising campaigns - I simply cannot afford them. The regular press is usually only willing to write editorials in simultaneous large advertisement orders.
In 2007, when I started with my brand, there were just a few blogs - mainly in the USA - who shared this 'passion'. Meanwhile, the number of writing perfume lovers has grown tremendously.


In light of the global economic downturn, have you felt it directly impact your business? If yes, in which ways? What do you feel will be the long-term effect of this crisis on the luxury perfume market?

In the beginning of the economic crisis, my sales broke abruptly. Mainly the online sales to America. Later, the situation recovered again but never went back to the old days. There are countries more affected by the crisis than others. But I think a certain luxury market will always exist. I even think that the top luxury segment could grow even more in the coming years. Sales fluctuate pretty much in the middle segment.

Can you please tell me what is on the cards for the next 12-18 months? Are there any new creations planned?

I'm working on a new creation. A green scent. I got the inspiration from the wonderful garden of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy, where I spent a holiday in 2009. For me, its a magic place that charmed me completely and ever since I visited, I've had this almost hurting longing to create some green scents. But being a perfectionist it will take some time until I'll be satisfied with the result. The scent should be launched sometime next year though. There are other interesting projects on the table, but at the moment it's still too early to talk about. In addition I am working on special presentation concepts to be announced at a later date.


I feel both humbled and gratified that Vero has taken the time to address my questions about her perfume artistry. Many know that her creations are amongst the very few that I hold truly dear - ones that speak to me on some higher state of cognisance. With a new perfume in development, 2012 proves to be an exciting year for Vero Profumo and lovers of her work. One can only anticipate olfactory influences gleaned from the pillars of classical perfumery, and a deft consciousness of luxuriousness and sensuality. I, for one, cannot wait.

All Vero Profumo creations can be found via the Vero Profumo website, or via Campomarzio70 in Rome.

Friday, 7 October 2011

One Seed - Courage and Beauty in Botany


As a student of natural botanical perfumery, I recognise how difficult it is sometimes to work with natural components. Many perfumers swear by the inclusion of synthetics in their formulas to lend stability and pizzazz, but Australian Handcrafted Botanical Perfume outfit One Seed have triumphed in creating exceptional scents without a scrap of synthetic interference.

One Seed pride themselves on their use of 100% natural ingredients, and in doing so, are planting a seed for change. Their philosophy is to focus on releasing small handcrafted batches with a cognisance of remaining wholly organic, sustainable and against animal cruelty. Armchair perfumistas might scoff at such a scenario, however One Seed have proven with their unique and compelling lineup of eaux de parfums, that olfactory excellence is not compromised by "being green".

Five fragrances currently reside in their permanent perfume portfolio: Courage, Devotion, Freedom, Hope and Grace, and only yesterday I came across them in a charming boutique here in Western Australia. Whilst there is much to explore in the line, I was won over instantly by Courage: a rich, resolutely unisex floral oriental.


Seldom am I 'wowed' from the get-go. And I mean "wowed". Courage has an abstract opening that lends itself more to lush, complex perfumes of yesteryear... there is an olfactory 'temperature' that places it amongst other gems like vintage Miss Dior, or Vero Profumo's Onda. Moments out of the bottle, you could almost swear there is a soft leather note evoking a napped suede texture, but the top notes comprise of sweet orange and magnolia. A dense muskiness swells from below... ylang ylang and opulent indolic jasmine huddle at its heart, furnishing this perfume with a glimpse of times gone by. These stirring blossoms are masterfully blended; so much so that they feel cashmere-soft in hushed hues of peach and nude, where a carnal presence simmers just beneath the surface.



Some time after it first dances on skin, a delicious Shalimar-esque oriental facet emerges... one composed of vanilla and honey-like amber. These lip-smacking qualities linger well into the drydown and leave a lingering impression. Courage is a rare find in this age of cookie-cutter synthetics and head-space creations.

One Seed products have very select distributorship in Australia. Australian perfumistas can visit their website for store locations and to purchase samples with free shipping.
West Australians looking for a memorable excursion can find One Seed products at Storia in Guildford - a charming emporium of unique and inspiring hand-selected wares (tel. 9379 9370).

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Olivier Durbano: Citrine



For almost 5 years, I have had the pleasure of watching French jeweller/perfumer Olivier Durbano's tireless efforts in creating his Parfum de Pierres Poèmes - a series of olfactory interpretations derived from semi-precious gems. As a devout Durbano perfume loyalist, he has managed to capture my heart, my imagination (and my nose!) with his unexpected and inventive perfume renderings, each of which demonstrate his astute understanding of his gemstones both physically and symbolically. Now, upon the release of his seventh (and final) stone poem Citrine, I find myself at a crossroads: brimming with excitement, yet bemoaning the end of an era.

Citrine is a quartz variety that varies from pale lemon yellow to a deep smokey amber, and metaphysically, is believed to purify and dissipate negative energy. It's golden hue evokes a feeling of celestial warmth, inner fire and and opulent radiance... characteristics which I feel Monsieur Durbano has sought to capture in the bottle.
Citrine (the perfume) - as the name might suggest - opens with a spark of wild orange and sicilian lemon, but in trademark Durbano style, veers off into something unexpected and unique only moments after it dances on skin. A burnt-sienna note of elemi resin and carrot seed bring a richness and depth to the topnotes, dispersing the citrus components and turning what might have been anticipated into the unforseen. Warm mimosa, beeswax and fragrant woods imbue the heart with a blonde solar radiance, whilst a huff of myrrh and ambergris furnishes the perfume with its signature mineralic feel. There is definitely a feeling of antiquity here... one can imagine priceless Incan gold struck from the brown earth, refracting sunlight for the first time in millennia.




Citrine is classified as an amber woody spicy fragrance, and I feel this classification is right on the money. Citrus notes only play a supporting role in this extraordinary creation... one that I feel is the most thought-provoking in the series, and certainly amongst Durbano's best.


So, here we stand at number seven... sadly the last perfume in Olivier Durbano's series. As with all of his creations, Durbano's approach to his art is always carefully considered... number seven is a figure with spiritual and ancient importance, symbolising (to the ancient Egyptians at least) Eternal Life.
I like to think in some way, that Olivier's 7 stone studies have come full-circle, creating a never-ending wheel or seven-pointed star; one whose uniqueness and innovation will shine like a faceted gem and endure all the ages.

Available soon through select retailers in 100ml size.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Fruitful Fleamarket Pickings


I am often asked where one can best source vintage perfumes for very little money. When buying online, there is always the chance that a scent has spoiled, which makes online vintage purchases from sites such as ebay a rather risky (and costly) affair.

This week I returned from vacation with my cases stuffed with vintage bottles and scents... all of which have been sourced from flea markets and junk shops during my travels. The beauty about picking through nic-nacs and junk is that occasionally you stumble upon some staggering finds for just one or two euros. The photo above reflects my vintage perfume finds, including many rare and discontinued extraits, and flacons designed and manufactured by Lalique, Baccarat and Viard.

So, next time you have a hankering for all things vintage, don't hit the 'bay and pay through the nose: have a look in your local a secondhand store, antique shop or street market, and be prepared to bargain a little. Chances are, lady luck might just smile upon you.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Molton Brown - Navigations Through Scent - 5 Reviews


British toiletry giants Molton Brown have stepped up to the mark in 2011 and produced 5 brand new fragrances in a compelling "Navigations Through Scent" line. This series marks a natural evolution towards catering to the fine fragrance market for the first time in the company's 40 year history.

"Navigations Through Scent" celebrates the origins and history of perfume and the importance of the rare ingredients used. Following some of the ancient and modern trade routes, Molton Brown's perfumer Jennifer Jambon spent over a year exploring each site, identifying the raw materials that best represent each location on the map. Egypt, China, Indonesia, England and Canada have all been referenced, with their longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates marked out cleverly on the bottle and box.

Sorcery of Scent is pleased to briefly review each new fragrance from the line.



IUNU

Inspired by Egypt, Iunu is a voluptuous perfume which unifies bewitching oriental facets and enchanting spices. A dancing heart of Egyptian jasmine absolute and ylang ylang is afire with piquant black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove... the result an interesting play between pure innocence and unashamed carnality. A wonderful ribbon of incense and myrrh lends a weightless esoteric quality, whilst sandalwood and patchouli anchor it to the earth again. A perfume which is constantly evolving - twirling like a naked dancer - Iunu is an intricate scent of empowerment and carnal collusion.



LIJIANG

A Chinese love story told in hushed whispers, from behind cupped hands. Lijiang is a beautiful, diaphanous perfume that's as sheer and delicate as a fine paper lantern and has the stunning tactile quality of shot silk. Crisp white tea and Chinese osmanthus feature in this scent, which have been masterfully blended with shimmering bergamot and transparent white musk. Pink berries also provide a soft vermillion blush across Lijiang's milky white cheeks. Luminous, ceremonious and unostentatious, this perfume is as good as osmanthus and white tea gets! A true beauty.


SINGOSARI

Indonesian patchouli is the protagonist of this perfume; a recital of olfactory chiaroscuro where the tropics are speckled with sun and shadows. Singosari is dewy - like a rain-soaked landscape drying swiftly under the equatorial sun. There is a slightly cool, 'minty' quality to the perfume furnished by the patchouli, and this is played off against a clean vetiver background. This perfume doesn't feel too far removed from Tom Ford's White Patchouli in its approach, but a faint huff of spice and incense takes it to another territory, adding a slightly darker layer.
Singosari feels harmonious, sensual and warm.



APULDRE

Fancy a tipple? Apuldre won't disappoint with its armoury of accords from gin juniper, to fermented grapes to absynthe! Perhaps it's no coincidence that Apuldre means 'Appletree' in old Saxon english, because Apuldre's striking green opening notes capture the feeling of rolling hills and open English countryside... it is grassy and sappy, but also boasts a floral / aromatic huff of lavender. In a sense, Apuldre feels both traditional and resolutely contemporary at the same time. A slight hint of cedar wood conjures images and impressions of a damp forest floor.

ROGART

A scent of contradictions, Rogart is both austere and embracing, frigid yet comforting. Taking its inspiration from Canada, Rogart has a lip-smacking maple syrup note at its core, evoking feelings of warmth and comfort. Obversely, elemi, coriander and juniper lend a chilled, "crisp-air" association, and the two qualities lock horns like a pair of mountain stags. The contrast is profound. Fir balsam and a whisper of smoke lends a feeling of familiarity and having "just stepped in from the cold" to a raging fire in the range. Rogart is a unique paradox between opposites with woody, slightly gourmand qualities.



Interestingly, Molton Brown have chosen not to use a rigid perfume classification (EDC, EDT, EDP), for these scents, asserting instead that across this range their perfumes contain an average of 11.6% perfume concentrates. (Personally, I, the author, find most of these on par with a standard EDT or EDP).

The Navigations Through Scent series launches in Harrods this month and widely in the UK from September.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Calé introduce Roboris & Fulgor

Authors of the Calé Fragranze d'Autore range of eaux de toilettes, Italian perfumers Calé are soon set to release a new duo of perfumes in the line. These will not only compliment Calé's existing portfolio of perfumes, but also usher in a new dilution for the line: Les Concentrés.

Roboris and Fulgor are fragrances with a particularly high perfume concentration... greater than that of eau de parfum. Both were inspired by Director Silvio Levi's experience in the blistering heat in Death Valley, when from out of nowhere, a sudden thunderstorm struck and raging flashflood appeared. The experience left a two-fold mark on his soul: the first immediate, violent and wild, and the other; thoughtful, harmonic and embracing.



Fulgor, created by Maurizio Cerizza & Silvio Levi, channels a sensation of imminent, grandiose unstoppable power ready to burst forth... a violent manifestation of nature in all its bone-chilling glory. Fulgor embodies the relentless desert heat, but the air is also charged with electricity. Deep blue-grey clouds are heavy with rain and a zephyr picks up... a precursor to the impending deluge. Opening notes of fig and green tangerine rush over a warm heart of saffron, magnolia and narcissus - these components lend a 'can't-catch-your-breath' feeling of oppressive heat. Patchouli and incense bring an earthiness to the perfume, whilst two very unique 'graphite' and 'pyrite' accords suggest a sense of dryness, like porous desert stone and sand. If struck together, one would expect sparks to appear and a wink of light.
There are opposing elements at play here... contrasts in humidity and temperature which make Fulgor a very unique and compelling perfume.



For Roboris, Levi teamed up with perfumer Mark Buxton to explore a different aspect of the desert thundershower... a interpretation as much spiritual as it is physical. Levi's narrative details a Native American Indian in a desert highland, giving thanks for the imminent rains... the life source that will ensure renewed growth and prosperity for his family. Roboris is a scent which unifies delicate florals such as jasmin, violet and wisteria with cactus flower, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka and ambergris. It feels much greener in its approach, however a sense of the parched, thirsty land lying underfoot is also very vivid. It is a fragrance which is etherial, in celebration of the Great Mother and all her gifts; but it also remains earthbound. This is a perfume that expresses positive strength and gratitude.

In addition to this brand new fragrance duo, Calé continue to explore concentrated dilutions with the re-release of several of their eaux de toilettes, now in concentrated form. These include: Allegro con Brio, Ozio, Assolo and Brezza di Seta.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Comme des Garçons + Artek: Standard


Have your ears ever been flooded with the sound of nothingness? The ear-splitting hum and jet-engine buzz of silence? Indulge me and imagine, if you will, a vast wintery landscape in northern Finland... a place still unspoiled by the invasive tendrils of man, where the sky is fathomless, and the point at which it meets the horizon, vitreous. Nature, in its purest, most undiluted form, has a drone of its own... one you're never truly conscious of until you train your ears to it. It's like the thrum of the refrigerator in the next room. Resolute, cold and unabating. It is in this particular environment that the Nordic nations have flourished for millennia, and indeed one that has influenced their culture, lifestyle and design vernacular.

Artek is a Finnish furniture company that has existed for over 75 years, and one which prides itself on the preservation of conceptual design sensibilities and technical expertise in production. Doing away with frivolous ornamentation, their aesthetic embraces the pure and simplest forms and materials found in nature. In 2009, Artek collaborated with designers/perfumers Comme des Garçons to create Standard; a fragrance whose intent was to remain analogous with Artek's design ideology.


Standard is a unisex scent, packaged in a stone-grey matte glass flacon, which is surprisingly cold to the touch. Although at first glance the bottle perhaps resembles an uninteresting basic building block, it is distinctly Scandinavian in style: straightforward, stark and unadorned. The scent itself is equally as austere, and I think therein lies its beauty. Comme des Garçons are masters of their craft... here they've created a scent that captures the bleak cold of a Scandinavian night; frigid, unpolluted and unrelenting. There are fascinating synthetic accords of metal and corrosion present that speak of Artek's architectural / manufacturing heritage, which are cleverly juxtaposed against components from the natural world. There are crisp lemony / green nuances that are played off against tea leaves, blonde woods and saffron. I feel if there were ever such a thing as 'green frankincense', then it would smell like this.


Standard, though flinty and somewhat unemotional, is a triumph in that it represents the clever marriage of conceptual ideas from both celebrated houses. It embraces the avant garde for which Comme des Garçons are renowned, but also pays hommage to the landscape and aesthetic enjoyed by the Finnish.

Standard lasts approximately 8 hours on my skin, even if applied sparingly. One to be tried.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Olivier Durbano: 2 New Launches for 2011

Ambassador of eye-popping bijox and otherworldly perfume, Olivier Durbano is set to launch his final scent in a series of seven olfactory "stone poems" inspired by his gemstones.

This September, Durbano will release Citrine, an eau de parfum based on this quartz variety that ranges in colour from pale yellow to deep amber brown. A stone of success and abundance, Citrine promises to follow Olivier Durbano's tradition of creating unique perfumes of uncompromising quality. Whilst one might anticipate a scent based on citrus accords, Mnsr Durbano's ability to delight and surprise will simply keep perfumistas guessing until the end of the European summer.

In the meantime, for those among us who can't wait that long, up for August release is Durbano's very first extrait de parfum. Olivier rectraces his steps and brings the Midas touch to the very first scent in his series, Rock Crystal. Boasting a very generous 40% concentration, Rock Crystal extrait de parfum will be presented in a luxury box and will be released in 30ml size.



Olivier Durbano's six Stone Poems to date comprise of: Rock Crystal, Amethyst, Black Tourmaline, Jade, Turquoise and Pink Quartz.

Friday, 20 May 2011

New Mona di Orio "Les Nombres d'Or": Vétyver, Vanille, Tubéreuse and Oud


The perfumes launched under the Mona di Orio name are arguably amongst the finest you will ever find. After all, the French perfumer after whom the brand is named was the protégée of master perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. With a stunning portfolio of perfumes already to her credit and an insight into the art of perfume-making that few will ever attain, Mona di Orio is now set to add four new fragrances to her "Les Nombres d'Or" range.

Based on the principle of "the golden ratio"- a precise mathematical formula used by artists for centuries - "Les Nombres d'Or" is a line of perfumes that interpret a single scent, but in a most unconventional way. Cuir, Ambre, and Musc were welcomed to the world stage in 2010; each of them a unique study of raw components used traditionally in perfume. This year, Mona introduces four new scents to the "Les Nombres d'Or" library: Vétyver, Vanille, Tubéreuse and Oud.

Vétyver is a verdantly green scent with zesty ginger and grapefruit in the opening which immediately suggests a vetiver fragrance with solar radiance. It has a lightly aromatic/spiced heart of nutmeg and sage, though these exist chiefly to play off the dustiness of the vetiver and intensify its lovely leafiness. A light musk component brings this perfume a fresh, semi-diaphanous crispness that I find irresistible.
Notes include: Ginger, Grapefruit, Nutmeg, Vetiver Bourbon, Labdanum, Musk, Patchouli, Sage.

Vanille is a very atypical portrayal of a traditional perfume theme. Much like mint, vanilla can prove to be a tricky component to work into a formula without it taking over. Here, Mona di Orio has created a striking blend which paints an exciting abstract portrait of vanilla. It has a delicate composition, opening with bitter orange and petitgrain but with a pale chocolate-brown ribbon of guaiac wood, rum absolute, sandalwood, rooty vetiver, clove and leather meandering beneath. A delectable creaminess comes through with sandalwood, tonka, and the vanilla from Madagascar, but surprisingly, Vanille is not very gourmand in nature. It is elegant and sophisticated. This is unorthodox in style, and an extremely compelling blend.
Notes include: Bitter orange, Rum, Petitgrain, Clove, Vanilla, Guaiac Wood, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Ylang-Ylang, Tonka, Leather, Musk, Amber.

Tubéreuse is a soliflore interpretation which has been done with a great degree of sensitivity. Often known for its polarising effect in perfume, Mona has created this perfume around a tuberose absolute from India. Joyful and well-behaved, this tuberose is blended with spicy pink pepper and sunny bergamot which bring a spirited 'spring-time' vibe to the fragrance. It feels just like the blossoms are turning to face the morning sun as it climbs in the sky. Not a hint of headiness or dirt... but a very fetching floral.
Notes include: Pink pepper, Bergamot, Tuberose absolute, Benzoin, Heliotrope, Cashmeran.

All of these scents are beautiful renderings in perfume, but I am admittedly wholly and completely taken by Oud.



For perfumistas who have never smelled true oud, you're in for both a treat and an education. Forget the M7, the Montales and the tasteless Bond No9's... Mona di Orio's Oud is set to become the yardstick against which all other mainstream and niche 'oud' releases in the western world ought to be measured. Mona dared introduce pure oud to a western perfume, and it is an absolute triumph!

Oud is a beautiful and mysterious fragrance which opens with a brief note of mandarin before the oud is unveiled... it reveals itself much like a rare Arabian treasure might from beneath an ancient magician's blanket. It has an infinitely unique odour profile - one which is both woody and animalic, with deeply earthy, balsamic qualities. Contrary to many perfumes inspired by the middle east (and in particular those using oud), there is surprisingly no rose used in Mona's mix... instead, her oud is flanked by jasmin and osmanthus, all of which diffuse through a deeply resinous opoponax core. The composition is spiritually intoxicating, and one finds themselves drawn into an imagined landscape of full rising desert moons, flickering fires and colourful twirling Dervishes. An ambery, mossy base provides a rich, enduring backbone to the perfume, and ensures well-above average longevity on your skin.

Oud was a perfume Mona di Orio was not entirely enthusiastic about making - I assume in part because of the prolific number of oud releases in recent years. However, her middle-eastern clientele demanded it, and I for one am thrilled that she relented. Mona's sensitive approach to her craft and her unique intuition have once again resulted in a perfume that can easily be measured against the masters.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Jacomo Art Collection: #08

After 40 years of perfume-making to modest international acclaim, US perfume house Jacomo enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in 2010 with the launch of their colourful Art Collection series: a trio of perfumes launched to explore an olfactory dialogue between perfume and art. The fragrant threesome have each been assigned a number, and both individually and collectively offer something unique in the Jacomo gallery of scent.



#02 is described as a tactile Oriental Leather Gourmand, and includes notes of bergamot, tonka, vanilla, patchouli and suede. Graphic artist Cecilia Carlstedt drew inspiration for the packaging artwork from her time in New York.
#09 is a colourful Woody/Fruity/Spicy scent with notes of lemon zest, orange pulp, pink pepper, mango, cinnamon, praline and vanilla. Swedish watercolour painter Stina Persson is the artist commissioned for this release.

But of the three, I am particularly fond of #08 - a deeply aromatic eau de parfum that draws its inspiration from the vibrant and colourful cities of Bengal and Madras. Swedish illustrator/artist Daniel Egnéus created the artwork for the packaging which suggests strong links to the east.

#08 surprises with its asian-influenced opening of crisp ginger and black tea, through which a startling and enduring spicy cardamom accord emerges. It instantly speaks of the cuisine of northern India, and resolutely plays a preeminent role for the first 10 - 15 minutes. A milky accord in the heart of the perfume, coupled with warm notes of sweet cinnamon both furnish the perfume with a delicious 'iced chai latte' vibe. But there is abundant colour present too... luminous freesia, golden honey, and dewy fruit pulp all lend a vibrant lip-smacking quality to the scent.

To my nose, #08 is the olfactory equal to the religious Indian Holi Festival held each spring; a celebration in which brilliantly coloured powders and coloured water is hurled between worshippers. It is spirited, colourful, fun, and something in which both men and women can partake.



One would assume that more numerically-assigned fragrances might soon emerge from Jacomo in the Art Collection series. These offerings are rather exciting to explore, and seem to offer a 'niche' fragrance experience on a mainstream budget.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Revisiting D&G By Man


Five or six years have passed since Dolce and Gabbana By Man was withdrawn from sale, but, as is the case with many discontinued scents, it remains highly coveted now several years on. Fetching prices that border on the absurd, in recent years By Man has taken up residence next to Guerlain's Derby and Jean Patou Homme in the Obsolete Men's Fragrance Hall of Fame. Whilst one can only speculate as to why it vanished in the first place, I thought it necessary to revisit this eau de toilette and see for myself if it is indeed all that and a bag of chips.

Launched in 1998 whilst couturiers such as Dolce and Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli were on design safari, drawing their inspiration from animal prints from the natural world, By Man was packaged in a striking zebra print presentation and described as an aromatic woody fragrance. A swift departure from the stinging citrus/pepper composition of its slightly more mature predecessor Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme, By Man proved a more narcotising bouquet of hushed lavender, warm nutmeg, creamy sandalwood, and soft leather imbued with sensual wisps of ambrox and amber. It was considered seductive and mysterious... qualities which endowed it with a certain sex appeal, and made it an instant favourite amongst men and women alike.

Whilst 'on trend' and rather modern in the late 1990's, By Man's very conspicuous zebra print wrap (now, in 2011) tends to summon thoughts of the Art Deco age - a time where travel to far-flung landscapes such as the Orient and Africa was the norm. Perhaps if there was ever a poster-boy for Dolce and Gabbana's By Man in the 1920's, it would be Rudy Valentino... a man who lived hard and died young, and whom was looked upon as an icon of style and virility. By Man is much like the actor himself; charismatic and appealing. Women want him, and men want to be him... it is an elixir that is both carnally desirable and desperately unattainable in equal measures.

As is the case with other perfume masterpieces such as Le Feu d'Issey, By Man seems to be one of those scents launched well ahead of its time, and sadly suffered for it. In hindsight, I feel By Man now seems to have come of age... it speaks of the past, but in a very fluid, modern vernacular.
Certainly one to add to your collection, if, of course, you can find it.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Scented Handkerchief: A call for a Renaissance


Latterly abandoned for being regarded unhygienic, the handkerchief has fallen from grace in recent decades. Sadly, it has been cast aside in favour of disposable paper tissues; something I find rather wasteful, and in terms of history, something I consider an enormous shame. As I was growing up, my mother would always advise I carry a handkercher on my person... not for blowing my nose, but rather so that I may offer it to a woman in distress if ever needed. I always found a little romance in this suggestion and often wondered if I would ever find myself a protagonist in such a scenario. So, for many years I carried one in my pocket, often to the ridicule of my peers and my own chargrin. As an adolescent, it did enjoy some use though... chiefly as a means to wipe sweat from my brow, or as a tampon for a bloodied nose.


Most likely derived from ancient folk theatre and dance rituals, the handkerchief reached it's heights of popularity in the 16th century when delicate, ornately- decorated squares of silk, cotton, or linen were drawn from the depths of pockets and put on parade, rendering them the essential accessory of the age. Historically, they have been referenced in art and in literature time and again, and have played an important role in perfumery; acting as a textile canvas upon which toilet waters were blotted and sprinkled. These were then more often than not held over one's nose and mouth to veil the stench of the cities before our modern infrastructure had evolved. The scented molecules were easily retained in the absorbent pile, and often lasted longer than when applied directly to skin.

Recently, I received a lovely vintage perfume by post from an elderly gentleman in France... he had wrapped the unboxed pristine flacon carefully in a monogrammed linen handkerchief, which he had scented with a dash of the parfum. Long after the bottle had been opened and admired and the postal packaging tossed away, my house remained redolent with these few drops from a vintage age.

Since then, I have often spritzed linen curtains and opened windows on opposite sides of the house to allow the scent to meander through my home. I have also placed a scented handkerchief in my suitcase when travelling so that my clothes are imbued with perfume when I finally arrive at my destination. The handkerchief - in my eyes at least - is once again proving to be an indispensable item.



So, I call for a renaissance - a return to a bygone consciousness that saw men and women luxuriate in carrying a 'kercheif sprinkled with their fragrance du jour.


To close, you might be wondering if my mother's advice was sound, and if I ever did get to offer my handkerchief to a weeping woman... well, I'm pleased to say I did. On my wedding day in 1999, mother presented me with a monogrammed handkerchief that she had bought for the occasion; one that was later passed to my new bride to collect her tears of happiness.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sorcery of Scent Interview with Olivier Durbano


In September 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting with jeweller/perfumer Olivier Durbano in his home atelier in Paris' Marais. Below is my interview, published in Issue #2 of Basenotes Magazine in 2010.


OLIVIER DURBANO : Architect of Stones



For a number of days now, I have felt unimaginative and overwhelmed. As I power up my iMac again - fingers strumming impatiently on my desk whilst waiting for the spiralling pixels on the screen to cease and the interface to load - I imagine the substantial task ahead of me. I double-click the file on my desktop named Olivier Durbano Visit and it opens on command. My eyes instantly narrow to thin slits as the brilliant white of the document causes my pupils to contract. The cursor flashes with a sense of urgency in the top left corner of the page. Still empty. My eyes drag around the room and across my cluttered desk, looking for welcome distractions. Quick facebook check. A rummage in my pen-jar. At the back of my mind, I wonder how I can cohesively recount my extraordinary experience in Paris with this man whom I have come to admire. I shuffle some papers around and reveal two highly polished fluorite cabochons on my desktop. I take one and close my hand around it. It is extremely cold, but not unpleasantly so. Regarded as a semi-precious stone which metaphysically encourages a sense of heightened concentration and objectivity; I sit for a moment hoping for my analytical abilities to sharpen. The second stone, I lift between my thumb and forefinger, and hold it up to the light. I look into its dark purple and emerald green heart to see if I can find my inspiration there. For just a second, I step outside of myself, and imagine what I might look like to a passing bystander. It suddenly dawns on me that I am engaging in an ancient practice that has diffused down through the millennia. For thousands of years mankind has been enchanted with semi-precious stones for their value both physical and esoteric. I set the cabochons down carefully in front of my keyboard and start typing; confident that they will inspire me as they have the man who has devoted his life to harnessing the essence of stone through both his jewellery and his perfume: Olivier Durbano.


When I first arrive outside the Parisian home of Olivier Durbano, I discover the double-doored buildings along the Rue des Francs Bourgeois conceal delightful 17th century cobbled courtyards and lush gardens. I am struck by a sense of whimsy and feel I am glimpsing at a piece of Paris that existed long ago. Monsieur Durbano emerges from a door off to my left and, with a broad smile, invites me to his home atelier on the first floor. Entering his studio, I am immediately conscious of the scent of Omani frankincense burning from a concealed censer. I stand for a moment, admiring the centuries-old exposed wooden beams across the ceiling and quaint paned windows which frame charming vistas across the central courtyard. The apartment is tastefully decorated with exotic artefacts that Olivier has collected from his travels - objects that speak their own cultural or historical narrative.




As I remove my coat and am ushered to a comfortable sofa, Monsieur Durbano asks if I would care for some champagne. I agree, and he exits the room, leaving me under the anonymous gaze of an audience of mannequins whose necks are decorated with semi-precious stones. I admire the heavy baubles of amethyst, jasper, carnelian and jade, and pour over several tiered wooden trays laiden with jewels. Daisy-chains of polished gems are delicately strung amongst raw minerals that look as though they have just been struck from the earth... the contrast of shapes and textures just beg that they be held. I extend a hand, but withdraw it immediately as Olivier returns with champagne and canapés. He sits opposite me on the foot of his bed and I thank him for granting me the opportunity to visit him in his personal space. He smiles broadly, knitting his hands together over his knee and explains "Non! This is also my workspace. It is only natural we meet here!"


Olivier, I find fresh-faced and excited, having just returned from the Pitti Fragranze expo in Florence, Italy.


"I spent many days hanging out with Andy Tauer and Mona d'Orio. We had much fun, just like school children", he says, throwing is head back and roaring with laughter. The more we speak, the more I observe this genuine boyish charm emerge.


"It was a very friendly atmosphere, and totally non-competitive" he adds. "These forums are very new but also very important to me", he says, "it is always a good idea to stay on top of what is happening in the industry".


I respond by telling him I've heard that the perfume industry is only really 25% about perfume, and he bellows with laughter again.


"This is true, this is true", he agrees, cradling his champagne flute with both hands. "In this industry...", he adds, "...there is a high road and a low road with how you can deal with things. Where many may choose to take the low road, I will always take the high one".


I feel he is sincere.


The conversation shifts to his jewellery - the inspiration behind his perfume.


"Stones have always been in my life" he says. "My parents told me that my very first childhood tantrum occurred when I was 5 years old when I saw a stone that I wanted. It is not a special stone, but I liked it, and I went crazy", he says, a little embarrassed.


"I have kept it all these years", he adds, reaching beside his bed to retrieve a grapefruit-sized grey rock. He places it in my hand and it is heavy, ordinary, and aside from a few twinkling facets, rather uninteresting. I am impressed that he has carried it with him through the years, and it is still awarded pride-of-place amongst his far more attractive treasures.


"When I was returning from the expo in Italy, I experienced big problems with customs. My pockets and bags were full of my precious stones, and I was stopped and asked: 'Do you have minerals?'. When they saw what I was carrying, they threatened to confiscate them all, and I had tears streaming down my cheeks". Olivier draws an invisible arc under each eye with two index fingers. "I am fortunate they let me take them".


I am beginning to get a good sense of precisely how passionate Olivier is about his craft.




Olivier Durbano creates jewellery for international customers - many are one-off pieces for clients in far-flung locales like Saudi Arabia. When I ask where he sources his stones from, I see his eyes drift beyond me, as though he were looking straight through the wall behind me and off into time and space.


"The earth is made of stone. Stones are everywhere. I mix a lot of sources from around the world. Sometimes I can see something special in a raw piece of stone, otherwise I design the cut of each stone, and have it fashioned. When I can see I have collected all the stones I need for a piece, I create the unique necklace in my quiet place here in Paris. I start with a pile of gems and, like an artist, compose a picture, taking into account each stone's colour, shape and size. This time of creation should be a very special moment to reflect on love and creating a thing of beauty."


We talk for a while about how he goes about recognising all the physical and spiritual attributes of a stone, and translates them into perfume.


"It is like a story; a movie in my mind. A lot of sensations, emotions and travels come from our dreams. Perfume is a translation of these. I work with a chemist and it is a very special collaboration. We learn together to search for the best way in which we can open the doors to the universe of imagination. There must be a good harmony between chemistry and creation".


My eyes fall upon the tidy display of his perfume creations by his bureau - each bottle is accompanied by a short printed blurb, and displayed alongside the corresponding gemstone that served as the inspiration for each scent. I lift Améthyste in my hands and see three genuine amethyst beads suspended in the juice. As I turn the flacon in my hands, listening to the satisfying tinkle of the mauve orbs against the glass, I wonder if the liquid has imbued the stones with perfume, or, if indeed the perfume has been released by the stones.


"Which stone will be featured as your sixth perfume?", I ask rather cheekily, knowing very well that his fifth launch Turquoise has really only just hit retailer's shelves.


Olivier's immediate response catches me off guard. "Why, rose quartz of course".


I turn on my heel sharply to face him, my eyes ballooning in size. I had somehow expected I would not get an answer, but am astonished at his matter-of-fact reply.


"For a long time, I have thought about the creation of a perfume focused on the legend and symbolism of pink quartz; in fact, since the first step of the collection. I don't know when I will launch this perfume because I like to work step by step. I take my time to find the real fragrance which will be exactly like the fragrance I have created in my mind. I don't like to rush... it is like a meeting between ideas and events. I've begun to write a lot of things down, and have begun to mix some ingredients".


When I ask if one can safely assume it will be a rose-based scent, Olivier smiles and his dark brown eyes glitter like one of his polished agate cabochons.


"You can safely assume it will be a very interesting and unexpected interpretation", he says, and reveals no more.




Olivier's fragrances have always been intended to be worn as one might wear a talisman around the neck. His collection of five scents to date appeal to me as an entire perfume wardrobe in itself - there appears to be something for any and every occasion.


"At Pitti in Florence, I wore Black Tourmaline", he confesses. "I am sometimes a shy person by nature and occasionally feel overwhelmed in rooms full of people. I had to speak with groups of industry people; the marketers and the bloggers, so I felt Black Tourmaline best in this situation. It is a stone of protection".


It fascinates me that Olivier chose to wear this perfume to empower himself in such a challenging environment, but am not at all surprised that his choices and motivations are far from arbitrary. I get a sense that every aspect of his craft is systematic, and that he relies heavily on his intuition and inner sense of what is good and honest and true. He dares to dream, and in doing so, affirms his aspirations and makes them tangible.


"I dream of opening a retreat", he says, "one with rooms associated with my stones... for example, an amethyst room, decorated accordingly and filled with stones and my Améthyste perfume".


I observe for a moment the environment in which I find myself... there is a zen-like calm in his atelier that can be attributed to the modest lighting, the hand-turned wooden bowls filled with incense, the exotic statuettes residing in shadowy corners, and dishes brimming with shells and coral-root collected from the shore. If such a retreat were to become a reality - and I don't doubt that one day it will - Olivier will most certainly leave his sophisticated fingerprint all over it. I tell him I love the idea. He willingly admits that he is not driven or motivated by money, and would just a much like to create such a retreat for his own personal pleasure as he would for others. When I also mention the extremely limited distribution of his perfumes (limited to only a handful of retailers internationally) Olivier reaffirms that the quality of his distribution wins out over the fiscal rewards of having his brand on every street corner.


"I am always open to doing business with like-minded people. I will rarely go out and search for new avenues of distribution... rather, I wait until I am approached because this way I know they are perhaps more sincere about my product and my vision. I like to build a very special rapport with my distributors."


As much as I turn it over in my head, I can't fault his professional outlook and willingness to answer to his inner voice only. He is a man who places great importance on remaining true to ones own self.


Something tells me Olivier Durbano enjoys his anonymity behind the facade of Rue des Francs Bourgeois. He wakes by 8am, drinks his morning coffee whilst looking over his email, and then sits with a pile of stones and begins to construct an ornamental neckpiece with all the deliberation and precision of a professional architect. His studio space is a direct reflection of the road he has travelled, and the road he continues to explore.

As our time together draws to an end, I fill my eyes one last time with prickling light as the halogens in the room pick out twinkling facets of stone. I feel as if his gems are winking at me and bidding me good bye. Olivier presents me with a lovely parting gift - a matte black box filled with enchanting 10ml miniatures of all his scents to date. I re-tie the beautiful monogrammed ribbon and cushion the gift in my hands. Despite this being an extremely generous gesture, I leave Olivier's atelier feeling as if the greatest treasure I received was the time I spent in his company. I cross the courtyard and push through the heavy double doors and lose myself in the bustling throng of the Marais.



www.olivierdurbano.com

www.olivierdurbano-store.com


Reproduced with kind permission of Basenotes.net.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Christos Man & Christos Woman by Christopher Chronis

Three years ago I wrote this blog on the perfumes of renowned Greek-Australian fashion designer Christopher Chronis. Back then, I was waxing lyrical about the epic male and female fragrance release that stormed Australia bearing his name: Christos Man and Christos Woman, albeit my recollections were seen through the foggy smokescreen of time. Today however, I revisit these perfumes with a bottle of each scent in my hands.
I have been both shocked and surprised at the number of emails I have received over the last few years about this perfumed pair, and hence feel it time for an expanded review.

From his beginnings in 1984, Christopher Chronis sought to open doors to providing his customers with a total sensory experience. This he achieved with the quality of materials chosen for his fashion, and also by producing a men's and women's fragrance that stimulates the seductive, sexual and alluring quality in both sexes. When French fragrance house Dragoco accepted the challenge of producing both Christos perfumes and asked of him "what do you want from a fragrance?", Christopher gave one simple answer:
"When I smell Christos Woman on a woman I want it to make me want to eat her, and conversely, when a woman catches the scent of Christos Man on a man, I want her to eat him".
Following the philosophy that suggests humankind's primordial desires involve food and sex, Christopher and Dragoco set out to produce a product that would appeal to a niche market that craved a perfume that was exceptionally unique in all regards.



The Bottle
Perhaps one of the most striking flacons created in recent times, Christopher envisaged a bottle that captured his imagination and represented his name ("Christos", a diminutive of 'Christopher', also loosely translates to "Christ" in Greek), and thus his violet crucifix flacon was born! French glassmakers Pochet et du Corval baulked at the design initially, claiming that the technical difficulties of producing such a shape would require glass-blowing techniques that French had never encountered. Pochet et du Corval had never blown glass both horizontally and vertically to achieve even glass distribution. The French however, took on the challenge, knowing that the finished result would produce a bottle that was both exquisite and exceptional in form.



The Fragrances
Christos Woman: This scent is classed as a Woody Fruity Oriental and has a unique development from top to bottom. It opens with a lush, lip-smacking rush of green leaves, grapefruit, dewfruit and ripe, juicy blackcurrant... a bushel of moist fruits that are dripping with carnal allure. There is also a small sprinkling of cardamom which lends a slightly organic, musky edge. This juicy opening urges you to push deeper where a sensual, complex floral heart awaits. The scent evolves and suddenly it is though you step over the threshold into a boudoir of blossoms. Freesia, violet and rose permeate through the perfume over jasmine and neroli... there is even an unusual ozone accord which lends a sense of open space amongst the stirring florals. Then, for the second time in its development, Christos Woman takes another unexpected turn... one towards an oriental base of amber, cedar and sandalwood, tonka bean, musk and vanilla... the lasting trail being totally and utterly appetising, and devilishly arousing. Christos Woman certainly reflects Christopher's wishes that the fragrance should make the person wearing it edible. I'm in line for a second helping!

Christos Man: Christopher's approach to the men's perfume is equally as inspired. It uses a variety of components from the women's fragrance to act as a red thread that connect the two. Classed a Woody Oriental, Christos Man opens with a squirt of zesty tangerine... it is thick and pulpy, and one can imagine it spilling down ones chin... it shimmers over a scattering of green leaves and succulent dewfruit and is supported by a familiar mildly-musky foundation of cardamom. At its heart, Christos Man explores traditional facets of lavender and rose, though the transition between top and heart notes is perhaps more gradual than Christos Woman. The progressive evolution sees a familiar oriental base emerge of Sandalwood, cedar, tonka, amber and vanilla. There is a very "fleshy" feel to Christos Man... perhaps a nod to the pulpy forbidden fruits of Eden that beckon and cajole. Christopher is confident - as am I - that Christos Man fills the night with sensual, palatable promise.

A complementary body product line was produced in support of the Christos fragrances... ones that celebrate the private and sensual rituals of bathing and moisturising.


Now we've explored these perfumes in greater depth, I have some bad news... the Christos scents have not been in commercial distribution for over 10 years, and are next to impossible to source. Whilst a small amount of Christos Woman continues to be found here and there, Christos Man has sold out on a national and international scale.