Perfumes inspired by mythological themes have always had some appeal to me. Most probably, in part, because of the enduring legacy the legend itself has enjoyed. But when one hears of a scent named after a god or a titan, one can only imagine a perfume both monumental and vast. Chanel's Antaeus, Paloma Picasso's Minotaure and Coty's Styx each communicate a somewhat accurate sense of these figures in folklore. Now, French perfumers / phytocosmetologists Sisley are memorialising the iconic Icarus, as they launch their first-ever men's fragrance: Eau d'Ikar.
Eau d'Ikar is beautifully bottled in a thick glass flacon designed by Polish sculptor Bronislaw Krzysztof with a man's torso and wingtips deeply etched in reverse relief. The juice is a sparkling sunshine yellow, in keeping with the legend of the character in Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun. Conceptually, according to the press release, "Ikar - (is) a name that embodies our poetic ambition, the deep desire in man to fly - not in defiance of the heavens, but rather to rise above the ground, for lightness, intensity, freedom".
Whilst some marketing prose can occasionally border on the absurd, something can indeed be said for Eau d'Ikar's capacity to feel light, sun-speckled and resolutely Mediterranean in style.
This eau de toilette uses mastic as its feature component - a tree resin collected from evergreen shrubs of the pistachio family that are native to the island of Corsica, parts of Greece and Asia Minor. Mastic has been used for millennia by ancient cultures for its medicinal benefits and is still used today to flavour dental products, food and beverages. It has a unique minty / lemony / resinous olfactory profile; one that is very pleasant, and not easily forgotten. Eau d'Ikar uses mastic in all three facets of the olfactory pyramid - with sparkling citruses in the topnotes, warmer, denser florals in the middle notes, and with cistus, vetiver and sandalwood in the base.
This fragrance opens with a mastic/citrus blend that is almost dry in texture... it is slightly bitter and has a hint of green earthiness, thanks in part, to a carrot seed accord. With the opening spritz, one imagines walking along a grassy/sandy path through the pines by the sea. A heart of jasmine and iris sends a huff of light florals spinning on the air, which feel almost feathery in texture. More mastic and orange pekoe tea lend a grounding earthiness that diminishes the impact of the florals and provides complexity. These accords rest over a velvety green cistus/vetiver/mastic base and trail off well into the drydown.
Keeping with Sisley's tradition of crafting exceptionally fine scents, Eau d'Ikar evokes an idea of vast Mediterranean landscapes and sultry summer heat. In terms of its style and its tenacity, it is no Antaeus, nor Minotaure - one must be mindful that it is, in fact an 'eau'.
This being said, I feel Sisley have done themselves proud in capturing the scent profile of a much-loved part of the world.
This will be my go-to scent, as summer soon reaches us here in the southern hemisphere.