Saturday 4 September 2010

New Fragrance: Olivier Durbano Pink Quartz

Last year, I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris where I met with Olivier Durbano at his home atelier in the Marais. It was an experience I will never forget; if not for Msr Durbanio's exceptional role as host, then for the opportunity to see his workspace first hand. There is no denying that Olivier is passionate about stones... his eye-popping baubles of polished gems and raw minerals have been fashioned with architectural precision, and are exceedingly beautiful. His home serves as a monument to his travels, decorated with impeccable taste and ornamented with treasures from the natural world. On this occasion, just a couple of months after the release of Turquoise (the fifth in a series of seven "perfume poems"); Olivier revealed to me that he was already planning the next: Pink Quartz.
Today, almost one full calendar year later, I find myself wearing it.

Durbano's olfactory stone interpretations have always delighted me... they've each managed to embody the physical and esoteric properties of the particular gem in question, and this release is no different. Pink quartz is a fundamental stone of universal love and infinite compassion. Therefore, just as one might imagine, Pink Quartz is built around a beautiful heart of rose: a powerful symbol at the crossroads of our human emotions.

Pink Quartz opens with uplifting topnotes of bergamot, pink grapefruit and a sharp flash of ginger. It feels less like green root ginger, and more like a biting 'pickled' ginger; much like the salmon-pink gari, used to garnish sushi dishes. One immediately recognises an underlying, complex core of rose, but a spicy saffron facet instantly adds a piquancy to the mix. This - coupled with Durbano's signature Somali oliban accord - shifts the fragrance into a gender-neutral province. I am a big fan of this resinous aspect common to many of Olivier's creations, and feel it contributes greatly to the 'mineralic' nature of his perfumes. Here, it also 'dirties' the lavish Palma and Damas rose heart; diminishing its sweetness adding an infinite sense of depth.

As the perfume develops on the skin, a beautiful Indian rosewood emerges over warm curls of myrrh and benzoin. It evokes a sense of connectedness and spirituality, and my mind travels... I find myself thinking of the Hindu gods Parvati and Shiva; always depicted in art as the Hindu nuclear family and harmonious lovers. These sympathetic pastel nuances reside over a lavish base of patchouli, ambergris and white musk; the sum of which makes for a perfume that is well worthy of worship.

Pink Quartz is a remarkable spicy chypre that continues to surprise well into the drydown. I find it lasts 6-7 hours on my skin. It takes up residence as the sixth of seven planned perfumes, and brings with it a tender new element to the collection. This is one eau de parfum that simply cannot be shied away from, and will be relished by men and women alike.

Pink Quartz will be rolling out to a very limited number of retail stores in the months to come.
For more information on each of Olivier Durbano's "stone poems", visit


Le Critique de Parfum said...

Well Dimitri, first disappointment from our beloved Olivier, as far as I'm concerned.

This spicy chypre is a little too close to an attar I know, and the pink color for a feminine fragrance was really unnecessary.

Blog Author said...

Thanks for your comments LCdP.

I think it is often disappointing when one has already experienced a scent that resembles a new release... one tends to always use the first encounter as a yardstick against which all new perfumes are measured, and that is often to their detriment. If it weren't for having experienced the one that came before, your impressions here might have been different.

I think the fact that Olivier has executed a perfume which embraces and translates the spirit of eastern perfumery is a triumph in itself. And the pink colour obviously follows a tradition of his which is to emulate the colour of the individual stones from which he has drawn his inspiration. I can't imagine which other colour you might suggest he ought to have chosen for 'Pink Quartz'.

This one is still a winner in my book. One of my most enjoyable spicy roses.