Text: Ksenia Golovanova, author of the telegram channel Nose republic
Spring perfumeryseemingly slowed down for a while, but by summer it produced many new and beautiful flowers – from the most delicate Victorian violet to a strange Japanese-style rose. We have collected the most important launches of recent months in one summer and, as the florists say, an eclectic bouquet.
Lil Fleur is one of the most contrasting and dramatic fragrances of the Swedish brand Byredo, perhaps because it is dedicated to the “raging emotions of youth”. But the first thing that comes to mind when, a couple of hours after being applied to the skin, all the parts of Lil Fleur add up to one picture, is “Solstice”, last year’s most beautiful horror: Nordic freshness walks along the upper border of these spirits, wreaths of wild roses float and rinse white linen dresses are blown in the wind, and something inside and a little alarming appears from below – a roughly cut wood, hemoglobin and a strong animal spirit. The brand’s first real arthouse in many years.
Gucci has released a new pair of fragrances in the line The Alchemist’s Garden, deliberately polar. A Chant for the Nymph is structurally reminiscent of last year’s Mémoire d’une Odeur, gentle and seemingly blurry; the difference is that instead of chamomile for a musky-cosmetic, a creamy tone here “fades” tropical ylang-ylang. A Midnight Stroll, on the other hand, is a scent of increased clarity, with bright and contrasting details – warm incense, bitter juniper and tart cypress. Incense here is completely devoid of church connotations: “Night Walk” smells like a forest fire made of fragrant and resinous wood (perhaps a couple of dungs were thrown into it for kindling), and the incense seems to be its natural exhalation. Such perfumes, smoky and smoked, are now very popular. Some perfume critics even distinguish them into a special family of empirematic, that is, burnt, fragrances, but Midnight Stroll benefits from its green freshness.
As a rule, in every pair of Molecule and Escentric fragrances, released every few years by perfumer Geza Schon, the second is more perfumery and wearable. The new duet is no exception: the fifth “Molecule” was branded with the smell of a cellar and raw potatoes, but “Eccentric”, built around the same Cashmeran, but as part of a full-fledged composition, was liked by the majority. You will also like it if, while reading The Magus, you would also like to be on the Greek island of Spetses, albeit under less strange circumstances, but in the same pine forest with cicadas and quails, in an emerald tremor of fragrant air. A lot of cypress, mastic and sun – chewy, like resin, perfume.
The new Peut-Être is a re-release of the scent of the same name, released in 1937 (the author does not know how the original smelled). The genre in which it is made – floral powder with a hint of retro – is chock-full of the same and just similar perfumes, including very good ones, and it is very difficult to say something fundamentally new from this scene. The same poem, however, can be read in different ways – for example, shout in the spirit of the actor Petrov (Lipstick Rose, Frédéric Malle) or do it the way the authors of Peut-Être did: well and with a sense of proportion. Here violets and roses are ground into such a fine powder that instead of caking into heavy lumps, it floats in the air like a pearl suspension in Vermeer’s paintings. In addition to light and radiance, there is a completely human body in these perfumes – a warm and slightly musky smell of the skin, natural purity without squeak. If you’ve been looking for a powdery scent that won’t smother you with a dusty curtain, this is it.
Hiram Green, one of the best natural perfumers, made a wonderful violet – not candied, not ground into a cosmetic powder, but alive. The first minutes of Vivacious are a retelling of all the park promenades from Jane Austen’s novels with their “ridges of wooded hills” and “wide-spread groves”, a shady dark green accord of withered grass, violet leaves and summer hay. In the heart of the composition, the violet becomes a little sweeter, clove-spicy and cosmetic, but retains the green lining – there is in it man-made grace, and a sense of the forest, and life in a beautiful wilderness. Spacious and specific aroma.
The original Good Girl Gone Bad is the main bestseller in all Kilian markets (20-25% of the brand’s sales), ruddy and fluffy like a peach, and smells like it. Eau Fraîche is its new summer version, blown by the sea breeze, like a skirt on an embankment. Peaches, white flowers and a milky woody rumble reminiscent of the classic Gucci Rush remained, but a lot of air and salt appeared. Of all the eau fraiche, or “fresh waters” released by the brand, this one is the lightest and most ethereal.
Perfume lily is a complex genre, perfumes that often form an impenetrable dome of dense and stale white flowers around the owner. This property of the component can be emphasized and even enhanced, and then you get something like Charogne, Etat Libre d’Orange or Fleurs et Flammes, Antonio Alessandria – peculiar flowers in the attic, a small room with a huge and sweet lily spreading from corner to corner inside … Or try to neutralize it, for example, with the help of aquatic freshness and sea salt (see the well-ventilated, mineral and thinned Lys Mediterranée, Frédéric Malle and Fathom V, Beaufort London). The new Yves Saint Laurent lily occupies an intermediate position between the two families; weighty, tightly knit and stuffed to the brim with vanilla-almond cream, it resolutely keeps the height taken by the perfumer with a delicate, salt-balanced sweetness. Do not expect Capeline to soar, but do not be afraid to suffocate: even thick, but silk.
In modern perfumery, the story about a special, not like everyone else, rose is very popular. Shiseido, for example, has built a version of Zen around the cosmic rose. IFF, a large fragrance company, sent a living flower into orbit, whose scent allegedly changed under zero gravity and was later used by a Japanese brand in perfumes. Rose Moceniga of Italians The Merchant of Venice reproduces the scent of a rose from the garden of Mocenigo – Venetian aristocrats who became famous mainly for their denunciations of Giordano Bruno, which cost him his life. Perfumer Francis Kyurkdjian has completely bred his own perfume grade “Nevarte” and is going to make perfume out of it.
Against the backdrop of these stories – especially the perfume collaboration with NASA – the Rōzu legend looks discreet, but dignified. The new Aesop perfume is dedicated to Charlotte Perrien, one of the few women architects and designers of the late 1920s, and a rose named after her. This variety was bred by Japanese breeders – Perien worked in Japan for several years; With its silvery-beige, slightly smoky hue, the Perien rose resembles washi paper, and its smell is green tea with hints of fruit. Rōzu brings this garden florality with earthy vetiver, transparent smoke and a spicy, tea-aniseed scent of siso or Japanese mint – a good rose for those who love the rose from afar and, rather, on the sidelines.
American naturalist Douglas Little makes good perfumes, in particular, for Goop Beauty, a perfume and cosmetic brand of Gwyneth Paltrow (the perfume for the famous actress candles is his own work). But if the perfume produced by Little under the Goop umbrella seems calm and sanguine, it’s all incense …