Tag Archives: Saffron

Mx. by Eris Parfums

 

Top Notes: Ginger, Black Pepper, Saffron, Olibanum
Heart Notes: Sandalwood, Cedarwood
Base Notes: Vetiver, Patchouli, Benzoin, Birch Tar, Cacao, Castoreum

 

I was impressed with the initial collection of three fragrances launched by Eris Parfums last year. Creative Director, Barbara Herman, is a vintage perfume expert and author of Scent and Subversion. You can read my mini reviews of Ma Bête, Belle de Jour and Night Flower here.

The latest fragrance by Eris Parfums, Mx. (pronounced “Mix”) was launched this year and once again, was created with perfumer Antoine Lie.

I recently discovered the meaning of the word Mx. in the most prosaic way imaginable. I was placing an online order with a supermarket when I noticed one of the options in the contact details section was ‘Mx’. I correctly deduced that this is a new gender-neutral title, with the ultimate aim of replacing Mr, Mrs, Miss etc.

You may be thinking “Okay, but we’ve had unisex fragrances for a long time now”. However, Mx. rebels against the idea – prevalent in the mainstream at least – that gender-neutral perfumes have to be clean (read asexual) or lean masculine in style (presumably so as not to scare off the fellas).

 

mx bottle fragrantica

 

In sharp contrast to the cool and fresh unisex style that dates back to CK One, Mx. is warm and inviting.

I often find ginger notes tricky but the accord that forms the opening of Mx. is like gingerbread baked with a good deal of saffron and a sprinkling of pepper. Come in close and you may even be treated to a spike of incense.

This combination of gourmand spices over light, pliable woods brings to mind the excellent Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle. Both are comforting yet stylish, but unlike the Malle, Mx. completely bypasses florals. It also has an enticing dark twist in the base with vetiver, patchouli, a dusting of cacao powder and a shadow of smoky leather.

The animalic aspect here is very much of the soft and purring kind. The musk is at the furry end of the spectrum and adds to the luxurious feel. Mx. seeks to blur the gender boundaries and the whole feel of the fragrance is soft focus. It’s someone coming home late at night, lighting a fire and wrapping themselves in a faux fur blanket after an indulgent evening of excess.

It doesn’t have the retro stamp of the first three Eris perfumes, but it shares the same sophisticated, sensual character and may be more approachable for some. While Mx. seeks to challenge the binary nature of gender, the fragrance is easy to wear and fits like a second skin. It possesses intimate sillage and lasts incredibly well.

Gender politics aside, Mx. is cosy, comforting, chic and more than a little romantic. It works beautifully at this time of year as the temperature starts to dip and the nights are about to draw-in.

 

Mx

 

Do you find gender distinctions in fragrance helpful or would you rather that we did away with them completely?

 

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Rose Omeyyade, Iris Fauve and Cuir Sacré by Atelier des Ors

My mate Megan of the excellent blog Megan in Sainte Maxime was kind enough to send me some samples from French niche brand, Atelier des Ors, which launched in 2015. As pleased as I was to receive them, for some reason I didn’t rush to spray.

The bottles are beautifully faceted and contain juice with floating flecks of gold leaf, but I leans more towards an artisan aesthetic. I also had the impression that the compositions were skewed towards the oriental, which I have a poor track record with. I finally got over myself and tried the three which focus on notes I gravitate towards: rose, iris and leather.

 

atelier des ors

 

Rose Omeyyade

Top notes: Raspberry, Rose, Pink Pepper
Middle notes: Patchouli, Brown Sugar, Guaiac Wood
Base notes: Amber, Sandalwood, Oud

I’d describe Rose Omeyyade is a slightly jammy, almost boozy, softly spiced, rose-centred fragrance.  Sweet but not sickeningly so, the raspberry brings out the fruity facet of the rose, placing it on the verge of gourmand. I keep noticing something like spicy incense, which I’m putting down to the pink pepper combined with guaiac wood.  This is very much a composition based around a prominent rose note, rather than a rose soliflore.

The oud is mildly skanky which makes a nice change from the plethora of sanitised versions out there. It also gives the fragrance a bit of edge. In the drydown the woods become a little too persistent for me, however if you are fond of ‘east meets west’ rosy perfumes, you should give Rose Omeyyade a spin.

 

Iris Fauve

Top notes: Bergamot, Cinnamon, Iris
Middle notes: Patchouli, Haitian Vetiver, Cypriol oil.
Base notes: Myrrh, Musk, Labdanum, Liatris (Deerstongue/Wild Vanilla)

Iris Fauve was released this year and turns out to be a pussy cat rather than the beast its name suggests. After a bright bergamot opening, it becomes smooth and fuzzy with pillowy iris atop a bed of ambrette-style musk.  Usually irises are cool and metallic, rooty or cosmetic but here it’s in my favourite mode; warm, sensual and somewhat doughy. The overall texture is suede-like but without any hint of leather present.

Cinnamon can be harsh and anti-social but here it plays nice and mixes well. There’s a lick of liquorice in the drydown from the myrrh but nothing forceful. It’s said to “drape the skin like a soft and reassuring caress” and it does indeed stay close to the body.  In short, Iris Fauve is a welcome addition to that small subset of warm iris fragrances.

 

Cuir Sacré

Top notes: Juniper Berries, Cypress, Cardamom
Middle notes: Incense, Saffron, Cedar Needles
Base notes: Leather, Vetiver

Not only do I generally love saffron notes in perfume but my favourite discontinued leather fragrance Cuir de Lancôme contains creamy saffron wrapped-up in buttery suede. Therefore it’s unsurprising that I really enjoy the strong saffron opening of Cuir Sacré. Most spices are not my friend but the orange-gold of saffron with its floralacy is something else entirely. It speaks of luxury and seems to pair brilliantly with more austere accords.

The leather is super smooth and refined rather than rough and tarry. It’s not all about sleek upholstered interiors though. There is a distinct aromatic accord unwinding throughout that is evocative of dark green pine forests which, along with the saffron, lifts it above most of the niche leathers currently available. If I wasn’t in the mood for my usual birch tar, smoky leather I’d certainly go for Cuir Sacré.

 

atelier des ors woman

 

Have you tried any of the fragrances from Atelier des Ors? What are your thoughts and favourites?

 

Photo credit: zastavki.com

 

 

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My Favourite Bottled Leather – Cuir de Lancome

Hand me my leather…

Top notes of mandarin, bergamot and saffron, middle notes of hawthorn, jasmine, ylang-ylang and patchouli, base notes of birch, orris and styrax

Why was Cuir de Lancome discontinued so soon after its release in 2007? No doubt it didn’t appeal to the average Lancome customer. I know when a “civilian” friend of mine sniffed it on my wrist she didn’t say a word. She didn’t have to, the look on her face said it all. This tarry beauty was a beast to a fan of spring florals and D&G’s Light Blue.

However, to many of us who love leather, Cuir de Lancome is hide heaven. I’m sure if it had been released by a niche brand it would still be going strong. My EdP is down to about a third and I feel anxious at the thought of having to open my sealed back-up bottle.

I bought Cuir de Lancome for about £25 four years ago and the second bottle for about £35 a couple of years later. I’ve just checked on that same auction site and there’s one 50ml bottle for sale in the UK with a Buy It Now price of £90. The ones in the States aren’t much cheaper.

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For me, the reason Cuir de Lancome is so great is that combination of smoky birch tar, saffron spice and tender florals at its core. The saffron and flowers meld into the leather making it butter soft and super sophisticated. The contrast of one accord against another makes it addictive and I can’t get enough.

It leans more feminine than your average leather fragrance. It’s not a heavy-hitter but has enough throw for me to pick it up as I type – plus it lasts for ages.

Who doesn’t love the smell of an expensive leather handbag which has softened with age?

On days I wear it, like today when it feels cold figuratively and literally outside the front door, Cuir de Lancome warms, comforts and protects me.

 

You can read my full review from Olfactoria’s Travels here.

 

Do you have a favourite leather fragrance?

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