Tag Archives: Violet

Dirty Rose and Violet Chocolatier by PK Perfumes

The PK in PK Perfumes is Paul Kiler, an artisanal perfumer based in California. He places himself at the forefront of a new movement called Real Perfumery which purports to use the best materials available to create fragrances which comply to a “Standard of Excellence”.

Although Kiler uses both naturals and synthetics, his fragrance contain 20 to 50% essential oils, absolutes and resins.  The line currently contains 14 scents, the earliest of which were launched in 2012.

The first works I tried by Paul Kiler were the two perfumes he composed for Zoologist. It was fortuitous therefore that shortly afterwards, my pal Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies, kindly put the following two samples in her last package.

 

Dirty Rose

Notes: Bergamot, black spruce, laurel, cherrywood smoke, rose, nagarmotha, teak wood, tobacco, cedar, mahogany, earth, amber, costus, leather, vetiver bourbon,  Labdanum

dirty rose

I love a messed-up, dark rose and Dirty Rose is firmly in that stable. It’s rooted in dark, moist earth and musky in the best way. It’s not the high-pitched musk that stabs you in the head but that deep throated unguent which intoxicates. The rose also smells like it was briefly set on fire; the flames having been beaten out but leaving a lingering charred scent.

The deep red flower that is at the heart of all this darkness is mostly hidden in the shadows. It has a definite kinship with my much-loved Rose de Nuit but the rose is much less prominent in Dirty Rose.  Here, the rose is coated in leather and musk and battened down by earthy patchouli and a canopy of spice. It has the feel of an oud fragrance without containing any agarwood.

I like my roses to be more rosy, but Dirty Rose may suit those fans of arid orientals who don’t like their rose front and centre. It is as far from the prim, feminine tea roses of yesteryear as you can get.

 

 

Violet Chocolatier

Notes: Violets, apricots, cocoa, nutmeg, hazelnut, magnolia, jasmine, rose, honey, gardenia, amber and benzoin.

violet-chocolatier-small

Ha! Violet Chocolatier – perhaps unsurprisingly – smells just like a violet cream; those chocolates with a violet fondant centre. It’s fun to experience and the chocolate is bittersweet so I don’t find it saccharine. As much as I have an aversion to sugary perfumes, I actually prefer these powdery, gourmand violets to those that highlight the flower’s green, metallic facets.

Somehow Violet Chocolatier segues effortlessly into a floral heart – most notably creamy white flowers – proving it’s not just a one-trick pony. This seamless transition exhibits Paul’s Kiler’s considerable perfumery skills.  The pale petals have a honeyed coating which feels dreamy and fits the decadent mood of the fragrance.  In the base it takes a final turn into cosy amber territory.

Violet Chocolatier is a clever composition and not you usual gourmand.

 

violet-choc

The painting by Daria Jabenko which inspired Violet Chocolatier

 

Can you recommend any more fragrances from PK Perfumes?  I’d be particularly intrigued to hear from you if you’ve tried Zafran, Ere or Starry Starry Night. 

 

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Paradox by 4160 Tuesdays

The scent of hope for someone who could no longer enjoy perfume…

 Notes: Citrus fruits, Iris, Violet, Petitgrain, Woods and Musks

Today, British beauty and perfume blogger, Louise Woollam, is attending the Fragrance Foundation’s Jasmine Awards. She has been short-listed for three articles including one about the creation of Paradox Eau de Parfum on her blog Get Lippie. Two years ago, things were very different.

louise

Louise Woollam

It’s not hard to empathise with just how traumatic it would be to have your sense of smell distorted so much that scents that used to make you swoon now make you want to be sick.

After what seemed like a pretty run-of-the-mill cold, Louise lost her sense of smell (anosmia). Then when she started to regain it, she experienced parosmia which made most food – let alone perfume – smell horrendously unpleasant. In her article for The Guardian, Louise wrote “I have had days when everything smells like faeces, making me retch. I thought I was losing my mind.”

During this disturbing time Louise went on a trip to the Osmotheque (which I also attended) during which she discovered she could smell violets and citrus the same way she always had. Sarah McCartney, perfumer of 4160 Tuesdays, then set out to work with Louise to create a fragrance based on these notes which she could actually enjoy.

Through a process of elimination and trying a few different combinations they hit upon a composition of bright yuzu and cubeb (a fruit of the pepper family), three different types of ionones (which smell like violets) and orris/iris to smooth out the citrus and amp up the violets.

The perfectly named Paradox was born.

paradox

The opening of the fragrance is a thicket of dense grass; the blades parting to reveal tart, yellow, citrus fruit.  The feel is cool and breezy as the violets come through. They aren’t the sweet Parma variety but the chilly, green kind.

The orris is very much in the supporting role of providing backbone to the violets, giving them even more of a bluish purple hue. When I press my nose in close I get deep green foliage. The base comprises clean woods and musk but as often happens, I don’t register this.

Violet+Green+1920x1200

Last year, Sarah decided to make the fragrance available for sale with at least £5 from every bottle sold being donated to the charity Fifth Sense which provides support to those affected by smell and taste-related disorders.

Thankfully, matters are now much improved but Louise’s sense of smell is still far from what it was. She says that working with Sarah on Paradox gave her more than a perfume she could wear, it gave her hope that recovery was possible.

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Boxeuses by Serge Lutens

Up for the fight…

When I was on a personal development retreat recently, one of my many favourite things was the boxing moves we did to extremely loud rap music. There was something hugely powerful and energising about it and it’s made me want to find a Boxercise class. In the meantime I listen to the tracks and do the moves in the privacy of my own home.

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

I greatly admire the 2010 exclusive Lutens release Boxeuses (female boxer) although I’m yet to fall in love with it. I keep coming back to it because I find it sophisticated and mysterious, empowering and sensual.

As usual the perfumer is Christopher Sheldrake, also as usual, there is no official notes list. However, the consensus seems to be that it contains violet, plum, anise, leather, labdanum and woods.

Boxeuses is a fragrance full of violet, plummy goodness with a hint of licorice, underscored by leather. On the face of it, it’s in the vein of Bois de Violette and Faminite de Bois but I don’t find it as intense as either of those other two Lutens creations.

In the early stages you’re hit by smoky fumes emanating from underneath the purple fruit and flowers. This is leather that’s been processed to a smooth finish. More chemical than animal. you could mistake it for plastic or vinyl.

Violet and plum stop it from becoming that typical dry, masculine style of leather: There’s a reason Boxeuses is written in the feminine form.

This is a dark, seductive little number. The fruit is not too stewed, the spice is not too strong and I enjoy the contrast with the smoky leather.

However, as it develops it becomes rather too gourmand for my taste. It’s now more about plummy, spiced caramel over woods than it is about leather. The gooey syrup laced with curry spice makes me think of immortelle, which is a tricky note for me.

The base is pure labdanum on me; fuzzy, ambery and resinous.

Usually Lutens orientals are thick and opaque, but Boxeuses feels surprisingly sheer and intangible. It bobs and weaves, staying light on its feet. It’s everywhere and nowhere.

The same way boxers sometimes hold onto one another as if in a awkward embrace when tired, Boxeuses holds on close to the wearer. At the same time it keeps its cool and remains detached, never cosy.

Woman boxing in dress

Boxeuses is a lesson in how simplicity done well can create the illusion of complexity. You can pick out the components but they combine in a way that is intriguing.

I’d like to feel at home in it because the Boxeuses woman is prepared to fight her corner.

It’s the perfect perfume to wear when you feel like you’re heading into the ring, whether it’s a workplace confrontation (see Undina’s memorable post Round One – I won) or a more personal conflict.

Boxeuses will have your back.

 

 

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