Tag Archives: Warm

Slowdive by Hiram Green

Notes: Neroli, Orange flower, Tobacco flower, Dried fruit, Beeswax, Tuberose and Resins.

Hiram Green makes high quality, opulent perfumes that sing on the skin. My particular favourite of his collection is the glorious sunlit orange blossom, Dilettante. These beautiful fragrances are handcrafted from natural ingredients at his base in the Netherlands. A bonus is that they are available in 10ml sprays as well as 50ml bottles.

His latest release is the evocatively titled Slowdiveslowdive.png

Slowdive is a languid, floral tobacco-themed fragrance and its name suits it perfectly. After an opening of unctuous honey tinged with Play-doh, you gently drift down into its swirl of petals, tobacco leaves and dried fruit.

It’s a lot brighter in feel than many tobacco fragrances which tend to reside in shuttered gentlemen’s clubs. Slowdive has the warmth of days filled with hazy sunshine, ripe fruit and the low hum of bees flitting from bloom to bloom. The beeswax gives it a sumptuously soft landing with its honeyed waxiness.

It makes me think of an autumn harvest, but if you love honeyed and/or tobacco scents, you’ll enjoy it at any time of year. It has a caressing, lazy mood which I’ve found immensely enjoyable on these gloomy London days. It’s the feeling you get when you kick off your shoes and sink into a big, squashy armchair at the end of a tiring day. It has that sense of letting go and having nothing better to do than watch the sun melt into the horizon, bleeding into colours of amber, gold and ochre.

Slowdive is a fragrance to relax into; a place to rest your aching bones. The sillage is low-key but within its orbit, you can’t mistake its distinctive character.

One thing to make clear regarding the presence of tuberose, is that there’s no need to be put off if you normally hesitate at its mention in notes lists. As I’ve said before, natural tuberose is not the stonker of the synthetic variety, which can trample over everything in sight. Here, the natural absolute adds a flowery creaminess to the composition without overpowering the other accords. It’s probably what makes Slowdive such an uncommon tobacco perfume.

It’s definitely a fragrance anyone could wear comfortably and combining the traditionally masculine tobacco with the uber feminine tuberose, makes for a clever and interesting pairing that works beautifully.

 

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How do you feel about tobacco/honey perfumes?

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Iris Poudre by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

 

Notes: Bergamot, Orange, Palisander, Rosewood, Magnolia, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, Violet, Rose, Carnation, Lily, Aldehydes, Iris, Musk, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Amber, Ebony Tree, Sandalwood and Vetiver

 

I don’t think there is a niche fragrance line I admire more than Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle and the perfume among them I love the most is Iris Poudre. I have sunk into it over this autumn/winter: there was a desire in me to take on its character as my own. It’s one of those rare fragrances that has become a part of me, managing to get under my skin as well as on top of it.

Iris Poudre was created by Pierre Bourdon and released in 2000. I can safely say it has pushed Hiris off the top spot as my favourite iris scent.

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When I’ve read reviews of Iris Poudre over the years they have tended to focus on the perfume’s old-school glamour.  This is because it eschews the more familiar metallic and vegetal facets of iris root in favour of something infinitely more refined and alluring. It highlights the pure luxury of orris butter which is prettied-up by the accompanying florals and given sparkle by a sheer veil of aldehydes.

Despite its name, Iris Poudre is not a powder-bomb but has just enough to make the link with the golden age of Hollywood; all red lips and glittering jewels. It strikes the perfect balance between classic and modern. It has a retro flavour but doesn’t read as vintage.

It starts out cool with gentle aldehydes tickling the senses like an icy chill. These aren’t the overly soapy or intense kind that can be off-putting, but silky and shimmering.

This is not a challenging perfume to wear – file under “effortless chic”. It’s curvaceous and figure-hugging but never restrictive.  It’s rare to find a fragrance that has an aura of sensuality and glamour but still feels comfortable. Iris Poudre is satisfyingly complex and the kind of perfume you can still get a thrill from time and time again.

The fragrance possesses style without being aloof or prim. It’s a boudoir scent extraordinaire, reminiscent of make-up, silk stockings, fur and supple powdered skin.

However, there is even more going on in Iris Poudre than that. There is greater depth and substance than the soft-focus image of a movie star would suggest. I’ve found there is strength behind the feather boa and a wilfulness beneath the come-hither eyes.

I suspect it’s the ambrette seed that does it. That vegetal musky essence which imbues fragrances with a subtle sexuality. It has a very distinct character which warms on skin over time and the pairing with slick musk amplifies the effect.

When I first owned Iris Poudre the ambrette eventually put me off enough to sell my bottle. I’m not sure if in the intervening years whether Iris Poudre has changed, or I have (probably both) but in any case, we are now a perfect match. 

 

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If you’ve missed it, be sure to check out Undina’s Entertaining Statistics post covering February’s Month of Iris.

 

 

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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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Amber Tapestry by Aftelier Perfumes

What the world needs now…

Top Notes: Heliotropin, Yellow Mandarin
Middle Notes: Jasmine Grandiforum, Jasmine Sambac, Pear, Cinnamon
Base Notes: Ambreine, Labdanum, Maltol, Benzoin, Castoreum, Ambergris, Coumarin

 

At the fabulous Scented Supper in October, I learnt that before becoming an accomplished artisan perfumer, Mandy Aftel trained as a weaver. She continues to intuitively apply this skill when working with natural aromatics; intertwining them to create balance in terms of aroma, texture, weight and vibrancy. She has certainly done a masterful job of weaving together the various fragrant strands in her new release, Amber Tapestry.

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There are so many leaden ambers in this classic oriental category however Mandy breathes new life and light into the form.  Ambers don’t normally sing on my skin but this one does. I find lift and luminosity where I normally find flatness and opacity.

The smooth yellow mandarin in the opening of the EdP is simply gorgeous and just as Mandy tells us, it is the most floral of all the citruses. The amber accord is an enticing combination of fuzzy labdanum,  ambreine (a derivative of labdanum resinoid) and the salty tang of ambergris.

The amber accord is liberally embroidered with jasmine from start to finish and it’s the silkiest jasmine I’ve come across. It’s never screechy or uncomfortably indolic. The two varieties used here interlace wonderfully with the amber, adding floral interest, contrast and radiance.

The cinnamon is super soft and I only pick up slivers of the pear if I lean in close. Amber Tapestry also contains maltol and benzoin but I don’t find it too sweet or gourmand.

Coumarin and heliotropin give it a plush, powdery finish. The texture feels like the fur of a rust coloured cat or even dusty golden suede, thanks to the inclusion of castoreum. It stays fairly close to the body, wrapping itself around my skin. However, when you’re within its sphere, it’s enveloping. I’m struck time and again by how meticulously well blended Amber Tapestry is. It feels seamless.

There are no pointy edges; all is softness and comfort. However the ambergris and castoreum prevent it from being too safe. Amber lovers will need a pillow to cushion their fall as they swoon but non-amber fans, such as me, are likely to be taken with it as well because it is so lustrous and floral.

We all need some warmth, beauty and light to console us in these dark days of winter (not to mention these troubled times) and it’s just the thing to lift our spirits as we go into the festive season.

Memento Mori came to jangle our senses but Amber Tapestry has come to soothe them. It’s just what the doctor ordered. Using perfume to self-medicate is a regular practice of mine and this is the perfect remedy for what ails many of us right now.

 

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Does the idea of a floral amber appeal to you?

 

 

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