Monday Quick Sniffs, part 51

honey-oud

Until today I haven’t tried anything from Floris but I suppose that if someone put me in front of the shelf filled with their offerings, based just on the perfume name, Honey Oud wouldn’t be my first choice. However after learning that my scent sibling Undina likes it a lot & after receiving a sample from her I had no other choice but try it. Honey Oud indeed opens with a honey note but instead of smelling something animalic I am greeted with a luminous golden liquid which is quite sweet and reminds me more of an amber accord. This oozing, sticky honey is quite powerful but fades away relatively quickly. After a while Honey Oud reveals a lovely richness of rose, in the entourage of oud and patchouli. Both introduce density & the element of oriental darkness. It gets quite sultry and seductive. To some extend it reminds me of Tauer Phi Une Rose de Kandahar but less saturated. Drydown has quite a resinous vibe – balsamic labdanum in the front effuses its balmy and slightly incensy aroma. There is also amber and vanilla to introduce some brightness and the sweetness it gives forms a link to that impression from the opening. A bit of musk hints something carnal, wild but in the end it’s more plush. All in all Floris Honey Oud is quite a nice fragrance. It has a slightly misleading name and smells similar to other oriental oud & rose scents.

ysl-trench

In 2015 Yves Saint Laurent joined the bandwagon of creating exclusive boutique collections by releasing Le Vestiaire line. Among them Undina said I might like a few so I decided to start with Trench. This composition starts with a mild citrus accord composed with bergamot and tangerine. It’s not overly juicy and has sort of a powdery effect in the background. After some time a fuzzy, plush-like iris note arrives to the scene. It feels very soft, fluffy and just tiny bit like suede. In this part it’s reminiscent to Iris Prima by Penhaligon’s. Both of these fragrances share similar tenderness. Afterwards Trench develops a new fruity facet focusing on a milky-green yet delicate fig. This note is not very strong and gets easily overtaken by neroli. The smell of white flowers – rich & citrusy plays very nicely with the iris accord and makes you focus more attention on this particular part of the scent. Drydown offers a mellow, silky blend of ambrette seeds and musk. The latter one feels clean and soft like a cotton flower. It’s probably a white musk but at least in this case it doesn’t reek of nasty synthetic. A little bit of pale cedar wood only whispers in the back and never gets to play a significant rose. Same goes for fir absolute – I couldn’t even feel a hint of something coniferous, green. YSL Trench is an ok perfume. It doesn’t wow you but wears nicely on skin. Shame it’s so short-lived on my skin and has almost no sillage.

les-annees-25

In 2018 perfumer Andy Tauer celebrated 25 (!!!) years of Tauer Perfumes. To commemorate this amazing achievement (how many one-man brands with such experience do you know?) he created a limited edition fragrance named Les Annees 25 (vingt-cinque) which also refers to a Golden Age of humanity as well as to Art Deco exhibition of the same name in Paris. The composition is opened with a mouth-watering and spacious citrus accord. The mix of sour bergamot and sweet orange has an additional green-tinge of aromatic petitgrain and a brisk lemony spiciness of ginger. It immediately starts to give off a vintage vibe that reminds me of Guerlain L’Heure Bleue. In the heart of this scent we have an abundance of resinous, balsamic and slightly salty benzoin goodness which is then joined a lot of powdery-talc iris and some rose. Once you reach to the base Les Annes 25 becomes warmer and embracing with aromatic and slightly spicy tonka beans. Going further I could smell oakmoss with some earthy patchouli. Plus a hefty dose of sandalwood sweetened with vanilla. There’s also ambergris and musk that give it an old-fashioned smell. Les Annees 25 is like an homage to the past and its perfume classics.

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Heart of the Void, Amouage Opus XI

If you give it a short philosophic thought you might realize that perfume and books have quite a lot in common. Both writer and perfumer need time to finish their work, and that should not be rushed. What’s probably most important is that both have a story to tell, each in their own, unique way. I like reading books and I love perfume but I have to admit that last year I didn’t dedicate enough time to that first activity. And because people’s tastes differ not every book is meant to be read, nor every perfume smelled. But the narrative presented in the latest Amouage creation is like a reading with couple of first chapters being scary but you’d be glad you didn’t give up and read it to the end.

The moment you apply it on your skin Opus XI leaves no doubt it’s a mighty perfume. Without any warning you get to experience its full potential right from the start. On my skin the opening is very dark and balsamic with oud accord stepping to the front. Its raw and dense aroma fills your nose with enigmatic and mysterious fragrance. The feeling it spreads around has an oily and viscous character and the smell itself is quite dirty, animalic and veering on the edge of something fecal and medicinal at the same time. What I’m also noticing is that there are moments when agarwood has a slightly synthetic, plastic-like vibe hiding somewhere deep, in the background of this composition.

Opus XI is like an inkwell that someone just knocked over on the table. Its perfumed juice emulates spilled ink in this metaphor. Puddle of the black liquid slowly spreads and becomes bigger but when you look closer it could as well be a shapeless creature, crawling towards its prey. That’s how I see this new Amouage at first. After some time the perfume becomes earthier, with a distinctive smell of damp soil. It’s kind of like the air after the storm, like petrichor but much more nocturnal. At some point styrax becomes more prominent, combining this earthiness with resinous, balmy facets that add some warmth to this fragrance. It smells like a mix of myrrh and benzoin on my skin.

amouage-opus-xi

As hours fly Opus XI doesn’t seem as beasty as it was before. It’s drying down to a woody element that feels very elegant on the skin. The wood has a darker color – this thing doesn’t change. It smells like untreated oud wood or like mahogany maybe. There’s quite a lot of dryness to this phase so it makes me think of an aged parchment (with ancient magic spells) with a lovely substantivity. It’s reminiscent of nutmeg as Opus XI develops some warm spiciness that makes the perfume more embracing, cuddly even. This dry oriental woody accord – stylish and sort of masculine, reminds me of Agar Ebene from Hermes. Amouage one is much more present compared to the other one.

After experiencing Amouage Opus XI for longer than a day I realized that it’s not as complex as an Amouage perfume can be. But that’s not a flaw! More like a praise for a perfumer to be able to create an intricate structure with not many ingredients. Although I’m certain it was made of more than 4 ingredients. In the drydown the scent becomes herbal and aromatic through a marjoram note. Isn’t it more popular for Mediterranean cuisine rather than fragrance? Opus XI features also a thing called leatherwood. It made me think that it’s probably another fancy and modern synthetic ingredient evoking smells of wood and leather. Turns out it’s actually a plant, Eucryphia lucida.

Eventually, after many hours you can smell a leathery aspect of Opus XI – more sour and acrid at first but then evolving into a softer and fuzzier suede with a hint of shoe wax. Inspired by a world of fake information, Amouage creative director Christopher Chong worked together with perfumer Pierre Negrin on a fragrance that would reflect the Orient in a sincere way through the use of real and fake (synthetic) materials. A majestic oud without compromise was born. Opus XI is housed in a signature flacon of Amouage Library Collection (50 or 100 ml), this time in a cobalt blue color. This initially intimidating scent becomes your good companion in the course of the day.

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