When the time matters, Ex Idolo Thirty Three

There are perfumes that are so unique in the way they got created that they become modern masterpieces from the moment of their launch. They don’t require special advertising or actors to front the campaign. They are scent that speak for themselves and their best attorneys are those who tried the perfume. This applies to the artisan brand Ex Idolo – owned and run by Matthew Zhuk, who I got the chance to meet in person a while ago. His first and for the moment a sole fragrance in the line – called ThirtyThree,quickly gathered a lot of positive feedback from the perfume enthusiasts.

I like it when there’s some real story behind the creation of a perfume, it’s much better than the imaginary ad-copy written with some phantasmagoric words that often don’t have any deeper sense. As for Ex Idolo Thirty Threethere’s a story of an ingredient behind this creation. To blend this perfume Matthew used a real oud essence which was harvested in 1980 and aged until the perfume was launched in 2013. As you can see Thirty Three is not just a randomly chosen number for this perfume – it’s the number of years that oud in this perfume got to mature. Let’s see how it smells when applied on skin.

The moment I spray Thirty Three on my skin and I waft the first molecules of the composition that float into the air I know I’m dealing with a perfume of a big caliber. The opening phase is a pungent spicy aroma of black pepper. There’s something a bit screechy and metallic to it but as far as the first sensation quickly subsides, the second feeling (of metal) stays strong for a while. There’s also a candied mandarin accord that isn’t very sweet but has a jammy feeling to it. It softens the initial spiciness that I smelled. Then, after 20 minutes this Ex Idolo scents starts to smell like a burning plastic or rubber, a very specific kind of stink – it’s a caoutchouc, sticky and flexible resin.

If someone asked me what I think about Thirty Three by Ex IdoloI would probably say that I find this perfume to be really interesting and that I’m not surprised it’s getting so much praise from the citizens of PerfumeLand. What is the most captivating part of this perfume in my opinion is the fact that it’s beautiful in its specific kind of ugliness. For all the time there’s a specific vibe in this perfume that bothers me a little bit but at the same time it makes me want to sniff my arm more and more. Like there was some kind of drug sending signals up to your brain and they say – you’ll love me no matter what.

After 1 hour or so the heart of the composition blooms on your skin. At first there’s a spoonful of white tea from China. It brings warmth and a bit of comfort to this composition. There are some tannins too that add a specific tea flavor to the scent. When rose appears from the depths of Thirty Three it gets pretty interesting. Matthew used two species of rose: Taif rose and Chinese rose. Both were introduced into the blend in high concentrations. That allowed to bring this huge bouquet of crimson petals to the single spritz. These are some nocturnal, dramatic roses, their faces are masked and they’re ready to attack. A sweet rose murderers. Blood meets the flower.

For a while there’s also a very weird aroma in this perfume. The smell of blacksmith workshop, where he works with hot steel, transforming a simple metal block into swords, chandeliers, armors and bracelets. This Thirty Three has the scent that I have never met in perfumes before. The accord of hot steel (from Damascus as stated at Ex Idolo website) is unusual and to my surprise it blends nicely with the rose accord. In a perfume like this one, there, where is a rose, there must be an oud to complement each other. The aroma is powerful and very present, yet at this stage it doesn’t feel thick or cloying. Thirty Three leaves a transparent trail behind a wearer, it’s like a scarf not like a coat.

The accord of patchouli adds an incredible depth to this composition, as well as it creates the dimensional arrangement between the notes used in the composition. It smells earthy and rooty but to my luck I didn’t detect the rotten leaves factor. The earthiness is additionally highlighted with iris which is rooty, it lacks the buttery or powedery facets in Thirty Three.

After many hours of smelling this fragrance you might notice that there is some floral powdery sensation twinkling in the background of Ex Idolo Thirty Three. There’s something aromatic about it, kind of like a tonka bean in my opinion but that is not listed officially in the notes. Instead a pyramid lists heliotropin which would be true after focusing more on trying to smell it. The projection of this fragrance is very good and it floats around the wearer quite a distance from a skin surface. Longevity is not a problem at all, it lasts for at least 10 hours with a noticeable presence. Very different fragrance.

During my conversation with Matthew it turned out that he has some Polish roots and I was happy to lend him a hand in terms of helping him to get his brand and his perfume to Poland. I hope that soon enough I will see Thirty Three in “just arrived” section of one of the niche perfumeries here. He also revealed a bit regarding his next creation, which might launch by the end of 2014. Hope I won’t reveal too much by saying he mentioned something about honey and leather.

[note] Bottle of Thirty Three was a gift from Matthew. Pictures: my own, all rights reserved.

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14 thoughts on “When the time matters, Ex Idolo Thirty Three

  1. Holly says:

    Lucas, this sounds fascinating. I immediately thought of the French term “jolie laide.”

    • lucasai says:

      Glad you liked the review.
      What does this term mean?

      • Holly says:

        Your own words , “captivating” and “beautiful in its specific kind of ugliness” pretty well sums it up. Literally it translates as pretty/ugly, but connotes a person who is not “pretty” in a traditional sense and could be considered to be ugly but is nonetheless beautiful and highly attractive in an unusual way. Your description of being bothered by a specific vibe yet unable to stop sniffing demonstrates your experiencing this type of allure in Thirty-three.

  2. Undina says:

    I liked what I read about this perfume, I think, on Mr. Hound’s blog and now you confirm that interest. Great review! If I don’t happen happen to come across it before then, this is a good sample candidate for our Fall swap 😉

    • lucasai says:

      There’s also a nice review of Thirty Three at Birgit’s blog 🙂
      Thank you for a compliment.
      Yes, of course, I can send you a sample with the occasion of our next swap

  3. hajusuuri says:

    This sounds very appealing and the good news is that I have a decant of this somewhere. I have such a back-log of testing / using my decants, never mind the samples (and the full bottles).

  4. jilliecat says:

    Absolutely magical – both the review and the perfume! You and he both have a gift, Lucas, of weaving a fairy tale which draws us in. This is certainly not an ordinary perfume, thank goodness.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you sweetie!
      Have you tried Thirty Three (if not, I will send you a bit some other day). Matthew is very talented and passionate about his perfume work.

  5. I really enjoyed reading your review, Lucas! I’ve never tried this one but I’m definitely going to have a sniff of this in the near future. I do like the idea of “transparent trail behind”…

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you! Do you have this brand available somewhere close to where you live? If not, I guess it is available from the samples/decants service sites.

  6. Ann says:

    Thank you for your wonderfully descriptive review. I find trying to describe Thirty Three is a challenge as it is so unique and complex. I feel downright luxurious when I wear Thirty Three!

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you Ann for stopping by 🙂
      Thirty Three is a very challenging perfume and it’s not for everyone, that is for sure.
      But there is a certain portion luxury in it. Can’t wait to try a new creation from Matthew.

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