In 1995 two friends – Robert Gerstner and Karl Bradl opened up a perfume store in New York at 9 Christopher Street and gave it a name of Aedes de Venustas. The boutique has a very specific eclectic feel due to the heavy and decorative furnishing, crystal chandeliers, huge flower bouquets and statues like a white peacock. With the selection of niche perfumes that the place offered, Aedes de Venustas has planted its roots in the olfactory map of New York City. In 2012 they started their own fragrance line and this year they presented a perfume number 3.
This brand new fragrance is named Oeillet Bengale and as soon as first rumours started spreading in the PerfumeLand, most people expected that it will be a perfume with carnation as a main accord. But as easy as it seemed – it wasn’t true. When first official information on new Aedes de Venustas appeared, it was revealed that the scent was inspired by Pierre-Joseph Redoute (botanist, died in 1840) print which depicted a specific variety of rose, Rosa Indica caryophyllea. This species looks just like a carnation and that gave birth to an idea of creating a scent which would bring up a question: is it a rose? or is it a carnation?
Knowing all this I was hooked-up to try this fragrance. Luckily Aedes just became available at Galilu perfumery in Warsaw, so I ordered a sample to give it a go. The opening stage of Oeillet Bengale is created around mildly spicy clove accord. There is the immediate feeling of warmth and spiciness emanating from the skin right after you sprayed it on. It is really delicious and this kind of yummy vibe intensifies after 15 minutes when some sweet undertones start to shine in the background.
The lightly caramelized sweetness that I detected became less sweet and more dense after a while revealing the full-bodied aroma of benzoin resin. It gives the balsamic quality to Oeillet Bengale and it corresponds very well with the clove note. After some time the balsamic quality becomes even stronger when its power is enhanced thanks to the tolu balsam. At the end of 1st hour the new Aedes de Venustas offering takes me to heaven – all because of the fantastic cinnamon accord. It smells spicy, woody, tingling and a bit sweet at the same time. It adds the vibrancy to the blend.
At some point of the development, when all the spicy and balsamic notes calm down and become less powerful, you might notice a gentle juiciness in a color of red, emerging from the composition of Aedes de Venustas Oeillet Bengale. This is the strawberry accord which smoothly fits in the gap between the other notes, creating some sort of bridge between certain parts of the perfume. Right now, at 1,5 hours mark is the moment I start to smell the rose. Soon it will rule the composition.
The power of the rose grows gradually and in the next 20-30 minutes it will be building its body until it forms a really big flower created of velvety petals in a color of crimson, with almost black edges. At first it announces its present in a gentle way but after a while it becomes much heavier, pungent and a slightly dramatic as well. The piquancy of black pepper is wrapped all over the rose petals like an invisible barbed wire. It’s not only intensively dry-spicy but it has the inevitable metallic vibe which serves as a disguise, turning the rose into a carnation. Now the rose has jagged petals and has a fiery scent. Oeillet Bengale changed into a different floral being and this is absolutely a good thing for this scent.
As the time passes rose and carnation meet, greet, have a quarrel, then they fight – finally on this battlefield the only things remaining are the petals of both flowers – mixed, hard to separate. The note of saffron kind of smells like a continuation of the accord of clove, having the scent very close to the eugenol essence I know from the lab. It’s intensive and vibrant, very enchanting too, especially if you like the smell of winter spices (gingerbread spices). Spices and rose compose well, don’t they?
Later on you can smell the creamy and sweet facet of vanilla which has a little bit of darkness thanks to the vanilla pod. For the next few hours Oeillet Bengale from Aedes de Venustas does a retrospective of the notes. You can once again smell the cloves, benzoin, cinnamon and of course the rose which pretends to be a carnation. But now everything smells weaker than earlier. And strawberry note seems to be missing after those 5 hours. The grand finale is about to begin, it will be the last scene of the last act.
In the drydown turmeric (to me curcuma is a more common name for it) adds a warmth lined with herbal, earthy and rooty elements. Also the balsamic smell of labdanum brings a touch of incense which, being a bit cold, balances the character of Oeillet Bengale which is basically a warm and fiery perfume. This perfume has a character and it stands out among some other creations which more and more often tend to repeat some well-known aesthetics from the history of perfumery.
Aedes de Venustas went their own way by creating a fragrance which is beautiful, bold, a bit theatrical and baroque-styled. This scent for the perfume world is like a diva part for the opera. It doesn’t scream but sings with passion. It starts with a really great sillage that drops down after 4 hours and becomes weaker and weaker. Oh, but it lasts for 8-10 hours when it’s hot, amazing. And it’s so beautiful! This perfume is treasured in a 100ml signature flacon (this time the glass is purple-ish) with a golden zamak cap. The box looks like covered with purple velvet. I’m really glad I could experience this “rose on fire” composed by Rodrigo Flores-Roux.
[note] Pictures in the review are from the press and from fragrantica article