He, who stole the fire, Olivier Durbano Promethee

On all levels of my education, history has always been one of my least favorite classes. I never had a good memory for remembering facts, dates and names but I was able to get good grades at tests if I was learning by heart. In all this there was always one certain period of time that I was fascinated with – the Ancient Times. Reading about ancient Greece, ancient Rome or Mesopotamia was always to my liking and I was eager to learn more about people’s life, of gods and all their rituals.

Couple of weeks ago I read the announcement that jewellery maker and perfumer Olivier Durbano will soon launch his 10th creation, which, unlike the previous nine that were inspired by semi-precious stones, found an inspiration in mythology, in a person of Prometheus to be precise. According to Greek mythology Prometheus created humans from clay and his tears, but they were weak. To make their living better he stole the fire from Olympus and taught people how to use its power, all this against Zeus, the kind of gods. For his act of love and kindness towards people, Prometheus was sent for eternal punishment. He was chained to a rock in Caucasus where every day eagle fed on his liver. At night the liver was regenerating and the situation repeated like in a loop.

Promethee from Olivier Durbano opens with a mild balsamic aroma of labdanum. The feeling of the note is mysterious, secretive and magical. It does feel a little dark but it’s not as heavy as I thought it would be. Labanum in this perfume is presented in a way that is the signature to Olivier Durbano fragrances. It’s really present there when you smell the perfume but it also allows other ingredients to mark their presence. After a while styrax joins the composition adding a lovely portion of warmth that embraces you like a cuddly scarf made of thick wool. Some time later the perfume shows its aromatic character. That happens after around 30 minutes. You will find ingredients such as sage and nutmeg in this fragrance full of mythological inspirations.

Sage introduces a lovely aromatic herbal facet that makes me think of some magical brew, while nutmeg brings in the element of powdery, dusty spiciness that feels really warm. Pink pepper is an additional note that intensifies the spicy sensation by making it a little bit more piquant and by bringing the temperature down by around 2 degrees. A little less heat really brings the power of spices to another level. The pepper accord in Promethee is also a prelude to the floral stage.

Past the 1st hour of wearing this new creation from Olivier Durbano, the floral tones emerge from the resinous and spicy concoction. At first I could smell a nice dose of lily, which adds a very bright and prominent flowery tones that are creamy, lactonic and very soft. But on the other hand there are still spices in the background – they add an interesting twist to this stage. Could it be that lily serves as the fire from the myth of Prometheus? 20 minutes later and you get to smell some narcissus. It surely brings a yellow floral facet to Promethee and I don’t know if my nose is being tricked here, but this accord seems to have just a tiny bit of banana flavor… Very original, it’s hard to stop sniffing.

Later on I can notice that myrtle becomes more powerful and pushes forward to get to the top. If finally reaches your nostrils and you know it when you notice a slightly mentholated and camphorous aroma. This olfactory impression serves as an introduction chapter to the next fragrant compound of Promethee, which is incense. Like labdanum was rather toned down and rendered in an elegant way, the incense chord is much darker, much more smoky. It smells a little bit of burning wood, with a recognizable churchy vibe, common to many scents from Durbano.

For the next couple of hours Promethee satisfies my perfume needs by bringing wafts of resins, spices and flowers to my nose. The way he blended them is not very obvious, that’s why this new perfume is so interesting to experience. As the time affects the fragrance, the notes that were easier to separate become more compact and more seamlessly combined. The drydown of this scent features cedarwood that has a dry woody scent without the sweaty facet. Vetiver makes it more earthy and rough but it’s a desirable effect for a perfume like this. There is also a true ambergris in this perfume. It shows after many hours, introducing a genuine ambery element with its mineral, salty facets with a bit of animalic qualities. The blend is finished with musk. This is a fluffy like a cotton kind of musk at first but then it becomes more and more dirty and wild.

I usually have mixed feelings about fragrances from Olivier Durbano. Not being an incense or oriental perfume lover I was usually in a group of people who said that they appreciate the scent but it doesn’t work for them. So far the one that worked for me best was his Pink Quartz. But now I can also add Promethee to the group of scents that I really like from this perfume house. The inspiration behind this perfume, the way it actually smells – it all puts together and forms a positive feeling about this creation in my head. This perfume has a sillage that is above average and it’s rather easy to notice it around the wearer. Lasting power is up to 10 hours. Promethee comes in 100 ml bottles of simple design, same as for other perfumes in the collection. The perfume has an orange-ish/brown-ish/gold-ish color. Recommended for autumn and winter wear.

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10 thoughts on “He, who stole the fire, Olivier Durbano Promethee

  1. poodle says:

    I think I need to try this one. It sounds perfect for fall and winter, if not for me, maybe for the hubby.

  2. Undina says:

    The perfume sounds nice but the bottle looks too simple for the price: if they want to play in “the expensive niche perfumes” league they should definitely step up their game. It’s not enough just to want to make some money – or even to produce a good perfume: if you want to charge that price for the perfume you have to package it nicely. And, preferably, in a smaller bottle. Or at least to have a smaller bottle option (and I do not count the set of all 9 perfumes to be an option: why on Earth would I want to have minis of all perfumes in the line for more than a price of one full bottle?!).

    • lucasai says:

      The bottle is very simplified and in the past people had problems with breaking atomizers. Luckily they were changed for better ones.
      I wisb Durbano would do smaller bottles, I could buy Pink Quartz then.
      And that set of smaller bottles you mention is more expensive because in these smaller bottles are extraits instead of edp in 100ml bottle

      • Undina says:

        Still, who needs 9 perfumes – extraits or not (I’m talking about the set, not the individual smaller bottles of the higher concentration)? There is absolutely no chance anybody would really like and wear all perfumes in the line-up. I don’t mind paying more for extrait or per ml of the same EdP or EdT but of the perfume of my choice in smaller bottle.

        • hajusuuri says:

          I think Parfums MDCI got it down right with allowing you to choose which minis you would like in a set. Same thing goes for Hermes with their gift sets. The Ann Gerard set of 3 was great but when Rose Cut came out, you had to get all 4 in the discovery set which I would balk at but they did something smart in switching to atomizers.

          • lucasai says:

            Too bad those MDCI are just splash. For a perfume that is expensive, having an atomizer does change a thing, a perfume goes down slower.

            Ann Gerard did good to add fourth fragrance to the set and also changing for spray vials.

        • lucasai says:

          I can tell you that it’s not impossible. Here in Poland, Olivier Durbano brand is very popular and I know personally a couple of people who own all compositions released by him so far.

          Anyway I agree – smaller sizes are always good.

  3. hajusuuri says:

    Another must try for me. Sweetie, you are racking up some serious lemming points!

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