Category Archives: perfume review

Golden Sparks, Hiram Green Voyage 2019

Four years ago thanks to Hiram Green I experienced a vivid trip to perfumed India with its bounty of heady smells as interpreted by a perfumer. It was just a 3rd perfume done by Hiram but he was already becoming a rising star of natural perfumery. Voyage was a limited edition and even if we all begged on our knees it was not possible to maintain the perfume as is. But Hiram wanted to bring back Voyage due to its success. And he did! With a couple of tweaks done to the formulation to replace some harder to source materials, Voyage 2019 was born, inviting us to India once more.

I no longer have my sample of Voyage from 2015 but first whiff of this year’s edition takes me back in time. The perfume opens with bright and prominent citrus accord. Slightly indolic and tangy orange blossom quickly comes to the fore, leaving smells of lemons and oranges behind. Latter two introduce a bit of acidity to Voyage 2019 as well. The fragrance is additionally lined with shy greenness that is suspended somewhere between petitgrain, geranium and galbanum. It’s a small enough to not take over but big enough to make a difference. In general the citrusy top notes have a glossy, glazed feeling which starts veering towards oriental relatively early. From what I can remember and by going back to my old review I think that this new iteration is smoother and less screechy than its predecessor. Also indolic and jasmine-like aspect of orange flower is not as strong. Perhaps it is more thoroughly blended? Or maybe it’s due to the fact that suede accord has been taken out of the bottle? No matter which is it, I can only bow before Hiram Green talent.


After this citrus green impression created by the top notes, Voyage 2019 becomes more floral, revealing the signature of reworked version. Lotus flower, India national flower, brings peace and tranquility to the scent by scattering silky pink petals that smell of pollen, cream and plant water. In my opinion it’s a very positive change. It brings something mysterious and luscious to it, making you want to smell it every few minutes. Spiciness is more muted compared to the original but whispers of clove and cinnamon remained. Already at this point new Hiram Green perfume feels like it’s made for cuddling. Vanilla has a lovely consistency here, it’s custardy, pudding-like. Its plush fuzziness imitates a cashmere jumper that gives a soft caress to your skin. It’s blended seamlessly with gorgeous, soft amber – luminous and sparkly. There’s a hint of benzoin resin too. It adds a lovely balsamic quality to the scent. Thanks to all of these pieces Voyage 2019 feels like a warm and comforting oriental blend. It’s a sensual perfume for long, chilly evenings of Autumn and Winter.

Hiram Green is known for having a great hand for natural raw materials that let him create fragrances of extraordinary lasting power. Voyage 2019 is no exception. It starts louder but when it dries down it gently hums on top of your skin until the last crack in the fireplace. This perfume doesn’t feel cloying at all, you won’t feel overwhelmed. In my opinion it’s also much more wearable than many orientals – it’s just more graceful and polite. Just like Voyage it’s a limited edition, only 280 bottles were made. It’s exclusive to Hiram Green website where samples are available too.

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Walking on Air, Jul et Mad Stairway to Heaven

I have a special connection with Jul et Mad since my early days as a perfumista. I remember receiving one sample in a swap and I liked it so much that I decided to send an message to a generic contact email of the brand. I got a reply from Madalina who was so sweet to send me travel sprays of their first 3 releases. When I first went to Esxence in 2014, they were one of the first brands I met. I also fell in love with Aqua Sextius then. But Jul et Mad haven’t released a new perfume since 2017. One wonders what Julien and Madalina could’ve been doing during this silent time in perfume universum. Recently they’ve been hiking in the Himalayas, on their way to conquer Annapurna they found happiness, inner peace and also inspiration for a new fragrance.

Stairway to Heaven opens with a peaceful and quiet manner. Aldehydes are the first to make way to my nose as the most volatile. They quickly start to fizz on the skin creating the impression of cleanliness. During the next couple of minutes the aldehydic fizziness becomes stronger surrounding the wearer with airy purity. Lurking far in the background is a slightly sweet scent – something like maltol, evoking candy floss. This delicate sugary facet blends in nicely with the aldehydes, giving this perfume a twist that nobody else could’ve expected from a fragrance that starts like this one.

Through its entire lifespan new Jul et Mad composition remains a clean scent however at different stages some different interpretations of clean are being revealed. After some time orange and bergamot join Stairway to Heaven at the top to mix things up. They create very specific feeling on my skin. I get no juice or fragrant peel at all. Instead I recognize a citric fruitiness that is exceptionally dry. It’s a muted note that to my nose feels powdery and starchy. Even thought there’s a bit of fatty undertones, I know it’s clean. But it’s dangerously close to a fabric detergent powder territory.


Close to 1 hour mark the perfume starts to shift and floral notes rise to the surface after the aldehydes dissipate, making more space. I can smell a nicely balanced orris accord that maintains a constant equilibrium between powdery purity & buttery richness. When I smell this particulat phase of Stairway to Heaven and think of the most suitable color to represent it, only white or light grey come to my mind. Rose note appears later and adds some color but nothing more vibrant than light pink. But this hue goes well with red berries accord that follows. They are somewhat frozen and they make me think of cranberry or blueberry – it’s not as full of flavor as blackberry or raspberry.

Delicate flowery facet of heliotrope blends with its own milkiness to create a fragrant cotton sheet – plain canvas to paint on with scent. Flossy maltol feeling comes back to me like a boomerang but now it’s more vanillic, sweet in a smoother, more sensual way. Jul et Mad Stairway to Heaven in the drydown is like a soundless explosion of clean fluffs of cotton, linen. Thanks to 8 white musks used in the composition you can feel as if you were surrounded by soft clouds. Cashmeran and Ambroxan make everything more cuddly and warm. Modern patchouli fraction provides long-lasting effect. A gentle hint of smokiness comes from frankincense and Dynamon molecule (gunpowder).

Stairway to Heaven from Jul et Mad is an unexpectedly good new release from this brand. I’m not a fan of white musks in general but to own surprise I like it more than expected. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that musks and aldehydes here become more sheer, translucent over time and they have a fruited and honeyed effect that I find appealing. Coincidentally I liked another musky overdose released this year – my impressions of Chanel 1957 were also enthusiastic. This neo-musk fragrance was composed by perfumer Cecile Zarokian who also did my favorite Aqua Sextius. Stairway to Heaven lasts all day and after initial pungence becomes a calm skin scent. This extrait de parfum is available in 50 ml bottles of 2 formats (luxury or basic) and in 7 ml travel spray.

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