Category Archives: perfume review

Dog days, Teresa Helbig A Bulldog in the Atelier

As it turns out people in Perfumeland often happen to be animal lovers. Doesn’t really matter if you’re a cat person, a dog person or if you prefer a different, more exotic animal. Love for our pets is all the same & is equally important. Some even get inspired by their little friends. For instance Teresa Helbig, a spanish designer based in Barcelona. In her atelier she always has her bulldog assist her. As press release says it’s ‘a silent yet attentive witness to the atelier life.’

First whiff of A Bulldog in the Atelier brings a gently herbal aroma of Roman chamomile but it’s not just a simple note. It’s quite a complex accord that very quickly becomes caramelized and crunchy at the same time. Kind of like caramel sprinkles used as dessert topping. Maybe a few minutes later I get something nutty from it that reminds me of almond. This almondy aroma is toasty and warm but there’s also some creaminess like a heliotrope in its surroundings. Then it develops a warm spiciness that blends coriander with pepper. It adds a nice accent to this pretty opening.

Top notes mingle on my skin for around 20-30 minutes and then heart notes slowly come up, emerging from the deeper parts of the fragrance. I smell quite a hefty dose of vetiver – it smells woody in a dry manner but geranium note that appears shortly after make it smell more crisp & green, with an herbal rosy backnote to it. It even becomes slightly exotic in my opinion & there’s something there that makes me think of upcoming Christmas. Maybe it’s a nutmeg that is also a part of gingerbread spice mix. A Bulldog in the Atelier has a yummy warmth that suits current season.

teresa-helbig-bulldog

For the next couple of hours the perfume would slightly change on my skin, maintaining its warmth while proportions of different ingredients would change. Some moment I smell more vetiver, the other one it’s more spices. Afterwards this solid and substantive sandalwood base accord appears. Of course it’s woody but it’s somehow undecided if it wants to go in more smooth & creamy direction or the very opposite of it. It’s in between, combining smoothness and dryness. Vanilla adds a noticeable brightness to the blend while benzoin introduces a balmy facet that reflects the light.

Light that hides within Teresa Helbig fragrance scatters like rays on a sequins fabric – elegantly and with grace. The drydown of her A Bulldog in the Atelier has a whole bunch of musk. It appears as a multi-faceted note here as it brings something white & fluffy on one side, then there’s something mineral, almost salty & then again there’s a big part of it that is sensual and carnal. There’s also patchouli listed but I didn’t smell it straight. Actually I have to admit that to some extend this perfume reminds me of Guerlain Shalimar. They share similar tenderness despite being built differently.

All in all I find A Bulldog in the Atelier to be a nice perfume. It’s warmth, mellow character and level of complexity provide lots of changes throughout a daily wearing. Plus it’s very suitable for current season of Winter that is almost here. This perfume for Teresa Helbig was designed by perfumer Shyamala Maisondieu. Its longevity is good while sillage  stays closer to the skin. Concentration of this composition is at eau de parfum level. The only available size is 100 ml. Did any of you had a chance to try this line? Or maybe some of you was familiar with this fashion designer before?

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Unicorn wish, Jul et Mad Mon Seul Désir

In a world where everyone seems to copy everyone (in more or less sophisticated way) and everything comes down to ‘who did it first’ so that others can streamline their ideas towards this one specific concept, being original & creative has an extra value. There are many beautiful, poetic ways to describe a thing that is one of a kind. I especially like descriptions such as white crow or a unicorn. This latter one, a mythical creature leads us to a Middle Age tapestry from unknown artist, titled ‘The Lady and The Unicorn’. Julien and Madalina Blanchard were mesmerized by its beauty & elegance. They also noticed a writing on the tent, saying ‘mon seul desir’ – which became a fragrance name.

Mon Seul Desir has a surprisingly fresh opening that in its fruitiness especially accentuates citrusy tones of mandarin. At the beginning it smells very juicy, sweet, tart and absolutely mouth-watering. But in a wink of an eye the perfume starts to evolve. At first the mandarin accord becomes more sweet, turning into a candied fruit that is still very yummy. However after a couple more minutes it becomes more dusty. This dustiness starts to dominate until it becomes strong enough to realize that it’s a smell of nutmeg. It’s somehow dry & I usually perceive it that way – it’s kind of like a parchment.

Dry spiciness doesn’t last for long because 10 minutes later the character of the spicy vibe transforms from dry to more tingly, sparkly sensation with a gentle metallic vibe. It’s a pink pepper note that introduces this feeling to Mon Seul Desir. This material is quite popular among perfumers these days. Spicy flavor is an important part of new fragrance from Jul et Mad, that’s why nutmeg and pepper are not the only ones present in the formula. After a while coriander arrives providing a fresher take on spice notes. To my nose it’s also a little come back to a more dry phase.

mon-seul-desir

Spicy notes mix and entwine so that at some point it becomes difficult to separate one from another. They also tone down gradually – when they become more quiet it is the right time for osmanthus to shine. As an interesting fact I’ll mention that it smells quite unusual. There is an apricot-flavored tea aroma with some floralties underneath but normally it should smell quite fresh, luminous, but no… it smells more dark & dubious. It’s because of oud note that osmanthus’s radiance went down. There’s not much of it in Mon Seul Desir. Enough to introduce some changes but not to annoy the wearer.

After some time we’re back into the light! The oud is gone, the spiciness is very faint. In the drydown there’s a lot of bezoin. It smells very rich, balsamic & smooth. There’s some balmy creaminess to it that makes Mon Seul Desir smell very luxurious. Amber that smells resinous, slightly mineral and sensual is another source of radiance and luminosity. Leathery notes are quite tenacious, adding beautiful richness and substantivity to the composition. I like the complexity of this perfume and how it changes over time. Addition of gaiac wood adds some solidity and it’s blended with musk for a carnal dirtiness that has some animalic qualities to it as well. It awakens your wildest desires.

I’m a big fan of Jul et Mad as a brand, not only because Julien and Madalina are great people but more importantly because fragrances they create are of great quality & uniqueness. I have to admit that when I tried Mon Seul Desir first time in April, we didn’t click then but when I revisited my sample couple of weeks ago (when it started getting cold) and I thought it was phenomenal & people kept noticing a lovely scented trail behind me. Perfumer Stephanie Bakouche composed a beautiful perfume: rich and complex, that blooms beautifully on your skin. Its enveloping sensuality suits more occassions than just a cuddly evening with your partner. Longevity and sillage of this extrait de parfum are beyond amazing. It’s available in 50 ml bottle (simple box or luxury coffret) or 5 ml mini.

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