Tag Archives: 2015 launch

Light before the Night, Prada Marienbad

Hello 2019! Since a new year has begun I’m going to kick it off with my traditional review of a Prada fragrance. The idea of boutique exclusive perfume collections launched by big fashion houses like Chanel or Dior is nothing new these days. Of course not all fashion labels have joined this bandwagon (think Versace). Prada was one of the latecomers to this game, introducing Olfactories collection in 2015. But… it wasn’t their first attempt as between 2004 and 2012 they released a bunch of boutique-only fragrances but those came without much echo in the fragrance universum.

Marienbad starts as a luminous amber perfume but that’s just how it looks (smells?) on the outside. Its take off is full of brightness, feels exhilarating, kind of fresh even… but there’s way more complexity hiding underneath this external layer. It doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes until the perfume starts to put on weight and develop greater density. Amber becomes more resinous, having a slight fudgy sweetness in the background. The perfume still has a bright nature at this point.

However some shadows start to sneak in as well. Those shadows smell of black leather. This accord is introduced to Prada Marienbad in a seamless manner, as if it emerged straight from the sea of amber. Leather feels very elegant and sophisticated in this perfume. Stylish. Its glossy, shiny finish combined with the way it smells suggests a very expensive pair of shoes or a luxurious hand bag. Of course both would have to come from Prada boutique. This leather doesn’t feel offensive at all.

Next up in the fragrance development we have insense. Its smokiness – immaterial, clear but present only adds to the overall elegant feeling that Marienbad evokes. It’s contrasting with radiance of amber and merges with leather that itself has a darker side – some sort of chiaroscuro effect is created with these notes. Adding more to the noir of this Prada composition there’s oud. This wood-derived resin creates more depth and enriches the impressions with a bit of dramatism.

Agar in Prada Marienbad feels oily, balmy and rich. It also gets a tiny bit animalic because of some civet. But those are countered with boozy oriental vanilla note so that the fragrance has a good balance between dark and light elements. Tolu balm makes everything feels very smooth & seamless while the signature Prada iris brings some powdery tones to this perfume, giving it a nice finishing touch. I think of this Olfactories release as a fudgy, cuddly amber – ideal for winter.

Among original (read: first) boutique collection of Prada Olfactories, Marienbad stands there as one of the more complex ones to be honest with you. Great part of the other ones focus on 2-3 ingredients and those have a tendency to get more linear. In case of Prada Marienbad you can experience more interaction between the ingredients, there are different layers that entwine and overlap with one another. Perfumer Daniela Andrier  did a great job. The entire collection is available in eau de parfum concentration in 100 ml heavy glass bottles, each perfume comes with a pouch.

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Lovender, La Parfumerie Moderne Années Folles

To me Summer is a lot about citrus fragrances. Lemon, lime, orange, bergamot, mandarin, grapefruit, citron… Give me all because without them summertime would’ve been hard to survive. On the other hand I don’t want to fall into a perfume monothony. I also crave mint, basil, airy florals, even marine-themed compositions are of my liking lately (like Acquasala or Un Air de Bretagne). But there’s one aroma that I associate with the summer just as much as I do with citrus – and that is lavender. I loved the smell of it since I was young and I keep on dreaming to visit lavender fields in Provence when the plants are in full bloom, surrounded by a bee buzz & ready for harvesting.

My recent testing of one of the fragrances from La Parfumerie Moderne gave me the wonderful opportunity to feel exactly how I would imagine a trip to Provence would smell like. Just seconds after spraying Annees Folles on skin the scenery around you changes. As if with a touch of a magic wand you are transported to the Provencal fields. The smell of lavender is so enveloping, it wraps around your body like a fluffy blanket. The floral tones of these tiny purple flowers are exhilarating and refreshing while at the same time the aromatic nature of it unveils slowly and nests deeper in the composition, creating a gorgeous 3-dimensional view that is so picturesque and breathtaking.

At first I find lavender of Annees Folles to be on a more floral side with a detectable nuances of pollen powder and a tiny bit of honey and beeswax mingling in the background. However as time goes by this impression changes. After a while it starts to have some more herbal characteristics. It’s becoming greener, slightly more vegetal but floral lavender facet is not gone yet. Then thyme joins the composition and at that point aromatic herb feeling takes over the lead. There’s a lovely peaceful aura created by this perfume. Warm spiciness of nutmeg adds more complexity to the scent and they go so well together. This spice note has a nice & happy tingle for extra dose of optimism.

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After 2 hours La Parfumerie Moderne Annees Folles develops an aromatic, crispy yet somehow dewy vibe. At the beginning I though that this could be a violet leaf but as I spent more time smelling it from up close I realized that it’s actually a geranium accord. It’s green and has a very warm undertone that instantly brings the idea of how much sun energy it has absorbed. Subsequently we have the arrival of vetiver – in this case its profile combines woody notes with aromatic grass. By rendering it that way the perfume  gains more substantivity which is added value to the dimension it already had. I especially like how the notes unfold here at their own pace. No rush at all.

Even after couple more hours Annees Folles is still unmistakably an olfactive story about lavender. It’s still very present on my skin and now it combines all of the aspects that appeared earlier – there’s a floral part, a herbaceous part and an aromatic part. Thanks to the drydown notes the perfume undergoes even more changes. Tonka beans make the scent creamier, more sensual but at the same time something nutty and crunchy appears as well. To me it smells like a shortbread cookie with edible lavender. Later on it becomes slightly more like a pudding that step by step becomes more balmy and caramelized – a benzoin delight with a gentle incensy finish.

Annees Folles from La Parfumerie Moderne surprised me with its brilliant quality and structure. I’m glad that I could try this slightly older release after liking most recent Belles Rives so much. A lot of care and precision went into creating this fragrance – each note has a reason to be there and they work with each other like a perfectly synchronized orchestra. But that’s not a surprise knowing that Marc-Antoine Corticchiato is a perfumer. Annees Folles surely belongs to my top 5 lavenders now. The perfume is available as eau de parfum, in 100 ml blue glass bottle. Very recently the brand started offering 7.5 ml travel sprays that you can combine, making your own set of three.

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