Tag Archives: 2016 launch

Moonlight waltz, Grandiflora Queen of the Night

Curse of a perfume world is the fact that with so many new fragrances being launched each year (I think 2000+) it’s impossible to try everything. Most of us decide on a new scent to try based on own tastes, or on an intense media buzz around certain compositions. On blogs we give a fair share of love to perfume from France, Italy, US & UK. Even Sweden (think Byredo) gets some space on websites & blogs. Because I love bringing little gems to your attention I thought that my first review after a summer holidays should break a scheme & present perfume from none of these countries.

At Pott’s Point in Sydney, Australia there is a small flower shop named Grandiflora. It’s there since 1995, run by Saskia Havekes. Flowers are the way of life for her, you can tell that by her calm and gentle nature, the way she talks about flowers as if they were her children. Though floral design remains her main activity up to date, in 2013 she decided to enter a perfume market and you know what – I’m glad she did! Fragrance portfolio of Grandiflora is truly impressive despite small size. She worked with wonderful perfumers to convey souls of different flowers into bottles of perfume.

First whiff of Queen of the Night feels like the opening door leading to the world of flowers. This complex impression lasts for a moment and once the perfume settles on the skin a real structure of a perfume begins to crystallize. Up first is a tartness of lemon (with peel) mixed with a juicy bergamot zing. It’s a refreshing cocktail to awaken the senses. Mandarin orange appears after a few minutes to add a little bit of citrusy sweetness. In the background there’s a sheer veil of aldehydes. It’s like a lace curtain in the window. On the other hand it’s clean transparency is a bit oily and powdery, what reminds me of bedsheet drying in the air after being washed in good laundry detergent.

This clean aspect of Grandiflora Queen of the Night lasts for a while but it takes on a different form. It continues thanks to orange blossom and lily of the valley, two white floral accords often associated with cleanliness. At some point jasmine starts to dominate over the other notes. Its white petals surrounded by indolic aura, even if a very light one, cause that the perfume doesn’t feel clean anymore. It smoothly transitions into woody notes of sandalwood and maybe some cashmeran too. Woods give some necessary heft for this perfume, a solid foundation that will let it bloom.

grandiflora-queen-of-the-night

Flower notes that make Queen of the Night such an irresistible fragrance appear later in the fragrance development and it feels as if they were entering the composition out of nowhere. Vanilla orchid adds a beautifully lush floral scent. There’s something powdery to it, like a pollen scented with vanilla cream. It blooms on the skin in a sensual & seductive way. There’s additional beauty factor to it because or red berries that securely create a background for the flowers. Personally I get hints of cherry, red currant and some raspberry. They make floral notes stand out even more. Watery cyclamen softens any edges & also contrasts with the aroma of pink pepper.

Press materials also mention a presence of pittosporum, a flowering plant growing in Australia, or wisteria. I find these floral notes appearing in the drydown to be the ones that speak the most to me. There’s something magical, mesmerizing to the combined smell of orchid, vanilla and other floral notes. I actually want to believe that this aura of a starry sky with a crescent moon is how queen of the night flower actually smells like. I find the aroma of this Grandiflora fragrance really captivating and mesmerizing. Like a spell. It creates a mysterious mood that I want to experience too.

If you thought that I couldn’t get any better – you were wrong. Queen of the Night becomes even better over time. It’s thanks to a warm amber accord that adds a cuddly, velvety texture to the scent, as well as thanks to some incense to enhance a mysterious mood effused by the fragrance. There’s also a hint of patchouli to add more depth and dimension and some musk for that final carnal element. The perfume is a very complex creation, different sources list different number and type of notes. Despite that the composition is well-rounded, all of its elements make perfect sense together.

This perfume, an ode to night-flowering cactus, Selenicereus grandiflorus, was composed by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. Together with Saskia Havekes they created a magnetic floral fragrance that is worth remembering for many, many years. It’s like something I’ve never smelled before. After recent re-design of Grandiflora packaging, Queen of the Night and their other scents are now available in 50 ml (instead of 100) simple black glass bottle. It’s longevity is amazing and sillage is moderate at first, becoming more skin-scent after few hours.

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Shade & iridescence, Armani Privé Iris Celadon

I was never very fond of the idea of popular designer brands launching special new collections branded as “exclusive” or “boutique” lines. As if they tried to prove they can go beyond their own mass-market offerings and produce something more unique, less mainstream and from higher quality ingredients (supposedly). Many of those special fragrances are limited to designer’s own salons and that often triggers the feeling that the harder something is to get, the more tempting it is. Armani Privé is one of those exclusive side lines with limited distribution. Even though they are available in Poland in large Douglas salons I haven’t tried a single one of those. Until now.

The perfume in this line that felt interesting enough for me to actually seek for a sample holds a name of Iris Celadon and was launched in 2016. When I saw someone offering a small-ish decant I immediately made an offer and it worked out. A week later I could give it a try & decide if it was worth the effort. On my skin the perfume opens with a tart, slightly dusty bergamot that quickly fades away. When that happens a glimpse of elegant aldehydes appear on top, making the perfume much more glamorous and charming. The aldehydic vibe is fizzy but has some weight to it. It kind of feels like a nod to Chanel No.5 or 1932. However Iris Celadon feels less bright because there is cardamom that smells dusky. Maybe 20 minutes later iris enters the composition. Powdery, almost chalky at first, it smoothly changes into a silky, gently floral self. It feels modern and old-fashioned at the same time.

iris-celadon

Heart of Armani Prive Iris Celadon hides a secret – for there is iris again but in a different form. There’s no possibility to mistake iris concrete for something else. The smell is very rich, buttery with some creamy nuances to it. Sometimes it might feel a bit gooey and in different moments the smell of iris butter entwine with the scent of dried roots with a little bit of earth. After a while the perfume becomes darker. Chocolate note adds a new color to the perfume, making it feel slightly powdery. The smell of cocoa is distinctive but not overpowering. It blends nicely with iris concrete – combined they smell like chocolate ganache. I didn’t detect mate absolute mentioned among notes. In the drydown there is a handful of semi-dirty patchouli with earthy, rooty vibe with a hint of balmy qualities. Musk and ambrette make it softer but they also have a dirty facet. Luckily iris as dominating aroma wraps around it all making it smell really good. Few hours later there’s a suede-like effect.

Iris Celadon by Armani Prive is a lovely perfume after all. It’s true that it’s not innovative or especially creative but I still find it very pleasing. It was created by perfumer Marie Salamagne, has good longevity and moderate sillage. Yet at a price of almost 200 € for a 100 ml bottle I don’t think I’ll be ever tempted to buy it. If you tried Iris Celadon and thought the same way you may be pleased to know that I found this fragrance to be very similar to Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels which retails at a lower price, so maybe this is some sort of solution. The flacon of Iris Celadon has a simple form, it’s black with a gold name plate. Cap that looks like a stone is made in celadon color (neither blue, green or grey) but it’s apparently made of synthetic resin. Try this perfume if you can.

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