It’s been a while since I last wrote about something from Laboratorio Olfattivo. I quite liked their earlier releases but what came later didn’t interest me as much & the number of new fragrances added went up quite fast. But I never fully gave up on the brand, that’s why I got me a decant of Mandarino. Laboratio Olfattivo is one of those brands that keep Jean-Claude Ellena busy after his retirement from Hermes and this perfume is also composed by him. Mandarino is a very simplicist creation, very much in line with the style of J-C.E. At first there’s a burst of Italian mandarin – a very juicy and realistic interpretation that makes my mouth water. Mandarin notes often turn flat after a while but this one stays round and firm. Maybe it’s because that right underneath this lovely juiciness there’s also this powdery, almost talc-y albedo facet that is additionally followed by the aromatic orange-colored peel. It’s a whole fruit. Once this part calms down the flavor changes. Enter blackcurrant note. In Mandarino it has a very tart character – more like actual buds rather than a jammy fruit. You can almost smell the acidic quality of these delicious black orbs. Mandarine and currant notes are quite linear here but they last for a good amount of time. When the perfume dries down it becomes lighter, softer and pleasantly musky. It’s a simple fragrance but it does the trick. Had I discovered it before the summer, I’d have worn it.
I rarely reach for gourmand fragrances at my own will so you have to blame my NST swap partner, Karina, for adding a sample of Cafe Cabanel by Teo Cabanel as a freebie in a package she sent me. In other circumstances I wouldn’t have been searching for this one. The perfume opens with a warm and slightly caramelized smell of freshly roasted coffee beans that are being ground a moment later – resulting in giving off a slightly powdery aroma. There’s a bit of cinnamon going on in this composition but while it adds a little bit of spicy tinge, Cafe Cabanel becomes sweeter and sweeter. Over time it develops that densely sugary scent of condensed milk – this bring back childhood memories as I used to buy it in tubes and eat it like regular sweets. This gourmand accord is enhanced by a smooth buttery note and an almost edible heliotrope. In the drydown there’s a lot of balsamic tonka that fuses with gooey and sticky concoction of caramel & vanilla. There’s a hint of sandalwood in this composition but it can be easily unnoticed due to all the sweetness that is oozing from this perfume. I can understand why some people like i; But not me. However after a couple of hours when the sweetness is not so drastic, the drydown reminds be of balsams from MFK Grand Soir.
Speaking of Maison Francis Kurkdjian, I was curious about their newly released L’Homme a la Rose a masculine response to their A la Rose perfume for women from 2013. For some reason MFK still stubbornly divides their offerings by gender but ok, let them have it their way. Personally I love roses, that’s why I was interested how the brand will approach the subject of a flower that is still considered dominantly feminine in Western perfumery. L’Homme a la Rose begins with a muted and slightly bitter note of grapefruit. It feels crisp and tad powdery, like a just ironed shirt. I guess that’s what makes if feel more manly. There seems to be the faintest sweaty undertone to the grapefruit but it’s gone in a blink under a damask rose. This rose smells green and fresh, the scent of flower stems is especially pronounced on my skin. I also pick that specific note of the flowershop spray they use on bouquets. Later on the rose blooms more rich (now it’s Rosa centifolia) yet the perfume maintains its elegant suit & tie vibe. Airy herbaceous tones of sage are well-aligned with the idea of this fragrance L’Homme a la Rose turns lightly woody and gains an ambery touch with a bit of labdanum to add some weight to the base. Overally it’s too light in my opinion.