Tag Archives: 2020 launch

Monday Quick Sniffs, part 61

How is this even possible that it’s been 2 months since my special yuzu edition of MQS? Is it just me or do you also have an impression that in the times of Covid the time flies even faster than usual?

Amouage introduced Interlude Man in 2012 and it was a challenging perfume due to heavily accentuated notes of oregano and pimento. 8 years later Interlude Man Black Iris is born. It’s the first flanker in the long history of the brand and also one of the first (if not first) launch after a major shuffle within the brand’s structures. This perfume starts with an oily & zesty bergamot note accompanied by herbaceous & aromatic rosemary. After a moment a crisp dewiness of violet leaf emerges. Instead of oregano there’s orris – deep and rooty, silky-cold and elegant. It’s warmed up by generously dosed frankincense that is followed by ambery tones. Going further there is labdanum and myrrh that give Interlude Man Black Iris its resiny vibe. A hint of vanilla (which smells like a bourbon) adds a bit of sweetness to this dark fragrance. Base is a mixture of hefty woody notes such as sandalwood and cedarwood, combined with leather and oud. In general it feels like a more streamlined, more wearable version of its predecessor.

For any perfume writer the number of reviews dedicated to a specific brand is probably the best measuring scale to determine if they like the fragrances from this house or not. Considering the fact that I have never written about Xerjoff before – so that’s a clear signal for you, no? Apollonia, named as a tribute to a successful lunar landing of Apollo 11 in 1969, its composition starts with an abstract white blossoms accord. Abstract because there’s not a single floral note that would dominate it. It’s like a mass of flowers among which you can’t tell which is jasmine, tuberose or an orange flower. There’s a lot of airy creaminess to it with a pollen-like sweetness. Gradually the density of the perfume changes and the focus goes towards the orris butter. In this perfume it is viscous, blending the fatty aspect of iris with its waxy tones. When you smell it you get an impression of reserve, of restraint. It’s kind of like a statuesque persona, like someone who feels they are better because they’re rich. But it is a pretty iris note nonetheless. The perfume dries down to an abundance of white musk in variety of forms – there’s a bit of cotton candy effect, a bit of something like a meringue and a tad of something plush & fluffy. On my skin Apollonia is not very complex, it’s rather linear and lacks something that sparks interest. At this price point I can easily pass, even if the bottle is covered with moon dust…

I liked the initial releases from Altaia (an offspring brand from the owners of Eau d’Italie) but the fragrances that joined their portfolio later were not really my cup of tea. Just like Purple Land from 2018. The fragrance starts with a prominent note of grapefruit that feels juicy but also bears the sweaty undertone that does not contribute to a pleasant experience. It subsides after some time, making room for exotic fruitiness of guava and papaya. Both give the perfume a strong fruity vibe that feels summery, mouth-watering and quite fleshy. Over time the floral aspect of the scent rises up, with lily of the valley taking a lead role in it. Muguet gives Purple Land a watery, gently floral feel that is reminiscent of a morning dew. Frangipani on the other hand makes the flowery phase more lactonic & creamy. The base is warmed up by ambrox molecule – combined with the other notes of this perfume it smells quite similar to popular sun tan lotions. Lush tropical flowers over the warm base, like a sun-kissed skin. Everything is finished by air-whipped, creamy musks. These notes seem a bit odd for one scent, but on general thought it’s not a bad perfume. None of these 3 Quick Sniffs are bad.

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Clear Serenity, Van Cleef & Arpels Oud Blanc

Over the last decade there probably hasn’t been another perfumery raw material that would have been spoken more of than oud. It stormed both mainstream and niche perfumery like nothing else in recent years. Some love it for its untamed, wild character and Middle-Eastern charm, some hate it for its fecal, overwhelming qualities. Many will agree with me that agarwood should have gone out of fashion some years ago. And while oud is oud, there are many different interpretations. I’m not going to lie – I have also fallen for some oud compositions, like Rose Anonyme, Rosam or Oudh Infini. Thanks to Van Cleef & Arpels there may be another one worth some of your attention.

Oud Blanc starts with a soft, plush-like texture that simply feels good on the skin. This softness, more abstract & transparent at first, begins to develop more color after a minute or two. Without rushing the perfume becomes stronger and gains an intense, deep red tone. Turkish rose has a very luxurious and majestic feel to it. The smell it carries is rich and saturated – which brings to mind the idea of hammam bath rituals with argan oil. There’s no denying the allure created by this new fragrance. Was it personified, it would be like grand dame in a heavy, red velvet gown.

As much as Turkish rose can be pretty on its own, Oud Blanc has more things to offer. After a little while there’s a feeling of sweetness that enters the stage but it’s far from the sugary, maltol-like overdose served left & right in feminine mainsteam fragrances. The sweet note here, created with dates, has a more aged, almost resiny effect on my skin. It’s hard to describe it accurately but if you can imagine benzoin with that dried fruity aspect of date you’ll get the idea. It infuses the rose accord with some sophistication and glamour, like adding some patina – a proof of age & elegance.

Rose and oud are a classic combo in perfumery that has been in use for many years now. Yet in case of Van Cleef & Arpels Oud Blanc it feels like it was invented anew. The splendid rose blends with oud in a graceful manner. It’s not a vortex but slow swirls of crimson red and black matter. Kind of like a shade that deepens the color in the dress creases. Oud in this perfume is in primary a dense & woody smell – it has its own weight and depth but doesn’t feel overpowering. In the second plan hides the more resinous, viscous and sort of animalic aspect of this controversial raw material.

Much later in the fragrance development a frankincense note is revealed. Since Oud Blanc plays on subtleties, I was not expecting a straightforward incense and I wasn’t mistaken. It’s more like an impression, like walking into a room with wooden walls. You can’t see a burning stick anymore but there’s still a silvery mist lingering in the air and the wood is permeated with its scent. There’s a beautiful clarity and transparency to this note – it feels spiritual & meditative. Oud along with the rose still continue this journey but they stepped aside, now making a charming background. The perfume dries down to an air-whipped, delicious vanilla with fluffy white musks that complete the composition.

Oud Blanc, the latest addition to Collection Extraordinaire of Van Cleef & Arpels is a perfume of surprising clarity and transparency. The fruit of work of perfumer Anne Flipo is more lightweight type of fragrance that clings to the skin, wrapping the wearer with a silky cocoon of intricately woven notes of oud, rose and vanilla among others. It has a warm and inviting aura that simply makes me feel good when I’m surrounded by vapors of Oud Blanc. The classic bottle for this line is lacquered in white (for a 2nd time, after Santal Blanc) and it’s a perfect vessel for this perfume. It holds 75 ml of eau de parfum. Do you think you could become friends with this one or would you rather stay away?

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