Tag Archives: Julien Rasquinet

Steamy Surge, Amouage Enclave

They say that nothing in this world is gonna last forever, and this of course is true. It’s only natural that so many things in our lives are not constant but don’t you think that without any changes we’d all be stagnant and bored with our existence? Changing schools, jobs, cities we live in… these chapters form our personality & therefore they change us as humans. Perfumery is a good example of change. With new regulations being published every few years you have to adapt to move forward. Change can be like a new beginning. One of such changes recently applied to a popular perfume house from Oman – Amouage. Only time can tell if it’s for the better & where it’ll take us.

Amouage Enclave begins with a refreshingly crisp note of spearmint that reveals an incredible depth as soon as the perfume comes in contact with one’s skin. It has a green, herbaceous nature that feels very aromatic and that draws you into its world. You’ll feel as if you just plucked some leaves from the plant and rubbed them between your fingers. It’s a spacious scent that surrounds the wearer – imagine walking through the courtyard where all the walls are covered with fragrant green foliage. It’s mesmerizing. Minty notes are usually associated with the feeling of cool freshness because that’s how menthol affects our skin receptors – by inducing an impression of cold.

However that is not the case for this perfume. Spearmint in Enclave feels warm and inviting and very soon it starts smelling as if someone poured hot water over the mint leaves. The fragrance becomes steamy, releasing aromatic vapors that go deep inside your nose when inhaled. Brewing herbs develop some spiciness just a moment later. Cardamom perfectly fits in this hot brew. Pink pepper extract adds a peppery tinge that creates an illusion of peppermint note being added. Then there’s cinnamon – it adds a sparkling tinge on the tip of your tongue, with a sweet aftertaste to it.

I know that Amouage Enclave was inspired by the sunset at the fjords of Musandam but considering the way it smells and what ingredients are put together at the start there’s an obvious connection to maghrebi, a traditional Moroccan beverage made with green tea & mint. I very much enjoy being treated to a spiced mint cocktail of this perfume and I’m glad it takes some time until the fragrance starts to progress further. At the heart Enclave unveils a rose absolute facet. It’s floral, pure and while it has its level of richness its not as opulent as earlier Amouages, Lyric for instance. Not as strong by all means doesn’t mean it’s worse – it’s simply well proportioned against other ingredients & I like it that way to be honest.

Rose here appears in entourage of other ingredients that make the scenery look darker yet without adding much heaviness to it. There’s an earthy patchouli tone that lingers right behind the rose’s back. It has a slight camphorous feel on the skin that smoothly changes into wisps of smoke coming from frankincense. These semi-transparent clouds in Enclave add some peaceful & calm aura to this perfume. I like this calm of smokiness, it’s more spiritual. This feeling plus woody aromatic facets of vetiver create a very relaxing mood. It’s like a fragrant Hammam ritual on an exotic trip.

Hours later, by the time Amouage Enclave has dried down and became ready to unfold its base notes, I could still smell the peppery-minty steam on my skin. What comes next is Saffiano, an IFF captive ingredient (wonder if named after Prada emblematic leather embossment motif) posessing a natural leather aroma. It brings the feeling of a brand new purse to the composition – richness of a glossy leather exterior with a soft lining inside of it, plus a sweet finish a la rose powder. Followed by Amber Xtreme to bring even more dimension, sensual warmth and facets differentiation to the perfume. Balsamic labdanum has the final word.

Even for someone like me, who doesn’t consider himself as part of an Amouage fanbase, smelling Enclave – one out of four fragrances that launched recently as Renaissance Collection, feels like a new beginning for this Omani brand. It seems that Renaud Salmon – new Creative Director of Amouage has a new vision for the house that he will go forward with it from this point. The new fragrances seem to confirm this – what I can tell from my tests is that this quartet is lighter & less tenacious compared to earlier launches. Nose behind Enclave is Julien Rasquinet. The composition is eau de parfum at 25% fragrance oils and is housed in 100 ml tall blue Amouage bottle.

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Dressed in Autumn, Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Rouge

Every season of the year has some good and bad things about it. When it comes to Autumn I don’t really fancy the fact that days are becoming much shorter and there’s less and less day light to enjoy after you leave from work. On the other hand I love that part when all the foliage in parks and forests becomes rusty & develops different shades of yellow, orange and brown. But it’s red leaves that are my favorite. They have such a beautiful, warm tone that makes you want to take another photo. I found similar, red warmth and comparable beauty in new Van Cleef & Arpels release. A rose.

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The opening of Rose Rouge is composed in a transparent manner while the perfume as a whole is a bit of chameleon. At first the smell is watery with rose as a primary ingredient. Like a rose water – dewy freshness of braided green and flowery nuances that suggest nothing else but innocence. So wrong, the perfume will soon evolve into something far from being like that. As minutes pass the rose petals that were pale pink as a maiden’s blushing cheeks become richer in color, reaching the intensity of a bright red lipstick. This swift change is a premonition that things will only be more complex from now on.

While rose was reaching its bright red color I noticed a fruity undertone happening on a 2nd plan. It made me think of peach skin but that’s just my own remark, oficially this fragrance has no peach. The intense tone of rose becomes oriental. Rose Rouge develops a gorgeous, full-bodied richness that wears incredibly well on skin as soon as colder weather starts to kick in. Additionally the perfume has been enriched with cocoa accord. Unlike chocolate in perfume, cocoa is more raw and less sweet – it still adds a gourmand-ish vibe to the scent but with a more powdery sensation.

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Cacao in Rose Rouge also introduces a thin layer of warm spiciness. It sure is a sensual and sexy ingredient in a perfume but the spicy, tingly sensation actually comes from pink pepper. These peppercorns are quite popular among perfumers for the last few years and can introduce sparkling tinge of spice that feels more refined compared to black pepper and doesn’t have metallic facets. Another important part of new Van Cleef & Arpels creation is the use of blackcurrant. Used as absolute it should introduce tart and raspy characteristics of this little black, bead-looking fruit.

It should and it does however this particular facet doesn’t in this form for long and undergoes quick changes. As we speak it began to develop some sweetness and as a result it smelled to me almost like creme de cassis. Further into Rose Rouge development even more weird/funny thing happens – blackcurrant liquor aroma starts to remind me of a raspberry syrup and after a bit longer it even started to veer towards lychee. Note – raspberry or lychee impressions come only from me, these are not among given notes. I’d be curious to learn if someone else smelled similar things.

rose-rouge

Drydown of Rose Rouge has a good level of substantivity. There’s quite a lot of vetiver with more woody scent profile that I can enjoy as a person who’s not that much into vetiver. Plus that Turkish rose peeks through it with such elegance and grace. There’s also Rose Essentail molecule for extra rosy kick. Warmth of the musk gives a softer base to this composition and at the same time it helps late drydown phase to blend with own body scent and enhance it with a supple hint of rose. Patchouli adjusts dimensional effect, providing depth and volume to all ingredients.

There are many rose fragrances on the market and every season… bah! every month some new ones appear. But after testing Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Rouge for some time I think it’s one of the nicest roses a perfume scene could get recently. It’s a great addition to Collection Extraordinaire in my opinion. I can only congratulate Julien Rasquinet for composing this beauty. It’s a breath of something new and well-done. A rose fitting autumn and winter months. The fragrance is available as eau de parfum in 75 ml flacons (possibly 45 ml too). I’m thinking of one after I finish a decant.

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