A song of fire and ice, to use George R.R. Martin’s words, is one way to describe Sarrasins, Serge Lutens‘ legendary animalic jasmine bell jar fragrance, but it is only the start. White flowers are stained purple, then given a fiery (carnation) bite that is also icy at the same time. Sweetness and a touch of girlie femininity come with a snarled lip and haughty contempt, cloaked in tough black (castoreum) leather. Delicate powder is juxtaposed with feral civet. Thick purple grapes and pink bubblegum that evoke an almost Andy Warhol-style of Pop Art run through flowers that bear a gothic feel at times. All of it, somehow, unexpectedly, works well together, and all of it repeatedly makes me think of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones and the progression of her character.
There’s an impressive new talent on the perfume scene, Pissara Umavijani, the woman behind Parfums Dusita and three new fragrances whose superb openings left me smiling and, in one case, practically dumbstruck at its heart-stopping beauty, my breath caught in my throat as I felt simple happiness sweep over me.
Ms. Umavijani (who sometimes goes by “Ploi Uma” on Facebook or social media) is a self-taught perfumer and, judging by her maiden efforts, is remarkably gifted, sure-footed, and creative. Far more so than many a professionally trained “nose,” if you ask me. In her hands, the tired floral-oud combination becomes something special and distinctive, while her deconstruction of the fougère genre brings a new breath of life to the genre. As for her treatment of florals, it is something to behold, whether it’s my beloved white florals or the roses that normally leave me cold. I don’t know if it’s her finesse, the clearly exceptional quality of so many of her raw materials, or both, but this rose-hater was left wishing for a perfume with only her roses in it. Bottom line, she’s someone to watch if you are really serious about good perfumes, I’m impressed by her talent, and you should really try her stuff.Continue reading
Perfume names carry weight. They bear certain promises, or hint at things to come. “Tabac Tabou” is a name that portends a hedonistic, sensual, or illicit exploration of tobacco. That last part turned out not to be the case for me. In fact, judging by what appeared on my skin, I wouldn’t consider Parfum d’Empire‘s latest fragrance to be any sort of tobacco soliflore whatsoever. Now, hay and narcissus…. that’s a different matter.
Naked skin bared under fur. Seduction played out through a series of Helmut Newton vignettes. Breasts covered by slips of fabric that slide away as glances meet across a room. The sound of blues throbbing in the darkness. The scent of arousal in the air. The clarion call of the wild.