Areej Le Doré Grandenia

I hadn’t planned on writing about Areej Le Doré‘s new, upcoming Grandenia here, but this is such a complex fragrance that I couldn’t do it justice or convey its character and numerous twists properly via simplified text presented as screenshots on Twitter. It’s also a fragrance that, completely unexpectedly, made me think of how Serge Lutens approached white florals several decades ago and his then-revolutionary goal of turning their traditional or quotidian presentations on their head by avoiding Fracas-style, singular floralcy and by playing with dark elements that were traditionally the preserve of “masculine” fragrances. I see the same sort of mission and objective here, albeit taken to extremes.

But this only pertains to one of Grandenia’s many stages. Subsequent twists and turns unexpectedly took me into territory firmly dominated by non-floral, dark, masculine-skewing fragrances like SHL 777’s Oud 777 and Naomi Goodsir’s Bois d’Ascese  before moving on again. In essence, Grandenia morphs across a wide spectrum and it’s not easy to explain how it transforms — from a sweet, bright, white floral gardenia bridal bouquet to a sepia-stained, gender-fluid gardenia-jasmine oriental in the same universe as Serge Lutens’ Une Voix Noire before becoming a dark masculine in the style of Bois d’Ascese and Oud 777, then twisting into further unrelated creatures (some with unexpected, unlisted tobacco and booze aromas) and finally ending up similar to War & Peace (I)‘s drydown—  on Twitter, even in a 13 screenshots of text. So, let’s begin.

Smoke #6 by Stefan Bonazzi. (Website link embedded within photo.)

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Zoologist Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex marks the pairing of two popular figures in the niche world: Victor Wong‘s Zoologist brand and Antonio Gardoni, the celebrated perfumer. Together, they sought to create a “gargantuan” fragrance that was not only worthy of the T-Rex associations but also one which they specifically wanted to evoke the smoky, dark, hot, and fiery Cretaceous period in which he lived, a time where ferocious beasts ripped apart delicate florals amidst dark woods set alight by smoldering flames.

Zoologist in its regular and special edition packaging. Photos from Zoologist’s website. Collage, my own.

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Ensar Oud Aroha Kyaku Oud & Sultan Leather Attar

Today, I wanted to take a look at two fragrance oils from Ensar Oud: Aroha Kyaku, an appealing, deep, dark, and velvety oil that smells primarily of vetiver, tobacco, leather, and smoked oud chips; and Sultan Leather, an utterly gorgeous and sumptuous attar that pairs the best Cuir de Russie leather that I’ve ever encountered with a plethora of chypre and oriental notes, including beautifully lush roses.

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