The Phuong Dang Collection: Leather Up, Obscure Oud & The Calling (+ Cryptic & Vermillion Promise)

Ms. Phuong Dang. Sources: her website & girlboss.com

Ms. Phuong Dang. Sources: her website & girlboss.com

Phuong Dang Perfumes is a new luxury brand that recently debuted this year with 10 fragrances, 9 of which were created by Bertrand Duchaufour. According to her biography, Ms. Dang is a mixed-media artist who was born in Vietnam and now resides in Singapore. She’s had a varied career, ranging from the high fashion industry, to being the Creative Director for Elite Modeling Agency, a makeup artist, and, now, a visual artist. Her biography states that her sculptural paintings have been exhibited around the world, but that she’s also had a longstanding interest in perfumery and created fragrances for herself from her collection of oils.

She chose Bertrand Duchaufour to turn her perfume dreams into reality. According to an interview that Ms. Dang gave to a site called Girl Boss, she wrote to him blindly and presented her ideas and artwork. He replied, “This is the project I’ve been waiting for.”

The Phuong Dang Collection. Photo sent to me by Autumn PR, and lightly cropped at the top and bottom by me.

The Phuong Dang Collection. Photo sent to me by Autumn PR, and lightly cropped at the top and bottom by me.

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Xerjoff XJ 1861 Naxos

The XJ 1861 Collection. Source: xerjoff.com

The XJ 1861 Collection. Source: xerjoff.com

1861 Naxos via Xerjoff's website. [Image lightly cropped by me on the sides.]

1861 Naxos via Xerjoff’s website. [Image lightly cropped on the sides by me.]

Officially, Xerjoff‘s XJ 1861 Naxos celebrates Sicily and the richness of its hesperidic traditions. In reality, I found it to be predominantly a tobacco fragrance, and a very enjoyable one at that. Prismatically complex, opulent, powerful, and rich, it’s a unisex composition that seems to take the tobacco plant from its budding flowers to its fragrant green leaves and beyond, slathering it with dark honey, lush jasmine, and bright, sun-kissed citruses, then placing it against a multi-dimensional backdrop dominated by aromatic, fresh lavender.

Yet, that is only one part of the tale because 1861 Naxos is like a kaleidoscope where the images change and realign themselves into different shapes with every click, especially in the first half of its life. Over time, the images and the notes change faster and faster, thanks to the impact of silky vanilla, dry woods, incense-like smokiness, spicy patchouli, and even some ambered booziness. The result is a bold powerhouse that has already become a big favourite with perfumistas, chosen by Basenotes readers as one of the best niche fragrances released in 2015 and frequently sold out on places like Luckyscent or Twisted Lily.

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Sammarco Bond-T: The Promised Land Beckons

We all have a promised land in perfumery, one where we gambol and cavort with our favourite olfactory notes, all combined in such a way that the pleasure, comfort, and joy amounts to a sense of a perfect fit, ease, or even the feeling of being “home.” There are many promised lands, each falling within a different genre, each so difficult to find that it’s as though we’re searching for the Holy Grail. (At this point, I’m convinced that my personal Vanilla Valhalla does not exist.) The difficulty stems from the perfection that is implicitly involved in such a magical creation, the coalescence of personal, subjective factors to form one perfect bouquet like no other.

Source: wallpaperup.com

Source: wallpaperup.com

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Farmacia SS. Annunziata Tabacco d’Autore

"The Dark Matter III" by AthosLuca on Deviant Art. (Direct website link embedded within.)

“The Dark Matter III” by AthosLuca on Deviant Art. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Tabacco d’Autore is an homage to the complexity of tobacco from an ancient Italian house known for its rich, intense soliflores. It’s a new fragrance that explores tobacco’s many innate facets through a dark landscape that is embellished with dry woods, spicy patchouli, smoke, amber, and artemisia’s dual sides of bitter herbal greenness and oud-ish woodiness.

Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561 (hereinafter simply called “Farmacia SS Annunziata” or “Farmacia”) is an Italian house whose history goes back centuries. It’s a completely unpretentious, good quality, moderately priced brand whose fragrances are often more like extraits in their concentration, and they typically focus on one main note whose every characteristic or feature is then explored in great depth. I’ve never really understood why the brand gets so little attention; some of its soliflores are impressively hardcore treatments of their subject (like Patchouly Indonesiano), richly beautiful (like the gorgeous Ambra Nera), or just very easy-to-wear, versatile fragrances. The new Tabacco d’Autore very much bears the Farmacia SS Annunziata aesthetic. It may not my personal cup of tea, for reasons I’ll explain shortly, but, like every Farmacia soliflore, it takes the main note and runs with it.

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