Violets and roses, lipsticks and leathery darkness, lip-puckering tart green apples and buttery sandalwood — these are some of the many strands, both classical and brightly modern, that Giovanni Sammarco weaves together in his latest fragrance, Naias.
Amouage‘s new Myths for Women was not what I had expected. There was the welcome, happy surprise of carnation as its driving focus, instead of the litany of white florals that have dominated so many of the brand’s recent releases. Red but drenched with greenness, hot but chilly, the carnation was a beautiful note that took me even further off guard with the way its companions — my ultimate green nemeses, violet leaf and galbanum — somehow recreated a passing impression of one of my favourites, hyacinth, from its liquid floralcy to the venomous bitterness of its sap. It’s a brief and wholly impressionistic touch, but I was delighted. Equally unexpected, but far less welcome, was Myths’ persistent dryness and diffuse sheerness, two things which I think characterize the Opus Collection’s aesthetic as opposed to the regular line whose women’s fragrances exemplified oriental opulence and full-bodied richness, or at least they did, once upon a time. As a whole, both Myths, the Women’s and the Men’s (which I’ll cover in the next review) feel like the continuation of Christopher Chong’s style of perfumery, moving Amouage away from its Franco-Arabian and vintage-style roots into something purely Western and modern. How you feel about that will depend on your tastes and expectations.
Cuir Fetiche is a name that might conjure up thoughts of fetishes, whips, and bondage leather, but put that aside completely and think instead of grand floral oriental classics. Specifically, vintage Bal à Versailles, perhaps with a tiny drop of Serge Lutens‘ Cuir Mauresque added in as well. This is not the world of 50 Shades of Grey or Etat Libre‘s Rien; it’s the 1950s world of Dior, Cecil Beaton, and Jean Desprez where women swirl in ball gowns and long gloves amidst clouds of sweet, lightly animalic floralcy, although some people think of Cuir de Lancome, Cuir de Russie, or Knize Ten instead.
Regardless of which fragrance classic is referenced, you should put aside all thoughts of modern or masculine leathers with their smoky, tarry, blackened birch and you should think of clouds of flowers instead. They are infused with citrus and chypre-ish elements before being placed atop iris chamois or suede gloves that have been coated with civet, resulting in a sweet, lightly animalic floral bouquet that gradually turns more oriental through golden flourishes of amber and cinnamon-scented resins laced with vanilla. That’s Cuir Fetiche in the broadest of strokes. It’s an incredibly pretty fragrance, one that I’ve been tempted to buy for myself on several occasions, but it’s also sufficiently familiar that I’ve held off in actually doing so.
There’s a new mystery on the perfume scene, a fragrance called Aeon 001. It’s an eau de parfum that is described as an “experimental” vetiver and it was made by a famous perfumer whose name will be kept secret until the limited number of bottles have all been sold. I’m not a huge vetiver lover but I’m a sucker for a mystery, particularly one that is said to involve resins, spices, and white flowers, so I ordered a sample.
Many parts of Aeon 001 made me nod appreciatively and smile. It merged several perfume genres and families, glimmered with complexity, and was far from the hardcore vetiver soliflore that I had expected. At one point, it was primarily a modern animalic chypre in the vein of Bogue‘s stellar Maai, albeit a tame, baby cousin to that scent. At another stage, it was a vetiver leather oriental. At all times, though, and from the very first sniff, I thought that Aeon 001 bore the inimitable style of Bertrand Duchaufour at his best, from the use of one of his favorite notes to his trademark style of creating perfumes with paradoxical bold airiness or impactful, dense lightness.