The Koh-i-Noor, “mountain of light” in Persian, is one of the largest and most famous diamonds in the world, part of the British Crown Jewels, and a glittering focus of the opulent Queen Mary’s Crown. It is also the name of Areej Le Doré‘s latest parfum, a floral oriental with a heart of lush, indolic flowers, radiating white, yellow, and gold, against a velvety backdrop of golden amber, Mysore sandalwood, citrus, deer musk, and oud.
Mossy forests, leathery tea medleys with apricot, ginger spice blends atop soft florals, and indolic floral orientals — those are the heart of four fragrances from Providence Perfume Company that I thought we’d look at today.
Providence Perfume Company is a highly respected, American artisanal and all-natural brand founded by Charna Ethier. I really liked her Provanilla when I tried it earlier this year, a deep, dark vanilla with Caribbean rum and a surprisingly delicious splash of creamy honeydew melon. Ms. Ethier kindly sent me samples of her other creations and, today, I’ll cover Osmanthus Oolong, Ginger Lily, Hindu Honeysuckle, and Moss Gown. That’s a lot to fit into one post and I don’t want it to be ridiculously long, so I’ll try to be as brief as someone with my verboseness can manage.
Bruno Acampora wants to take you on a journey into the twin worlds of tuberose and jasmine where the waters run blue and the white flowers are almost green, drenched with a dewy freshness that drips onto their bitter stems. The Italian niche house is an interesting one, and I’d long heard about their famous Blu, a tuberose scent, as well as their Jasmin. (Officially, the fragrance is called “Jasmin T,” but I shall sometimes go by the simpler version that several retailers use.) What I hadn’t realised at the time was what an interesting chap Mr. Acampora was. He was part of the European jet-set, close friends with Gianni Versace and hung out with Andy Warhol at the latter’s Silver Factory. In fact, there is even an Andy Warhol print of Mr. Acampora.
A Fragrantica article from earlier this year provides more details. Apparently, Mr. Acampora founded his perfume house 40 years ago after advice from a “French sensualist” on the beaches of St. Tropez who told Mr. Acampora to create fragrances that embodied his jet-setting experiences from Rio and Cairo to the Saharan Desert, Kenya, Marrakesh, Venice, Capri, the Antilles, Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, India, China and Japan. In 1974, Bruno Acampora did precisely that, releasing several fragrances, including Blu and Jasmin, all in very concentrated essential oils.
Mr. Acampora is now deceased, but the company continues under his son, Brunello Acampora, who works alongside his wife, Sonia, to continue his father’s vision. To that end, in 2012, they released the classic scents in a new concentration: sprayable eau de parfums. It is those versions of Blu and Jasmin T which shall be the focus of this review. One reason why is that they are much more affordable, per ml, than the oils. Another is that the eau de parfums apparently hew closely to the scent of the originals.
“Debauched jasmine” rendered musky from Laotian oud, sweet from vanilla, and fresh from bergamot lies at the heart of Al Khatt, an eau de parfum from Xerjoff that seems more like an attar in its concentrated richness. It’s a creamy, sometimes animalic jasmine whose petals often feel as though they had been drenched in sharp honey, and which wafts a quiet animalic sensuality that is subtly amplified by the earthiness of a very muted, truffle-like oud.