Today, we’ll look at a four releases from Lubin, Amouage, Roja Dove, and Byredo: Epidor, Bracken Woman, Tuberose, and Velvet Haze. They’ll be briefer takes than normal; I’m behind on covering recent niche fragrances after my long absence and I’m afraid I’ll never catch up if I write one of my typical reviews for each scent. Plus, the only way someone as verbose as myself can manage to write short descriptions is if I stick to the most impressionist overview possible, and skip the usual detailed breakdown in development, sharing other people’s perspectives, or arduously looking up retail links around the world. I’ll try to provide a few relevant details or links at the end, should you wish to pursue the scent further, but not many. So, let’s get to it.
Vintage L’Heure Bleue was my first Guerlain love. In fact, until I tried a really old bottle of vintage Shalimar extrait, no other Guerlain came close. There was just something about L’Heure Bleue for me, something that touched me deeply in ways I can’t always explain. Part of it is that I first encountered the fragrance during a happy time in my life, but mental associations are not the only reason. To me, L’Heure Bleue simply feels special. The way the notes are juxtaposed sometimes feels intellectually introspective in a way that almost rises to the cerebral, and that fascinates me, but at the same time, the fragrance always triggered an even stronger emotional response as well, filling me with joy, comfort, and a sense of serenity in a way that other legendary Guerlains did not at the time.
Hiram Green‘s latest release, Dilettante, is rather deceiving at first glance. You’d think it was a simple, sunny soliflore, capturing the essence of an orange tree, from the sunshine gleaming around its lush floral petals to the unripened, green (neroli) fruits hanging on the spicy, bitter petitgrain of its branches, down its trunk to the earth in which it grows. If you thought that, you’d be right because that is partially what the fragrance is about. At least initially…. You see, Dilettante had a surprise in store for me, moving beyond its initial “sunshine, Vitamin C, and orange blossom tree captured in a bottle,” to turn into something molten later on. Truth be told, I’m not sure the version I experienced is the normal one for Dilettante, rather than an atypical oddity due to some strange interaction with my skin, but I was smitten anyway. Irrespective of how the later stages turned out, though, all of it feels like another solid, well-crafted, wonderfully appealing release from this small artisanal house.
I have a lot of respect for Mr. Green, a shy, humble, and gifted perfumer who deserves a lot more attention than he gets, in my opinion. In fact, I think he should be applauded for a really rare trait, one that the best chefs aspire to but not enough perfume houses, if you ask me. Namely, being good to great on consistent basis. Again and again and again, Mr. Green produces solid, good, and sometimes great perfumes that are rich, polished, seamlessly blended, easy to wear, and extremely high-quality for a moderate, reasonable price. There is zero pretension or over-the-top marketing hyperbole; no ever-increasing prices that don’t match the scents in question; and no interest in following the latest hot trend. Just one perfume a year, worked on carefully and quietly with the simple aim of making it the best he can. That’s it.
I’m always on the lookout for a bargain basement gem, but they’re not very easy to find. So I decided to look at two newer releases from Couvent des Minimes, a brand with a very solid line of body products and one cult favorite fragrance, the boozy vanilla Eau de Missions. Their latest creations are Eau Aimable (or Cologne of Love), and Matines (or Cologne of the Morning). One of them is worth trying if you’re looking for a bargain floral.
EAU AIMABLE — COLOGNE OF LOVE:
Like many of the Couvent des Minimes fragrances, Cologne of Love has a few different names. The actual bottle says Eau Aimable, but Couvent des Minimes’ American and British websites call it Botanical Cologne of Love. (I’ll use both names from this point forth.) Regardless of title, it’s a light eau de cologne with an orange label that is centered on fresh, non-indolic, neroli-like orange blossoms. On its website, Aimable’s description and notes read, in part, as follows:
Botanical Cologne of Love gives a feeling of well-being and serenity. [¶] Thanks to its Original Recipe combining Orange Blossom, a source of softness, with 5 Plants selected for their beneficial properties, this exquisite, sparkling, scented water perfumes the skin with a soft and soothing fragrance. The skin is fresh and perfumed, the body is enveloped in softness.
•Orange Blossom: source of softness
•Bergamot, Mandarin: sources of serenity
•Wild Rose: source of hydration
•Nasturtium: source of radiance
•Petitgrain: source of harmony