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.