A chypre Valkyrie called Maai descends from vintage Valhalla, riding a growling black panther called Hyrax down a thick spiral of smoky black resins into the drab modern world, infusing it with oakmoss from times gone by. Roses and jasmine are intertwined in her hair, their scent mingling with the fierce musk of the castoreum leather armour that shields her. As Maai sings Valhalla’s anthem about vintage chypres, oakmoss blooms around her like a force-field, growing more and more powerful, touching everything in her path. The cloud of green is stained with black from smoky styrax and leather, and with yellow from a urinous stream of civet left in the panther’s wake. It is so powerful that it blows the flowers from her hair, creating a vortex of jasmine and rose deep within the green. As she approaches Earth, Maai’s cloud sweeps up soft, earthy vegetation and humus from the ground below her, unearthing a deep core of labdanum amber whose warmth softens her warrior cries. Her panther roars along with her, baring his teeth in a feral song and raising his leg to mark his territory with a steady stream of animalic skank. Yet, in the end, both are tamed by the Earth’s golden heart, which coats their bodies, defuses their power, and transforms the feral panther into a labdanum steed with only a hint of musky leather. This is the tale of Maai, a Valkyrie from a bygone age, and her return to Earth.
On a mountain top in Rajasthan grows a Tree of Life whose mighty body is made of smoky sandalwood. Gnarled roots of oak and rosewood dig into patchouli earthiness, while its limbs bear bright, yellow citruses. Higher up, hidden amidst a canopy of more patchouli leaves, lie rosy flowers that drip a dark plummy liqueur. Natives come from far and wide, bearing gifts of incense that they burn in tribute to the magnificent tree that they call “Richwood.”
Richwood is a stunning sandalwood fragrance that grabs your attention from the start with its smoky woods, spicy patchouli, and an aromatic booziness that veers between oak-soaked cognac and plummy liqueur. It is an eau de parfum from the Italian luxury house of Xerjoff (pronounced as “Zer-joff”), which was founded in 2004 by Sergio Momo. Officially called “XJ Richwood,” the fragrance was release in 2010 as part of the XJ 17/17 Stone Label Collection whose name refers to the stone labels on the handcrafted bottles. It is intended to be a more affordable option than the collection’s original packaging which consisted of extremely expensive, limited-edition Murano glass art or quartz. According to Now Smell This, XJ Richwood (hereinafter just “Richwood“) was created by Jacques Flori, the nose behind Amouage’s Opus IV and Jovoy’s Psychedelique, among other scents. And it is really quite something.
Well, it doesn’t smell like sushi, I can tell you that. Sushi Imperiale is an enjoyable spicy oriental with star anise, woody patchouli, milky black tea, and fougère elements that is done in a classical style reminiscent of other fragrances on the market, from Guerlain‘s L’Instant Pour Homme Eau Extreme (“LIDGE“) to YSL‘s Opium Pour Homme. For many, Sushi Imperiale seems to be delicious, cozy comfort scent dominated by either tart apple cider, or nutmeg-cinnamon apple pie. For others, it is a masculine cologne with a citrus and anise spice mix that turns more oriental. Almost everyone thinks it has monumental sillage, but no-one thinks it smells like any form of nigiri, sashimi, or maki. Given some of the oddities put out in today’s perfume world (such as Secretions Magnifique), one should be thankful for small mercies. Continue reading
Encens Satin is the latest fragrance from Armani Privé. It is an oriental eau de parfum that, contrary to its name, is as much about amber and woodiness as incense. It’s also simple, uncomplicated, and minimalistic. Frankly, it is a struggle not to summarize it in one small paragraph and then be on my way, because this is not a fragrance with a lot of depth or development. On the plus side, it’s enjoyable and smooth. On the negative side, you’re really paying for the Armani name more than anything distinctive or interesting.
Armani claims that Encens Satin “seduces with a softly carnal radiance.” That goes too far, in my opinion, but the fragrance has a number of appealing traits, thanks to its cozy, ambered warmth infused with spiciness, dry woodiness, and darkness. Encens Satin’s full description is available from Armani’s British website, which talks about the two types of incense aroma-chemicals used in the fragrance, as well as how Encens Satin compares to some other Armani creations:
Giorgio Armani unveils the enveloping radiance of ENCENS SATIN, the latest addition to Armani/Privé La Collection, celebrating a new vision of legendary, sensual, incense. ENCENS SATIN – a fragrance where each note is wrapped in a deep, luminous embrace – seduces with a softly carnal radiance.
The absolute attraction of incense illuminated with spices, then rounded with woods and resinous accents. Not one incense note but two: brightly solar Incense MD (Molecular Distillation for extraordinary clarity) and warmer, more ambery Incense Resinoid, for a truly vibrant incense from start to finish.
A woody ambery fragrance, ENCENS SATIN inhabits a luxuriously sophisticated olfactive territory between the spicy woodiness of Armani/Privé BOIS D’ENCENS and the opulence of ROSE D’ARABIE from “Les Milles et Une Nuits” fragrance collection. The composition is beautifully rounded, its modern refinement equally seductive for a man or for a woman.