Two masters of the indie genre got together to play a transatlantic olfactory game whose only rule was to put their individual spin on the gourmand genre, combining ideas and formulas for over a year until they came up with Cadavre Exquis. They call it their “Frankenstein” twist on the genre but, to me, it feels much more like an oriental fragrance that gives only an occasional or passing nod to gourmand tropes until its drydown. It’s a rich, smoky, earthy, sometimes leathery, and always heavily spiced immortelle-driven fragrance that I think will appeal enormously to some fans of classic Serge Lutens, Andy Tauer, and the much-loved Histoires de Parfum, 1740/Marquis de Sade, though there are a few caveats involved, as you will see.
Cadavre Exquis is a new, limited-edition eau de parfum that was created by Fazzolari‘s Bruno Fazzolari and Bogue‘s Antonio Gardoni, and released just two days ago. The press release that I was sent explains their goal for the fragrance, how its name refers to an old 1920s Surrealists’ game that the two perfumers used to collaborate on the scent, and some of its notes. The explanation reads, in part, as follows:
La Colle Noire is the latest addition to Dior‘s Privée Collection, highlighting the beauty of a sweet May rose with few other distractions. That singular focus is not uncommon for the Privée line, which frequently takes one main note (like tonka, patchouli, vetiver, or labdanum) and tries to give it the most polished, fluid, and refined treatment possible. Dior succeeds here, as it often does; La Colle Noire is just as smooth and elegant as its siblings. But such minimalism bears the risk of seeming boring or overly simple, and I truly don’t know how people will perceive the fragrance. In truth, my own feelings are mixed. I think it will come down to how much you love this style of rose. If you do, then La Colle Noire may be one of the prettiest fragrances you’ve tried lately. If not, then I suspect you may well be underwhelmed.
Viktoria Minya. Photo possibly by Cseh Gabriella. Source: Viktoria Minya FB page.
What’s it like to be a professional nose? How difficult is it to become one? How does one deal with the restrictions inherent in perfume creation, whether IFRA/EU-related, a client’s brief, or basic price constraints? And why do so many perfumes smell the same?!
Those are a few of the questions I posed to Viktoria Minya, the award-winning perfumer and owner of Parfums Viktoria Minya. She’s a rare creature in the industry for a few reasons. First, she’s one of the few professionally trained female noses who also runs her own perfume house. Second, she’s both an insider and, in many ways, an outsider as well. She’s not part of the stable of perfumers hired by the big companies like Givaudan, IFF, or Robertet, but she was one once. Now, she’s independent but, unlike Bertrand Duchaufour, she’s not a nose for hire in the typical sense and she works primarily on her own creations. Her closest counterpart might be Patricia de Nicolai, but the latter is arguably a part of the establishment, whether through her presidency of Osmothèque or her membership in the Guerlain family.
The last two fragrances in Sammarco‘s collection are Vitrum and Alter. The former is an impressive and mesmerizing vetiver that showcases its main note in all its many facets, accompanied by streaks of incense and, occasionally, a delicate pink rose. The latter is an indolic jasmine joined by woody myrrh, civet, and, for a short time, a heady mimosa, fruity rose, and something resembling honeysuckle. So, let’s get straight to it.