Aedes de Venustas Palissandre d’Or

Palissandre d'Or. Source: aedes-parfums.com

Palissandre d’Or. Source: aedes-parfums.com

Fragrant Indian rosewood is the focus of Palissandre d’Or, a spicy woody-amber fragrance from Aedes de Venustas. It is an eau de parfum that was created by Alberto Morillas and released in 2015. However, even though it was inspired by Indian rosewood, it is not literally and actually a rosewood fragrance, only metaphorically so. To put it bluntly, this is the scent of an “imaginary wood,” and I’m quoting Aedes de Venustas’ own words when I say that:

The idea for the house’s fifth offering was sparked off by the Indian rosewood tree also known as Dalbergia sissoo, which has historically been the primary rosewood species of northern India.

Rather than a specific essence, it was the word “palisander”, redolent of intricate Oriental carvings and serene Asian groves, which provided the inspiration. “I can’t make overly figurative fragrances”, Alberto Morillas explains. “To me, a perfume is a melody.” With Palissandre d’Or, he draws mesmerizing music from this imaginary wood.

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Amouage Lilac Love

Lilac Love. Source: wmj.ru

Lilac Love. Source: wmj.ru

With Lilac Love, Amouage heads fully into European territory, abandoning the Arab aesthetic and the silver Omani frankincense that were once its signature in favour of an easy, approachable, gourmand floral whose classical composition is fully in Roja Dove and Guerlain‘s wheelhouse. Lilac Love is not a bad fragrance; I find it more luxurious in quality than some of the recent releases with their noticeable arid synthetics; the very Shalimaresque classical themes of the drydown were actually lovely; and I think it would be a best-selling fragrance with women if the price were not so high.

However, I also think parts of Lilac Love feel incongruous in the first stage and, more importantly, that hardcore lilac fans won’t be satisfied. My advice for them is to put aside all thoughts of a true lilac scent. If they have no expectations, then they might perhaps be pleasantly surprised by any temporary, abstract, and wholly impressionistic whiffs that may pass by the European, floral oriental gourmand bouquet.

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Serge Lutens Arabie: Souks, Spices & Sweets

Photo: Nahid Sultana Tithi via his site, Journey Around The Globe. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Photo: Nahid Sultana Tithi via his site, Journey Around The Globe. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Close your eyes and imagine yourself spending a day in an old souk, perhaps in Marrakesh or Tripoli. The air is thick with heat, so you buy a refreshing drink of blood oranges infused with Angostura aromatic bitters, decorated with candied orange peels and sprigs of fresh herbs. One vendor catches your eye, his tables piled high with leathery black figs, the fattest, stickiest Medjool dates, syrup-laden Middle Eastern sweets, and honeyed desserts. Large sacks of colourful spices lie on the ground, next to ones filled with bitter Bay Leaf, oregano, and other green herbs. Nearby, bottles of rich labdanum amber and leathery Tolu balsam resins surround gleaming silver trays filled with cinnamon-scented, hard, dark benzoin resinoids.

Loukoumades drizzled with honey . Source: egyptianstreets.com

Loukoumades drizzled with honey . Source: egyptianstreets.com

An enterprising chap, the seller even offers you cooked food in case you missed your lunch, large bowls filled with curries or banana-leaf savory dishes straight from his Indian wife’s kitchen. You stand before his wares, sipping your drink of herbal Angostura bitters and orange, nibbling on a dried date as you contemplate ordering either a main meal or dessert. Suddenly, a vendor on a bike comes out of nowhere and crashes into you. The barrel of immortelle in the back goes flying into the air, crashing into the tables, throwing everything to the ground, and releasing a flood of sticky syrup over them all. Apologizing profusely, the vendor offers to cook you dinner in his kitchen. Hours later, he replaces your ruined clothing with an outfit made of soft Tuareg leather, but the resins from the accident still coat your skin, encasing you in a cloud of amber infused with spices, sweet myrrh, and sweetness.

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Serge Lutens Sarrasins: Fire & Ice, Purple & Black

Sarrasins in the limited-edition, engraved Bell Jar.

Sarrasins in the limited-edition, engraved Bell Jar.

A song of fire and ice, to use George R.R. Martin’s words, is one way to describe Sarrasins, Serge Lutens‘ legendary animalic jasmine bell jar fragrance, but it is only the start. White flowers are stained purple, then given a fiery (carnation) bite that is also icy at the same time. Sweetness and a touch of girlie femininity come with a snarled lip and haughty contempt, cloaked in tough black (castoreum) leather. Delicate powder is juxtaposed with feral civet. Thick purple grapes and pink bubblegum that evoke an almost Andy Warhol-style of Pop Art run through flowers that bear a gothic feel at times. All of it, somehow, unexpectedly, works well together, and all of it repeatedly makes me think of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones and the progression of her character.

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