Morph Parfums Cruda: Rollercoaster Rose

Exploding roses, 3D roses super concentrated to feel like an attar, divaesque roses that sing arias at such bombastic decibels that Maria Callas would be embarrassed… Cruda from Morph Parfums evoked all those thoughts and more. It is a wild ride that felt like a rollercoaster and, unfortunately, it sometimes feels as crude as the name.

Cruda bottle and box via Parfumo.net

Cruda bottle and box via Parfumo.net

Cruda is an extrait-strength parfum that was released in 2013 by Morph, a relatively new Italian house. Like its iris sibling, Montmartre, Cruda comes with a long story, this time about a woman and the purity of the smell of her skin. Honestly, I see no link between the story and the actual perfume, no discernible point to it at all other than a story for story’s sake. It doesn’t even briefly mention any of the notes in the perfume, so I’ll skip it entirely. Morph doesn’t have any note list for Cruda, but First in Fragrance fills in the gaps:

Top Notes: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Cumin
Heart Notes: Damask Rose, Cinnamon, Carnation
Base Notes:  Ambergris, Patchouly, Cashmerewood, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Musk, Tonka Bean

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Morph Parfums Montmartre 1894: Iris Melodies

Iris with leather, frankincense and myrrh, topped off by tales of Montmartre in 1894 and a dancer from the Moulin Rouge who receives an enchanted vial of ambergris… I was instantly intrigued. I’d never heard of the perfume house which was an Italian one, but the Italians make some great fragrances and those notes had a siren’s lure. So, I sent off for a vial of Montmartre (as well as one of a scent called Cruda that turned out to be a rose rollercoaster), and thought I would tell you my own tale.

Montmarte and its box via Morph's Facebook page.

Montmartre and its box via Morph’s Facebook page.

Morph Parfums is a relatively new Italian house that may have been founded in 2103, judging by their Facebook page. A comment on Parfumo.net says that their creative director (and possible founder) is a man called Dr. Andrea Angelino, while the perfumes are made by Maurizio Cerizza. Apparently, all of them are super-concentrated in nature, clocking in at a whopping 33% which is far higher than most extrait de parfums. On their website, Morph describes them as being

the outcome of a careful research of the best natural essences which have been chosen with passion all around the world. Morph redoubles, in its creations, the quantity of usually used essences so creating intense Eau de parfum and enhancing the endurance and the intensity on the skin of its unique odors. Odors that describe with stories, travels, adventures and emotions.

"Spanish Dancer at The Moulin Rouge" (1905) by Giovanni Boldini. Source: WikiArts.

“Spanish Dancer at The Moulin Rouge” (1905) by Giovanni Boldini. Source: WikiArts.

Morph also has long stories for all their scents. For Montmartre (sometimes called “Montmartre 1894“), it is about a young ballerina called Yvette who works at the famed Moulin Rouge in Paris’ Montmartre district in 1894. One night, a street vendor gifts her with a mysterious vial of an opulent, ambered perfume whose aroma enchants everyone who encounters it, leaving them happy and smiling. The rest of the tale is a long one, but ends with Morph saying that it has “found the magic ampoule of Yvette, hidden for decades by her smiling descendants. Morph has reproduced its unforgettable aroma of amber, natural elements and a touch of happiness.”

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Guerlain Santal Royal

Source: q80ean.com

Source: q80ean.com

It takes some effort to get a One-Star “Avoid” rating from Luca Turin, but Guerlain has managed it with its new Santal Royal. I don’t always agree with the famous perfume critic and I don’t think Santal Royal is the worst thing I’ve ever smelt, even from Guerlain (L’Homme Ideal holds that dubious distinction), but he’s right: Santal Royal isn’t good. It is especially disappointing coming from a once-great house, perhaps the greatest that ever was.

In essence, Santal Royal is another sub-par, extremely commercial creation from Guerlain without any distinctiveness or originality, and with absolutely nothing remotely reminiscent of sandalwood. What it does have, however, is a strong resemblance to a heavily aromachemical Montale fragrance or to any number of basic, cheap, Middle Eastern fragrances centered on a generic, overly sweet, wholly synthetic, fruity rose-oud combination. Actually, I’ve smelt better perfumes from Montale, which is saying something given my general view of that house.

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Olivier Durbano Prométhée & Lapis Philosophorum

"Prometheus Carrying Fire" by Jan Cossiers, 1600-71. Source: allposters.com

“Prometheus Carrying Fire” by Jan Cossiers, 1600-71. Source: allposters.com

Prometheus rising, bringing fire to man, and The Philosopher’s Stone, transforming metals to gold and offering the chance at immortality — those are two of the great myths of history, now embodied in fragrances centered on dark earth notes with incense. How could I possibly resist? If there is anything I love more than perfume, it’s history, so I was instantly intrigued when I came across Lapis Philosophorum and Prométhée (hereinafter just “Promethee”).

They are two fragrances from Olivier Durbano, a Parisian jeweller who specializes in expensive creations using semi-precious stones. Apparently, from what I’ve read, his jewellery is a big hit with the French “glitterati,” as one person put it. Yet, he also has a perfume line, roughly 10 fragrances in total, most of them inspired by a different semi-precious stone. His latest two, however, are drawn from mythology, but all of them are his own creation and made without the assistance of a perfume “nose.” I’ll look at each one in turn.

Photo via the Olivier Durbano website.

Photo via the Olivier Durbano website.

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