Shay & Blue London is a British brand that arrived in America last week. One of its fragrances, Salt Caramel, has received a lot of buzz, but I was eager to try the line as a whole. So, I ordered samples, and I’ll take a detour from my ongoing Italian series to talk about Salt Caramel, along with Blood Oranges and Blacks Club Leather.
Salt Caramel is an eau de parfum created by Julie Massé in conjunction with the brand’s founder, Dom De Vetta. It is a 2014 release which is described on Shay & Blue’s website as follows:
Salt Caramel, the pure temptation of the gourmand. Inspired by English chocolatier to the Queen Charbonnel et Walker’s Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, this is an irresistible fragrance composed of waves of caramel and bourbon vanilla cut through with sea salt and sandalwood. Tempting and indulgent.
Top Note – Liquid Caramel On The Nose, Expertly Offset With Tangy Sea Salt. Heart Note – The Smoothness Of Tonka Bean Adding A Touch of Elegance. Base Note – Refined Bourbon Vanilla For Depth In The Base With Sandalwood A Woodsy Counterpoint To The Sweetness.
The massive Indian state of Rajasthan is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, in a country that I loved as a whole. From Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, and several points in between, I traveled in stunned awe, marveling at the splendour of princely palaces but also at the state’s natural beauty. There were other places in India that stole my heart more but, for sheer impressiveness, the ancient cities of Rajasthan are hard to beat.
Yet, my feelings about Rajasthan were actually not why I was so desperate to try the perfume by the same name from the Italian fashion house of Etro. No, in this case, it was purely a superficial issue of bottle beauty. I’m really not one to be swayed by perfume packaging, but Etro‘s Rajasthan was a distinct exception to the rule. From the moment I saw the bottle, I loved it. Back when I would post about upcoming releases, the only one which ever tempted me solely because of the packaging was Rajasthan. Later, when reviews came out, I lost my enthusiasm, as the character of the fragrance didn’t seem to match the splendour of that vivid packaging. Still, when I passed by an Etro boutique in Paris, I made sure to give Rajasthan a sniff and to get a sample. Alas, the bottle really is fundamentally better than the scent. By a landslide….
“Panther Rider” by Jee-Hyung Lee. Source: blog.naver.com/leejeeh84
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 17/17Stone 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.
Richwood in the Stone Label bottle. Photo: Xerjoff via The Parfum Shop website.