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:
The news of O/E‘s release late last week had me drop everything in sight. O/E is the newest scent from Bogue Profumo, an Italian artisanal house that not only makes some of the most interesting, bold fragrances around but also the brand that put out MAAI. I chose the animalic chypre masterpiece as my #1 best new release of 2014 as well as my favorite scent on my personal list of fragrances (irrespective of debut date) that I’d tried that year. I even admired Bogue’s aromatic leather and lavender Cologne Reloaded despite being rather a lavender-phobe. Bogue is simply one of those houses that I find really intriguing and high quality, thanks to the talent of its founder and nose, the charming, intellectual Antonio Gardoni. So when Luckyscent announced it had received his newest creation, O/E, I was practically fell over myself to order a sample. The fragrance bears the Bogue DNA, but it is not what I had hoped for.
O/E is an eau de parfum that is a reworking and reinterpretation of Mr. Gardoni’s first fragrance, the now discontinued Eau d’E. I never tried it, so I can’t tell you if some people’s accounts of O/E as “reformulated Eau d’E” are accurate. Bogue’s website has no description for its latest release, nor any notes, so I can’t tell you that either. All I can share with you is Luckyscent’s note list which is:
Bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, neroli, clove, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, camphor, Lebanon cedar, juniper, pine, cypress, rose, jasmine, vetiver, benzoin, tobacco, resins, sandalwood.
My list of favorite fragrances that I’ve tried this year is quite different from yesterday’s list of the best new releases of 2014. The latter centered largely on scents that I thought were good, very elegant or interesting representations of their genre, regardless of whether they were my personal cup of tea, and they were only things that debuted in 2014. Today’s list is purely about what I really enjoyed and does not consider the date in release at all. So, this time around, there are very few qualifications and caveats, and the vast majority of these fragrances are things that I bought for myself, am thinking about buying, or would love to buy were their price not a consideration.
You will notice that a good number of the fragrances are not complex masterpieces at all, but quite simple in nature. One reason for that is that I love cozy, comfort scents, and they are generally not very nuanced or multifaceted to begin with. Plus, mindlessly simple but really well-done fragrances that combine richness with soothing warmth are, in all honesty, a huge relief to me after a long day where I do nothing but analyse every nuance and change in a scent for hours (upon hours) on end.
A few other points. As always, I have to repeat my mantra regarding the subjective, personal nature of reviewing in general, and how a list like this is even doubly so. With regard to the rankings, it’s always an utter nightmare, but the Top Ten chosen here are generally quite firm in order. There is a bit more leeway with the next 10 names, as a tiny handful could go up or down one to two places of where they are at the present time. I’m most undecided about the placement of the last 10 which are the most subject to fluctuations in order. One reason why is because perfumistas are a fickle bunch who can change their mind from one month to the next, and I’m no exception. The other reason is that I’ve gone back and forth on a few scents, switching their places repeatedly until I just gave up in the end. So, for now, this is where things are, for the most part. Finally, you will notice that some of my summary descriptions are verbatim from my list of best, new releases of 2014 or from my mid-2014 best or favorites list. My apologies in advance. Covering almost 60 fragrances in two days is rather an exhausting process, so I hope you will forgive me.