The Phuong Dang Collection: Leather Up, Obscure Oud & The Calling (+ Cryptic & Vermillion Promise)

Ms. Phuong Dang. Sources: her website & girlboss.com

Ms. Phuong Dang. Sources: her website & girlboss.com

Phuong Dang Perfumes is a new luxury brand that recently debuted this year with 10 fragrances, 9 of which were created by Bertrand Duchaufour. According to her biography, Ms. Dang is a mixed-media artist who was born in Vietnam and now resides in Singapore. She’s had a varied career, ranging from the high fashion industry, to being the Creative Director for Elite Modeling Agency, a makeup artist, and, now, a visual artist. Her biography states that her sculptural paintings have been exhibited around the world, but that she’s also had a longstanding interest in perfumery and created fragrances for herself from her collection of oils.

She chose Bertrand Duchaufour to turn her perfume dreams into reality. According to an interview that Ms. Dang gave to a site called Girl Boss, she wrote to him blindly and presented her ideas and artwork. He replied, “This is the project I’ve been waiting for.”

The Phuong Dang Collection. Photo sent to me by Autumn PR, and lightly cropped at the top and bottom by me.

The Phuong Dang Collection. Photo sent to me by Autumn PR, and lightly cropped at the top and bottom by me.

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The Average, The Banal, The Bad & The Ugly: Vol. 2

Atramental from Room 1015. Photo: Roberto Greco.

Atramental from Room 1015. Photo: Roberto Greco.

Today, a look at seven niche fragrances that didn’t do much for me, leaving me either shrugging, apathetic, or running to scrub. There are a few more entries this time around in the “Average” category as compared to Volume 1 because one or two of the perfumes have decent or wearable elements, typically right at the start. However, when all the factors are taken as a whole, from start to finish, and in relation to the price as well, then their sum-total amounts to merely okay or “average,” in my opinion. The rest of the scents fell into other categories, as you will see.

As in Volume 1, I’ll be following an abbreviated format and there won’t be note lists, official descriptions, photos of every bottle, links to Fragrantica, discussion of other people’s experiences as a comparison, a long list of retail links, or anything else. I’m going to take a page out of what Luca Turin and so many other people do, and simply give my opinion in the most general, synthesized fashion I can manage.

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Parfums Dusita: A New Talent To Watch

Pissara Umavijani or Ploi Uma of Parfums Dusita. Photo: Paul Aroon. Source: about.me

Pissara Umavijani or Ploi Uma of Parfums Dusita. Photo: Paul Aroon. Source: about.me

There’s an impressive new talent on the perfume scene, Pissara Umavijani, the woman behind Parfums Dusita and three new fragrances whose superb openings left me smiling and, in one case, practically dumbstruck at its heart-stopping beauty, my breath caught in my throat as I felt simple happiness sweep over me.

Ms. Umavijani (who sometimes goes by “Ploi Uma” on Facebook or social media) is a self-taught perfumer and, judging by her maiden efforts, is remarkably gifted, sure-footed, and creative. Far more so than many a professionally trained “nose,” if you ask me. In her hands, the tired floral-oud combination becomes something special and distinctive, while her deconstruction of the fougère genre brings a new breath of life to the genre. As for her treatment of florals, it is something to behold, whether it’s my beloved white florals or the roses that normally leave me cold. I don’t know if it’s her finesse, the clearly exceptional quality of so many of her raw materials, or both, but this rose-hater was left wishing for a perfume with only her roses in it. Bottom line, she’s someone to watch if you are really serious about good perfumes, I’m impressed by her talent, and you should really try her stuff.

Dusita trio of fragrances. Source: Parfums Dusita. [Photo slightly cropped by me on the sides.]

Dusita trio of fragrances. Source: Parfums Dusita. [Photo slightly cropped by me on the sides.]

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The Life of a “Nose”: One Perfumer’s Story

Viktoria Minya. Photo possibly by Cseh Gabriella. Source: Viktoria Minya FB page.

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.

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