There is an exciting, bright new talent on the perfume scene, John Biebel, a man who reminds me a bit of Slumberhouse‘s Josh Lobb in his creative, bold, unusual, and very modern voice, a man who has quietly released two of the most accomplished and striking fragrances of 2017 and a third pretty one. They demonstrate a remarkably deft mastery of complex fragrance structures, an eye for good quality raw materials, and an innate talent but, above all else, his fragrances feel authentically original. Like Mr. Lobb (and also Serge Lutens), Mr. Biebel has the rare ability to combine unusual notes or aromas that might sound odd on paper but, thanks to his talent and skill, come across in the most interesting ways that leave you sniffing your arm again and again, wondering why no-one had thought of the idea before. At other times, though, he takes a classical composition and manages to make it feel modern and fresh but also dramatic. In both instances, I think that the result is bound to be somewhat polarizing, but then original, thought-provoking, impactful, and sometimes challenging fragrances usually are.
Today, I wanted to take a quick look at four attars, Musk Rose, Sicilian Vanilla, Phoenix Amber Oud, and Yeti Ambergris, from the American indie brand, The Rising Phoenix Perfumery. Each one has something appealing or interesting about it. Musk Rose is a chypre-oriental-musk that was chosen as a finalist at the 2016 Art & Olfaction Awards. It layers several complex attar blends over a truly lovely rose bouquet that blew me away, and I’m saying that as someone with well-known rose issues. Sicilian Vanilla is a delectable, perfectly balanced gourmand-oriental centered on beautifully smoked, oak-barreled Bourbon vanilla with tobacco, singed woods, and nuances of black tea and autumn bonfires. It’s bound to be a hit with anyone who ever wanted a rich, long-lasting, heavy version of Aftelier‘s Vanilla Smoke or a good vanilla-tobacco fragrance. Phoenix Amber Oud attar would appeal to fans of Profumum’s cult classic, Ambra Aurea, thanks to its dark, chewy, mixed amber accord infused with smoke and oud. Finally, Yeti Ambergris attar takes vintage Mysore sandalwood and combines it with a famous piece of ambergris that was featured in the book, Floating Gold.
There is an 800-pound scented gorilla in the room, and its name begins with an expletive. Fucking Fabulous is the latest release from Tom Ford, a limited-edition eau de parfum in the Private Collection that has people in a tizzy, half of them thinking it’s the coolest thing ever as they rush to buy the scent, half of them decrying the name as being too vulgar for their tastes. I’m not a prude and I don’t care enormously about the name, per se, but I am immensely annoyed by the blatant manipulation underlying it. I’m not keen on the insulting implication from Tom Ford himself (as well as from some fans) that you’ll only find the name to be offensive if you’re a prude, but what really sets me off is the sheer brazenness of their marketing manipulation and the underlying assumption that either you’re too stupid to see it or so “cool” that you don’t care. Amidst the dollar signs in Estee Lauder and Tom Ford’s eyes, layered between their own quoted words, there are loaded assumptions, cynical calculations, dismissals, glibness, generational differences and, worst of all, obnoxiously blatant disingenuousness.
Today, we’ll take a quick look at White Amber, the latest addition to Creed‘s super-luxury collection, Les Royales Exclusives. White Amber is an eau de parfum that was created by Olivier Creed and released several months ago. On its website, Creed describes the fragrance as “a fruity-floral scent featuring a bouquet of fruit, jasmine and benzoin combined with rich amber and Indian sandalwood.” The official note list is:
Top note: Amber, Vanilla, Fruity accord
Middle note: Floral accord, Sandalwood, Benzoin
Base note: Floral accord, Absolute Jasmine, Sandalwood, Benzoin