Today, I’ll look at three of the new fragrances, Matière Noire, Turbulences, and Contre Moi. In the next post, I’ll cover Mille Feux and Dans La Peau. So, let’s get straight to it.
Ajmal is a Middle Eastern brand with a long history. Founded in 1951 in India and now apparently based in the United Arab Emirates or GCC (Gulf countries), Ajmal has over 300 fragrances in its portfolio. The quality seems to vary across the range which consists of low-end mall fragrances at one end, some Euro-Arab eau de parfums in the middle, and some “Dahn Al Oudh” attars that I’ve heard great praise for at the other end. Unfortunately, the latter were not what I was given for review. I seem to have gotten the low to middle end of the stick, alas.
There is a long story behind this post that I think you must understand in order to make sense of what is to follow. Ajmal was at Esxence Milan earlier this year to show off its wares. A friend stopped by and asked for samples for me to review. From his account, I have the sense that the Ajmal’s assistants were harried and also didn’t understand the whole blogging issue, either. They seemed confused, so they quickly handed over a big armful of samples, and that was that. No time was expended to provide the best of the best in a carefully curated selection, although my friend did try to ask for a few attars. They disgorged a heaping pile of 20 carded manufacturers samples, and moved on.
Hiram Green‘s latest release, Dilettante, is rather deceiving at first glance. You’d think it was a simple, sunny soliflore, capturing the essence of an orange tree, from the sunshine gleaming around its lush floral petals to the unripened, green (neroli) fruits hanging on the spicy, bitter petitgrain of its branches, down its trunk to the earth in which it grows. If you thought that, you’d be right because that is partially what the fragrance is about. At least initially…. You see, Dilettante had a surprise in store for me, moving beyond its initial “sunshine, Vitamin C, and orange blossom tree captured in a bottle,” to turn into something molten later on. Truth be told, I’m not sure the version I experienced is the normal one for Dilettante, rather than an atypical oddity due to some strange interaction with my skin, but I was smitten anyway. Irrespective of how the later stages turned out, though, all of it feels like another solid, well-crafted, wonderfully appealing release from this small artisanal house.
I have a lot of respect for Mr. Green, a shy, humble, and gifted perfumer who deserves a lot more attention than he gets, in my opinion. In fact, I think he should be applauded for a really rare trait, one that the best chefs aspire to but not enough perfume houses, if you ask me. Namely, being good to great on consistent basis. Again and again and again, Mr. Green produces solid, good, and sometimes great perfumes that are rich, polished, seamlessly blended, easy to wear, and extremely high-quality for a moderate, reasonable price. There is zero pretension or over-the-top marketing hyperbole; no ever-increasing prices that don’t match the scents in question; and no interest in following the latest hot trend. Just one perfume a year, worked on carefully and quietly with the simple aim of making it the best he can. That’s it.
The most famous gems in the world are the inspiration behind a relatively new perfume house, Orlov Paris, and its debut collection. Unlike many other brands that use jewels as marketing hyperbole, the link here is a personal and logical one. As Orlov’s website explains, its founder, Ruth Séry, comes from a family that has been in the diamond business for generations, and she herself seems to be both a diamond cutter and diamond dealer in Antwerp.
But she is also a perfume lover, and, when she learnt that all her favourite fragrances were made by the same man, she “told herself that if ever she founded her own fragrance house, she would work with Dominique Ropion. No one else would do.” He agreed to create five fragrances for her, each inspired by a different legendary gem, like the 100.10-carat “Star of the Season” or the 29-carat canary-yellow diamond called “Flame of Gold,” once owned by the Hollywood star, Greer Garson. All five are pure parfums (extrait de parfums), and were released in the fall of 2015.
Today, I’ll look at two of the five fragrances, Star of the Season and Cross of Gold, with Orlov and Flame of Gold to follow in the next post. In order to keep this review at a manageable length, I won’t provide the company’s official description for each scent in full as I usually do, merely the relevant portions regarding to the note list. I also won’t quote comparative reviews, but I will give you the general gist of people’s opinions on Fragrantica and a link for you to read their comments in full if you’re interested. So, let’s begin.