Niral, the new release from Neela Vermeire Créations (hereinafter “Neela Vermeire” or “NVC”), is a play on East and West, India and Europe, and the silken creations which ensued when they met as one with the creation of Tussar Silk. For me, however, Niral is about a very specific, concrete, olfactory interaction: a play on cedar, a play in multiple acts where a variety of other elements — rooty irises, sugared loukhoum/Turkish Delight roses slathered with jam, lipstick violets, sandalwood, spices, creamy magnolia, soft ambrette musk, and even wisps of jasmine green tea — all serve as supporting players in a constantly revolving game of musical chairs.
Gardener’s Glove, Frost, and First Cut encapsulate the philosophy and world of their creator, Diane St. Clair, who was profiled at length in Part I. On an olfactory level, they are nature-based bouquets (with roughly 80% natural raw materials or essences) that embody the smells of the world around her — the gardens, flowers, meadows, grass, hay, woods, and earth — but they are also extensions of her artisanal philosophy, a philosophy which has made her gastronomy and the Michelin world’s Queen of Butter:
“Pink Wood” is such an unassuming, simple name for such an opulent, complex, and wonderfully prismatic fragrance. It’s a fantastic scent that abounds in rich jewel tones where dark, intensely nuanced woods are lacquered in deep jewel-tones from jammy, plummy roses, verdant and aromatic geranium, utterly fantastic aged patchouli, rich spices, swathes of dark resins, then finished off with gallons of intoxicating booze. Booze galore, which made me grin with delight, and which ranged in scent and nuance from bourbon to rum, cognac, aged red wine, and dark fruit liqueurs. Yet, the woods that lie at the heart of Pink Wood are the real star of the show, thanks to a multiplicity of immensely resinous, smoky, incense-like, authentic oud partnered with loads of rich, Mysore-style, red-skewing sandalwood as well as a stellar, boozy oak wood and fruity rosewood. So don’t let the unassuming name fool you, because this is one glamazon scent that is worth checking out.
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.