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.
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.”
There’s a new mystery on the perfume scene, a fragrance called Aeon 001. It’s an eau de parfum that is described as an “experimental” vetiver and it was made by a famous perfumer whose name will be kept secret until the limited number of bottles have all been sold. I’m not a huge vetiver lover but I’m a sucker for a mystery, particularly one that is said to involve resins, spices, and white flowers, so I ordered a sample.
Many parts of Aeon 001 made me nod appreciatively and smile. It merged several perfume genres and families, glimmered with complexity, and was far from the hardcore vetiver soliflore that I had expected. At one point, it was primarily a modern animalic chypre in the vein of Bogue‘s stellar Maai, albeit a tame, baby cousin to that scent. At another stage, it was a vetiver leather oriental. At all times, though, and from the very first sniff, I thought that Aeon 001 bore the inimitable style of Bertrand Duchaufour at his best, from the use of one of his favorite notes to his trademark style of creating perfumes with paradoxical bold airiness or impactful, dense lightness.
A visit to a French patisserie that turns into a smoky, woody oriental vanilla — that’s the gist of Noir Exquis, the latest fragrance from Bertrand Duchaufour and L’Artisan Parfumeur. Large dollops of whipped pastry cream are squirted atop dark vanilla that is layered with candied chestnuts (marrons glacés), smokiness, and a profoundly tobacco-like note, all above a smoky sandalwood base. It’s actually quite nice at times (and less sweet than you might think), but it’s a fragrance that requires a little patience and some augmented quantities in order to see the traits that lie beyond an initial Tobacco Vanille vibe.