“A dominant theme of Leather takes center stage in this creation” — so reads the official description for Great Britain, a luxury parfum from Roja Dove that was released late last year. It’s also supposedly a chypre, according to the company’s classification, and a leather enhanced by labdanum amber and animalic notes like castoreum and civet. The descriptions had led me to anticipate something in the vein of Roja Dove’s Fetish or his fantastic M for Puredistance. My experience turned out to be quite different.
Today, we’ll look at two fragrances from Atelier des Ors, its upcoming, new Iris Fauve, and one of the fragrances it debuted last year, Lune Feline. The first is a floral woody musk centered on iris; the second is an intensely spiced and rather delectable vanilla oriental with a strong gourmand streak. Both fragrances are eau de parfums that were created by Marie Salamagne under the artistic direction of Jean-Philippe Clermont, Atelier des Ors’ founder. So, let’s get straight to it.
Opulent iris butter as thick as cream turned ashen from cinders dropped by smoked woods; grey floral suede and leather wrapped up in vapours of pink and red, first from carnation, and later from roses; the flanks of an animal heated from an afternoon ride, its golden muskiness pulsating softly through its heartbeat to cling to your cool hands as you stroke fur that is as smooth as satin and infinitely creamy — these are parts of the tableau painted by New Sibet, the latest fragrance from Slumberhouse and it’s quite a departure from the brand’s usual style. Gone is the rugged aesthetic of old created from dense, forceful, practically opaque bases imbued with sweetness, spices, or brooding darkness.
Instead of nature-based landscapes slashed with colour and loaded with weight, this is a coolly elegant, sophisticated scent, soft and vaporous, worn with sleek city suits, furs, or cashmere, and constructed in a fashion that is often as much about tactile texture as it is about scent. Often, even more so, because it’s frequently an impressionistic scent where its elements are sensed almost on a subconscious, intuitive, and subliminal level rather than an actual one, its notes a suggestion that pass on the breeze — there and, yet, not there at the same time. It is scent that is often rendered through a filter, notes tinted in sepia hues like an old photograph, and it’s all done in a way that is extremely artistic and sensory.
Masque Milano‘s L’Attesa is the sort of fragrance that I could very much see Coco Chanel creating if she were alive today — and I mean that as a positive thing. Like Masque’s other release this year, Romanza, L’Attesa sometimes evokes flowering country meadows in Spring, but there is a sophisticated, urban elegance to L’Attesa that made me think of the couture and the streets of Paris even more frequently. In the most reductionist, simplistic description, one could sum it up as a “green floral,” but I think L’Attesa is a fragrance with deceptive simplicity; its surprisingly fluid profile slips from one genre to another in a very seamless fashion. While the end result is outside my personal tastes, I admire the sophistication, and I think it demonstrates Masque’s continued evolution as it moves from its earlier focus on heavy, dark orientals towards polished florals with romantic, almost nature driven, and streamlined elegance.