Hiram Green Arbolé Arbolé

"In Love" (1907) by Marcus Stone. Source: Pinterest.

“In Love” (1907) by Marcus Stone. Source: Pinterest.

Arbolé Arbolé, the latest fragrance from Hiram Green, weds spicy woods and powdery, sweet, floral-vanillic elements in holy matrimony with rings of dark resins. It was interesting to observe how the relationships at the core of the scent unfolded like a musical piece where the courtship took place during an unexpected overture or prelude, followed by a march up the aisle, a post-wedding reception dance where everyone joins in, and then, finally, the couple retires to cuddle in a cozy haze on the first night of their honeymoon.

Arbolé Arbolé (hereinafter spelled without the accent or just called “Arbole”) wasn’t my thing despite my love for many of the notes at the center of the composition, but it’s also one of those fragrances that seems to manifest itself quite differently from one person to the next. How it turns out on your skin, particularly in its opening, is likely to shape how you view the scent.

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Hiram Green Dilettante

Photo: Jana Martish via her website. (Direct link embedded within.)

Photo: Jana Martish via her website. (Direct link embedded within.)

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.

Hiram Green. Source: Fragrantica.

Hiram Green. Source: Fragrantica.

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.

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SHL 777 Taklamakan: Desert Sands, Desert Gold

The golden dunes and shifting sands of the Taklamakan are an appropriate setting for Stéphane Humbert Lucas‘ upcoming perfume by the same name. Taklamakan is the name of the world’s second largest shifting sand desert, composed primarily of large, striking sand dunes. It is also China’s largest desert, located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and a part of the ancient Silk Road trade route that helped to spread spices from China to Persia, Greece, Rome, and beyond. Spices, scorched sands, dryness, and golden warmth are very much a part of Taklamakan, the perfume, but there were other things that struck me about choice of a desert name.

Taklamakan near Xian, China. Source: nationalgeographic.com.es

The Taklamakan, China. Source: nationalgeographic.com.es

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Laboratorio Olfattivo Patchouliful

"Black and Gold Yin Yang" by Dynamicz34 on DeviantArt.com. (Website link embedded within.)

“Black and Gold Yin Yang” by Dynamicz34 on DeviantArt.com. (Website link embedded within.)

“The Happy Hippie King” in a bright Hawaiian shirt, smiling and affable in his patchouli warmth. The sweetness of white flowers, laced with darkness and spices, then encased in amber. Those are two very different images, but they are both parts of Patchouliful, a paradoxical scent that starts out as one thing before transitioning into another. It’s almost as if the fragrance were split in two, first echoing a true patchouli scent like Santa Maria Novella‘s Patchouli before turning into a very close replica of the orange blossom, tobacco, myrrh fragrance inspired by George Sand, Jardins d’EcrivainsGeorge. Regardless of the split focus (or identity), all of it is beautifully done with Italian polish in a smooth, high quality, and very appealing scent from a house that has really piqued my interest.

Roberto Drago of Laboratorio Ollfativo and Jacques Zolty via YouTube.

Roberto Drago of Laboratorio Olfattivo and Jacques Zolty via YouTube.

Patchouliful is an eau de parfum from Laboratorio Olfattivo, an Italian house based in Rome that was founded in 2010 by Roberto Drago. We saw his hand yesterday in Van-ile, the wonderful vanilla scent from Jacques Zolty, a brand which Mr. Drago took over in 2014. So far, I’m impressed with the results of his creative direction because all the things he puts out are very wearable, easygoing, good quality, and reasonably priced. (A third fragrance called Kashnoir that I hope to review soon caught my breath as a wonderful cousin to vintage Shalimar with all the latter’s former smooth beauty, and none of the hideous screeching synthetics of the modern version.)

Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Spicy, brown patchouli isn’t always the easiest note for people and it has a terrible reputation left over from the 1970s, which may be one reason why Mr. Drago did not want Patchouliful to be a hardcore soliflore, but a refined, “bright” interpretation where the main note ebbs and flows like a wave, and where the scent as a whole feels like “The Happy Hippie King.” On its website, Laboratorio Olfattivo has a long description of the scent, but it is in Italian with no English counterpart. However, Mr. Drago spoke in detail about the scent in an interview with Fragrantica, and I think his comments are significant. For one thing, they accurately describe Patchouliful’s unusual movement on my skin. Long before I ever read that interview, my notes for Patchouliful are filled with references to how the patchouli waxes and wanes like a wave, often playing peekaboo and feeling almost like a mirage at times in the opening moments. Apparently, all of that was intentional:

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