The Al Kimiya (Kemi Blending Magic) line is another magnificent collection from Sergio Momo, the genius behind such titanic collections as Xerjoff, Casamoratti, and Sospiro. The first two I’ve experienced from the line (Aurum and Aqua Regia) are both gorgeous, and truly manage to capture the collection’s theme. With these beautiful compositions, the perfumers have captured the essence of “alchemy”, the mystical art of transforming the simple into the extraordinary.
The opening of Aurum is a blast of strawberry and tart citrus. Both of these elements remain for almost the entire duration of the fragrance and are tempered only by a crystal clear jammy rose and sweet heliotrope. Incense is present in the notes, but is not a major player on my skin. The composition rests on a green, oily base of patchouli and dark chocolate, all drizzled with the “warm skin” effect that is brought by labdanum. Unlike many fragrances of this style, the ingredients smell worthy of the price.
Aurum is a beautiful fragrance, and though it is unique, it is similar in style to Frederic Malle’s Portrait of Lady, which comes across as a similarly jammy rose-berry combo. Despite the comparison in notes and smell, the fragrances are totally different in feel. Where Portrait of a Lady—a fragrance that is brilliant in its own right—can come across as distant and aloof, Aurum is playful and feminine. Where Aurum smells warm and inviting, Portrait of a Lady is ice cold. With Portrait of a Lady, I picture a chilly and business-like environment, perhaps a sort of black tie event with work colleagues. But with Aurum, I picture a woman: someone with a playful twinkle in her eyes, a happy demeanor, who conducts herself with a certain joie de vivre that is as contagious as her smile.
In short, Aurum makes me happy. The smell is beautiful—a silky smooth, sweet and fruity mix of rose, berries, and chocolate—but this is one of those fragrances where it is the feeling, not just the smell, that is important. A lover of the art behind fragrance will find much to appreciate here. Beyond the technical mastery, beyond the quality ingredients and the effortless elegance, we find something more:
Looking across a crowded ballroom, beyond the anonymous veil of a hundred strange faces, his eyes settled on another being who seemed larger than life. His eyes meet with hers, and they shared a moment. A shy smile crept across their lips as each person sensed the existence of the other. A shiver in their spines. The flash of cold sweat. Everyone else in that room ceased to exist.
The essence of that moment is what Aurum represents to me. It takes a form that I am familiar with, executed well in Portrait of a Lady, and transforms it into something even more special and memorable. In many ways, it is an evolutionary step in this genre, perhaps even in the practice of alchemy itself. Instead of tinkering with the ordinary, Aurum begins with the extraordinary, and transforms it into something magical.
Bravo Sergio Momo for bringing us this brilliant work!