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Bogue Profumo

Bogue Profumo MEM – an exuberant, passionate, sexy hot mess

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Ever since Aimee Guerlain decided in 1889 that lavender and a whiff of unwashed bottom would make a good pairing in Jicky, nobody has dared making lavender truly sexy again, with the possible exception of Vero Kern in her Kiki Eau de parfum which marries lavender to a scrumptious, creamy caramel note and the fizzy sulphurous tinge of passion fruit. Yet where Kiki is flirtatious, Jicky is unapologetically animal and so Jicky is still leading the sexy race more than 120 years since its inception. But enter Bogue Profumo MEM and we might be talking a serious contender to the sexy lavender crown. One a lot more flamboyant and exciting than Monsieur/Madame Jicky and somehow, in spite of its vintage nods especially in the base where things get classically musky and animalic, one that is perhaps better suited to modern tastes. Don’t let that ring the alarm bells, making you thing that MEM is one those anorexic, easily legible, usually soliflore type fragrances that ladies who lunch like to buy from their shiny, luxurious department stores. No, MEM is big, complex to the point of insanity and completely baffling. But it also smells new and original, which Jicky with its dirty vanilla powder and French boudoir vibe doesn’t anymore. I don’t know why perfumer Antonio Gardoni picked lavender as his next “knock-them-dead-and-drag-them-to-the-love-making-den” type of fragrance as we all know lavender isn’t exactly carnal pleasures material but he probably loves a challenge as most of us do from time to time. I also don’t know what particularly was his inspiration for creating this scent. Did he simply want to showcase the multifaceted beauty of plain ol’ humble lavender? Did he have a certain lavender related memory he wanted to translate into scent? Maybe MEM equals memory, who knows? I’ve never tried to find out. Sometimes I like to leave mystery alone. Lucian Blaga, a Romanian poet said “I do not crush the world’s wonders corolla, nor do I kill with reason the mystery I meet in flowers, in eyes, on lips, in graves.” Life and creation are mysteries which probably are never going to be fully deciphered and so is MEM to my nose. I can hardly grasp what is going on inside it. One thing is for certain, there’s lots going on. I mean let’s all take a look at the notes list: petitgrain, mandarin, grapefruit, lavender (several types), ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, white champaca, rose damascene, jasmine grandiflorum, bourbon geranium, vanilla, peppermint, laurel, siam benzoin, rosewood, sandalwood, Himalayan cedarwood, labdanum, ambergris, musk, castoreum, civet, amber. Enough to get your head spinning before you even take a sniff. At a first glance it looks like a chypre structure: bright, juicy citrus-aromatic beginning, voluptuous, rounded floral heart and a woodsy-animalistic base. But when you actually spray the perfume almost nothing is recognisable anymore. All the components are sort of skewed into a novel direction, a very peculiar kind of smell, although not exactly abstract either. In fact, the sense of modernity comes from the very naturalistic first impression, something which would appeal to the current customers who are always impressed by terms like pure, wholesome, unprocessed, organic. MEM was a completely blind buy for me, inspired by Claire Vukcevic’s brilliant and mouth watering short review on her blog Take one thing off. So when the bottle arrived I’m sure you can imagine the trepidation with which I pressed the spray nozzle. Mouth agape, sensations were flooding my brain in rapid succession and it was difficult to keep track. MEM starts with a citrus blast but not as you know it. This is so amped up it almost smells like a petrol station, and the lavender wave, leaves, earth and roots included, follows like a ferrocious purple tsunami. Funk is never too far away in Antonio Gardoni’s creations and for the briefest of time I can smell something somewhat bleachy metallic the kind of thing I tend to always associate with ambergris and semen. So there’s a powerful male impression at this point, but very soon the fragrance softens with a very interesting sweetness which is not vanilla or honey type but rather like malt molasses. The mix of lavender, malty sweetness, and a dry, waxed, rubbery type of floralcy gives birth to a very strange animal indeed : lavender beer. To me it feels like I’m taking a bath with my lover, in one of those free standing big tubs filled to the brim with fancy craft beer, lavender bunches and exotic flowers. It’s propped right in the middle of a half wild garden and the sun is almost falling down towards the sunset line. Huge cabbage head roses are trembling over the heavy porcelain rim and his beautiful eyes are hoovering above me like two blue-green moons. We laugh relentlessly, we touch and we lick, and it’s as if we’re lost in an alternate world, never to be found again. It’s surreal and amazing and I don’t want for this dream to end. And it doesn’t because MEM lasts forever and a day if you let it. The progression is extremely slow after the fast moving beginning, and all the better for it. That means I can enjoy the crazy lavender beer stage for hours on end, before the musky, sweetly animalic base takes over with its leathery castoreum inflections and snuggly amber. KEEP ON READING

The lavender rollercoaster

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I let slip a couple of weeks ago that Antonio Gardoni was creating a new lavender fragrance for Bogue Profumo. Well I have had chance to try it, and fortunately, you can too, as it has just been released. As you would expect from Antonio’s other fragrances, such as Cologne Reloaded and Maai, MEM is unusual, enormously wearable and interesting – wearing it is like riding a rollercoaster.

Sniffing the atomiser I had an impression of purple powder that made me think MEM might be a boudoir perfume. Spraying it on my skin, however, brought me a swirl of naturalistic ‘Goldilocks’ lavender that took me straight to the garden. Apparently Antonio used 5 different lavenders to create this fragrance, making it ‘Goldilocks’ lavender because it’s not too herbal and not too caramel-ish. Instead, opening up like purple-blue summer sky, it’s warm with a slight woody undertone, but clean and fresh. As a massive fan of Caldey Island Lavender, I love this; it’s invigorating but not simplistic. KEEP ON READING

Lavender’s having a moment

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Apparently lavender has a reputation as being for old ladies, but I’ve never felt that way about it. To me, its fresh, uplifting brightness is incredibly modern. I’m not alone, it seems, as lavender is having its moment in the sun this summer. (It was all about the gardenia a couple of years ago, remember?) With a movement towards bright, light, yet very radiant perfumes, lavender has a place front and centre in the perfumer’s palette these days. Indeed, perfume creator Antonio Gardoni of Bogue Profumo has been working on his next fragrance and lavender is a key element: more on that in a later post, but he’s promised me a sample to test and I’ll keep you posted. KEEP ON READING

Beauty and the Beasts

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It’s clear that we will soon find ourselves in the midst of another wave of popularity for the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, thanks to an impending Disney film whose trailer was viewed a record-breaking 127.6 million times in the first 24 hours after its release several days ago. But as we all know, the greatest perfumers have been playing beauty against beastliness for a long time.

Tea with (smelly) friends

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Two weekends ago I went to London with a good friend I’ve known since I was in my 20s – that’s her in the photo with me – Sam who writes the I Scent You A Day blog. We went to hang out and drink tea with a group of perhaps twenty people, many of whom we hadn’t physically met before. What did we have in common? Perfume. How did we know these people? The internet.

Now some people get upset when I refer to them as Smelly Friends, so I may need to use some other terminology, such as Fragonerds, Perfumistas and Perfumisters, or just fragrance afficionados, but it all boils down to the same thing. We are people who love perfume. You, dear reader, may very well be one too. KEEP ON READING

Sammarco Naias – Deconstructing Violet

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When I heard that Giovanni Sammarco had shown mods of a yet-to-be-announced violet perfume called Naias at Pitti to a couple of friends, I began to salivate. Then, after wiping the drool from my keyboard, I asked for a sample. (More likely, I begged).

For the past year or so, violets have been a sort of secret passion of mine, and I’ve been collecting samples and even small bottles of some of what I see as the standouts in the genre. Opus III for a grand, oriental violet, Stephen Jones for weird crunchy space rocks, vintage Jolie Madame for leather, Insolence for trashy charm, Aimez Moi for kittenish cheer, Bois de Violette for candied darkness, and McQueen for grungy face powder. But each violet added to the collection shrinks the space left for others – could Naias really bring something new to the table? KEEP ON READING

Aeon001 – groovy bottle but what has Liechtenstein done for me lately?

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There are so many new niche operation springing up around the stinkosphere these past few years, I’ve basically given up keeping track or even caring anymore. The law of diminishing returns applied to trends means that as the hype grows, the products that result from it is usually pretty crap. This is particularly true in the niche, or rather Nu-Niche™ perfumery hyper hype going around. So when I heard about aeon001  –  apparently from Liechtenstein of all places  –  I didn’t take note until a friend  “Nunzio”  showed a photo of the bottle that left him flabbergasted (and Nunzio is not easily flabbergasted! In fact in spite of his impeccable frag cachet, he’s been quite blasé lately….) He maintains that “There are two [most important] things for a fragrance: it has to smell good and it has to look good. Period.” Hmmm….although I keep most of my frag stash in drawers and rarely look at them, on this occasion the flashy,  singular look of the vessel had my curiosity piqued. And, according to Nunzio’s math, we were already halfway there. Result? A rather expensive blindbuy on which to blow some of my xmas salary bonus. KEEP ON READING

Perfume shopping in the twilight zone-and a giveaway

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I’m an online perfume shopping type of person. I mean where else do you get to lounge around in tatty but comfortable pajamas, sip on your favorite Pinot Noir and at the same time buy some of the most wonderful fragrances the world has to offer? Efficiency and convenience at its best. Sure, it’s low on the glamour factor and the human interaction, but in some cases, like the one described below, those are better avoided anyways.

My latest attempt at perfume shopping in a bricks and mortar store happened during a little weekend getaway to Milan, a city known for luxurious designer shops, famous opera shows at the wonderful La Scala Theater, the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world, the San Siro Stadium, some of the biggest international fairs in Europe and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting.
I wanted for this trip to be simple, as it was only a three nights stay and one of the days was going to be spent at the International Furniture Fair, a stunning display of craftsmanship, clever designs, opulent materials and incredible colors. We even spotted Roberto Cavalli there, who very graciously accepted to have his photo taken.The blue and white silk lined wardrobe created by his brand was one of the most striking things I’ve seen at the fair and totally lust worthy.
So yes simplicity was the key word. We didn’t queue for seeing Leonardo’s painting, didn’t even try to visit the designer shops, and we had only one perfume shop on the list, in stark contrast to the Paris perfume pilgrimage I submitted my better half to nearly three years ago. He lived to tell the tale but just barely. KEEP ON READING

Korrigan by Lubin: Restrained Drunkeness

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When I was nineteen, I used to work in a nightclub in Dublin called Copper Face Jacks. It was – and maybe still is – somewhat notorious in Ireland as a meat market, in other words, a place where young people would come to get drunk and make some very bad sexual decisions (sometimes without even leaving the confines of the club). Coppers, as we staff would grimly call it, was owned by a former policeman, or a guard, as we call them in Ireland. We would routinely get ‘raided’ by the gardai, who would shut us down for the night, throw the punters out with a stiff warning ringing in their ears, and then proceed to drink us dry until the wee hours of the morning. The only consolation was being allowed by the owner the rare treat of being allowed to have one drink free. KEEP ON READING

MAAI by Bogue: Bridge between the Past and the Future

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There is a road that stretches exactly 674 kilometers from Rimini on the North-East coast of Italy up through the Alps to Zurich, in Switzerland. This journey, were you to make it by car, would take you seven hours to complete, and by the end of it, you would have taken in most of the independent and artistic perfume making that still exists in Europe today. We are talking here about small, mostly self-taught perfumers who, instead of designing according to briefs set by the big fragrance conglomerates, create perfumes that take big, bold leaps into the dark and are limited only by the outer boundaries of their imaginations. KEEP ON READING

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