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Samplin’ – Carner Barcelona – Rose & Dragon and Black Calamus

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There are common themes between these two; rose, incense, amber, but any fans of those could do no wrong by looking at both. As a fan of CB’s previous releases, but at the same time knowing some are a little ‘blah’, I was met with excitement, but no real urgent need to sniff these out. I’m happy I didn’t wait too long.

Carner Barcelona – Black Calamus

You’re hit with a barrage of notes upon the initial spray. At first, it’s hard to tell whether this is an incense based fragrance or amber, because there is heavy doses of both on my skin. While on paper, I get a pot of dark spices and a smoky rose (still incense). Throughout the opening I get the culinary classics, black pepper and coriander, their aroma weaves in and out of the layers of labdanum and incense. One could imagine, Carner Barcelona wanted to step away from their other creations as it’s apparent, Black Calamus is of higher quality than anythhing else they’ve released. There is a dry richness from the start, which only becomes denser while racing to the finish line, and that finish line doesn’t come for a while as I clocked Black Calamus in at 12+ hours on my skin. A few other scents come to mind, Puredistance Black with a hint of rose among many other smoky-ambers, but never have a found one with rose and spices to break up the monotony. KEEP ON READING

Spring has Sprung: Linden and Lilacs

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For many people who like heady, strong florals – rose, tuberose, violets – linden and lilacs can seem like the “other white meat”, in other words, second-string players to more forceful or more characterful stars. Ask any one to describe what a Bulgarian rose otto smells like, or tuberose absolute, and words such as beefy, rich, and buttery come spilling out; strong words for strong scents. Flowers like lilac, linden, and to a certain extent, freesia, and peony cannot be so clearly described – people tend to use vague terms such as fresh, green, watery, honeyed, or soapy. KEEP ON READING

Roja Parfums Fetish Pour Homme: Debonair, Classical Leather

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As with other expressions of artistry and craft, perfume has its share of masterpieces. With paintings and similar artifacts, owning a treasure would cost a fortune. Fortunately, in the case of perfume, a masterpiece comes relatively cheap, and for the best of the best one need look no further than the Roja Parfums line. Priced at around $500 for 50 ml of perfume, Roja Dove’s work might seem extravagant, perhaps even a little ridiculous. But as with comparable artistic endeavors, one cannot put a price on perfection. KEEP ON READING

Playing “Hide & Seek” – WHITE Puredistance

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The main idea behind the creation of Puredistance WHITE Perfume has been to create a perfume so beautiful and positive that it gives the wearer an instant flow of happiness.” This is the message in WHITE, the latest entry. For me Puredistance is guilty for the best leather/chypre perfume M and for the aristocratic Antonia, the rest of their creation did not succeeded to bring too much emotion to me.

WHITE is different right from the beginning from the rest of Puredistance perfumes by simplicity in the way it was built, it does not have the rich structure of Antonia, M or Puredistance I . It s simple but in a very sophisticated way, being an example of “less is more” in perfumery. I can easily say that WHITE is one of the most elegant summer fragrances. It starts on my skin in the first minutes with a clean scent of white musk surrounded by crispy cool bergamot /citrus and a hint of patchouli , then in short time , this composition turns fruity having a lemon sorbetto & limoncello note while the white musk disappears (for some time ). At this moment the rose signals it’s presence joining the sorbetto & limoncello note enhancing the fruitiness of the composition. This phase of WHITE reminds me a little bit of MFK’s Acqua Universalis Forte. KEEP ON READING

Puredistance M-to Roja or not to Roja?

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Aahh, Roja Dove! Cannot help a smile when  I think of this perfumer. God forbid, not because his work is silly, far from it and in fact quite the opposite, but because we share a love of sequins, colorful silks and more than anything, an enthusiastic appreciation of the oriental and chypre fragrance genres.
And what is Puredistance M, if not a leather oriental almost on the verge of transforming itself in a leather chypre. But almost is the key word as the mossy character of any chypre worth its salt is barely present on my skin. That  doesn’t mean M is less impressive because of it, but it’s certainly less aggressive. M is just as much of a chypre as Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin is, which means it’s an incredibly smooth one and very oriental in nature.
Roja Dove, who composed Puredistance M, prior to launching his own independent career as a perfumer and luxury products PR specialist, had been steeped for 20 years in the finest Guerlain tradition and heritage, and I believe it shows. From what I’ve smelled his perfumes are deliciously old school: multilayered and opulent, formulated with good quality raw materials.
M is no exception: it is multilayered, opulent and formulated with good quality raw materials. It is also a very balanced kind of leather: not too soft, not too harsh, not excessively smoky, or sweet or dry. It is just right, in perfect equilibrium of nuances. And it’s beautiful and a pleasure to wear from the first moment until the very last, many hours later. It unfolds slowly, it’s like it knows it’s gorgeous and it takes its own time,bencasing the skin in stupidly perfect after perfect layer.
It has a way of making you feel better dressed or undressed (depending on circumstances), more sophisticated and with a bigger bank account. Alas,it’s only olfactory illusion, at least in my case.
M is not only a leather fragrance, depending on the approaching angle it could also be a spicy floral, a woody incense and a vanillic amber, but somehow they all combine to give the impression of supple, thick, luxurious hide, the impeccable type that Hermès use in their lusted over leather goods.
Puredistance don’t release an official list of notes with their fragrances. My nose and I enjoy a challenge and I think I can identify some of the things M is made of: bergamot first of all, with its softly floral citric undertones, jasmine for sure voluptuous, sweet and slightly indolic, rose maybe, not sure about this one, definitely spices possibly cinnamon or cloves or both, anyway spices with a sweet facet, certainly vanilla, 100% certain about labdanum, patchouli, leather, and some animalic, musky notes plus a whiff of incense smoke. There’s a kind of slightly acrid, green bitterness, very faint, it could be the mossy layer that perhaps would justify the inclusion of M in the chypre category. One fragrance that it reminds me strongly of is Papillon Perfumery Anubis, but M is more suave and refined, a bit more complex and better blended, not necessarily more lovable though. Anubis is rougher, smokier, more indolic floral, more animalic, and with saffron instead of cinnamon and M is softer, sweetly spiced and woodier. It has fantastic longevity and good projection, one or two spray are usually enough for a full day’s wear.
M is suited, buttoned up, not a hair out of place, shiny shoes, perfect trouser crease, all together impeccable. There’s a hint of sex in the only fetish element of his attire: the honey colored pilot leather gloves. This man reeks of money, success, good taste and high quality fashion, and yet I feel there’s a little something missing. Not in terms of image, that is flawless and beyond improvement, but maybe in terms of spirit. It would be unfair to judge M outside of  the Puredistance line up, which is one of extreme refinement and elegance, and yes of distance. I cannot imagine losing my head over any of their fragrances, because those perfumes reject the very notion of it. They’re all about poise, composure, a kind of luxurious restraint, not really in sink with my personality. Basically I was unable to connect emotionally to this perfume, in spite of its remarkable shape and beauty. I know this sounds stupid, because for most people perfume is only another fashion accessory. Well, not in my case.
I do own perfumes that I consider to be perhaps on the same level of sumptuousness as Puredistance M, namely Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin and Amouage Fate(woman) and just to make things clear I’ve bought the last one with a fantastic 50% discount, but I consider Chypre Palatin friendlier and Fate deliciously over the top, and as such both a lot more likable.
I also cannot give an answer to the question contained in the post title: to Roja or not to Roja? In some ways yes ,because he does a bloody fantastic job in showing us how perfumes were and can still be made, but on the other hand, no because of the, frankly, ludicrous pricing. After all, I’m convinced good perfumery can be produced at a reasonable cost, and anything beyond a certain point becomes a bit cynical.
Mr.Roja Dove is a legendary nose, but in my view he has yet to make a legendary perfume. Partly because he financially excluded a large chunk of the possible audience and partly because he’s not a revolutionary. He’s the loving custodian of a very polished, elegant, refined, classical French way of making perfume and I don’t think that is the realm of future perfume legends, and I believe this even if I’m a traditionalist and classicist at heart. His world is too rarefied, snob and luxury orientated. It is also true that perhaps to create perfume legends is not possible anymore.The niche perfumes have too little exposure and are a lot of times too expensive and the mainstream ones are too numerous and more often then not, too little thought and time goes into their creation. There’s also the issue of audiences, which have been fed so many mediocre perfumes in the last decade or two, that now they simply don’t know any better.
Only time will tell if we’ll witness the birth of another Shalimar or Chanel no.5. KEEP ON READING

How to Smell Like a Manly Man: Ron Burgundy Fragrances

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Ok, ok, so the title is firmly tongue-in-cheek. I am a firm believer in the concept of wearing what you like regardless of the gender designation of said fragrance. And men should of course wear what they like. I wear some masculines myself, among them Dior Homme Intense and Caron’s Third Man, and applaud any man who breaks out of the generic masculine mold to wear florals and gourmands.

But let’s say, hypothetically speaking, you want to deliberately project a certain type of Alpha Maleness to your immediate surroundings – well, you’d need a fragrance so incontrovertibly male that wimmenfolk would instinctively shrink away and lesser men would sniff the air around you and immediately hit the ground in a submissive position. Here is a list of fragrances that would do the job just fine. KEEP ON READING

Decrypting Puredistance Black

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Puredistance Black

The last year released perfume by Puredistance comes in the same elegant flacon design as the previous scents of the line, an all black bottle in concordance with the mysterious composition inside. I did smell some of the most controversial scents made by Antoine Lie and for a long time have been attracted by everything noir, so I was very intrigued about this scent that promised alot.

Decrypting Black was a real pleasure. As there are not givin any official notes you only have to trust your own nose here. Let`s imagine an old castle or a place you are not familiar with and you find yourself in the main room, maybe the ball room. The whimsical Lady of the house has a new game in mind. She covers your eyes with a black scarf and you must cross the room and guess what is around you. No mention of a reward, but tempting enough to go on. When I played the game for the first time I lost. I didn`t understand Black. It was too much going on, the scent felt odd and very dense, with too many layers and depth. I was about to give up, but I tested it in another day and it was way better. Maybe if I try it again I`ll become totally addicted to it because it is the type of scent that doesn`t reveal itself complety from the start, but seduces you the more you wear it.

In the first minutes it is bright and citrusy. It must contain a bouquet of aromatic herbs and some bergamot zest on top that give the impression of lightness…very refreshing…but then you live the pacefull and idyllic garden behind and step into the darkness. That`s another territory. A place full of shadows. I begin to recongnize some familiar smells the second time I pass through it. I get a sweet note of pipe tobacco and there`s deffinetly some good Oudh in here. From a corner the smoke of burned incence tingels my nostrils and I also feel the presence of licorice that adds a nice gourmand contrast to the woody-spicey mixture. Vanilla is also present, but not from the dried pod but the warm vanillic smell of an empty glass of cognac. In time Oudh becomes barely perceptible as it rounds up with the rest of the ingredients in a smooth blend. I`d call it a woody-oriental scent with sweet undertones. It starts more masculine, but in time it developes as a unisex and the projection is rather medium, but stays on you the whole day.

Puredistance Black is unforgettable, elegant, daring and indeed…black. KEEP ON READING

Puredistance Opardu

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Opardu is a flawless perfume elegantly presented in three different sizes, one of a 17,5 ml spray holder of golden glass and two simple black bottles of 60 ml and 100 ml which comes also together with a leather pouch. Apparently the name comes by mixing the words “opulence & perdu”, meaning the long gone opulence of the golden age of perfumery and the perfume itself seams to revive that lost glamour. KEEP ON READING

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