It is the nature of the endeavor when two creative minds create as one, I want to try and figure out who did what. I remember doing this when two of my favorite horror authors, Stephen King and Peter Straub, wrote “The Talisman” in 1984. It is a fool’s errand. It sets one off in a direction of searching for trees instead of seeing the glory of the forest. If two collaborators truly succeed there will be something different than from either one alone. It is how I have finally begun to experience the perfumes made by independent perfumers Alexis Karl and Maria McElroy for their shared brand House of Cherry Bomb.
Maria McElroy (l.) and Alexis Karl
Both women working together has such distinct aesthetics when making their own perfumes it always makes me smile to find a third different one while working together. It is particularly true in the Atelier Perfume collection. The previous six releases are each memorable combinations of titular notes; Tobacco Cognac and Cardamom Rose are my favorites. They have now added a seventh to the group; House of Cherry Bomb Iris Oud.
Iris and oud are two of the most variable perfume ingredients you can use. Iris can have the delicate powdery face or the doughy rooty version. Oud covers the gamut from exotic to barnyard. In many ways a combination of both seems like a perfume Tinder date destined to go bad. Except in the hands of smart perfumers who look for the opportunities for harmony in contrast. Then you get a perfume like Iris Oud.
The perfume opens with iris showing off its powdery nature. Violet is used to keep it from becoming too much a powderpuff. A smart use of jasmine turns the powder towards the rootier quality. Then the oud arrives. This isn’t just pure oud; it is an accord which contains oud. The distinction is the perfumers can tame the more obstreperous qualities to create the effect they want. In this case they use a selection of darker materials to provide guardrails, so the oud comes off as a fascinating visitor. This ends on a honeycomb of beeswax adding subtle animalic sweetness. There is also an array of balsamic notes to create an enveloping warmth for the iris and oud accord.
Iris Oud has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Ms. Karl and Ms. McElroy have once again found a new synergy in their creativity. It allows them to find the same in two ingredients like iris and oud.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by House of Cherry Bomb.