I am continually struggling with the current trend of designing transparent fragrances. While I fully understand the consumer market desires this style. It reminds me of the days when everything was “fresh and clean” twentysomething years ago. If the needle gets too stuck in a single direction mediocrity sets in. There is no room for innovation just minute iterations upon a singular theme. Which is why I am probably splitting ever diminishing hairs when I try and make a distinction to make some releases more palatable.
The way I think about it is there is “transparent”. That’s where everything is so volumized the fragrance is ephemeral, barely there. There is an “emperor’s new clothes” aspect where I wonder if these are even perfumes. I know they are but in some cases the level of lightness makes it seem as if these are made for someone who likes the idea of wearing perfume without really wearing it. This is the heart of my struggle which I suspect will never fully resolve.
The other category is “diffuse”. These have just a touch more presence. They have some nice phases of development while they stick around. They are still very light, but I enjoy them more because it feels closer to my concept of perfume. One of the latest I received in this category is Le Labo Cedrat 37.
Cedrat 37 is the latest city exclusive from the brand for the Berlin stores. Creative directors Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi haven’t actually tried to have these releases approximate their cities. Tabac 28 was one of the exceptions. When I think of Berlin the idea of citrus doesn’t exactly spring to mind. What is in the bottle is an example of a diffuse citrusy fragrance.
It is a simply constructed perfume based early on around the lemony scent of cedrat and the zinginess of ginger. A lot of time with the lemon citrus analogs there is a piercing level in the early going. In this case the cedrat is softer, hazier. I think there are some lighter musks creating this effect. The ginger has a transforming quality as we go from yellow haze to candied citrus. If you’ve ever eaten those jelly candies coated in crystals of sugar that’s what this reminds me of. It even has a kind of crunchiness of the sugar cracking between my teeth. While the sweetness level goes up the opacity stays constant. It is at a nice level without feeling inconsequential. It finishes on what is becoming a common woody musky base accord characteristic of the brand.
Cedrat 37 has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I am probably searching for places to allow my sensibilities some traction. Cedrat 37 allows me to choose diffuse over transparent.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.
Editor’s Note: As of the date of this post there is a week left in the annual September availability of the city exclusives worldwide.