Continuing the overview of Navitus Parfums I began yesterday in Part 1. The remaining four perfumes in the inaugural collection are by perfumer Christian Carbonnel. Creative Director Steven Gavrielatos shows an interesting difference between the four constructs. The duo without oud in the name, Navitus Parfums Intimus and Navus, continue the aesthetic begun in the three perfumes from yesterday. The two with oud in their name, Navitus Parfums Oud Imperium and Oud Luxuria, those take some exciting risks. First the non-oud two.
Intimus is the fruity floral of the bunch. To Mr. Gavrielatos’ credit he gives it some verve by choosing different fruits and florals for Mr. Carbonnel to combine. The fruity part comes through a tart pairing of crisp apple and sunny lemon. It has a snappy attention getting quality which sets the stage for the green lily-of-the-valley to provide the floral. Baie rose acts as a bridging note between the tarter fruits and the greener muguet. This is a light-filled spring fruity floral at this stage. It takes on some shadows in the later going as patchouli and oakmoss provide some shade. It ends with a dry woody framing.
Intimus has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Navus is my favorite of these two because it is a brilliant citrusy style of perfume overflowing with exuberance. Grapefruit holds the center of the top accord complemented by bergamot, orange, and neroli. It is a compact citrus accord until Mr. Carbonnel pierces it with baie rose and juniper berry. It takes what starts off as closed in and explodes it across my skin in shards of gin and herbs within the citrus. This is the most kinetic of the Navitus releases especially in these early moments. Ylang-ylang provides a tropical contrast before vetiver and cedar round out things.
Navus has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Steven Gavrielatos (l.) and Christian Carbonnel
As I say often expectations are a funny thing. Having explored the other five Navitus Parfums I thought the ones with oud would be typical smooth oud accord fragrances. Mr. Gavrielatos and Mr. Carbonnel shredded those ideas with two perfumes which embrace every edgy piece of oud in two perfumes not meant to be for everyone. Oud has two nominal descriptors; “medicinal” and “barnyard” each of these picks one and elaborates upon it.
Oud Imperium goes for the “medicinal” vibe of oud. More accurately the bandages scent oud sometimes possesses. There is a dichotomy of dirty wound underneath clean bandages. It is the push back of the cleaner notes against that medicinal scent which makes Oud Imperium so interesting. The oud is right there and is first resisted by apple and lavender. The former does a better job of holding its own. Muguet also picks up on the apple and contrasts with green floral. Just as it seems the oud is ascendant tonka bean comes forward to add a warm toasted quality as complement. It softens the edges of the oud especially over the later stages moving it from confrontational to comforting.
Oud Imperium has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
That leaves the “barnyard” for Oud Luxuria. This is my favorite of the inaugural seven because it takes the parts of oud which are the most difficult to work with and creates a fantastically layered perfume. It opens with that slightly fecal barnyard scent of oud. Mr. Carbonnel rolls out two florals to work with that in rose and osmanthus. Rose is the traditional partner to oud. The choice of osmanthus is excellent because the leather apricot duality works ideally against an oud of this kind. As the florals settle into the oud it flowers into something very compelling. Mr. Carbonnel uses a deft amount of spices as saffron and cinnamon add a simmering warmth. It all turns very resinous in the base as silvery frankincense pushes onto the scene. The austerity of good frankincense as contrast to the dirtiness of good oud is balanced perfectly here. It stays right in this sweet spot of rose, osmanthus, frankincense, and oud for a long time.
Oud Luxuria has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
The five non-oud Navitus releases are well-done versions of niche styles. Mr. Gavriealtos made some inspired choices by asking his perfumers to work on the fringes of those styles. It has formed a coherent collection which colors within the lines while pushing at the edges of them, too. The two oud ones, those rip the page out of the coloring book and crumple it up. They are audacious in their use of oud. This is probably the right mix of a debut collection to show what your new brand is all about. I am excited to see Mr. Gavrielatos successfully make the transition to creative director. I see the potential for some excellent perfumes to come.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample set provided by Navitus Parfums.