It has been awhile since I have received samples from natural perfumer Anya McCoy. A few weeks ago that was rectified with two new creations from Ms. McCoy. There is nobody working in the natural perfume field from whom I look forward more to seeing what she has created. She is so busy watching over the Natural Perfumers Guild that I think she doesn’t take enough time to remind us of how talented she is. Both of these new fragrances I received from her show her dedication to the history and the future of natural perfumery. I am going to review each of the new perfumes today and tomorrow.
For today I guess calling the Randolph Parry Cologne 1859 “new” is a bit of a misnomer. Ms. McCoy was contacted by the President of the New Hope (PA) Historical Society, Dr. Claire Shaw. Dr. Shaw had come across a recipe for a cologne when searching through the books at the Parry Mansion. She contacted Ms. McCoy to see if she could help decipher the recipe and perhaps recreate it. Ms. McCoy had written to me about this earlier in the process and to say I was excited to see how this would turn out is an understatement. You just have to look at the name of the blog to know how fascinated I would be in smelling a fresh version of an original cologne formulation.
As you can see in the page reproduced above from Ms. McCoy’s website the recipe has all of the classic ingredients of the early colognes. Ms. McCoy looked to those early colognes, namely Eau de Hongrie and 4711 for inspiration. She also would remark that the formula looks similar to the well-known Florida Water to those of us who have lived in South Florida. What that all means is the more herbal components are thrust forward with the lavender while the citrus takes a bit of a back seat. The one unique ingredient from the 1859 recipe that was going to be very difficult to source and use was “musk tincture”. Real musk from the glands of musk deer is tightly regulated in 2015 and she would have to go through Bruce Bolmes of SMK Fragrance who is the only licensed importer in the US. Mr. Bolmes enthusiastically signed on to the project and this allowed Ms. McCoy to be faithful to the last drop in her recreation.
Randolph Parry Cologne opens with that fresh lemon swoosh. Lavender arrives very rapidly and it provides a spindle for the herbal and spicy components to wind themselves around. Rosemary which is the classic herbal component is present. What sets Randolph Parry Cologne apart is the very prominent cinnamon and clove notes. They settle in with the rosemary and lavender to provide a slightly darker shade of cologne than you might think. Rose and neroli provide a light floral counterpoint and it is especially as the florals gain some traction that I am reminded strongly of Florida Water. The arrival of the musk tincture is what truly sets this apart. The real animalic muskiness provides an entirely unique foundation for a cologne. It has a complexity to it that you can only get from a real musk. As it provides depth and texture to the more traditional cologne components it makes this feel contemporary.
Randolph Parry Cologne has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
You might think following an old recipe would be child’s play but I think this was quite the opposite. Ms. McCoy had to use every bit of skill and experience she has to make this recreation sing with the correct harmony. In lesser hands they would’ve just slammed the ingredients together into a muddled mess. Ms. McCoy turns it into living history not only of perfumery but a way of life. If you love cologne like I do you must try this.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Anya’s Garden.