The Different Company 101- Five To Get You Started

The primary goal of this series is to allow someone new to the fragrance world a starting place with many of the extensive lines out there. A secondary goal is to give some attention to great fragrance collections which might not be as well known, but should be. This month I am going to introduce some of you to The Different Company.

The Different Company was founded in 2000 by Thierry de Baschmakoff and Jean-Claude Ellena. In 2003 M. de Baschmakoff would work with perfumer Celine Ellena for the next year before giving way to current creative director and CEO of the brand, Luc Gabriel in 2004. Mme Ellena would continue the collaboration until 2010.  Since 2011, M. Gabriel has brought in Emilie Coppermann for the cologne collection and Bertrand Duchaufour has contributed to the Collection Excessive. These consistent partnerships between creative director and perfumer has led to a house style which has been in place from the very first perfume released. Here are the five I would suggest to get you started.

Bois D’Iris composed by Jean-Claude Ellena was one of the first releases of The Different Company. The name promises Iris Woods and that is exactly what M. Ellena delivers as orris is surrounded by cedar. With M. Ellena it is always the grace notes which make his perfumes memorable and for Bois D’Iris it is the narcissus, vetiver, and musk which make this one of the best florals ever made by M. Ellena.

TDC_90ml_Sel de Vétiver

Sel de Vetiver composed by Celine Ellena is one of my favorite vetiver perfumes. It might be the perfume I have written the most about over the ten years I’ve been writing about fragrance. The reason for that is Mme Ellena creates an accord of drying salt water on sun-warmed skin which is combined with three different vetiver sources. I have used this perfume as the introduction to vetiver for so many.Those who like it, like me, will never be without it.

De Bachmakov composed by Celine Ellena is a transparent fragrance of winter vistas. It was inspired by the tundra of M. de Baschmakoff’s Russian heritage. Mme Ellena captures the bite of winter air by using the sharply green shiso. Coriander, nutmeg, and cedar come together to form a frozen earth accord. This is one of the best examples of minimalist perfume composition that I own.

Aurore Nomade composed by Bertrand Duchaufour marked a different aesthetic at play. M. Duchaufour in contrast to Mme Ellena is not a minimalist. It could be said he is a maximalist very often as his perfumes can seem overstuffed. Aurore Nomade is one of those perfumes overflowing with ideas. To M. Duchaufour’s credit it holds together to form an accurate evocation of the Spice Islands. With spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg along with a bit of tropical fruit cocktail all with a shot of rum swirling around; M. Duchaufour uses every bit of the potential of ylang-ylang as the central note in Aurore Nomade. It is over the top in a very good way.

Une Nuit Magnetique composed by Christine Nagel is a perfume of magnetic attraction and repulsion. Mme Nagel creates a fragrance which comes together only to be forced apart. In the top ginger and bergamot have their harmony disrupted by blueberry.  In the heart she uses prune to break up a collection of floral extroverts. The way that Une Nuit Magnetique is in constant flux on my skin has always magnetically drawn me in.

If you’re new to the brand these five will give you a good introduction to The Different Company.

Disclosure: this review is based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

L’Artisan Parfumeur 101- Five to Get You Started

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At this point niche perfume has become a fact of life. The discussion has even moved along to whether niche has any meaning anymore. In 1978 the phrase niche perfume didn’t exist. It took the creation of the brand called L’Artisan Parfumeur by perfumer and creative director Jean Laporte to require a way to describe this collection of perfumes that were different. On that day in 1978 when M. Laporte released the initial seven perfumes, perfumery changed. L’Artisan Parfumeur has continued to thrive for the last 37 years. One of the reasons is two of our greatest perfumers, Olivia Giacobetti and Bertrand Duchaufour, produced some of their earliest and best work for the brand. One thing to admire about the brand is it covers the entire spectrum of the fragrance spectrum. There are over 50 fragrances to choose from. To help you here are the five I would start with.

Only three of the original seven releases are still available. Mure et Musc co-signed by Henri Sorsana and Jean Laporte feels as contemporary as it did back in 1978. The herbal citrus open which moves into one of the best fruity floral accords I’ve ever smelled as the perfumers combine jasmine and blackberry. This all rests on a bed of white musk supported by patchouli. Every time I wear this I think to myself this is where niche began.

Olivia Giacobetti would be the perfumer behind most of the releases between1994-2000. Her first release Premier Figuier is what most cite. I actually think her most accessible work for the brand came as she returned in 2001 with Tea for Two. It has Mme Giacobetti’s trademark transparency but the wonderful smoked tea heart makes this a classic. It opens almost boringly with neroli but it quickly heads to the tea room. In the heart smoky tea leaves are crushed with cinnamon, anise, and ginger. This is my favorite tea accord I wear. A honey and vanilla base finishes this version of olfactory tea service. Tea for Two was discontinued for a time but it was brought back in 2014.

Fou-dabsinthe

The other perfume by Mme Giacobetti is 2006’s Fou D’Absinthe. In this perfume she works with a little less opacity. Fou D’Absinthe might be one of her more strongly constructed fragrances. She chooses to take redolent wormwood and make it even greener with blackcurrant buds. The heart is a swirl of spices on top of the absinthe accord. It finishes with a resinous pine accord. When people tell me Mme Giacobetti makes her perfumes too light this is where I send them.

As Mme Giacobetti left Bertrand Duchaufour would take up the reins and be primarily responsible for the next ten years 2000-2010. M. Duchaufour’s collection within L’Artisan is impressive and at the time of this writing my favorite, Vanille Absolument, is discontinued. What is left to bring you into the L’Artisan fold is what might be perhaps M. Duchaufour’s greatest perfume, Timbuktu. M. Duchaufour wanted to capture the smells of the African bazaars. During 2004 he had become a master at working with incense. For Timbuktu he used a smoky incense as his nucleus to build the bazaar milieu around. He would add cardamom and mango to represent the spices and fruit for sale. Patchouli, vetiver, and benzoin provide the sultry warmth of the desert.

My final choice, Caligna signed by Dora Arnaud, shows M. Laporte’s vision is still as vital today as it was in the beginning. Caligna is a completely unique mix of fig, jasmine, and olive wood. Mme Arnaud turns her fig herbal by matching it with sage. This makes the fig greener and less ripe. The heart is dominated by a “jasmine marmalade” accord. This takes jasmine and suffuses it with more sweetness without sacrificing the indolic core. In the base she uses a uniquely sourced olive wood to provide an unusual woody finish.

If you love perfume and particularly the current crop of independent niche perfume brands you owe it to yourself to become familiar with L’Artisan Parfumeur. So much of what I think are the core principles of what niche perfume means to me came from this brand. Try the five suggestions above and find out why I believe this.

Disclosure: this review was based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review The Vagabond Prince Land of Warriors- The Four Faces of Leather

I like leather perfumes in all of their many iterations. Whether it is suede soft or raw untanned skin I find the accords perfumers come up with to evoke leather one of the more interesting aspects of this style of fragrance. One perfumer who has evolved his leather accord over the last few years is Bertrand Duchaufour.

There have been distinct stages to M. Duchaufour’s leather accord and over the last few releases it seems like he has settled on one he likes best and tunes it to whatever effect he desires. Having followed this process there were a couple of the earlier rougher iterations I also liked. For his second perfume for The Vagabond Prince, Land of Warriors, M. Duchaufour takes all of his leather accords and combines them into a leather perfume lover’s smorgasbord.

The description of the notes for Land of Warriors lists three separate leather accords; vegetal leather, mineral and spicy leather, animalic leather, and smoky leather. Each of these by themselves are quite wonderful but in Land of Warriors they overstuff it a bit as the four accords clunk a little bit through the transitions. Land of Warriors is at its best when one of those leather accords is right out front. It gets muddled when a couple of them start to tussle for attention.

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Bertrand Duchaufour

The first accord is the vegetal one. M. Duchaufour turns to three of his most-used ingredients to compose this; angelique seed, tomato leaf, and blackcurrant bud. The accord these notes form has the odor of well used leather gardening gloves as the scent of crushed green things mixes with sweaty leather. This is a very challenging accord as it has some rough edges to it. The sticky green of the blackcurrant stays just the right side of not smelling urinous but it is a close thing as the strength of the accord wants to drag it into the WC. It is a very bold choice to open with this especially when the second accord starts to appear. Again M. Duchaufour is working with some of his favorite ingredients like frankincense, davana, cistus, and saffron. The name promises mineral but I get mostly spicy on my skin. It should work better but the significant amount of oakwood absolute tilts this into woody spicy territory. My favorite of the accords is the third one the animalic accord. It is simple as M. Duchaufour uses castoreum and ambergris. The ambergris provides a neat bit of aquatic while the castoeum provides the primitive animal quality. The final accord is a typical styrax and birch tar accord. It is unctuous and I can feel the slow goopy bubbles quietly popping on the surface of the tar pot. The animalic and the smoky finish Land of Warriors on a high note.

Land of Warriors has 19-12 hour longevity and below average sillage.

I like Land of Warriors but this is a fragrance I feel like I should’ve loved. What is holding me back is the transitions are very distinct. I would have enjoyed a bit more of a nuanced transition instead of the punctuated phases. Even so there is a lot to like here for anyone who likes leather perfumes, not the least of which is the sort of Duchauforian master class on leather accords present. If you’re patient with the awkward moments the in-between moments are worth the effort.

Dsiclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by The Vagabond Prince.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola- White Flower Joy Club

The collaboration between Neela Vermeire, of Neela Vermeire Creations, and perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has been a pretty spectacular success. Over the course of five fragrances they have explored much of Mme Vermeire’s Indian heritage. There is a lot to like about the collection but four of the first five releases definitely are on the deeper, more intense side of the perfumed spectrum. My personal favorite of the line is the one which plays against this, Bombay Bling. When I first wrote about it I described it as a Bollywood production number in a bottle. Bombay Bling wears its infectious spirit on its sleeve. I’ve been wondering when Mme Vermeire and M. Duchaufour might feel like getting a bit more playful again. The sixth release, Pichola, is that return to joy.

The name comes from the lake at the heart of city of Udaipur. There is a lot of talk, in the press release, about reflections on the lake and regal flowers. Reading that I expected to get another deep white floral like most of the rest of the collection. While the imagery is functional it does not describe the way Pichola wears on my skin. There is a moment in the very earliest going where Pichola does seem like it is going to be serious perfume. Just like every Bollywood production you’ve ever seen all of a sudden huge handful of flowers explode through the hard shell and the dance number is on. The transition from tight green opening into explosive transparent white flowers raining down is beautiful.

Bollywood_dance_show_in_Bristol

M. Duchaufour creates a hard green barrier consisting of cardamom, juniper, saffron, cinnamon, and, clementine. The early moments are wound as tight as an accountant’s nerves during tax season. This lasts a very short time before a troupe of white flowers come dancing through the stiff upper lip of Pichols forcing it to break into a smile. The winsome star of our show is a fabulous fresh tuberose absolute. Most hear tuberose and expect intensity. Of late there have been a lot of wan pretty tuberoses scrubbed clean and made insipid for the effort. The tuberose M. Duchaufour employs here has an incredible expansive quality without becoming overwhelming. You are never unaware of its presence but the other florals like orange blossom, ylang-ylang, and jasmine have plenty of space to dance happily alongside. It is in this phase of floral fandango where Pichola settles for hours. When it finally starts to move on it is time to rest from our exertions on a sweet woody bed of benzoin and sandalwood.

Pichola has 8-10 hour longevity and below average sillage.

I am so happy to see Mme Vermeire return to a lighter style of construction. There is so much positive emotion on display it is infectious. I was uplifted each day I wore Pichola. Yes I want to smell good but some days I want to also have a barely suppressed laugh to go along with that, Pichola does that for me.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Neela Vermeire Creations.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review The Different Company I miss Violet- The Story of a Heartbreaker

Violet is one of my favorite floral notes in perfumery. Bertrand Duchaufour is one of my favorite perfumers. Over the years M. Duchaufour has been using a set of accords which he employs like a maestro calling forth the desired effect from a section of the olfactory symphony. Most recently he has perfected a leather accord, a vegetal green accord, and a violet accord. In the new I miss Violet for The Different Company he uses all of them in very different ways than he has in the past. It is another example, in a career full of them, of how he uses these proprietary constructs as the spine of many of his perfumes.

Creative Director Luc Gabriel envisioned the titular Violet as a woman forever in motion as she moves from place to place. As she leaves her temporary paramours behind she gives them a scent to remember her by and to miss her. M. Duchaufour imagines this scent to be a floral leather and he designed Violet’s parting gift to reflect our heroine’s wanderlust and her femininity. What is great about I miss Violet is the leather and the violet are present from beginning to end almost as a constant. The rest of the supporting cast is there to provide context.

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Bertrand Duchaufour

The soft supple leather accord and the violet accord slip into place from the very first moment. That vegetal green accord I mentioned is what compliments them early on. It makes the violet more alive by giving it an earthy foundation. That is no surprise. What I did find surprising was it took the softness of the leather and give it a bit of an unrefined roughness. Maybe a reminder that Violet will trample your heart eventually. M. Duchaufour creates a floral heart with osmanthus giving a floral which carries both a leather and fruity character making it a perfect connecting note between the top notes and the heart. The rest of the florals, mimosa, cyclamen, and iris combine with the violet. Underneath all of this is a healthy dose of Calone providing a bit of the open ocean for the flowers to float upon. This all settles on a soft kiss of musk, mahogany, and vanilla pulling the leather to the foreground in the end.

I miss Violet has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

M. Duchaufour has aptly drawn the fictional Violet out in three unique acts from heartbreaker, to ocean traveler, to the woman who enchants the next admirer in the new port of call. It is a great example of a very modern floral leather by M. Duchaufour.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I received at Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Esxence 2015 Final Wrap-Up Part 1- The People I Met

This was a very different Esxence for me than any previous one that I attended. One reason for that was I spent a large portion of my time in The Mall in Milano with a microphone in my hand and in front of a camera. It is a different perspective to be sure and I want to thank every one of my interview subjects for making it so easy for me. I hope those watching at home on the web viewer could feel my excitement.

One oddity of every Esxence is I have to travel across an entire ocean to meet someone who lives in the US. This year that dubious honor goes to Saskia Wilson-Brown of The Institute for Art & Olfaction (IAO). On the first day of the show she revealed the five finalists in each category for the 2015 Art & Olfaction Awards. The simple creation of the IAO and the awards which carry their name already let me know what a great person she was. The opportunity we had to chat over all three days confirmed that. After spending this time with her I am more sure than ever that the Art & Olfaction Awards are going to be one of the premiere awards in all of perfumery sooner than later.

Andrea Rubini

Andrea Rubini

If there was one person I met who radiated the passion of doing something you love it was Andrea Rubini. I started Day 3 standing in front of his stand and told him to tell me about his perfume. Instead of business plans or sales strategies he started with a smile and the phrase, “I was born into a family of perfumers….” From there he proudly displayed the perfume which carries his name and he was equally as excited when describing the other members of the team behind Rubini Fundamental. In a show of 150 different brands it might have been the tiniest which had the largest emotion.

Another feature of every Esxence for me is I spend time with perfumers with whom I have not had an opportunity to meet previously.

Luca Maffei of Atelier Fragranze Milano was tapped by brand Jul et Mad to do two of their new “Les White” collection. Sig. Maffei was so joyously animated when speaking with me about the creative process behind Nea and Garuda it was infectious. He has a joie de vivre which translates to his perfumes.

The other perfumer I spent some time with was Stephane Humbert Lucas. I have been a big supporter of his work in the past but we had never had the opportunity to really talk about perfume for any length of time before. As he showed me his new Mortal Skin and Harrod’s Limited Edition there was a noticeable smile on his face as he watched my reactions. I think perfumers know when they have made something special and he seemed happy as he watched me connect with his new creations.

Believe it or not I had never met Bertrand Duchaufour prior to Esxence. He showed me his new I miss Violet for The Different Company. That a perfumer as prolific as M. Duchaufour also still displays the delight of creation is testament to his longevity.

If there was a rock star of this year’s Esxence it had to be Michael Edwards of the Fragrances of the World reference book. He was seemingly everywhere on the floor as I worked my way around. His SRO talk on how oud came to be part of western perfumery was one of the highlights of that part of the Esxence program.

Oh yes there were perfumes to be sampled and tomorrow in Part 2 I’ll call out the top 10 from Esxence 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Penhaligon’s Ostara- Duchaufour’s Daffodil

One of the first signs of spring for those of us in the snowier climates is the sale of daffodils in our local markets. Often before the snow has melted and before the calendar tells us it is spring, vases full of yellow blooms let us know warmer days are coming. Of course daffodils are also narcissus and that note is one of my favorites in all of perfumery. For me the difficulty in getting a daffodil accord correct is in the real flower there is a green astringency that is usually not seen as an asset in a fragrance. In the new Penhaligon’s Ostara perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour makes what I consider a real daffodil perfume.

How M. Duchaufour goes about doing this is to use a cassette of notes made to create that astringent underpinning to the narcissus that makes me think daffodil. Early on he lets Ostara be expansive and sweet before tilting it into something that carries the scent of renewal. There is no perfumer for whom I enjoy analyzing what he has done to create an effect more than M. Duchaufour. Because of his output I have more opportunity with him than others to see multiple uses of the same note or accord. In Ostara he has once again found a new use for the blackcurrant bud which has found its way into so many of his recent creations.

Bertrand Duchaufour

Bertrand Duchaufour

The opening of Ostara is a flurry of aldehyde wrapped berries. It strongly reminds me of blackberry picking in the late part of spring plucking juicy berries from within the foliage. The use of the aldehydes give an almost “fresh air” feeling to the early moments. The beginning of the green foundation for the narcissus begins with violet leaves, spearmint, and blackcurrant buds. In the past he has used the last note in so many different ways that I thought I knew what to expect. In Ostara he is using a CO2 distillation and it has stripped away much of the denser qualities the essential oil provides. This allows for it to have a more luminous green quality than I have experienced previously. The heart is the narcissus but the green accord is an equal partner in this part of the development. Hyacinth adds a bit of a watery spring shower vibe and it really does make this like smelling daffodils growing in the earth after a spring rain. Right here is where Ostara achieves my idea of a spring daffodil accord. Ostara moves into the base with a smooth beeswax and benzoin partnership. Eventually a bit of musk and vanilla provide the finishing touches.

Ostara has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I really like Ostara for the very green qualities M. Duchaufour provided to go with the narcissus. There is that moment in the heart where this just makes me feel like everything has been reborn. It is as good as any narcissus perfumes I own and at least for me is the only true daffodil I own.

Disclosure: This review was based on press sample provided by Penhaigon’s.

Mark Behnke

Title Illustration by Melissa Bailey for Penhaligon’s.

New Perfume Review L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privee- Contemporary Rose Chypre

As reliable as the first robin; when my mailbox starts to fill up with new rose perfumes it must be spring. Rose perfumes, when done well, carry a vivaciousness to them that matches the season of renewal. The other thing about rose perfumes is despite the hundreds of them out there a creative new life in a classic theme. The new L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privee is a lively new take on a rose fragrance.

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Bertrand Duchaufour

Rose Privee is co-signed by longtime in-house perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour along with his apprentice Stephanie Bakouche. M. Duchaufour has made rose perfumes previously but I believe this is his first for L’Artisan. Also in the past it seems like he has been more partial to the Turkish rose. For Rose Privee he chooses Rose de Mai as the source of the titular note. Rose de Mai has a gorgeous gentle quality to it. M. Duchaufour and Mme Bakouche make sure that everything that is great about Rose de Mai is displayed throughout the development.

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Stephanie Bakouche

The perfumers choose an engaging grouping of top notes. They lead with a bit of fruitiness with mandarin. It doesn’t last long as it is fairly rapidly wrapped up in leaves of basil and violet as well as pierced by blackcurrant buds. That latter note has been employed a lot recently by M. Duchaufour. As always I am captivated by how he takes a specific raw material and can alter it seemingly at will to provide a specific effect. In Rose Privee the blackcurrant bud provides a bit of tart fruitiness with much less of the sticky green it often brings. As a whole the top notes provide a fresh vibe for the Rose de Mai to bloom within. The heart is that special rose given a foundation of carnation and magnolia for depth. What I like about Rose de Mai is it feels introverted at first but once it is coaxed out by other notes it flowers into power. That power sets it up to be the equal to the oakmoss-free chypre base. M. Duchaufour has been at the forefront of creating a chypre accord that will pass regulatory standards. The accord in Rose Privee shows there is no need to worry about the future of chypres plus he is teaching the skill to another perfumer. There is a bit of musk used to replace some of what the oakmoss provides but it really is its own contemporary chypre. Together with the Rose de Mai the final stages of Rose Privee are lovely.

Rose Privee has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Rose Privee is a perfect spring perfume. It has heft without being overwhelming. Despite it translating to Private Rose I don’t think anyone who wears it will want to keep it a secret.

Disclosure: This review was based on a press sample provided by L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Penhaligon’s Trade Routes Lothair- A Pirate Looks at 145

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There is no perfumer for whom I have more nicknames for than Bertrand Duchaufour. His very profligacy almost demands he gets them. Because he is such perfumed gadfly moving from one project to another I have likened him to a freebooter and called him the Pirate of Perfume. The body of work he has produced for London brand Penhaligon’s has been one of his strongest collections for any brand he has worked for. The seventh perfume he has made for them is part of their Trade Routes Collection and it is called Lothair.

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Lothair is named after the Tea Clipper ships which were the FedEx of their day even if it took more like weeks instead of days. A neat bit of synchronicity is Lothair was the last Tea Clipper ship to be built in Rotherhithe in 1870, the year Penhaligon’s was founded. M. Duchaufour wanted the perfume named after the ship to be a day at sea with a hold full of goods heading home. M. Duchaufour could have kept it simple by constructing a tea-centric fragrance. He does do that but he adds some inspired modern choices which make Lothair something similar to modern day Rotherhithe which has become part of the upscale Docklands area of London.

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Bertrand Duchaufour

As the Lothair races through the waves you look over the lip of the hold and a whiff of cardamom arises as the crewman next to you eats his grapefruit. The smell of gin comes from somewhere in the scent of juniper berries. Finally you spy the bags of dark black tea in their canvas bags adjacent to other bags filled with figs. The heart of Lothair is the green version of fig and the black version of tea. M. Duchaufour swirls them together adroitly. He creates a floral contrast with geranium and lavender to further develop the heart accord. As the ship nears port you lean on the rail taking in the smell of the wood in the sun and the brine of the sea rushing by. This is accomplished by cedar, oakmoss, ambergris, and a few musks.

Lothair has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

I was thinking of the Jimmy Buffet song “A Pirate Looks at 40” while wearing Lothair. It almost feels like my modern Pirate of Perfume is looking back 145 years ago to make something relevant in 2015. Lothair is another fantastic perfume from M. Duchaufour; long may he sail the perfumed waves.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur- The High Priest of Resins Returns

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It is no secret that one of my favorite fragrance categories is incense fragrances. One of my favorite perfumers within that category is Bertrand Duchaufour. As I recounted in Perfumer Rewind from 2002-2007 I called him The High Priest of Resins for his facility with all kinds of incense notes. After that article was published I received an e-mail letting me know M. Duchaufour was returning to his resinous roots for an upcoming new perfume which would have a higher concentration of incense than any that came before. Often more is better but sometimes more is just too much. With M. Duchaufour at the helm the new release Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur reveals, in the hands of the master insense perfumer, more is just a new kind of beauty realized.

Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner

Karl Bradl (l.) and Robert Gerstner

Aedes de Venstas is the line from the perfume store of the same name in New York City. Owners Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner have been the creative directors for three previous fragrances. They return to working with M. Duchaufour who was the perfumer behind the first Aedes de Venustas perfume in this collection. They clearly felt that M. Duchaufour could bring something new to the incense perfume. One of the new things for M. Duchaufour was to work with a new incense source, copal. Copal comes primarily from Central America where it was used as an indigenous incense source during pre-Columbian times. It is also a component in some varnishes. M. Duchaufour had to be careful in how he used it in Copal Azur because if he used too much he would risk it smelling like varnish. He did not disappoint as he incorporated the new resin into his existing arsenal of resins.

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Bertrand Duchaufour

Copal Azur starts with a bit of an oceanic aspect as a mix of salt and ozone evoke a turbulent ocean. The copal comes next and it has a bit of a sharper edge to it than other incense sources. I think if this had gone much higher in concentration it might have been unpleasant. In Copal Azur it just sets the stage for frankincense to match it with its own slightly metallic nature that all fine frankincense seems to have. Cardamom and patchouli add some levity to the incense action. The base is the sweetness of myrrh matched with tonka and amber. The myrrh elides away the rough edges and takes Copal Azur deeper and softer. The final phase of Copal Azur is almost a study in the contrast of strength and softness. Whenever Copal Azur reached the late stages of development I always felt it culminated in a full spectrum incense accord.

Copal Azur has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

It was a pleasure having M. Duchaufour return to that with which he was so successful with and create another perfume that is amazing. Copal Azur is a perfume for incense lovers which delivers it with an unmatched power.

Disclsoure: This review was based on a sample provided by Aedes de Venustas at Pitti Fragranze.

Mark Behnke