Geza Schoen is one of my favorite perfumers because he shares my perspective of seeing the molecules behind perfumery. Where we differ is I couldn’t put those molecules together into anything resembling a finished perfume; Hr. Schoen has proven over and over that he thrives at this. Hr. Schoen is so technically proficient with using his molecules that when he works on his own it can come off as austere. Because I enjoy that style, especially from a perfumer like Hr. Schoen, I find it gives me insight into the places where he sees these building blocks fitting in a larger scheme. When he is working under the creative direction of a brand owner there is, by necessity, a shaping of that austerity into something which represents the brand. In Hr. Schoen’s latest release Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 there is a feeling that a middle ground has been reached between the two styles.
Boris Bidjan Saberi
Boris Bidjan Saberi is a Barcelona-based fashion designer born in Germany. His fashion is heavily influenced by skate culture and street wear. His ready-to-wear line is called “11” which is what this perfume is meant to be part of. Hr. Saberi is known for his leather work which he tans using all vegetal sourced materials. The fragrance is meant to capture Hr. Saberi after he has been about his workday.
What drew Hr. Saberi to Hr. Schoen is Escentric Molecule 01. The perfume which was pure Iso E Super had become Hr. Saberi’s signature scent. After making contact he found Hr. Schoen was interested in collaborating on the debut perfume. Because this perfume is meant to capture the smell of Hr. Saberi they already knew the base was going to be Iso E Super. Then the idea was to add ten other ingredients to bring it to a total of eleven. It took two years of work to finally agree on a finished product.
What is so interesting about 11 is that when you hear leather you expect something dense and animalic. Surprisingly that is not what they produced. Instead 11 is more green and woody than leathery. It makes it one of lighter leather-focused fragrances out there.
11 opens on a freshly cut grass note which I suspect is cis-3-hexenol. This provides that slightly moist green thread that Hr. Schoen will use throughout. I think about half of the 11 ingredients must be there in the leather accord. That accord also has several green vegetal effects to evoke Hr. Saberi’s tanning process. The last part of the heart is beeswax to give a kind of industrial glue aspect. The final note is the promised Iso E Super.
Boris Bidjani Saberi 11 has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
These two artists have created a unique leather perfume. The use of the green contrast throughout along with the choice to go for a lighter leather accord is what makes this stand out. I think Boris Bidjani Saberi 11 is an example of where the technician and the artist are on display in equal parts.
Disclosure: My sample was provided by the New York City Boris Bidjan Saberi store.