New Perfume Review Fzotic Pantoum- Goodbye to a Friend

Life is full of comings and goings. When a long-time friend makes the choice to move far away it is bittersweet. You are happy that they are moving towards something they desire. You are sad because the person who was always there for you won’t be. Your life shifts around as an important person leaves to pursue their path. The final act is the going away party. This is where you get to let the person know they will be missed while sending them forth on a wave of goodwill. Fzotic Pantoum was born of this.

Independent perfumer Bruno Fazzolari was inspired to create Pantoum as part of an LA exhibit “The Going Away Present” at the Kristina Kite Gallery. It was done in honor of 30-plus year resident of LA, Bruce Hainley. He is a poet and art writer who is moving to Houston. The degree to which he will be missed was expressed through this installation. Mr. Fazzolari contributed Pantoum to the party.

Bruno Fazzolari

Pantoum refers to a style of poetry where the second and fourth lines of a stanza become the first and third lines of the next. According to Mr. Fazzolari on the website it “is a metaphor for new beginnings”. I was curious about the poetry produced from this process and looked a few up online. The best ones use the construct to capture an evolution of syllables through the piece. I was wearing Pantoum on the night I was enjoying finding them. Because of that it struck me that this was like the evolution of a perfume as the opening accords give way to the heart only to come back again before interacting with the base. This is how I experienced Pantoum.

One thing I noticed was how bright the early stages of this are. Mr. Fazzolari is not necessarily a perfumer who shies away from it. Yet the early moments of mandarin, grapefruit, and neroli are probably the most luminous accord he has made. I don’t know if it was intentional, but it is reminiscent of the citrus groves of California. The place which is being left behind.

The heart looks forward through a magnolia centered accord. Magnolia has a creamy scent with a woody underpinning. Mr. Fazzolari uses cedar as an amplifier of that. I know cedar is native to Texas so perhaps this is meant to be the transition from citrus groves to the plains of the Lone Star State.

When I read the pantoum poetry I found they all had a bit of melancholy to them. As the clever wordplay runs its course it is like when the going away party winds down. There are the heartfelt hugs. The promises to keep in touch. The knowledge it won’t be the same. These are captured in a surprisingly emotional oakmoss in the base. This is not a chypre because the oakmoss hides underneath the floral and citrus for a long time. It is only as they fade that it becomes apparent. It carries the soft bite of regret that maybe you forgot to say something.

Pantoum has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Pantoum feels like it contains much of Mr. Fazzolari’s emotions about Mr. Hainley’s departure. I think it is the most exuberant perfume he has made. Which is only fitting when saying goodbye to a friend.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Fzotic.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Corpse Reviver- Bride of Franken-gourmand


Three and a half years ago two of my favorite independent perfumers, Bruno Fazzolari and Antonio Gardoni, collaborated on a wild gourmand perfume called Cadavre Exquis. Through a fascinating creative process these two made a unique take on a gourmand perfume. When I reviewed it back then there was a sense that it was a monster of that style. I dubbed it Franken-gourmand. Mr. Fazzolari has decided to return to that earlier work while providing a new update to it on his own. We now have Bride of Franken-gourmand or as it should be called Bruno Fazzolari Corpse Reviver.

Bruno Fazzolari

Mr. Fazzolari has some new ideas to go with the previous ones. The one I am happy he retained is the use of camphor as a keynote. It was the brilliant heart of the previous perfume. In Corpse Reviver Mr. Fazzolari keeps the best of what came before while adding one excellent new ingredient; a whisky accord. If you look up the name on the interwebs you will be pointed to a “hair of the dog” hangover cocktail. It was such an anecdotal “cure” that there are multiple variations. To my surprise I could not find a whisky-based one. Which means the perfume becomes the first one of those. By adding in the boozy accord it changes everything while also reminding you of what came before.

Elsa Lanchester as The Bride of Frankenstein

The camphor is present right away, again. It is such an interesting way to start a perfume. It is contrasted with a similar array of citrus, herbs, and tagetes. At this point it made me feel we were back in the same gourmand laboratory as before. It all changes in the heart. The camphor is not as strong this time around which means the chocolate overwrites it a little more as it oozes into sight. What revives it is that whisky accord. Mr. Fazzolari constructs it from an oakwood absolute. This takes the chocolate in a woody direction. As the two ingredients mingle a slightly burnt caramel emerges where they overlap. As that happens the camphor returns as part of this sticky matrix. This is a dynamic powerful uber-accord. There was a set of dried fruits and civet which gave the sense of decay. That accord has been much more refined here. It is only fitting that you must get closer to The Bride before the sense of rot is noticeable.

Corpse Reviver has 14-16 hour longevity and above average sillage.

I’ve tried both perfumes side-by-side and I prefer Corpse Reviver. There was a fantastic collaborative verve to the previous Franken-gourmand. With a little more experience Doctor Fazzolari has brought a more complete perfume to life.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Bruno Fazzolari.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Zdravetz- The Florals of Bulgaria

This year has seen a few perfumes where geranium has been the stand-in for rose. As one who has grown a bit jaded on straight rose fragrances this has been a welcome change. I know there are as many beautifully varied versions of geranium as there are of rose. In the hands of a talented perfumer like Bruno Fazzolari it can result in a striking composition like Bruno Fazzolari Zdravetz.

Bruno Fazzolari

Mr. Fazzolari also didn’t want to make just another rose perfume either. In the accompanying notes to my sample he states this. What changed his mind was his ability to source a species of geranium which grows in the mountains of Bulgaria called zdravetz. As he further writes it is a difficult version to get because the harvest is unreliable. That limited supply is what makes it ideal for an independent perfumer like Mr. Fazzolari. He can use it because he is not under the same commercial restraints as a larger brand. He can feature the two florals of Bulgaria.

Zdravetz takes advantage of the unique scent profile of its namesake. Mr. Fazzolari uses many of the common pieces of rose perfumes you probably have on your dresser. The herbal floral quality of zdravetz touches all of those making them seem new.

A lovely tart flare of grapefruit opens things. Then a duet of Bulgarian flowers begins as the rose comes forward. With a flourish of galbanum the zdravetz arrives. At this point the green of the galbanum allows the zdravetz geranium ascendency. This is where the herbal quality of this version is given its most play. It settles back as the spicy core of the rose finds a harmonic with the geranium. This is the rose perfume you haven’t experienced before. It finishes with a soft leather accord framed by cedar. The leather is an ideal foundation for the florals to rest upon.

Zdravetz has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I enjoyed Zdravetz for the steely floral spine the rose and geranium form. Each ingredient elicits the best of the other. It changes dynamically over the hours I wore Zdravetz. I would sniff and think “not a rose” then minutes later think, “that’s a rose”. It is a fascinating back and forth I found to be among the best perfumes this year.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Bruno Fazzolari.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Vetiverissimo- Examining Vetiver

Vetiver is one of the most versatile ingredients in perfumery. Depending on the source and/or the isolation method you can find any combination of effects. It has caused an increase in the kinds of perfume which contain it as a keynote. Perfumers tend to choose a characteristic or two while using it as the spine upon which to build a more complex structure. Vetiver is also a great choice as a soliflore ingredient. Anything which can have so many faces begs to be used as a single ingredient. This is the path independent perfumer Bruno Fazzolari follows with Vetiverissimo.

Bruno Fazzolari

I am calling this Bruno Fazzolari Vetiverissimo but there was another name on my sample “Fzotic by Bruno Fazzolari”. I don’t know if this is an overall brand change or whether Mr. Fazzolari is creating a different collection with a different name. Vetiverissimo is in keeping with his recent release, Unsettled, where he took another multi-faceted ingredient in sandalwood exploring its expansiveness. Unsettled was one of the few misses for me from Mr. Fazzolari because the other ingredients chosen clashed with the sandalwood in a demolition derby leaving a wreck behind. Vetiverissimo is like a makeover artist finding the hidden beauty underneath the rough exterior.

The vetiver used here has two very distinct impressions, the green grassy part and the earthy woody part. These are common to the Haitian and Bourbon versions of vetiver. I’m not sure if there is a sole source of vetiver being used by Mr. Fazzolari but my impression is that it might be a mixture of one of the fractions combined with one of the French-accented vetivers.

My reasoning for that is because the green part of the early stages has an edgier feel than either of the samples of vetiver I have. I was reminded of the sharp green edges of sawgrass in the Everglades instead of the dried brown aromatic strands of harvested vetiver. It is a transitory effect but one I found worth chasing by re-spraying to enjoy it again. Mr. Fazzolari uses some spices from the stronger side of the cabinet. It’s not named but there is a dusting of something like saffron dulling those sharper edges while also re-centering the wearer’s perspective towards the woody side of the coin. For this part of Vetiverissimo Mr. Fazzolari used cedar and sandalwood to frame the vetiver. It, at first, brings out the woodiness before the earthiness pushes back a bit in the later stages.

Vetiverissimo has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.  

Vetiverissimo is a full-spectrum study of all that vetiver can bring to a perfume. It does what all soliflores should do enhancement through examination.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Fontevraud- Deconstructing Chypre

Although I haven’t seen as much of it in 2018 the concept of “deconstructed” perfumes were bandied about a lot last year. What that usually translated to in terms of a perfume was something lighter and all too often banal. There is an ideal within my imagination that if a perfumer is trying to deconstruct something it should be apparent without being told. Which is how I felt while wearing Bruno Fazzolari Fontevraud.

The chypre style of perfume is one of the oldest styles. It has also been one of the most affected by material restrictions, especially on the oakmoss which makes up one of the essential ingredients. It has made it fertile ground for current perfumers to find a way to re-create the accord without the proscribed ingredients. If you can’t use the traditional recipe then this should be something to which deconstruction is an obvious choice. It is what I smelled in Mr. Fazzolari’s creation.

Bruno Fazzolari

The name comes from The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud. It began its days, 900 years ago, as a monastery in France. It would transition to a prison which author Jean Genet refers to in his autobiographical novel “The Miracle of the Rose”. Fontevraud feels to me like a fragrance trying to stage a jailbreak from the norms of chypre construction. The fruity floral chypre is taken for a makeover by Mr. Fazzolari.

That renovation begins with the choice of the fruits; guava and pear. When I saw these on the note list I expected something lush and tropical. Mr. Fazzolari instead pulls off a neat trick by using opoponax along with the fruit. It forms a power-packed opening where the guava and pear eschew lush for ebullient. There is the joy of riding an amusement park ride as you reach the top of the arc to whoosh back to earth with speed. In the case of Fontevraud the top accord zooms towards a spicy rose. Picking it up and accelerating towards the top of the next curve. As it all heads towards the chypre base accord it arrives to find it inverted. Typical chypre accords play off the depth and bite of oakmoss. Mr. Fazzolari pushes the other two ingredients to a more forward position leaving the oakmoss in the background as a supporting player.

Fontevraud has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

The first hour or so of wearing Fontevraud is a powerhouse. If he had used traditional berries as his fruit I am not sure I could’ve taken it. It is to Mr. Fazzolari’s credit that at the high volume, by using different fruit choices, I was kept engaged. Mr. Fazzolari successfully deconstructed chypre without saying a word.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Ummagumma- Soloing on Chocolate

I am a big Pink Floyd fan. Which meant when I heard Bruno Fazzolari’s new fragrance was called Ummagumma I was drawing parallels in my head before it arrived. Ummagumma was the fourth album by Pink Floyd. You could say it was the first by the four musicians who would become most recognizably Pink Floyd. Over the next ten years until the release of The Wall in 1979 the band would stand for experimental rock music. For Ummagumma they were far from a band at that point. On a two-record set, the first was a live recording. The second disc was each member of the band taking half a side to do their own thing. What you get are the different strands of the eventual DNA that will come to define Pink Floyd. But on Ummagumma the strands by themselves are not all that compelling. It is like seeing the ingredients of success before assembly.

Wondering what a perfume carrying that name and alluding to that album might be was fascinating theorycrafting until it showed up in my mailbox. What I would find is something reminiscent of the Pink Floyd members wanting to do something on their own apart from being part of a band. In 2016 Mr. Fazzolari collaborated on a very experimental gourmand perfume with fellow independent perfumer Antonio Gardoni called Cadavre Exquis. It was a Pink Floyd kind of gourmand perfume; experimental and engaging for that quality. At its heart was a beautiful cacao which was one of Mr. Fazzolari’s contributions. A year later Mr. Fazzolari excises the cacao from his fragrant collaborative cadaver and resurrects it as the heart of his solo perfume Ummagumma.

One other connection to the musical inspiration is that Richard Wright was insistent on each member of the band getting to have half a side to do their own thing because he wanted to do “real music”. Many took that to mean he wanted to be less experimental. His song on Ummagumma is called “Sysyphus”. It seems like it was his attempt to do something symphonic in nature. He would call it pretentious in later years. It feels throughout its thirteen minutes like it is Mr. Wright proclaiming he is a real musician making real music. As for the song I agree it is pretentious. The perfume Ummagumma is not pretentious although it does feel like it is Mr. Fazzolari showing that he can make a straightforward ambery gourmand perfume.

Bruno Fazzolari

That fantastic cacao from Cadavre Exquis shows up right away in Ummagumma and will become the focal part for most of the evolution of the perfume. On its own this is the smell of 100% cacao bars used to bake with. It has a rich slightly bitter quality with the lack of sugar really keeping it from going all treacly. Instead it stays as a strong axis upon which Ummagumma rolls forward upon. In the early development saffron and the clove-like nature of carnation give the chocolate an offbeat spicy combination. This gets pierced by twin resinous spikes of labdanum and frankincense. The frankincense shimmers in conjunction with the chocolate it provides an almost sacred depth. For those looking for the typical Fazzolari artistry here is the place where it shows for a short time. Ummagumma moves forward into a lush ambery base given texture with tobacco. Many perfumers would have used the tobacco as primary focus. Mr. Fazzolari uses it as sweet texture with which to introduce tonka and vanilla in the late stages.

Ummagumma has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

While Ummagumma the album is not considered to be one of Pink Floyd’s best albums the perfume is one of Mr. Fazzolari’s best releases. In the past it has been for his artistic perspective on classic perfume tropes which have made him stand out. Ummagumma shows if he desires to he can play it straight and produce “real perfume” which is really good. Because of the musical inspiration my whacky imagination kept going to that part of every live rock concert where they introduce each member of the band followed by a little riff on their instrument. In that place I kept hearing, “Aaaand soloing on chocolate Bruno Fazzolari!”

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Bruno Fazzolari.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Feu Secret- Orris Crucible

When I was in college I had to broaden my knowledge of chemistry to obtain my degree. In the analytical chemistry lab course I came across a piece of equipment called a crucible. It was a porcelain container in which I could place a material followed by heating it up to extreme temperatures safely. Within that container, the contents would be transformed by the heat without losing their inherent nature. What resulted wasn’t scorched ashes but altered perspective. Independent perfumer Bruno Fazzolari has achieved an olfactory version of this with his latest, Feu Secret.

Bruno Fazzolari

Iris is one of the cornerstones of perfumery. It has been there from the beginning. It is also indelibly ingrained in the everyday because of its use in lipstick and face powder. To those of a specific age iris means Coty lipstick. If you were to ask people to use an adjective to describe iris I would venture “powdery” would be the winner. Because of that nature iris is sometimes seen as less varied. I would have been one of those who shared that opinion prior to discovering niche perfume. Over my time down the perfume rabbit hole I have learned just what a multivariant ingredient iris can be to a perfume. One reason this isn’t more widely known is the richest most faceted from of iris is also one of the most expensive ingredients to obtain and use.

Orris Butter from Mr. Fazzolari's blog

That ingredient is orris butter or orris concrete. It is obtained by harvesting the root of the iris, not the bloom. Drying it for three to five years then extracting and distilling that material. I was given a small grape sized globe of orris butter a few years ago. It is a more fascinating ingredient than ambergris to spend time with. It seems Mr. Fazzolari also shares this fascination. In a blog post on his website he dives even deeper into orris butter than I just did.

As I wore Feu Secret, which translates to Secret Fire, I was struck about how Mr. Fazzolari was firing metaphorical jets of warmth at the orris butter at the heart of Feu Secret making me think of it as a crucible to allow all that is there to be exposed.

Orris butter has a bit of an ice princess at its frontiers. Early in Feu Secret Mr. Fazzolari chooses to show that off a bit with eucalyptus using its mentholated quality to lift that up into the embrace of green hemlock. The chill is thrown off by the warmth of pink pepper and turmeric. It is the turmeric that is the guide to a rooty sweaty quality I don’t think I’ve ever noticed to this degree when wearing other orris-centric perfumes. It isn’t body odor sweat but that clean honest sweat of digging in a flower bed. A bit musky in many ways. The final amount of heat comes as the orris butter is subsumed in birch tar and cedar. This is where the orris butter is truly transformed into something special. The cedar sets up the framework for the birch tar to connect to the orris upon. There is not a hint of powder to be found here. This is where the earthiness of orris butter is brought to the foreground. It carries a bit of yeastiness which pushes back against the pungency of the birch tar. The muskiness also rises to greater prominence before, after all of the heat recedes, leaving the beautiful main ingredient as the last thing to depart.

Feu Secret has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

This is by far my favorite of Mr. Fazzolari’s work so far. I have enjoyed everything he has made so far but there hasn’t been one which grabbed me as potently as has Feu Secret. It is my favorite new perfume of 2017 at this point.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Bruno Fazzolari.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur 2016 Year-End Review Part 1- Overview


2016 will probably go down as a pivotal year in the perfume business. As an observer of much of the field this year I have seen change in almost every place I can see. Which leads me to believe it is also taking place behind the scenes where I am not able to know the entire story. Change like this can be unsettling which has made for some worrying trends but overall I think it has contributed to another excellent year. I smelled a little less this year than last year; 680 new perfumes versus 2015’s 686. Surprisingly the amount of new releases has also plateaued with 1566 new releases in 2016 versus 1676 last year. Maybe we have defined the amount of new perfume the market can bear. Over the next three days I will share my thoughts on the year coming to an end.

We are told in Ecclesiastes, or by The Byrds if you prefer; “To every thing there is a season” and so it is in perfume as the season of the Baby Boomers has ended and the Millennials have taken over. This younger generation is now larger, has more discretionary income, and is spending more on perfume than the Boomers are per multiple sources. While the public at large was made aware of it this year the industry could see the change coming a year, or more, prior. What that meant for 2016 as far as fragrance went was every corporate perfume entity was on a fishing expedition to see if they could be the one who lured this group of consumers towards them. The drive for this is huge because lifelong brand loyalties can be formed right now within this group. Certainly, the enduring trends of the next few years in fragrance will be determined by where they spend their money. All of that has made 2016 fascinating because at the end of the year that answer is no clearer than it was at the beginning. The prevailing themes, based on what was provided to them, is they want lighter in sillage and aesthetic, gourmand, and different. That last category is the ephemeral key I think. The brand which can find them in the place where they Periscope, Snapchat, and Instagram is going to have an advantage.

Christine Nagel (l.) and Olivier Polge

There was also generational change taking place at two of the most prestigious perfume brands, Hermes and Chanel. The new in-house perfumers for both took full control in 2016. Christine Nagel released Hermes Eau du Rhubarbe Ecarlate and Galop D’Hermes. Olivier Polge released Chanel Boy and Chanel No. 5 L’Eau. This shows both talented artists know how to take an existing brand aesthetic and make it their own.

Cecile Zarokian, Quentin Bisch, Luca Maffei (l. to r.)

The next generation of perfumers exemplified by Cecile Zarokian, Quentin Bisch, and Luca Maffei loomed large this year. Mme Zarokian did thirteen new releases in 2016 all of them distinctively delightful from the re-formulation of Faths Essentials Green Water to the contemporary Oriental Puredistance Sheiduna. M. Bisch brilliantly reinvented one of the masterpieces of perfume in Thierry Mugler Angel Muse. Sig. Maffei released ten new fragrances with Masque Milano L’Attesa, Laboratorio Olfattivo MyLO, and Jul et Mad Secrets du Paradis Rouge showcasing his range. 

There were also fascinating collaborations this year. Antonio Gardoni and Bruno Fazzolari contributed Cadavre Exquis an off-beat gourmand. Josh Meyer and Sam Rader conspired to create a Northern California Holiday bonfire in Dasein Winter Nights. Victor Wong the owner and creative director of Zoologist Perfumes was able to get the most out of independent perfumers like Ellen Covey in Bat and Sarah McCartney in Macaque.

Some of the independent perfumers I look to surprisingly released perfumes which did not please me. Thankfully there were new ones who stepped up to fill in the gap. Lesli Wood Peterson of La Curie, Ludmila and Antoine Bitar of Ideo Parfumeurs, and Eugene & Emrys Au of Auphorie did that. Chritsti Meshell of House of Matriarch made an ambitious economic move into Nordstrom while producing two of my favorites from her in Albatross and Kazimi.

The mainstream sector had another strong year as the mall continues to have diamonds hidden amongst the dross. In 2016 that meant Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon, Alford & Hoff No. 3, SJP Stash, Prada Infusion de Mimosa, Thierry Mugler Angel Muse, and Chanel No. 5 L’Eau were there to be found.

If the beginning of the year was all about rose the overall year was a renaissance for neroli perfumes. Jean-Claude Ellena’s swan song for Hermes; Eau de Neroli Dore. The afore mentioned Green Water along with Jo Malone Basil & Neroli and Hiram Green Dilettante showed the versatility of the note.

The acquisition of niche brands continued with Estee Lauder buying By Kilian and L’Oreal doing the same with Atelier Cologne. The acquisitions of Frederic Malle and Le Labo, two years ago, seem to have been positive steps for both brands. Especially seeing Le Labo in my local mall getting such a positive reception made me believe that if the good niche brands can become more available the consumer will appreciate the difference.

Tomorrow I will name my Perfume, Perfumer, Creative Director, and Brand of the Year

The next day I will reveal my Top 25 New Releases of 2016.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review: Bruno Fazzolari & Antonio Gardoni Cadavre Exquis- Franken-gourmand

Over the past two years or so there have been a number of collaborations within the independent perfume community. I have likened it to when two musicians meet at a festival and start jamming together backstage to find there is some artistic commonality to work from. Perfume is not quite as easy as that but when a couple of perfumers get together and start discussing collaboration it is always exciting to see it actually happen. Such is the case with perfumer Bruno Fazzolari and Antonio Gardoni of Bogue Profumo.


Bruno Fazzolari

Mr. Fazzolari has been one of the most interesting independent perfume stories. I only really had the pleasure of trying his entire collection in the last year. He has that outsider mindset which most often goes wrong. For him it allows for a way of thinking about perfume by melding it with his color sense as a painter that has resulted in one of the great indie collections.

antonio gardoni

Antonio Gardoni

Sig. Gardoni came at his independent perfume career from a different place; a more classical one. He acquired a perfumer’s laboratory from the 1940’s. After spending time with each of the materials he had, he began to compose starting with a recipe that came with the bottles. His brand has evolved since then and he has made some of the best retro nouveau perfumes of the last two years.


"Cadavre Exquis" (1927) by Man Ray, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, and Max Morise

When the two met they decided on a very unique version of a perfume collaboration. They wanted to do a fragrant version of the 1920’s artists parlor game cadavre exquis. The way that game went was a group of artists, four usually, would collaborate by each drawing on a page and after finishing cover up their contribution. The next artist would then add to the drawing and cover up their contribution and so on until all four had gone. There are examples of the work in museums all over the world. The example above hangs in MoMA in NYC and was done in 1927 by artists Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, and Max Morise. It is sort of an artistic Frankenstein which manages to lurch into life. Mr. Fazzolari and Sig. Gardoni wanted to do the same and they gave their perfume the same name, Cadavre Exquis.

They further decided that the genre they wanted to work in was the gourmand. The way they played the game was starting with Sig. Gardoni they sent vials back and forth as each added something to it. Not quite as blind as the artist’s game but still each new addition was going to inspire the next. The resulting perfume is as completely original as you might expect.

Right from the beginning of Cadavre Exquis you can see the idea of experimentation. In the booklet which comes with the perfume one of the perfumers mentions his take on how he sees this gourmand. “Think about a potion from 100 years ago….sold by a magician, a “doctor”….a power-food, a love elixir with an almost disturbing smell….think…CAMPHOR!” It is this which greets you upon spraying on Cadavre Exquis it is contrasted with the more usual citrus notes of bergamot and blood orange. I love this opening the camphor immediately lets you know this is an experiment. The heart is dominated by a rich cacao absolute which wraps up the camphor in an embrace and doesn’t let go. This camphoraceous chocolate accord is the beating heart of Cadavre Exquis. Over the next few hours the sense of cadavre exquis the game is most apparent as different floral and herbal notes are used to change this outré gourmand accord. The unctuous nature of ylang ylang oozes across it. The acerbic nature of tagetes pierces it. Star anise amplifies it. Finally, stewed fruit adds an alternative sweetness; a kind of decaying almost rotted version. That degree of decay is what leads in to the base accord centered around the animalic ingredients of civet and castoreum. They add the entropy to the cleaner sweet woodiness of cypress, benzoin, and vanilla.

Cadavre Exquis has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Cadavre Exquis the perfume is a much more complete artistic vision than the visual pieces from the 1920’s. That is not surprising because the perfumers didn’t work as completely uninformed.  Even so the melding of the classic and the synesthetic works in a much more satisfying way that I could have imagined. Cadavre Exquis is a Franken-gourmand which is delightfully alive.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by the perfumers.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bruno Fazzolari Seyrig- Big Aldehydes

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the chemist loves aldehydes in his perfumes. I like the versatility they bring. I like that they make an impression and then get out of the way for the rest of the perfume to develop. Like an opening act sometimes it sets the stage and sometimes it steals the show. When I received my sample of the latest perfume from Bruno Fazzolari, Seyrig it was right there in the intro; “inspired by the aldehydic motifs of the late 60’s and early 70’s”. This was going to be fun.

Those motifs that Mr. Fazzolari is trying to capture was the perfume industry trying to be mod during the era when being that was desired. I think the aldehyde behemoths of those years came about because perfumers could use them to give a kind of counterculture riff to a traditional construction. Like looking back over forty years later what was once edgy is now dated. Miniskirts and hippies seem like the latter half of the twentieth century companion to flapper dresses and the lost generation. In the eye of time it just seems quaint.


Bruno Fazzolari

Mr. Fazzolari did have an aim in mind when wanting to go big with his aldehydes. He wanted to make Seyrig an “artistic impression” of the Syringa flower which can’t be extracted. Syringa is a lilac variant and its natural smell is also similar to what we think of as lilac. It carries a more metallic edge than traditional lilac and that’s where Mr. Fazzolari probably decided to go round up the aldehydes to provide that character. Aldehydes have many faces to show and the ones in Seyrig are very soapy early on before settling down to the more hair spray-like version most often associated with the era Mr. Fazzolari is trying to emulate. Underneath is a mix of florals to help assemble the Syringa accord.

Seyrig opens with those aldehydes sizzling off of my skin. Underneath is a pretty rose de mai and red mandarin. For the first half an hour this smells like a sophisticated French milled rose and citrus soap. It isn’t until that time passes that the soapier aldehydes are gone and what is left now encases the rose and mandarin in a cloud of Aqua Net. This is what I like my aldehydes to be. As this accord settles in ylang ylang and orris join it. Then like an apparition a lilac accord arises which with the top accord still present creates the Syringa facsimile. It is exceptionally done as Mr. Fazzolari gets it just right. The base notes are the greenness of oakmoss in contrast to the aldehydes and a musk cocktail which complements the aldehydes.

Seyrig has ridiculous longevity. It lasted well over 24 hours and I think without a shower it might have lasted another day. The sillage is also prodigious.

Seyrig is not perfume for the masses it is a fragrance for those who are already converts to the unusual. It delivers on capturing that late 60’s early 70’s vibe. It equally delivers on creating a different kind of lilac accord. Finally it delivers as another example of Mr. Fazzolari’s artist’s eye as applied to the olfactory. It makes Seyrig one of the most interesting perfumes of the year.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Luckyscent.

Mark Behnke