There are certain motifs which crop up in perfumery over and over. The inspiration of the desert. The story of “One Thousand and One Nights” is a particularly fertile vein of inspiration. I’ll admit when I see something attached to either, or both, I know an Oriental perfume is in the bottle. As a classic fragrance form plowing the same row so many have traveled before asks the new perfumer for something outside of what has come before. In Fort & Manle Forty Thieves I found that.
Fort & Manle is the line of perfumes from independent perfumer Rasei Fort. He released his first perfumes in 2016 but I only had the opportunity to try them a little over a year ago. Mr. Fort has impressed me with each successive release. One thing I mentioned in the previous reviews is since he is self-taught, he isn’t as beholden to the “rules”. Over the last three releases he is turning that into a feature of his fragrances. For Forty Thieves he moved away from the soft spices to be replaced with a sharp herbal accord. It is a great alternative.
That top accord starts with a healthy dose of baie rose. Many perfumers don’t up the concentration of this ingredient because after a certain point it adds sharp herbal-ness to the scent profile. Mr. Fort pushes it right to the place where it might be unpleasant for some. I have come to enjoy the unique way baie rose acts, especially as a top note. Here it captures the aridity of the desert. Mr. Fort then pierces it with the bitterness of petitgrain and bergamot. Labdanum transitions the top accord into a honeyed floral heart of orange blossom and rose. This is more traditional Oriental territory. It ends on the classic Oriental base of sweet ambered woods.
Forty Thieves has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Particularly over the two previous releases and Forty Thieves Mr. Fort is beginning to solidify an ability to find new ways to see classic styles. In this case it was by plowing outside the well-worn furrow. In Forty Thieves he steals away the traditional Oriental architecture for something more modern.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.