I have looked on with interest as those who write or make videos on perfume move into making perfume. There have been enough that I consider successes that I think I know the most important piece, honesty. The good fragrances which have come out of this have almost uniformly been created with a genuine perspective born from experience. Freddie Albrighton made his first move towards making perfume collaborating with Antonio Gardoni on two versions of Doleur. Mr. Albrighton’s vision was obvious throughout both perfumes. Earlier this year he announced he was releasing his own collection: Freddie Albrighton Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa, Boys, and Mabel’s Tooth. It also showcases his desire to follow his own path.
Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa is his version of the trite fruity floral style. This is not the fresh floral of the mainstream. Mr. Albrighton creates something much denser in effect. The main protagonists are apricot and frangipani. They form a fog of fruit and flower. As I cast about inside of it, I discover a spicy layer of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Each of these spices has characteristic scent profiles. He uses them to add energy to his fruity floral haze. This segues into a patchouli, amber and cedar base accord. These provide a contrasting earthiness and dry woodiness which pushes back against that spicy fruity floral intensity.
Bernadette Margaret Evelyn Theresa is the most accessible of the three releases. If you want a fruity floral with presence, it is a good place to experience Mr. Albrighton’s concepts. I was looking for something less definable. What he serves up is two variations on a gourmand style. I’ve said repeatedly that I am looking for a fragrance to take some chances in this genre. Both provide that.
Boys is the latest attempt at a milky gourmand. In the earliest stages it proceeds straightforwardly. Some sweet berries form a smoothie with creamy milk. Mr. Albrighton adds a candied effect through his use of violet to add a second vector of sweetness with the berries. What I’ve been looking for is a fragrance which will push back against this with panache. That is what happens as the twin tones of leather and latex sandwich the gourmand accord. As I wore this it went back and forth between the scent of shiny rubber latex mutating into a classic biker leather accord. Over time the gourmand accord finds a fantastically weird balance with the rough trade accords. It ends on a suite of white musks lifting it all up.
I’ve had these samples for a couple months. Mabel’s Tooth is the reason I’ve taken so long to write about them. I have been enjoying spending time with it because I’ve found something new with each experience. It is the most complex of these first three. A mesmerizing ride each time.
It opens with the fizz of aldehydes circling a cup of hazelnut flavored coffee. Except this coffee has been in the carafe for a few hours. It has a pronounced bitterness which the hazelnut barely touches. Next comes an overstuffed heart of foodie ingredients. A sticky caramel, the maple syrup of immortelle, a stewed fruit accord, and the golden animalic purr of honey. This is where Mr. Albrighton convinces me of his skill. This would be a difficult balancing act in any perfumer’s hands. What I find pleasing is Mr. Albrighton doesn’t really try to tamp down any of these ingredients. Instead he looks for a place where they can converge. The middle phase of this is so much fun. This is where I got lost in his vision. I was so enthralled it takes the base notes of cedar and animalic musks to bring me back.
Mr. Albrighton has shown himself to be another independent perfumer for whom creativity is his guiding principle. It makes for fragrances which provide an honest perspective.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample set provided by Freddie Albrighton.
Blessed are the risk takers. The corollary to that is “damned are the risk takers”. If you decide to create a challenging perfume you are putting yourself on a high wire without a net. I always admire the effort. Last year one set of risk takers who were blessed were perfume Antonio Gardoni who collaborated with Freddie Albrighton on Bogue Douleur! It was an edgy homage to the ingredient rose oxide. They are back to further explore that ingredient in Bogue Douleur!2.
Last year the first release by these two surprised me because it went in different directions than I expected. This time around some of what the two creatives enjoy most find a place in the sequel.
While Sig. Gardoni and Mr. Albrighton like certain ingredients some of them are problematic for me. a year ago I likened the opening of Douleur! to chewing tin foil. In Douleur!2 the opening is tough for me again. It is a mixture of a watery vegetal ingredient along with mint, tea tree oil, and something which smells like low tide. There is “oyster” listed as a note, so I am guessing this is it. This forms a miasmatic accord that was tough to work through. This is as if the mint and tea tree oil are camouflage for decaying things. I kept thinking of a bottle of tea tree mint air freshener sprayed over the tidal flats after the sun has decayed what has left behind.
Last time I wanted something to take over from the rose oxide. This time the rose oxide was a lifeline. It is met with a synthetic white floral. Over the final phases Douleur!2 takes on the appearance of a vintage-like base with a mix of animalics and resins. The rose oxide is what keeps this from going fully in that direction. The metallic nature ensures it.
Douleur!2 has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
This time around the opening accord was more difficult for me to put behind me. It colors my overall feeling about this. I do think the composition and risks taken make sense given the design. This is a perfume that I believe achieves what these two wanted. Which is why it is a fantastic artistic achievement worthy of praise. Just don’t ask me to wear it again.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.
Perfume can be a personal statement by the creative team. That’s not most of the world of fragrance but it is truer in the independent community. One of those who looks to create a new boundary seemingly every time he releases a new perfume is Antonio Gardoni. His Bogue Profumo is one of the most creative collections available. Usually Sig. Gardoni has more than enough percolating in his mind he just has to work into translating it into a perfume. For his latest release, Bogue Profumo Douleur!, he had a collaborator; Freddie Albrighton.
Mr. Albrighton and Sig. Gardoni met through the community of perfume lovers over five years ago in London. Their love of perfume along with their disdain for the commercial functional fragrances created a bond. Mr. Albrighton finally asked Sig. Gardoni if they could work on a perfume together. I heard about this through the various perfume groups I am a member of. One thing I knew about Mr. Albrighton was his love for huge florals. I expected Douleur! to be that style as translated through the lens of Sig. Gardoni. What I didn’t know was both men had a fondness for the synthetic ingredient rose oxide; wanting that to be the keynote in their perfume. Instead of a vintage-style blowsy floral Douleur! is a pedal to the metal synthetic symphony.
Not sure why this is but the metallic floral of rose oxide is having a moment. This is the fourth new perfume of 2019 to feature it. None of them has as much rose oxide in it as Douleur! does. The transformation into an incredibly outré gourmand is one of the most fascinating transitions of the year.
As I said the opening moments are the metallic rose of rose oxide. This is going to be challenging for many. Even for me, when I was ready for it on successive wearings, it is like chewing tin foil. Pleasant and irritating in almost equal quantity. For one of the rare occasions I welcomed the presence of mint to tone down the rose oxide. I’m glad because the real fun comes in the heart as we go from irritating to the carnival midway. They came up with a fantasy cotton candy accord that is awesome. If you’ve ever seen them making cotton candy in those heated giant aluminum containers as the strings of sugar are captured on a paper spindle. That’s what is here. There is the heated metallic and the classic maltol; what turns this crazy good is the use of a technicolor strawberry ingredient. As a guess I am thinking Aldehyde C-16 or one of its analogs. This is like sticking your nose in the aluminum drum as sugar and strawberry form a crystalline confection. It picks up a chewiness as benzoin appears later to thicken things up.
Douleur! has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Douleur! is like nothing else in the Bogue collection. It is wonderful while also being completely odd. I am appreciative of where Mr. Albrighton got Sig. Gardoni to go with Douleur! This is what great collaborations do; create incredible perfume.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.