New Perfume Review Memo Corfu- Overstuffed in all the Right Ways

There are moments when I receive an ingredient list that cause me to stifle a laugh. Two dozen listed ingredients. It makes me look for the kitchen sink accord. In the great majority of these types of releases it is an unfocused cacophony of scent. Everything crashing into everything else. Rarely one of these comes along which shows this is not a lost cause if the intent is there to see it through. Memo Corfu sees it through.

Clara Molloy

Creative director Clara Molloy and perfumer Philippe Paparella-Paris want to form a modern chypre to represent the Greek island. Corfu is part of the ongoing Graines Vagabondes collection which are perfumes inspired by places. This is the scent of a summer day enjoying all that a Mediterranean island has to offer.

Philippe Paparella-Paris

Corfu succeeds because while there are lots of ingredients, they really form three distinct accords. The only difference is every piece of each one is listed. A lot of time I am making my best guess. This time Ms. Molloy and M. Paparella-Paris remove the mystery.

The top accord could be called “Greek sky”. It is formed around a set of citrus notes, orange, lemon, and grapefruit. The latter is given the prominent placement. Rhubarb adds the connection between the citrus and the greener pieces of this accord, basil, and blackcurrant buds. The basil adds in a freshness that I have only recently come to appreciate from its use.

The heart accord is a fruity floral accord around peach and jasmine. M. Paparella-Paris deftly juggles other parts of this as raspberry, rose, muguet all find some space. Titrated into this is the botanical musk of ambrette seed. This is that slightly sweaty skin musk threaded through the fruit and flowers. This completes the “stop and smell the flowers” accord.

The base accord is his interpretation of a modern chypre. Sandalwood patchouli and atranol-free oakmoss form the foundation. A healthy set of animalic musks are what he uses to create the intensity. Amber brings back some of the bite. It is all made to be very austere which works. It seems stripped down even though it really isn’t.

Corfu has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Once I came to the understanding two dozen plus ingredients represented three accords, I found Corfu to be overstuffed in all the right places.

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

Mark Behnke