Over the years I’ve found perfume created as part of a grander artistic exhibition to be really good. One big reason is it isn’t constrained by commercial considerations. It is designed with an artistic intent. Last year photographer Roberto Greco asked for a perfume to be made to go along with his exhibition. Oeilleres was one of my favorite perfumes last year because it was meant to be a part of the overall sensory experience. M. Greco has returned with a new exhibition featuring a new perfume, Roberto Greco Porter sa Peau.
Self-Portrait by Roberto Greco
Porter sa Peau translates to “wearing one’s skin”. The photographs in the exhibit depict his life in four parts. Each piece is seen through a distorted lens as he looks to find his own reflection. He asked perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux to work with him on a perfume to accompany this.
Just like last year they chose a floral which is not widely appreciated by perfume lovers, narcissus. I enjoy narcissus even though I acknowledge the reason others might be put off by it. The two creatives decided to make a perfume which was a wet salty experience.
Before the narcissus appears Sr. Flores-Roux fires off a fusillade of aldehydes. It has the effect of creating a vintage vibe which runs throughout. After those aldehydes die down the narcissus is revealed. It has a sharp green aspect within an earthy indolic floral. It is usually around in judicious amounts, not here. It is given the star treatment. Sr. Flores-Roux chooses to enhance that indolic core by layering in a set of skin musks. This gives an accord of slightly dirty sweaty skin. It verges on smelling like a body after vigorous copulation. There was always a moment while wearing this where I felt someone I encountered was going to give me a look over their mask. Or maybe a knowing wink. The sense of earthiness is deepened through patchouli in the base.
Porter sa Peau has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is indelibly a perfume which is meant to be seen as part of an artistic whole. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it by itself. There is a pleasure in smelling like expended pleasure.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.
In the latest edition of “Why I Love My Readers” after reviewing Gucci Memoire d’Une Odeur I received an e-mail with a provocative question. “If you think chamomile is a challenging perfume ingredient have you tried Roberto Greco Oeilleres?” I replied I hadn’t tried it and began the process of finding a sample. If the Gucci perfume was attempting to broaden the perfume palate of the masses, then Oeilleres is a perfume only for those who appreciate something different.
Self-Portrait by Photographer Roberto Greco
Roberto Greco is a French photographer who wanted a perfume to accompany his latest book of thirty-one photos of flowers. He turned to one of the most creative independent perfumers we have, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. The desire was to create an “anti-flower” perfume to match the style of M. Greco’s photographs. It would take two years of work for the two creative minds to agree they had made something which lived up to that.
In further reading on the website they decided early on an “anti-flower” would also be animalic and vegetal. Instead of turning to traditional floral ingredients the two they chose are chamomile and broom. M. Corticchiato uses a clever set of green and sweaty skin accords to flesh out the final construct.
It opens with overdoses of chamomile and broom. In the case of Oeilleres M. Corticchiato wants to accentuate the deep green herbal-ness of chamomile. If it was left on its own it would become difficult to wear because at this concentration it also has some spikes among the green. It is why the broom is used to soften that. Broom has a sweetly honeyed aspect over its own green scent profile. It is the sweetness which tempers the chamomile while the green adds in a softer layer underneath. The other piece of the top accord is the icy chill of eucalyptus. It provides contrast and lift. Some lavender is also present to support the herbal effect. The animalic change comes with the use of cumin again in a dose which will challenge those who are cautious of its presence in a perfume. The cumin here brings that slightly dirty sweaty skin as if the chamomile and broom were covering the back of a perspiring worker in the fields harvesting them. That picture comes into further focus as a lot of coumarin provides the sweet hay scent among the sweaty herbs. It turns more deeply animalic as M. Corticchiato layers some of the animalic musks to create that.
Oeilleres has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
Oeilleres is exactly the kind of perfume designed to accompany an artist’s visual works. It isn’t interested in finding the masses. It is focused on finding those who already enjoy the different in perfume and want more. Count me among that smaller group.
Disclosure: This review is based upon a sample I purchased.