New Perfume Review Rebecca Minkoff- Staying True

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I am always interested to try the first perfume from a fashion designer. It is a fun exercise to see what tack they will take. Do they do the lazy thing and license their name out with almost zero creative control? That is the cynic’s recipe. Do they pick up on the aesthetic of their brand and try to translate it to fragrance? That’s the afficionado’s recipe. Or do they aim at the consumer market they’ve built with a fragrance meant to appeal to them? That’s the recipe for Rebecca Minkoff.

Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff began her fashion brand in 2005. From day one her target audience has been millennial women. She has found a style which appeals to that segment which has translated into a successful brand. When it came to the first perfume with her name on it, she turned to two perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Linda Song. She asked them for a fragrance which would appeal to her audience. What they delivered is a beautiful variation on the transparent florals in vogue currently.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux

One of my biggest issues with this style of perfumery is it can become so insubstantial it is meaningless. What the perfumers have done here it to add just enough counterweight to offset that. It is in those ingredients where Rebecca Minkoff steps it up.

Linda Song

The first fresh floral I encountered is called “baby orchid” in the note list. This is that slightly chilly florist shops cold room scent. It is given some of that counterweight I spoke of through coriander and cardamom. They provide an herbal veil of green over the fresh floral. In the heart that floral vibe becomes more tropical as two floral synthetics Hedione and Karmaflor are balanced into an airy floral accord just a bit less transparent that the top accord floral. The counterweight here is the nice use of tobacco. This is not the narcotic dried leaf tobacco. This is a light application which adds the dried leafy sweetness to the flowers. It connects to the hay-like tonka bean in the base and a lighter patchouli to complete things.

Rebecca Minkoff has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is a great debut for the brand. It should appeal to the same women that the clothing does. Sometimes that is the best recipe for success staying true to your consumer.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Rebecca Minkoff.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Xinu Ummo- Going Native

Rodrigo Flores-Roux is one of my favorite perfumers because he creates perfume that finds ways of making the common, uncommon. He has done it again with tobacco in Xinu Ummo.

Xinu is the Mexico City-based independent brand creatively directed by Veronica Alejandra Pena. She opened her boutique in 2017 and released four perfumes. All of them were composed with Sr. Flores- Roux. I enjoyed all four with Monstera standing out among those early perfumes. At the time I wrote that this felt like the kind of perfume Sr. Flores-Roux might have made if he had started his fragrance career as an independent perfumer from Mexico. His path instead took him to becoming a perfumer for Givaudan. I still think there is that independent spirit lurking underneath, Ummo allows it to peek out.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux

For Ummo the idea was to make a perfume capturing the sacred nature of tobacco. Many of the indigenous people of North America used tobacco as part of their rituals. Ummo would take the shape of one of those rituals as a fragrance.

It is easy to imagine a penitent entering a sweat lodge as I wore Ummo. This is a claustrophobic tobacco perfume. It feels as if it has a pent-up energy which I enjoyed. There is a smart use of the flower and leaves of tobacco to create a development from green leaf to dried leaf.

Ummo opens with the tobacco flower. It is recognizable as tobacco in its early form. Using juniper berry and agave it is kept on the vegetal side of the profile. The more familiar tobacco appears with a scent of the sweaty scent of muscone. Overlaying it all is the floral sweetness of jasmine. The floral quality expands on the sweetness in the smell of sweat and tobacco. This is the heart of the ceremony. A leather accord provides more animalic facets. Tonka and honey add in their versions of hay and viscous versions, respectively. This is the moment where the dance among the smoke takes place until it ends with the rising of the sun.

Ummo has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

If you are looking for a different spin on tobacco Ummo is worth trying. I like the way it evolves from green to narcotic depths. Deep in a trance as I can find a place within.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Pear Blossom- Vernal Vividness

A couple of years ago I was at the mall and followed my nose to something that smelled good. I was surprised to find at the end of my journey a bottle of Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Fig. It put me on notice that maybe I should pay attention to this line of flankers. The latest release Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Pear Blossom rewards that.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux

The original Elizabeth Arden Green Tea was released in 1999 as part of the trend of that time. Every spring they release a new version, adding another ingredient. To their credit these perfumes aren’t just the original Green Tea formula with the new listed note shoehorned in. Since 2008 it has seemingly become a nice creative outlet for one of my favorite perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux. He has overseen each year’s new iteration. What drew me to Green Tea Fig was the dual green of unripe fig and green tea. Green Tea Pear Blossom is the antithesis of that sparkling with juicy fruit despite the green tea.

That fulsome fruit is pear. Sr. Flores-Roux recreates the juicy Anjou version of the fruit. This is a slice of pear with a clear droplet of juice hanging off the end. Along with that lemon provides the sunlight to that droplet with citrusy sparkle. The heart is a floral pairing of pear blossom and jasmine. It is mostly the latter as the sweet floral nature of jasmine slowly replaces the pear. This is where the green tea enters the picture. It flows through the floral heart in slightly bitter plumes of steam. In this non-indole version of jasmine it adds a different type of bite. A nibble perhaps. Some amber warms the overall effect before a set of white musks add lift to the later stages.

Green Tea Pear Blossom has 8-10 hour longevity and average siallage.

This is another spring floral alternative to the rose offerings out there. Sr. Flores-Roux has crafted a fruity floral bursting with vernal vividness.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Arquiste Misfit- Modern Bohemians

As so many things are in the jargon of perfume “independent perfume” is an inexact phrase. There is a baseline agreement, that is probably shared by most who view that, as fragrance that does not want to be influenced by the mainstream. To a deeper degree I think it also must indicate a specific mindset. You can be “independent” because you refuse to go with the flow. What I think is the best practitioners are those who lead with their heart before the head ever becomes involved. At its best is when that passion is shared by congruent visions as has been the case with creative director Carlos Huber and perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. They have produced 19 of the 22 releases for Sr. Huber’s brand Arquiste since the first collection in 2011. These perfumes have always been about their shared heritage along with a unique perspective; their latest is Arquiste Misfit.

Carlos Huber

I have known both men for almost ten years now. I have mentioned this in previous reviews, but I will repeat it again. When I first moved to the Washington DC area Srs. Huber and Flores-Roux were invited by the Mexican Embassy to make a presentation of the new, at the time, Arquiste perfume collection. To see these sons of Mexico in the presence of the dignitaries that were there that night was a joy to behold. Their smiles showed their pride. In these early days of the brand I remember one quote from that night every time I receive a new Arquiste, “I like to put a little bit of Mexico in every perfume I make.” It has served them well.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux

Misfit has as its brief the typical historical timeframe of September 1877 in Marseille, France. Sr. Huber chose this date because it was after the exotic patchouli-scented Kashmiri shawls had fallen out of favor with the well-to-do. At this time they had fallen to the shoulders of the misfits; the bohemians and prostitutes. The scent of patchouli would become associated with those. Ninety-ish years later it would also find its way to the bohemian misfits of the 1960’s as patchouli would become the scent of the flower children. Patchouli would continue to have poor public relations for many years with many mainstream perfumes shying away from using a lot of it for fear of being seen as a “head shop” fragrance.

As we turned the corner into a new century patchouli became rehabilitated through science and creativity. The first came about as the chemists at the large perfume oil producers began experimenting with different ways of distilling the essential oil. They would find that you could collect fractions of the whole which would give you very different scent profiles. Patchouli was one of the ingredients which benefited the most from this. Perfumers could now tune a patchouli effect to any profile they chose. The creativity came about because those who wear independent perfumes are their own kind of misfit choosing to wear what they like without following the crowd. For Misfit Srs. Huber and Flores-Roux combine three fractionated sources of patchouli to stitch together a modern Kashmiri shawl of the way patchouli smells now.

The other well-known scent of the free spirits of the late 19th century was lavender. That is where Misfit begins. It is made into a fascinating accord as Sr. Flores-Roux coats this flower in seeds. The rooty sweetness of carrot seeds primarily. The botanical musk of ambrette seeds is matched with the less musky herbal quality of angelica seed. It tilts the lavender towards a more herbal presence just in time for the first piece of patchouli to arrive. Akigalawood is a biological degradation of patchouli. What remains is a spicy woody version. As it appears in Misfit a Bulgarian rose rises to meet it. It is a modern re-telling of rose and patchouli. It gets more contemporary as two fractions of patchouli are combined in the base. Sr. Flores-Roux embraces all the problematic history of this ingredient by combining two of the earthier versions. It makes for an interesting contrast to the Akigalawood where all of that is missing. To offset the earthiness, tonka bean provides a toasted quality while tolu balsam picks up on the woody aspect of the Akigalawood which elongates it into the base. This is where Misfit transforms into a Kashmiri shawl for 2019. It has a contemporary feel without losing that earthy patchouli quality.

Misfit has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

If you’re looking for that bit of Mexico in Misfit I imagine it comes from all of the different botanical seeds in the top accord. If you wear independent perfumes you probably like living life at a different rhythm than those around you. If you are that person Arquiste Misfit is there to give you one option to be your own modern bohemian.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Arquiste.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Christina Aguilera Xperience- Vegas Baby

One of the interesting aspects of living in a small town is people learn about you over time. Many in town know I write about perfume. During the summer we have Friday events on our town green. Which is where I can sometimes have interactions on perfume. A little over a month ago during “Wine Down in the Park” I was sipping with one of my neighbors who smelled good. It was a sparkly floral which also seemed to have some depth. I asked her what she was wearing. Which caused an amusing reaction from others who were surprised I didn’t know what it was. I knew it had to be commercial because there were a lot of synthetics but there was also this unexpected sparkle which usually doesn’t come out in a perfume like this. Given the spotlight my neighbor told me she got it on her recent trip to Las Vegas after she saw the show in residence by Christina Aguilera. There is a perfume to go with it called Christina Aguilera Xperience. My neighbor let me make a sample from her bottle. Under further scrutiny it turned out there was a reason it stood out.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux

That reason is perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. Sr. Flores-Roux knows how to squeeze the most out of the budget for a mainstream commercial fragrance. In the past he has told me one technique he uses is to add a tiny amount of the actual essential oil of a floral ingredient to the more economical synthetic equivalent. It has the effect of adding subtle nuance to those ingredients giving a fuller floral experience. I don’t know for sure if that is what he did here, but this seems so much more than what its ingredients say it should be I’ll be surprised if he didn’t.

Xperience opens on a floral pairing of plumeria and orange blossom. These seem much brighter than they usually are in mainstream releases. There is a sparkle and kick in their step. Sr. Flores-Roux uses a set of other florals to support things, but it is mostly these two florals for the early going. The base is a warm woody accord around balsamic components and amber. It gives off a warmth to add something more to the florals on top.

Xperience has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

If you are looking for a fall floral for cool mornings and warm afternoons Xperience is a great mainstream choice.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I made from a bottle owned by a friend.

Mark Behnke

Discount Diamonds: John Varvatos Cologne- Best in Class

Designer fragrances are a dime a dozen; most ending up not being worth a dime. It is why when there is a designer collection which stands out it really stands out. That is the case with the fragrance side of John Varvatos.

John Varvatos is an American fashion designer known for his rock and roll aesthetic. In 2004 he wanted to branch out into fragrance. From here the story usually goes this way; brand name turns over creative control to big cosmetics brand who produce an insipid fragrance. When there are successes within the designer area of perfume it almost always comes because the name on the bottle gets involved in the creative process. Mr. Varvatos was one of those. That would lead to some other anomalies to the way John Varvatos developed as a brand. The most important is he worked with the same perfumer, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, exclusively for the first fifteen perfumes. This kind of partnership is common in the niche community; much rarer in mainstream. Over the years they have developed one of the very best fragrance collections you can find at the department store. They have been at it so long that the early releases are now easily found in the discount bins. While I whole heartedly recommend almost everything released by Mr. Varvatos and Sr. Flores-Roux for this month’s Discount Diamonds I’m going to start at the beginning with John Varvatos Cologne.

John Varvatos

At that time for men’s fragrance they made a couple of interesting choices. One to eschew all the fresh and clean competition. Second to work with some unusual ingredients. In that first press release they would tout four ingredients being used for the first time.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux

John Varvatos Cologne opens with the sweet dried fruitiness of medjool dates. This provides a unique kind of sweetness which is kept from getting to be too much by using rosemary and tamarind leaves to wrap it up in notes of herb and vegetal forms of green. The herbs continue into the heart with clary sage, coriander, and thyme. At this point there is a lot of similarity to the stewed fruit accord which would become popular in niche perfumery. In the base they use a couple of woody synthetics, Eaglewood and Auramber. This gives an intensely woody accord with an amber finish.

John Varvatos Cologne has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

What you see above would be repeated time and again as Mr. Varvatos and Sr. Flores-Roux seemingly improved release after release. It has been one of the most remarkable collaborations in all mainstream perfume.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Elie Tahari- Perfume Power Suit

When a fashion designer launches their first perfume I am always curious to see what direction they take. For Elie Tahari if it was going to be inspired by his designs there were two possibilities. It could be a throwback to the emergence of his line in the 1970’s when his dresses were seen on many disco dance floors. It could also be an homage to the women’s power suits he championed in the 1980’s where his fashion found its place along with the women who wore them in a business milieu. If I’m going to say what I think Elie Tahari, the perfume, hews closest to it is those power suits with a bit of Mr. Tahari’s travels thrown in for good measure.

Elie Tahari

He couldn’t have chosen a better team of perfumers in Nicole Mancini and Rodrigo Flores-Roux as his partners for his debut fragrance. Mr. Tahari wanted a fragrance which “reminds me of my summers past”. The perfumers translate that into a fruity floral design.

Nicole Mancini (l.) and Rodrigo Flores-Roux

The perfumers open with a fulsome pear kept in check by using the silvery green of violet leaves. This is a more refreshing accord than I usually experience with pear focused beginnings. The heart is where I was connected as the perfumers balance creamy magnolia, green figs, and tea blossoms. They find that creamy overlap between the magnolia and the figs which benefits from the tea blossom adding contrast as it intersperses itself between the two. It finishes with a mixture of woods, amber, and musks providing a warm base accord.

Elie Tahari has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Elie Tahari perfume is an above average fruity floral mainly because of the different choices in floral ingredeients in the heart. This should be an all-season kind of perfume; much like Mr. Tahari’s power suits.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Macy’s

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Carner Barcelona Megalium- The Gifts of Balthazar and Gaspar

In these days between New Year’s and the Epiphany I always think about The Three Wise Men. Following a star to Bethlehem to behold the newborn Savior bearing gifts. The gifts are well-known; frankincense, gold, and myrrh. Each king carried one. What has captured my attention as I’ve written about perfume is two of the three are classic components of perfumery. What we know of ancient perfume making is they were also important ingredients there. I’m not sure if it is my inner Magi but resins, woods, and spices are my preferred fare in January. Thankfully I am not out searching for a prophecy. I am on the search for another perfume for this time of year. In Carner Barcelona Megalium I found it.

Sara Carner

Creative director Sara Carner was inspired by the ancient perfume of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greeks called it Megaleion while the Romans called it Megalium. According to The Perfume Handbook by Nigel Bloom it consisted of “cinnamon, cassia, and myrrh” in the Greek version while the recipe for the Roman version was, “balanos oil, balsam, calamus, sweet-rush, xylobalsam, cassia, and resins”. Sra Carner asked perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux to make a modern reformulation of this ancient recipe. Sr. Flores-Roux takes inspiration from both Greek and Roman versions to form the framework of this new Megalium.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux

Sr. Flores-Roux opens with the cinnamon. He uses calamus as the source of the spiciness which he deepens by using cinnamon leaves adding a shade of green. The spices broaden out with pimento, nutmeg, and white pepper adding some zest to the cinnamon. Sr. Flores-Roux then provides a thoroughly modern riff as a spicy Bulgarian rose finds some space among the cinnamon accord. The base accord arrives with styrax providing the connective ingredient before the sweetness of myrrh and the austere frankincense come forward. The resinous foundation is given additional oomph with olibanum and opoponax.

Megalium has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

It is easy to see back to ancient times while wearing Megalium. I can even imagine Balthazar and Gaspar; the Magi with myrrh and frankincense gifts wearing the ancient form while on their travels. This new version is a perfume of kings made from the gifts of the Magi.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Carner Barcelona.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Best of 2018: Part 2- Perfume, Perfumer, Creative Director, and Brand of the Year

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Part 1, yesterday, was my look back at the year in broad terms. Today in Part 2 I get specific naming the best of the year in four categories.

Perfume of the Year: Arquiste Esencia de El Palacio GuayabosArquiste Creative Director Carlos Huber and perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux began their exclusive collection for luxury Mexican department store El Palacio de El Hierro in 2016. As of the end of 2018 they have released eight perfumes exploring the botany of Mexico in a set of “tree stories”. Both creative minds behind this collection have always put a little bit of their homeland of Mexico in every Arquiste release they have collaborated on. Saying that, this collection feels like there is heart and soul, along with the country, within each of these excellent perfumes.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux (l.) and Carlos Huber

During the summer I received Guayabos which immediately connected with me. I have worn this weekly since I received it. I’ve sprayed my bed with it. The poodles have inadvertently ended up smelling like it. It is one of the very best perfumes ever made by Sr. Flores-Roux.

I scheduled a call with him at Givaudan to find out how this came together. The concept was to create a guava perfume which captured the ripe guava in his house as child. As an adult the perfumer had to undertake headspace analysis of green guava, ripe guava, and guava blossom. This would lead to a layered effect which captured the esencia of guava. Jasmine and osmanthus provide the perfect floral companions over a clean woody base accord.

Guayabos is my perfume of the year because it was an obra de amor (labor of love) for Srs. Flores-Roux and Huber.

Charna Ethier

Perfumer of the Year: Charna Ethier– 2018 is going to be memorable for the excellent independent perfumer releases. The independent perfumer who had the strongest year was Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co. She has been one of the most consistently innovative perfumers I encounter. 2018 is the year where that quality overflowed in three spectacular releases. The first was Vientiane a study in sandalwood which was elevated by a jasmine rice tincture. Next came Lemon Liada an abstraction of lemon eau de cologne with no lemon used as an ingredient. Sedona Sweetgrass captures the scent of the American desert southwest in a photorealistic manner.

The breadth of these three perfumes is not only testament to why the indies rocked 2018 but more specifically why Charna Ethier is my Perfumer of the Year.  

Runner-Ups: Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Maria McElroy, Cecile Zarokian, and Sarah McCartney

Rania Naim

Creative Director of the Year: Rania Naim– How about this for a to-do list for 2018? Take on the reformulation of one of the great historic perfumes. While doing that create four new contemporary perfumes honoring that history. That would sink most creative directors. That Rania Naim succeeded makes her the easy choice as Creative Director of the Year.

The first part of the year was given over to completing the new formulation of Jacques Fath Iris Gris. Mme Naim oversaw a painstaking effort to achieve something amazing in L’Iris de Fath. She would end up trusting a young creative team to accomplish this; which succeeded spectacularly. The decision to trust in young creative perfumers extends to the Fath’s Essentials releases where perfumers Cecile Zarokian and Luca Maffei produced two perfumes each under Mme Naim’s direction. All four exemplify the creativity still able to be found in the niche sector.

Capturing the past while living in the present means the future is all that is left to Rania Naim; my choice for Creative Director of the Year.

Runner-Ups: Carlos Huber (Arquiste), Victor Wong (Zoologist Perfumes), and Celine Roux (Jo Malone)

Brand of the Year: A Lab on Fire– If other brands weren’t going to show me something different Carlos Kusubayashi allowed perfumer Dominique Ropion to capture “The Morning After” winning an Academy award in And The World Is Yours. A long night into day encapsulated by neroli and cumin. This was followed up by perfumer Emilie Coppermann combining violet along with the De Laire base of Iriseine in a gorgeous purple flower melody called Hallucinogenic Pearl. Mr. Kusubayashi has never been afraid to release what comes of giving perfumers the space to create freely. In 2018 it makes A Lab on Fire my Brand of the Year.

Runner-Ups: DSH Perfumes, 4160 Tuesdays, Arquiste, Jacques Fath, and Jo Malone

Part 1 was my broad overview of 2018

Part 3 is my Top 25 New Perfumes of 2018.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Reviews Arquiste Esencia de El Palacio Vainillas, Resinas, and Nardos- Aromas del Otoño

When it comes to perfume the cities of Paris, Milan, or New York have all the fun as it is where perfume is debuted. That has become less true over the last few years as other cities are joining in by having their own special perfume character. Mexico City is one of those. It arises from a partnership between the luxury department store El Palacio de Hierro and the creative director Carlos Huber and perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux of the brand Arquiste. Two years ago, they released a trio of perfumes under the Arquiste Esencia de El Palacio name.  2017 has seen the spring release of Guayabos and Limoneros now followed by the release of three more for the end of the year; Vainillas, Resinas, and Nardos.

Rodrigo Flores-Roux (l.) and Carlos Huber

The concept of these perfumes are meant to capture the indigenous botany of Mexico. Both Srs. Huber and Flores-Roux have used this collection to shine a fragrant spotlight on their Mexican heritage. All three of these perfumes display Mexican twists to well-known perfume ingredients.

One of those ingredients is vanilla. Did you know that vanilla originated in the Papantla region of Veracruz? The Aztecs were the first to use it as a flavoring. Once Cortez took it back home it spread all over the world. The Papantlan version of vanilla is used in Vainillas.

The vanilla is partnered with a tart citron in the top accord. The citrus adds contrast to the vanilla. Sr. Flores-Roux tells me Papantlan vanilla is called “blackened vanilla” by flavorists. It seems like he wanted to create a fragrance version of that. The vanilla accord here comprised of Papantlan and Madagascan versions in overdose have a darker edge than most vanilla in perfume. As it progresses Sr. flores-roux sticks to those darker tones with benzoin, amber, and the animalic musk of civet. It is this darkness on the edge of the usually sweet vanilla which makes Vainillas stand apart.  

Resinas also takes a traditional ingredient of Mexico and combines it with sources from other places more known for it. A perfume called “resins” is going to be a festival of incenses. Sr. Flores-Roux wanted an accord which captured the resin of the Ocote pine used for fire-starting. He wanted to find the clean quality along with a bit of the burnt.

Resinas opens with the ocote alongside Peru and Tolu balsams. A classical Middle Eastern frankincense joins in. this forms a very dry incense accord. The hint of smoke keeps it from going too far in that direction. Myrrh and patchouli add even more depth pulling away from that early austerity. Overall I found Resinas to provide the kind of perfume experience most often described as a “church incense”. It has been a great companion over the Holidays for that quality.

If there is a scent I associate indelibly with Mexico it is tuberose. Called “nardos” it was inevitable that this collection would also have an entry called Nardos. Tuberose is one of the keynotes of floral perfumery. My experience of nardos flowers were sitting outside in the evening drinking while enveloped in the heady scent of the blooms. The perfume version manages to also find some tuberose a seat at the bar to create a memorable version of this white flower.

In the early going of Nardos the outsized creamy slightly mentholated tuberose is all that is on display. It is a gorgeous version of tuberose but far from unique. That happens next as the swagger of a boozy escort intersperses itself into things. The accord is called “essence of cognac” but Sr. Flores-Roux told me it actually comes from an essence distilled from the residue of wine-making called “lees”. There is an earthiness which exists as an undercurrent to the alcoholic nature. Sr. Flores-Roux uses sugar cane to tilt the wine residue back towards the top shelf liquor it is trying to emulate. This forms an intoxicated, and intoxicating, tuberose accord. If this was all there was, I would have enjoyed Nardos; but there is more. One thing about tuberose is it is so expansive it tends to overwrite almost anything else in the perfume. What can happen is after a few hours of wearing a high concentration tuberose perfume like Nardos you get something entirely different over the last few hours. As the tuberose loses its intensity immortelle provides its maple syrup-like sweetness. As much as I liked the rowdy tuberose of the first part this immortelle pairing is near-perfect. The syrupy quality of the immortelle adds a compelling contrast. It becomes even more enjoyable as castoreum and oak provide wood and animalic to the final stages. It is this part of Nardos which elevates it.

All three perfumes have 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Srs. Huber and Flores-Roux have continued their story of Mexico told in perfumed chapters by spending the three latest based on the scents of autumn or more appropriately, “aromas del otoño”.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples supplied by Arquiste.

Mark Behnke