New Perfume Review Maison Margiela Replica Bubble Bath- A Moment of Soapy Zen

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When Mrs. C and I were house hunting for the future Colognoisseur HQ we had some things we wanted in our future home. One was we were hoping to find a master bathroom with a soaking tub. We found that. Which is where we live now. That soaking tub has gotten a lot of use in the time we’ve lived here. I look forward to lowering myself into a warm bubble bath especially when it is chilly outside. As the typical humid summer has arrived my desire to spend an hour in warm soapy water is not high on my list. It looks like I am at least going to be able to get a reminder through perfume in Maison Margiela Replica Bubble Bath.

Violaine Collas

The Replica series has been one of the most interesting mainstream perfume collections because the brand embraces the supposed unlikable. There are many who use the word “soapy” to describe a fragrance they don’t care for. I am not part of that demographic. I love a well-executed soapy accord. Much of the pleasure of a real bubble bath is the scent of the soapy scented water I am soaking in. Replica Bubble Bath doesn’t shy away from going all in on that. Perfumer Violaine Collas finds all the fun inherent in the inspiration.

Replica Bubble Bath opens with a hysterically accurate rendition of what happens every time I step into my freshly drawn bath. Some of the bubbles detach from the foamy surface and pop in tiny opalescent fireworks. Mme Collas uses a subtle suite of aldehydes to replicate that. It was guaranteed to put a smile on my face. The smell of the lanolin scented water comes next. This is a watery soap accord. It is just the scent of that warm water. The scent of the oils added to the bubble bath come next. A set of florals led by lavender. Then in another giggle inducing moment this bubble bath must have been acquired on a beach vacation because patchouli and coconut provide a tropical vibe. It ends with a gentle swoosh of white musks representing the slow dissipation of the bubbles on the surface.

Replica Bubble Bath has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

If you are perfume fan who finds soapiness a detraction to your enjoyment Replica Bubble Bath is unlikely to change that attitude. If you want something as fun as making water fountain out from between squeezed hands in a bathtub this is something to seek out. It reminds me of the regular moment of soapy Zen I usually seek out in our bathtub.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Maison Margiela.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Trees- The Perfect Lemon

In the South Florida neighborhood I grew up in there was a small citrus grove. Run by Mr. Meeks he realized in the neighborhood kids he had a labor force when he needed to harvest. Our parents encouraged it because it kept us busy and outside. I would say my love of citrus came from climbing ladders while filling a crate with ripe fruit. It is also one of the reasons I am so fond of citrus fragrances. It does give them a higher bar to clear to catch my admiration. Most citrus perfumes will go for an abstraction. There are a few which will attempt a photorealistic re-creation. For those to receive my approbation they have an even higher degree of difficulty to clear; Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Trees does.

Maison Margiela began the Replica collection in 2012 it has overall been one of the more coherent selection of fragrance on the market. They each choose a place and a year allowing the perfumer the opportunity to interpret with a lot of freedom. It is one of the reasons for the success of the collection. Which is why I am so frustrated to not be able to tell you the perfumer behind Under the Lemon Trees. This is a fantastic piece of perfume construction which deserves to have the artist behind it named. I am sure I will eventually find out and I’ll update when I do. (UPDATED: The perfumer is Violaine Collas)

Violaine Collas

The Replica collection has quite a few of the photorealistic type of perfumes within it. I don’t think any of them have done it as well as Under the Lemon Trees. Intelligent choices throughout coalesce into a perfect composition which does what it says on the label.

The lemon source is an accord of petitgrain, which comes from bitter orange, and lime. This is realized as the sweetness of the petitgrain provides the right balance to the tart of the lime. The first time I sprayed this on a strip it was like picking a yellow ripe lime off Mr. Meeks’ tree. There is a cool breeze of cardamom which flows through the early moments. The perfumer clearly wants to capture the green leaves of the trees. The choice is unconventional as they achieve it through green tea and mate tea with coriander. The bitterness of mate tea mixed with the less confrontational green tea comes together to form the scent of those sharp green leaves. The smart perfume making continues in the base as a set of white musks soften a green cedar to the right density to capture the trunk of the tree. Once it all comes together it is exactly like sitting under a lemon tree.

Under the Lemon Trees has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

We’re still a few months way from when Under the Lemon Trees is really going to be at its best. That it still made me feel the sun on my face in an orchard grove in the middle of winter tells you how good it is.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Maison Margiela.

Mark Behnke

Flanker Round-Up: Dolce & Gabbana The Only One and Prada L’Homme Absolu

January is a time for me to clean up loose ends from my desk. This month’s Flanker Round-Up allows me to tie off a couple of those; Dolce & Gabbana The Only One and Prada L’Homme Absolu.

Dolce & Gabbana The Only One

I have been very critical about the number and quality of flankers of the original 2006 Dolce & Gabbana The One. Almost annually I received an example of why flankers are held in such low esteem. This year with The Only One I received something which broke that trend; mainly by following one of the prevailing fragrance trends.

Perfumer Violaine Collas was not working off the blueprint from Christine Nagel’s original. Mme Collas was designing a perfume for the current day. That meant she came up with a floral gourmand.

The Only One opens with a zippy citrus top accord. It gives way quickly to the heart accord where violet and coffee form the floral and the gourmand components. The violet is a slightly candied version which contrasts with a similarly shaded bitter coffee. It adds some vanilla cream to the mix before patchouli brings things to a close. If you are enjoying the floral gourmand style The Only One is a good addition to that genre.

Prada L’Homme Absolu

Perfumers sometimes fall in love with a set of notes or accords. You see it crop up again and again. For Prada in-house perfumer Daniela Andrier it is the triad of neroli, iris, and cedar. It has been hard to improve upon her original Infusion D’Iris. When L’Homme Prada came out in 2016 she returned to this and I wasn’t impressed. Prada L’Homme Absolu is also another interpretation but by enhancing the spices I liked it better.

The main alteration happens right at the start as cardamom and black pepper are given a more prominent place with the iris. I liked this change and it carries forward into the neroli and geranium joining in. The typical ambery cedar which is the traditional base accord is the end. I still haven’t found anything better than Infusion D’Iris but the added spiciness in Prada L’Homme Absolu will be appealing to someone looking for that.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by the manufacturers.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Garden- Transparent Colada

I have been enjoying watching the large perfume brands search for the styles of fragrance which will connect with the Millennials. The one piece of agreement based on what crosses my desk is more transparent. After that there seems to be less congruency. One of the styles I’ve commented on in the past which seems to be near the front of the pack is a floral gourmand. I keep rooting for this to be the one which catches hold. One main reason is this is not a style of perfume which has been done to death. Another reason is by making this as a lighter construct it keeps it from becoming cloying. My final piece of hope comes from a place that there is not a great floral gourmand, yet. Which means if it comes, that is when this style could really take off. Which makes my interest in each new one to see if it shows progress towards that goal. The latest data point came from Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Garden.

Stephane Demaison

One reason I was interested in Dolce Garden was it was new Shiseido Group Olfactory Creative Director Stephane Demaison’s first oversight on a Dolce & Gabbana release. M. Demaison has an accomplished career where he has been an active trend watcher. He chose perfumer Violaine Collas to refresh the “Dolce” collection which started in 2014 and in two subsequent flankers basically stood for fresh floral perfumes. In what has become the fate of most of the Dolce & Gabbana fragrances they are forgettable; by any audience. The previous aesthetic has been thrown out as Dolce Garden dives into being a floral gourmand; for the better.

Violaine Collas

It opens with a nicely executed neroli and mandarin top accord. This is exactly like the trend calls for, a gauzy version of the top accord. The press materials mention this is supposed to be a “Sicilian garden” the heart makes me think it is not Sicily which is where this island garden is located but somewhere in the Caribbean. A tropical floral duet of ylang-ylang and frangipani holds the heart. Then what ends up feeling like a pina colada accord Mme Collas uses coconut, almond, milk, and vanilla. Except in many other cases this comes off as too sweet. Dolce Garden works by playing to a lighter style. Sandalwood provides the base accord picking up the sweet and creamy aspects of the gourmand accord.

Dolce Garden has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

I would be surprised if Dolce Garden is the floral gourmand which sets the world on fire. I do think it is better than what has come prior to it. I’m also hoping that M. Demaison’s influence might also reinvigorate the creativity of Dolce & Gabbana which could use it. For now, Dolce Garden is an excellent floral gourmand which will be nice for the summer.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Dolce & Gabbana.

Mark Behnke