The ultra-luxe sector of perfume really came into being in the early years of the 2000’s. Brands with high price tags were usually comprised of artistic bottles and high-quality raw materials. When I was first considering whether consumers would see perfume as being this kind of commodity I concurrently wondered which of these brands would last for ten years. The answer is that there are consumers who gravitate to this kind of ultimate fragrant luxury. There are also some which have lasted for over ten years. One of them is Xerjoff.
It was early in my blogging efforts that I was sent a sample set. I thought the early fragrances were elegant simplicity. Owner and creative director Sergio Momo had his best success in the early collection with simple floral-focused constructs. Working with perfumer Jacques Flori for much of the collection it is only in recent years that the brand has begun using other perfumers. Throughout Sig. Momo has had a clear vision for his brand and it has not wavered for more than ten years, now. If you are looking for some suggestions about where to start here are five good entry points to Xerjoff.
When the first three fragrances were released there was Elle, Homme, and the shared XXY. The first two were a little too overstuffed and the best parts of each of Elle and Homme could get lost in the traffic.
XXY was different and for the most part provided the template for which Sig. Momo would use to build his brand going forward. XXY was at the time what I felt was a gold-plated fruity floral. M. Flori used grapefruit and peach as the fruit to contrast with powdery iris, unctuous ylang-ylang, and indolic jasmine. A lush sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver base complete the perfume.
When the follow-up perfumes showed up a couple years later Irisss was the standout. As you can impute from the name it is an iris soliflore. Except it is a crazy good iris at the heart as M. Flori uses iris butter. This source really keeps the powder at bay while bringing forth the earthiness of the root that iris, as a raw ingredient, is isolated from. Starting with the off-kilter sweetness of carrot seed the iris comes to the foreground. This iris butter glitters like a fine jewel set off with some grace notes of violet and jasmine. This is all framed by a cedar and vetiver combination.
If there is a single ingredient many would associate with Xerjoff it is oud. There are a lot of different flavors of oud in the collection but Kobe was one of the earliest. Here M. Flori goes with the classic floral contrast to the rough-edged oud. Except instead of using the traditional rose he uses a fantastic neroli. The green facet present in high-quality neroli is a better complement to oud than the more typical rose. That is mainly what Kobe provides with some styrax and tonka to sweeten up the oud in the final stages.
I have written before how much I like Richwood. I think it is the best of the entire Xerjoff line. M. Flori takes a limited quantity of Mysore sandalwood and then uses different notes like blackcurrant buds, rose, and patchouli to illuminate and explore every facet of this precious perfume ingredient.
Oud Luban can cheekily be described as Kobe 2.0 because the same neroli and oud is at the heart. Except it is made rougher through black pepper in the top. More resinous with silvery frankincense in the base and cleaner with cedar and vetiver in the base. Perfumer Christopher Maurice has produced my favorite of the recent releases.
If you’re wondering where you should start with a luxurious brand like Xerjoff the five above provide a good idea about what Sig. Momo’s vision is all about.
Disclosure: This review is based on decants I purchased.