Monthly Archives: April 2014

SUCCESSFUL FAILURES VOL.IV: : : ‘ANIMAL IMPRINTS…………’ EMPREINTE by COURREGES (1970) + LA NUIT by PACO RABANNE (1985)

The Black Narcissus

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They kiss:  and the smear of her lipstick, the taste of her mouth, her hair, her skin – this scent, in all its complexity, kissed in a furl of hands, of gently undone white shirt and leather coat, is the imprint left on your lips: your eyes: your brain.

Fresh, light-pink top notes of peached rose, jasmine, artemisia, melon and bergamot – a most intriguing top accord – don’t attempt to mask the urgently animalic soft leather whip of the base in a deliciously ambiguous chypre that is perverse, stylish, and clever.

Like a striding, soft-shelled armor of extreme chic, Empreinte, particularly in vintage parfum – though the eau de toilette has its own breathy exhalations – is an immaculate example of the genius of French perfumery as it once was – the layers of veneer, poise and sexuality, all concealed effortlessly beneath an outwardly respectable semblance of stilettoed, modish…

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A kind of innocence: CAMELIA IRIS by E COUDRAY (1946)

I watched a TERRIFYING Japanese horror film last night, Takashi Miike’s ‘Audition’…alone.

Somehow this feels right for today.

The Black Narcissus

 

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In the notorious district of Shinjuku Nichome there are small, intimate underground venues that stage the most elaborate and effective Tokyo drag. In a recent springtime revue there were two creatures of exquisite, quivering femininity:  with great poignance in his generous figure and high shoes, the star and his partner entered, having shivered outside in the cold until the right moment had come. They really were the most delicate ladies in their white and red polka satin sixties dresses, and when they came in, the air was filled with a beautiful cotton white lightness of clean fresh spring petals that in the context (fat, hairy men) was troubling, yet touching.   

 

At the Shinagawa fleamarket the next day by some strange coincidence I was astonished to come across a graceful perfume that seemed to possess this exact same quality, almost…

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RUSH: GUCCI (1999)

The Black Narcissus

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Yesterday we looked at gardenias; those gorgeous, perturbing flowers I am somewhat obsessed with (though I don’t know quite why I am writing about them at the moment when their blooming is so far off…outside the snow is still melting from the huge snowfall of Monday….)

While the Chanel Gardenia template is one direction that perfumers can go in; nipping it in the bud and giving it propriety, taming a flower which is something of an animal when all is said and done as it stands there, immobile, feverish and lurid under cold moonlight, other perfumers embrace this disconcerting angle of gardenias and fill their scents with it ( the carnal flower by Santa Maria Novella comes to mind in particular). A certain Madonna/whore dichotomy exists then with this flower: few perfumers take the gardenia out of these traditional moulds and inject it with modern verve.

Whether or not I…

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and the peonies have bloomed

 

 

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I hadn’t even noticed, and then, suddenly there they were

 

 

 

 

 

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QUIPROQUO by Grès (1975)

A warm spring day and lemon leaves…

The Black Narcissus

Cabochard, Bernard Chant’s classic patchouli chypre from 1959, looms large and elegantly in the Parisian canon as an archetype,  and it is not surprising therefore that the house of Madame Grès should have wanted to capitalize on its success with a perfume that was the same, essentially, but different: a Cabochard re-made for a new generation.

Quiproquo, one of the rarest of my vintage finds in Tokyo antique shops, is a reworking of the powdery patchouli of its exquisitely tailored predecessor, in the sportier, eau fraîche style of Ô de Lancome (an in-house restitching in those more seventies, tennis-white contours), and a quick internet search has  confirmed my instincts: both were created by the same perfumer, Robert Gonnon (who was obviously something of a genius – he also made Métal, Anaïs Anaïs, and Empreinte among others; all delicate, yet shadowed, creatures that I adore…)

Less floral and vetivered than Ô…

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Instant cathedrals….. INCIENSO ARTESANAL COPAL, VIRGEN DE FATIMA

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Copal, a gum-resin obtained from the hymenaea tree, was to the people of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica what frankincense was to the East: an ambered, crystallized substance whose scent, when used as an incense in Aztec and Mayan ceremonies (as ‘food’ for the deities) induced feelings of transcendance, succour, and religious connection.

 

 

I have read about copal before, and like any other scent maniac worth his salt, I find perfume ingredients, raw materials with exotic names (especially ones that I have never smelled) quite mesmerizing. ‘Copal’………. it resonates. Part jewel, part metal, part unknowable unguent; what, we wonder, could it smell like?

 

 

Yesterday at an import shop in Tsujido, one train stop from where I work, to my surprised delight I came across a packet of incense that I had never seen: COPAL by VIRGEN DE FATIMA, MEXICO. The heart leapt at the sight, though I immediately checked myself, assuming that surely it couldn’t possibly be as interesting as it sounded and looked (and, wrapped up and unopened, it was impossible to sample). I of course bought it anyway, and last night when I got home late after an extremly exhausting evening of teaching in Yokohama, I burned, quite intrigued, one stick of the grey, powdering incense in the entrance, as Duncan slept upstairs.

 

 

 

The great similarities with frankincense were immediately apparent (and how fascinating that on other sides of the world, completely unconscious of each others’ identities, even existences, different cultures would hone in on a natural substance that has such an involved method of agriculture; wounding the tree to collect the ‘tears’ and exudations, drying it, and using it in religious ceremonies. How wonderful that this non-coincidence truly suggests that there is something inherently spiritual about frankincense and copal, no matter what the religion).

 

 

If you had asked me to identify the odour as the stick was lit I would have immediately said that it was of course frankincense….the plumes of thick, spectral smoke were just like those from a censer: pure, Catholic incense, undoubtedly frankincensian ( a smell I adore ), perhaps less bitter, perhaps a touch more mellow, but most definitely a direct, if chaste, kissing cousin.

 

 

 

I have written before about how I have burned Somalian frankincense in the house, and how the neighbours have complained (and who can blame them). Though strangely satisfying – the intense, pyromaniacal lighting of the corner of a piece of solidified frankincense resin with a lighter, waiting for it to catch fire, glow and begin to give off ghosts – it is in fact a painstaking and time-consuming process that can lead to singed fingertips, lots of used up lighters and matches, and vales of intensely black, acrid smoke that are not entirely what you were looking for (for what you are looking for in fact is the moment just after the resin has caught fire and you let it linger just for just enough minutes before blowing it out: that moment when the smouldering, golden coal gives off wisps of delicious, pure frankincense).

 

 

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This new find, this copal, will solve all my boswellian dilemmas. I have just burned a full stick of the incense, this fine spring morning, and it is perfect. Very similar to the haunting smell we are all so familiar with, frankincense, just a touch softer perhaps, more animalic and benzoiny somewhere in its middle and heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has taken me back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 2007 Duncan and I went to Mexico. We stayed in the capital for a few days, wandering around in a trance, went to the strange and surreal silver mining hillside town of Taxco, then travelled down to Guadalajara (for a friend’s wedding), before coming back to Mexico City via the university town of Morelia. It was an interesting holiday, intensely stimulating, even if the food didn’t agree with us at all (Duncan eventually stopped eating completely, as you can see from the pictures). It was an entirely new experience, though, and in many ways quite thrilling. I discovered, at the very worst time, that I suffer from vertigo when trying to ascend the Piramide Del Sol at Teotihuacan……. discovered an embarrassingly sentimental side to my possibly Japanized nature when I kept bursting into tears every time a mariachi band started playing one of those emotive, heartfelt songs near our restaurant table or on the street; and I was constantly fascinated by the churches, the roadside altars, the bloodish, voodoo-laced phantasmagoria (Alexandro Jodorowsky, creator of El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre, is one of my favourite films directors, so I was basically in heaven).

 

 

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Those cathedrals…….. with the flowers, the icons, the incense – which I had assumed was frankincense, hanging in the corners of the cool, interior atmosphere – but which I now realize, geographically and economically, was far more likely to have been copal. And this morning, with that smoke lingering anonymously but tenaciously in the rafters, my house smells the same. Strangely transformed, like the atrium of a cathedral.

 

 

 

 

 

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Actually, while we are (kind of) on the subject, trawling through some of Duncan’s facebook albums (hence the graininess here of these Mexico photos- I had to take them off the screen), I have just come across some more photos vaguely connected to this theme, of a fantastic evening we had at the Italian Institute in Tokyo, where Duncan won second prize in the costume competition as a bishop on a skateboard (inspired directly by the ecclesiastical fashion show in Fellini’s Roma). It was utterly brilliant, that costume, assembled in a week entirely from bits and bobs from the 100 yen shop, pieces of lace and plastic, and then just at the very last minute, the skateboard, which a friend called him up excitedly to say that she had found in a recycle shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He was waiting in the wings, an irreligious prankster.

 

 

 

I pressed play.

 

 

 

And when the soundtrack began, to the delight of the audience, his eminence skateboarded in, a whirling pope, going round and round them in circles as they clapped and cheered.

 

 

Surreal. I loved it.

 

 

 

 

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BORN TO LOVE PERFUME

The Black Narcissus

A friend of mine put this ridiculous picture of me on Facebook yesterday, a photo taken about 23 years ago I think, and a photo I have absolutely no memory of, but it for sure is me….look at that imperial gaze, fresh from the water….undoubtedly ready for perfume directly

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WISTERIA HYSTERIA

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One of the most striking differences between British and Japanese culture is in the mutual love of nature. There is no doubt that the denizens of both green ancient islands openly, even quite ostentatiously, enjoy gardens, flowers, and weekend walks in the countryside :  the deceptively ramshackle English garden known worldwide for its easy beauty; the Japanese, with its mossed green serenity, equally so.

The difference in outlook, however, comes in the peculiarly Nipponesque  art of flower ‘viewing’. Where back home, with the exception of flower shows such as Chelsea, nature is usually regarded in passing, en route, something you admire naturally in its own context, unhindered and ideally pristine, and if possible, alone, in Japan this is a public, almost theme park like event that can be baffling in its sheer, profound unaestheticness to the casual European observer. Put simply, to my eyes at least, it can even be ugly, and that entirely defeats the whole object.

Yet the Japanese seem to have a unique ability to phase out visual superfluities, no matter how banal or superficially unsightly, how urban or suburban, to focus solely on the important matter in hand, honing in excitedly ( even hysterically, at times), on one particular seasonal bloom, no matter where it is growing. In the most dreary agrarian backdrop. In the center of some godforsaken shopping mall. At a specially designated growing field, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It is the flowers, themselves, that count.

As a result, you get large groups of ladies taking endless, drably composed photographs of clumps of garishly colourful tulips in sad, municipal parks that in England wouldn’t raise even the slightest flicker of interest, a mania taken to levels unimaginable at home; coachloads of people, the majority of middle-aged or elderly women and their tag-along husbands, off to ‘view’ the flowers – all day long, either in some uninspiring old crappy park, or else in droves of packed, planted, pre-designated fields in some far away prefecture. Thousands of people, all after a look. To coo and ah and eat flower-inspire menus; buy souvenirs.

Once I myself went to one of these peculiarly Japanese events. To a crowded, tediously particularized,  tsutsuji festival, on a broiling hot day with a couple of friends and a splitting hangover – a throbbing, palpitating headache and endured, god knows how, all the snap snap shuttering hordes (and the flowers) feeling no pleasure at the sight of them whatsoever; being herded by oblivious, loudspeakered officials, through dazzling vales of azalea, which, despite their delicate fragrance, and occasionally alluring colours, were for me in those devised and unnatural, circumstances, floral purgatory.

The fuji, or wisteria, ‘fair’ I went on another occasion was similar, in another, further away prefecture designated for the growing of just one star attraction plant. Wisteria Park. A full, fuji fantasia of willowing winsome wisterias and nothing else. Gallant, overflowing flowering trees, unsurpassable, but still for me, when I first passed through the gates, just too formal; too unthinkingly ordered and institutionalized.

 

I do have to say, though, that there was also something truly quite spectacular about these cascades of purple, white and lilac coloured wisteria hanging down from the trellises and arbours – more vast and beautiful than I could ever have imagined. And eventually, as I got further and further drawn in to this world of towering wisteria flowers, I, slowly, too, became enthralled.

 

Standing inside one of these vegetal grottos, from the sheer perfumed perspective, alone was gorgeously exhilarating: trestles of blooming, royal scent : the delicately animal scent of lilac; the carnal throw of jasmine; the headiness of hyacinth all rolled into one – a gorgeous, mood-altering, purple drug.

 

In perfume, I don’t know why, but the note is rare. I have a Borsari 1840 miniature extrait, Glicine, which comes pretty close to the oily rich floral scent of wisteria; and then a Diptyque (the only true modern wisteria – though it is just as much of a jasmine – Olène), and I must say , having been nasally besotted by the flowers en masse, I wish that there were more. I do find the note, like the fujis in the park, a bounteously engorging, florid, uplift.

 

The fuji season is now about to begin here; the trellises are out ready for their annual return, and there is even a temple in Kamakura not far from where we live devoted to the flower that I think I might have to visit some time soon to take some close-ups. You see, as a long term resident, despite my typical, initial scorn, I have now myself become also, to some extent, somewhat sucked up into the annual springtime flower madness. The cynic is, slightly, beginning to succumb.

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WHAT I WORE ON SATURDAY NIGHT……..LA ROSE DE ROSINE by LES PARFUMS DE ROSINE; PARACHUTE FOR MEN; BAKHOOR AL ARAIS by SWISS ARABIAN

 

 

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There is nothing like getting ready to go out. I have loved it ever since I was a teenager. From the excited first time I went to a school disco, to the cinema with my friends; to just cycling round the block, or the nervous exhilaration of a house party, I have always been one to luxuriate in the process. Long, long baths ( I can let myself stay in for two hours if I don’t notice the clock); clothes washed and neutrally nice-smelling in advance; bath and hair products coincided with deliberation (how many a scented outfit is ruined by someone’s wrongly chosen, overly strongly fragranced shampoo / conditioner or an overly resonous synthetic fabric conditioner?)

 

 

No, you have to think about it all, get it all right in order, then, to have that delectable sensation of going out into the night smelling good, when you know full well in your soul that all the air surrounding you smells delicious, that you are a talking, walking, scent sculpture.

 

 

I love this feeling. I always have.

 

 

 

I love the instinctiveness of it. And also the precariousness………… (how awful when you get it wrong and rue the scent the whole night long, as if you were trapped in the wrong body….): mistakes that can be a strange kind of agony and purgatory for the smell sensitive.

 

 

 

To know what you will be wearing in advance ? Or to choose intuitively from your collection when you are out the bath, wrapped in towels and bath robe, standing in your bedroom: olfactory art waiting to happen – a beautifully clean and ready blank canvas?

 

 

Myself, I will have usually chosen in advance – hence my choice of soaps and bath oils, which once selected will usually brook no opposition (you can’t use something vanilla in the bath if you are going to be wearing Nº19 straight afterwards), and this Saturday evening for this indulgent, ridiculous sybarite it was most definitely going to be cardamom essential oil, with some virgin coconut oil also for skin suppleness, because I was exhausted from the week’s teaching and there is nothing else quite like it when you need to be reinvigorated. Unlike rosemary, which gives me physical cardio-jolts when I am in the water (and sometimes I want that), or ylang ylang, which makes me go all lopey and excited but can sometimes make me come out in hives, or black pepper (great for skin, but it can leave you a bit red-faced), cardamom, an essential oil that is less easy to find than your usual lavenders and lemons but worth looking out for if you like the smell of the spice, is an absolute tonic. It smells beautiful, elevates your nerves, but doesn’t overly scent the skin; just a slight, green, tropical tang.

 

 

 

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Right. Out the bath, finally.

 

 

 

 

Now, there was never going to be any doubt that tonight’s main event was going to be a recent recycle shop rediscovery, La Rose De Rosine, which I bought for a song in a Yokohama cheap second-hand emporium (unopened: what was it doing there?) and snapped up in a jiffy as I love the box. Les Parfums De Rosine are a lovely perfume house, I think, with their tiny, rose-galore boutique at the Palais Royal, but for some reason I haven’t talked about them much here on The Black Narcissus (I’d like to know what you think of them, actually). In some ways, the sheer number of perfumes, all rose-themed, that exist in the line now have induced some kind of apathy in me, and I suspect in a lot of other people, as well. There are only so many Rosines you can keep up with, and yet almost every one I have smelled has been good, from the intriguingly gruff but elegant Rose D’Homme, to the lemony, oceanic breeze of Rose d’Eté through to the naughty, more animalic, eyelashed snogs of Les Secrets De Rose.

 

 

 

In some ways, though, the original scent from those fancy Parisian rose people is still the best. The company’s first perfume from 1991, La Rose De Rosine, was always the anomaly in the line-up, which on the whole has tended to smell quite sheer and pretty. La Rose is anything but: this is a party gatecrasher of a scent; warm, extravagant, and very deliberately fun. If it were a white flower it would be Loulou; a violet, Aimez Moi. Though ostensibly a rose perfume (with a gorgeous, initial dollop of the finest Bulgarian rose absolute) this has the heft and the texture of the aforementioned scents and their party-loving tendencies. Thick, sweet, decidedly balsamic, the engorged, fat cheeks of the rose are encircled with a velveteen collarette of the most velvety violets and a lick of something animalic and powdery, like some mad old bat lunging for you at the opera. The best is to come, though: a decidedly pleasing late-skin stage of benzoin, tonka bean and Peru balsam that make the scent, despite its juggles with roses, essentially an oriental, and an oriental that to my surprise I love myself in and can’t get enough of. I’ve got through a quarter of the bottle (eau de parfum – quite strong) in a week.

 

 

 

For some reason this evening, though, I have definitely decided to have a co-star in the body’s perfumed layout (the layering dilemma: f*** it, after a week of trying to be nice and conservative smelling at work in my suit, I need to let rip tonight and just one perfume, even in excess just won’t do I’m afraid), and so I have to decide, crucially, now, the order in which to apply these mothers.

 

 

 

Which to be sprayed on my t-shirt (we are to be going to a club, hilarious considering the fact that I can’t even walk properly, never mind dance, but I did in the end manage to just jiggle on a stool and clap along like the token handicapped person), and I know for sure that I want to have one of the two on skin; the other on my clothes.

 

 

 

 

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In the end this one turned out to be Bakhoor Al Arais by Swiss Arabian; a lovely, sweet, almondy, floral oudh thing that I bought very cheaply in Dubai and which I instantly felt a connection with for some reason (possibly because, with its musky intimations of floral saffron, it reminded me of a Montale scent I bought for myself a few summers ago, Velvet Flowers). It wasn’t spectacular, but it just felt delicious; cheap in a good way; right. I love the Arab perfume culture, how the second I arrived at Dubai airport the hunks at the security checks emanated sweat and delicious (if extraordinarily intense) oudhs, how every man, woman and even child seemed to be spraying themselves with perfume, how most of the traditionally Arabian perfumes couldn’t be further from the standard sports deodorant smells you get in the west if they tried. Ah, the lushness, the richness, the perfume. (The PERFUME!!! They get it… )

 

 

 

 

So I am now dressed (but let’s not get into that – there is a very meagre selection available for me in the ‘wardrobe’, a word that for me, in any case, applies to my perfumes), as Duncan, ever enviably, slips into an immaculate, dark blue, floral shirt he has just bought – but then I was never really a clothes person, so that will have to be that). But at least they smell good, and I like simplicity in my garb anyway, and for god’s sake, if I dressed as flamboyantly as I smell, surely I would just be attacked.

 

 

 

I stand, aureoled and excited on the landing upstairs, with rich, suffocating puffs of scent; roses, balsams, almonds, my hair (washed with Shiseido’s Camellia oil shampoo and conditioner, for your information), quite satisfied and contented with my selections.

 

 

 

 

But there is one more thing.

 

 

 

 

It was funny, in that airport. There were so many oudh-based scents from all the western perfume houses, all these ‘special edition’, ‘rich club’, ‘noir’, ‘velvet’ exclusive scents from everyone from YSL to Dolce & Gabbana to even Boss and Dunhill that I simply couldn’t bear to smell any more, especially when there were so many ‘native’ oudhs (at about a sixth of the price) on offer as well, and the whole thing was starting to feel a bit like lugging coals to Newcastle. I had been planning to do a ‘Dubai exclusive’ post, replete with photos, for this blog for all the oudh lovers out there, but in the end I was just so exhausted (I arrived at almost 1am) that trudging along with my notebook, half-heartedly sketching portraits of perfumes that all basically smelled the same held almost no appeal (sorry).

 

 

 

Instead, I found myself far more fascinated by the shop that was selling soaps, shampoos, deodorants and hair creams, all of which struck me as somehow far more exclusive and exotic. And, having been to Indonesia last year and spent a lot of time in trains, as well as walking through towns and cities and mosques, I am fascinated by the white, soapy corridors of what perfumes are considered acceptable/desirable for men in non-western societies. While there is of course plenty of mindless macho on offer in these shops, as there is anywhere else, it seems to me that there is also far more room to manoeuvre olfactively in Muslim cultures; men are supposed to smell of flowers when they enter the gates of heaven; cleanliness is most definitely a virtue. And the hair creams you can buy, like the one I drenched my head in on Saturday night, Parachute, just take me back to the spacious architecture of these pristine buildings and the smell of their outside wash rooms; inalienably foreign, and new to me, yet right.

 

 

Soapier, even, than soap, so potently fresh; gleaming, like just-polished marbled corridors. Not like detergents, or laundry musks, but white-robed extraits de parfum of savon a l’Arabe: a scent that reminds me completely of my hotel room in Jakarta, of the cool stone floors, the heat outside, the call to morning prayer; a simple, but heartfully pleasing smell that graces the head most elegantly, beautifully.

 

 

 

While the veils of almond, rose muskiness rose up from my clothes with the Bakhoor Al Arais, and the sensual benzoin skin kisses from La Rose De Rosine floated about just so, every time I turned my head on Saturday night on the streets of Japan’s second biggest city, it was all delightfully offset by this trip through foreign lands and other cultures for which, at least on the scent level, I feel I have the most profound affinity. Mmmmm……

 

 

 

 

And with that, this perfume maniac went off into the cold, rainy night. Happy to be with his friends and to be alive; to be surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city, of people enjoying themselves, to talk and enjoy the pounding music; but also happily alone internally, to be wrapped up in thought; deliciously snug in scent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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YOUR SUAVE AROMAS…………ODIN NEW YORK, SEMMA (2013)

 

 

 

 

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I don’t really do tobacco, except for the occasional Kretek Indonesian clove cigarette. Having said that, I do rather enjoy the experience of tobacco-leaf fragrances on others, and Semma, a pimento-laced, fresh, but very suave scent by New York based Odin, is one of the better ones I have smelled.

 

 

While it may lack the scathing, wet-haired, wolverine pangs of Miller Harris’ Feuilles De Tabac ( a scent bolstered with tanged, wet spices and dark ripe earth, like being chased through the forests by a beast who you ache for but who you know might kill you), and  it does not have the true-to-life, real, tobacco-tin aura that is L’Artisan Parfumeur’s beautiful Tea For Two (which smells exactly like the moment that my grandad would open his roll-leaf Virginia in that tightly sealed, aluminium tin when we went to their house on Sundays), it also does not – for me, thankfully, at least- possess the stomach churning sweetness that is inherent in Tom Ford’s popular Tobacco Vanille: that apple-pied tobacco, cinnamonic, nause-fest that even for this spectacular sweet tooth is just one step of creamed sugar-mama too far.

 

 

Semma does have the nose-tingling depth of tobacco however ; its brusque, masculine integrity that I like in more simple scents like Tea Tobacco by Retroverso – fresh, undemanding, yet pleasing –  as well as in another recent addition to the pantheon of nicotania (and a scent beloved of The Perfume Dandy,) the more ironically reserved Wild Tobacco by Illuminum.  Semma, though rather old school ( a touch too much I would say to make it truly essential ), nevertheless has a beautifully constructed classic framework around which myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon and fresh aromatics surround a prominent, and beautifully rendered, tobacco leaf.

 

 

The notes in this perfume ply round each other like stars in a constellation: each held; knowing its place. It is a stern, gentlemanly accord (and thus in all honesty, more intriguing on a woman), but there is enough sillage  – it is quite strong – to announce the perfume’s presence in a room without booming it obnoxiously. And, with its tweedish, Jermyn Street tailoring, and its initial, colognish citrus top notes, the perfume, over its duration on the skin, maintains a classy, and at times, even rakish, vibe.

 

 

 

While ultimately perhaps a touch too staid, the held-in, well made classicism is also what I like about Semma. The lithe piquancy of the pimiento peppers, the cool affability of the frankincense and myrrh; and the men’s-club, drifting, furnitured ambience of roiled, soft-leaf tobacco, make Semma an attractive, and appealingly well-crafted, tobacco fragrance that feels something like a safe, and solid, bet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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