Une Nuit Magnétique, a Christine Nagel creation for The Different Company, is a perfume built on the push and pull of contrast and affinity: an olfactory magnetic field, touted as an aromatic charm, a lure, cast through a spicy floral amber. It’s a lithe oriental taut with charges and whose notes seem looped in circadian rhythms – a bottle of fire and silk.
The scent opens with a slightly spiky, vivifying duet of ginger and bergamot (with perhaps a touch of aldehydes) that – even though this an entirely warm perfume – puts me just briefly in mind of the tart, invigorating twinkle on the tongue of a summer cocktail, something aromatic and on the rocks. This is quickly softened though into a mulled, round accord of blueberry (a fruit I’ve always thought to have a slight cinnamon facet – and that carries here beautifully with the ginger) and the duskier, stickier baritone of prune. This fruitiness is not overly sweet, more unctuous and autumnal, and feels to me more akin to dried fruits than fresh summer berries.
Folded through the heart a pomander like garland of jasmine, rose and tuberose adds more fleshiness than florality – these notes are abstract and closely blended, so that the individual characteristics of each of these usually heady notes is hard to parse. Together however, their blend gives the heart lushness and texture. Given the amorous concept, and with the blueberry/prune fruitiness still weaving through this tuberose licked accord, you’d be forgiven thinking of that plum-tuberose 80s bombshell, Poison. Here though, while the idea is descendant, the interpretation is crystalline and snappy. This smolders in chic company, leaning more toward whispered possibilities of later privacy than the corset and kohl clad wanton spirit of the Dior.
Rather than the tuberose (which I perhaps wish was just slightly more decadent – but I have a fondness for lush, sweetened tuberoses) – it’s the rose, dusted and almost potpourri like that sinks into the musks and toffee-toned resins in the base. Here the perfume loops on itself – the spicy ginger handshake meets an auburn amber, fluffy musk and a skin seeping caramel benzoin. These wash up over the upper registers and coax the scent down into something like an autumnal bower. The malty richness of this base played against the bright zing of the earlier notes acts like a late year sun flashing through tortoishell. It’s at once gauzy and generous and glints like burnished copper, sidling up to the florals like a faint trace of your boy’s aftershave on your blouse.
While these stages of the fragrance – spicy/fruity/floral/resinous – seem like they might be quite distinct on paper, in their entirety the composition is compact and close weave. These notes are blended in a classical style so that the impression you get on smelling it is more akin to a centrifugal whirl; a fusion out of which different facets and accents intermittently peek, like soloists stepping forward from a jazz ensemble. Although presented as a ‘dense’ perfume, this wears with a transparency that reminds me of Christine Nagel’s earlier plush yet feathery Orientals – her Theorema for Fendi in particular, but also Mirroir des Envies for Mugler. Here too she has woven a handsome blend shot through with light; in which interior contrasts fuse through soft angles. It manages to be both spirited and rich, its sensuality distinct but coutured. There’s a sense of a shuffling groove – rhythmic, looped – in the interplay of benzoin’s molten brass and the sunny, vivacious topnotes that does create a languid, sensual effect.
While I think there is definitely an invocation of the magnetic, of seduction, in this relay between notes – calling and responding like sparking charges – ultimately this is not a risqué perfume. If anything it speaks more of love than lust, of contentment and deep-seated confidence (which is of course, deeply sexy) While perhaps nothing especially revolutionary, its soft-spoken assurance creates that centre of gravity that just makes you feel gorgeous when wearing it. It doesn’t seem to have garnered too much interest online, but I think it’s absolutely worth investigating. Wear it for a whole day and let it wrap around you: it’s the sort of perfume that captivates from the sidelines.