Genuine sultriness has become more of a rarity in recent perfumery with the ‘stingy maximalist’ approach often being taken towards current feminine allure (cheap/uninspired/uninspiring ingredients mountained on top of each other to conceal the vapid flimsy at the core). So it is nice, on a hot August day, to sample some sensual modern florals with integrity.

Frassaï is the brainchild of an Argentinian jeweller, Natalia Outeda, based in New York, and the perfumes in the range certainly also have glimmer and gleam. A Fuego Lento is a very vivid orange flower and precision-pointed jasmine sambac, infused with a persuasive accord of blackcurrant bud and flouve odorante (sweet vernal grass) in the top that forms a lucent contrast with the tolu balsam, civet and suede in the heart; a veritable rush. I tend to like the fragrances of Rodrigo Flores-Roux (Arquiste Flor Y Canto; Dolce & Gabbana’s Velvet Desire, one of the best white florals I know; this is slightly similar ); his is a clean but photographic approach, flowers that are heady and fresh, but not generally too sickly. Although this perfume (“A cabaña nestled in the shadow of the Andes mountains glows beneath a cascade of mysterious stars. Inside, a fire burns as two souls surrender themselves to the night”) will certainly be too brash, even headache-inducing for some, to me its obvious, bright sensuality is beyond dispute.

Verano Porteño (“ the feeling of Buenos Aires during summertime”) is another fragrance in the portfolio signed off by Flores-Roux, this time a green magnolia jasmine, with a cool backdrop of maté tea, vetiver, cedrat and alhelï (wallflower), a paler jasmine counterpointing what to me is the the heart of the scent: ‘southern magnolia’. This kind of pristiner-than-thou perfume can feel prim and synthetic in the wrong hands (and this blend is certainly very measured, soignée), but if you like crisp interpretations of just-bloomed flowers – to me this is almost like a modern magnolia take on Diorissimo – you may find yourself revelling in this perfume’s bathed, dressed-up sillage.

Blondine, based on the 1920’s French fairy tale of a young girl who is so entranced by the flowers in an enchanted forest that the more of them she picks, the further she finds herself away from home – where she is “surrounded by precious jewels, exotic fruits and mouthwatering dainties“, is a perturbingly effective blend of pointedly carnal ambrous animalics (castoreum, tonka beans, cocoa, salted butter caramel and ‘blond musks’ ) set against more innocent notes of tiger lily, ashok flower, pear leaves and green mandarin. For me, this is a little too obviously let’s-get-it-on, in the manner of Tom Ford Violet Blonde or the slavishly sloe-eyed sandalwood that was Jean Louis Scherrer’s Nuits Indiennes from 1994, but it is undoubtedly quite sexy, one to sarong to on the sanddunes in the dying light of summer.

More appealing to me personally, and apparently sold out at the Frassaï website, is Tian Di, a ‘ritual for the senses’ by Olivier Gillotin (10 Corso Cormo), a perfume that really works as a spiced woody peach in the manner of some of the best Lutens. An orris-softened sandalwood and ‘Chinese incense’ base given internal umami-ish heft with ginger, star anise, red chrysanthemum, frankincense and a central feature of ‘peach elixir’ (the perfume is based on a mythical place on Mount Kunlun where the peach trees only blossom and bear fruit ever 3,000 years), this is a brisk, peppery, neo Fille En Aiguilles with a sweet. darkened mahogany heart you can climb into and hide in on a hot summer’s afternoon, quite moreish and additive. And, like the rest of the (mercifully) small collection – (I drastically prefer more a more carefully, considered, manageable first number of perfumes from a brand), even if the base accords don’t quite have the complexity or longevity of the finest vintage – this definitely still reads to me as wearable, viable, Real niche Perfume.


Filed under Flowers


  1. These came in the post today and gave me a quick impetus to try and put something up. I am not happy with not being able – as yet – to control picture size and paragraph spacing, but it is better than nothing?

    I thought these Frassai perfumes were quite nice.

  2. Tara C

    Teisendou is the only one I’ve heard of, but I like Rodrigo Flores-Roux as well. It may not be up to your standards, but I think the post looks good visually.

    • The picture (some random flower shop in Buenos Aires) is nice, so I am glad you are not too dismayed, but I personally do feel rather curtailed (to put it mildly). I quite like these: base accords are typically un-spectacular, but not bad either : the opening shots are quite vivid. D came home and really liked Tian Di as well, so if you like a spicy warm woody number for winter, it might be worth investigating. The florals are very ‘glam’, but not repugnantly so, which I am sorry to admit is how I feel about a lot of contemporary feminines – just nauseating. These are fresh and attention-grabbing, but have some taste. I would love to smell Verano Porteno on the mother of The Bride, in some white, expensive embroidered outfit. She would subtly steal the show.

  3. bibimaizoon

    I’m a fan of Rodrigo Flores-Roux also. I have heard he recently did 3 new florals for Avon that are very good.
    Verano Porteño sounds like something I’d like – prim, pristine & crisp are a nice contrast to the fetid and fusty stench of South Asia in Monsoon season!

    • I LOVE the idea of you in this: it is like one of those Italian perfumes you can buy in Florence – a slightly 80’s-y green magnolia, very ‘fixed’, but used judiciously with the right soap and freshly ironed clothes I can imagine it being incredibly chic. Quite cooling. A little Pure Distance, but I would imagine more ‘air freshener’ for some, if you know what I mean, in the way that flowers like magnolia always smell slightly synthetic and produced. I found it harmoniously blended; I could never wear it but would LOVE to smell it on someone else!

  4. Robin

    It’s the Teisenddu I’m looking forward to hearing about when you have a chance — and now you really, really have me wanting to try Tian Di, which sounds quite brilliant from your description. A pleasure to read.

    I have a beautiful and vivid impression of the mother-of-the-bride effect. Although I’m not sure I’m quite ready, willing or able to carry that off! I’d like to sample them all, definitely. Very interesting read, as usual.

    I don’t see the line on LuckyScent, which is a little odd, but maybe production is very small. Always interested to hear about the price/quality ratio, being a practical sort. How much are these? What was your impression overall, dear N.?

  5. Robin

    I see they’re $175USD for 50ml. . . For that, I do have certain expectations . . .

    • Naturally you were in my head last night: the base accords are like fade aways of the beginning (but I sometimes prefer that to a hideous woody amber). On D both the Teisendou and Tian Di gave off a nice effect, but I DID start to get hints of our buttery sandalwood effect somewhere in the depths. We are not talking vintage Feminite Du Bois extrait, even if the overall smell was what I was reminded of. I will have to wear Tian Di out one evening or get D to and see.

      So not earth shattering, but pleasing overall compared to the usual swill.

      • Robin

        I am just now getting over the trauma of believing you might just give up on this new format and stop writing!! YOU CAN’T. What would we — I — do without our Neil?

        That blurted, I’m happy you found some decent contemporary fragrances to experience and report on. Happy for us that we can have renewed faith in the state of affairs at least in the world of perfume. (I’m clinging to anything right now. Such a weird and disturbing time.)

        Of course you and I have our own preferences that diverge here and there, but we seem to like many of the same elements in perfume. It’s quite miraculous. (Oh, that FdB! I remember one night several years ago I thought I’d get overcome with emotion and pleasure wearing it. I think I shed a few tears bringing my hand to my nose over the course of a few hours.) You know sometimes when everything is working together and you have that breakthrough when you suddenly get everything single thing there is in an exceptional fragrance, when all the notes become art, like a piece of music that goes straight to your soul when the stars are aligned or whatever it is that creates that magic and intensity. (I confess, that state has been coaxed into being on occasion over the years by various intoxicants legal and not. There is no overbearing modern woody amber that will ever do that for me even with all the hydroponic weed in the Kootenays.)

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