14 gennaio 2012

Blind Sniff Roulette #1: Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir

The legend tells that Jo Malone, british fragrance creator, started in the 80's from her parent's beauty treatments company more or less mixing essencial oils in her kitchen. Maybe this is the reason why even nowadays that the brand is a big reality part of Estee Lauder group and the fragrances are composed by famous perfumers like Bertrand Duchaufour (Lime Basil&Mandarine) or Christine Nagel (Wild Bluebell etc.), They still preserve a simple and thoughtless mood.
In 2005, right before leaving the company, Jo made a bold choice creating the only exception to the lightweight of the line, a cologne full of character that's far more than a sent bon, a complex juice that can't leave you cold: Pomegranate Noir.
The inspiration of the fragrance comes from a shiny dark red dress (bravo Memory of Scents and Gretel), something totally demanding attention. You can get it because of the strong contrasts it shows since the shining, slightly acid topnotes of raspberry, pomegranate, plum, rhubarb and watermelon. Later the heart warms up thanks to the spiciness of clove and pink pepper, rounded off by rose and jasmine. Finally the base is a gloomy bed of resins with olibanum, opoponax and labdanum supporting a rough woody base of patchouli, cedarwood and guaïac.
Bravo to all of you for having guessed the dark, slightly grim charm of the fragrance (crows, cats, barn owls) and the texture shining at first (velvet, glass) and ironic with red fruits (Take five, Capitain Harlock) and then rough and severe (woolen coats, dark tunics), to have made choices according to opposing sensations about places (Canada, Norvway, woods but also Londra) movies (Dead man, A single man) and a certain melancholy and introspection (deserted hotel, Un chien andalou, tzigane music, Murakami Haruki, Battiato). Last but not least ineluctable intellectuality and a pinch of cynicism for the dry base, almost bitter (Charlotte Rampling, Baudelaire, Caronte, Sherlock Holmes).
Here we go with your replies...

Florence
  • if it would be a colour? I hesitate between brown and green and I finally choose to be a dark and deep green. It's woody, with top notes recalling a forest and in spite of the spices, it stays pretty cold, lofty and independent. It could be the color of the moss or of a pine-tree, a "rough" colour.
  • if it'd be an animal? A raven! It's impressive (the roughness of vetiver?) It likes everything that is dark and disconcerting ( liquorice note? bitter cocoa? something black anyway!), it is also a bit threatening (almost oppressive syrupy note).
  • if it'd be music? It would be a tzigane haunting music, nothing urban, something close to the nature and earth (scents of roots, wood), that likes to play with mystery (scents of resin) and secrets (patchouli? oud?). Sometimes, it gets gentler (sweet cedarwood?)
  • if it'd be a place? It wouldn't be a city, for sure but a lonely land with a lot of trees and plants in a cold country, Canada or Norway.
  • if it would be a clothe? A black wool coat that sometimes feels a bit harsh (dry notes), it seems to be austere but it has a distinctive allure.
  • if it'd be a movie/book? Dead Man: the landscape of this movie is similar to the scent and its duality about wild (woody, cold notes) / audacious (spicy, original, notes). It reminds me of the leading character.
  • if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? It would be Baudelaire. It'd be a man (masculine scents) and a rebel and provocative man ( sharp notes) with a complex and surprising ( geranium?) personality that likes alcohol ( absinth? rum?) from ill-famed taverns. A gloomy, cynical (bitter notes) man.
Gretel
This smells familiar to me even if I can't guess it but it's something I've already smelled. Also the notes are clear but at first I smell a mournful carnation wrapped up in incense and woods, then it makes me think to a black violet wrapped with a pall again with incense and wood... Anyway incense is there as for the woods. Let me say cedarwood just to name a dry wood... You'll have some big laughs Mags!
  • if it would be a colour? Cardinal Purple or aubergine, a colour across sacred and profane, cold and velvety at the same time, a shade of red that can't reach to be cheerful and hides itself behind the curtain of the night with a slightly grim facet.
  • if it'd be an animal? It instantly comes to my mind a Red Admiral, that big butterfies coloured with dark brown, black and white spots that also have a thick silky fur on their body. It's not a nocturnal one but for sure it's not graceful or gaudy but rather disturbing.
  • if it'd be music? Adagio in g minor by Albinoni as soundtrack of a melancholic movie where it rains all the time, the main character just got the news he has a cancer and her beloved one decided to leave him for a wealthy man and his dog is dead.
  • if it'd be a place? A charming hotel all decorated in stucco works and marbles but totally deserted, the end of a noble descent.
  • if it'd be a cloth? Something from Mc Queen with skulls or a blindfold on the eye like Captain Harlock.
  • if it'd be a movie/book? As a book... The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet, as a movie as stated in "if it'd be music" let me joke! It makes me think to Un chien andalou by Buñuel
  • if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? I go for Caronte from Divina Commedia by Dante, who carries the souls of deads with his beard and the eyes burning like fire.
Mauro
The first impression is the one of a well balanced fragrance, an elegant mix of spices and green notes of black tea I suppose, a light floral facet in the heart taming down the warmth of the spices to fade into a slightly woody and smoky touch. It's a fragrance carrying me to London at beginning of the XIX century.
The important thing is on paper this fragrance is dominated by green fresh notes while on my skin is ruled by spices and a main slightly sweet note, let me say liquid and comforting, slightly indolic, maybe jasmine that evolves slowly leaving space to woody notes with a touch of vetiver. I believe it's marketed as a masculine scent, an amazing and refined creation from a decade ago. It comes to my mind Bulgari Black even if the floral note in the heart lends me to Dzing by Giacobetti for Artisan Parfumeur: ok the goal of the game is not to guess the fragrance and maybe I did it wrong, but my olfactory memory led me that way.
  • if it would be a colour? Turquoise, a light blue just gloomed by the fog.
  • if it'd be an animal? I don't know why but it comes to my mind a nice bird of prey, a Barn owl, imposing and white, with a nice look but it's an unerring predator.
  • if it'd be music? I think to the romantic compositions of Mendelsshon, airy and graceful but with a bit of drama.
  • if it'd be a place? Well, London hands down, cosmopolitan and mysterious, majestic and magic.
  • if it'd be a cloth? For sure Sherlock Holmes Deerstalker, that hat with a perky rassuring look but that's also meant to wear to hunting.
  • if it'd be a movie/book? Sherlock Holmes.
  • if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? I can't help it, again Sherlock Holmes.
Memory of Scents
This ones opens with a very mysterious accord. It combines the cold, bitter camphor with warm, sweet clove. Although it is clearly medicinal it feels very familiar and comforting. Perfectly balanced. These top notes are angular and feel like polar opposites. Ice and fire. I have an intense vision of a red ball floating in the air, covered in a thick layer of resin. Moving to he heart there is a fruity sweetness. But the use of fruit is almost ironic here. It is not sweet or cheerful. It serves to give substance to angular, volatile top notes. The base has nuances of patchouli and incense. Overall if I had to use one word to explain this it would be "ceremonial". Not something for everyday use but extremely comforting. It has body and substance. Very tactile.
  • if it would be a colour? Red with depth and variation, like a glazed ornament.
  • if it'd be an animal? A cat: it moves slowly but powerfully. It imposes with its presence even when it is outside your view field!
  • if it'd be music? Dave Brubeck - Take Five: playfull but you know where it's going from the start.
  • if it'd be a place? It would be a jazz club: it is warm, but not quite comforting, you need to be on your toes.
  • if it'd be a cloth? A velvet coat: feels comfortable and soft but it is strictly "dress to impress".
  • if it'd be a movie/book? A Single Man: introspective but victorious.
  • if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? It would be Charlotte Rampling: tiptoeing on the thin line between intellectuality and sinicism.
Salvatore
It's a fragrance I feel instantly fresh, pungent, even balsamic but there's also something alcoholic and fruity going on! There's also some patchouly for sure that gives that minty vibe but also reminds me of moist woods from trees in a forest!
  • if it'd be a colour? For sure it would be red or burgundi because it's a red mixing up with violet and brown... Maybe the colour of fruits like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, wine and bark.
  • if it'd be an animal? It'd be a grizzly, one of that bears crossing the cold woods which fur is drenched in woody smells of wood, pine needles and foliage.
  • if it'd be music? This one is quite hard... Maybe it'd be a very simple accompaniment music for a theatral play in an ancient elizabethan theatre with benches, straw chairs and balconies with inlaid wood decorations.
  • if it'd be a place? It would be a cold wood in Canada or North Europe, cold places with age-old trees.
  • if it'd be a clothe? It'd be a leather jacket with fur inside where the smell of leather mixes up with the freshness of an alcoholic aftershave or a masculine cologne. Otherwise it could be a dark dress, like a simple tunic with different layers, to cover and wrap up themselves.
  • if it'd be a movie/book? For sure Brokeback Mountain, to me it's a very masculine scent: I can figure up the main characters alone in the woods by a fire, dressed in jeans and leather/fur while they drink liqueurs and burn wood to keep warm. A book could be Murakami Haruki Norwegian Wood for both the title and also for the melancholy (stillness) that goes through both the story and the scent.
  • if it'd be a personality (storical, pubblic,...)? It would be for sure a shy person, a bit melancholic who loves to stay alone, someone very spiritual... low profile but with good cultural and human background, firm, tiptoeing from east to west: Sakamoto or the italian Battiato (it's a scent that could suit well both).
<Blind Sniff Roulette #2> <Blind Sniff Roulette #3>

    2 commenti:

    memoryofscent ha detto...

    It was a wonderful experience! Thank you Ermano. In all fairness I have to admit that I immediately recognised this as it is one of my all time favourites. I knew the story about the red dress but I would never associate this with a feminine garment. I think it is one of the most masculines of the line. It is very interesting to see that the dark element is something that everybody recognised and this must be something quite surprising for anyone who knows the Jo Malone line. There is only one more release from Jo Malone that has the same deep, masculine vibe, 154, but I think it might be discontinued. To anyone reading this, stay tuned because Pomegranate Noir was the most main stream of the three.

    Magnifiscent ha detto...

    Thank you for participating so nicely dear Memory of Scents!
    I totally agree with your impressions about the juice and think you did an amazing review on your blog:

    http://memoryofscent.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/pomegranate-noir-the-joy-of-blind-sniffing-revisited/

    I never happened to smell the 154 and I think it's longely discontinued sadly. Maybe this was another odd one out of place. Fortunately they didn't discontinue Pomegranate Noir.

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