When I learned first about Lilas Exquis and the inspiration art director Rania Barakat Naim gave to perfumer Luca Maffei, I couldn’t help but thinking to Bettina Graziani in a lilac satin dress posing to the camera with her nose up in the air. Out of the usual flowers, this hyper-realistic lilac soliflore vividly renders blossoms drenched in raindrops and French joie de vivre. Empowered by outdoorsy and leathery facets of violet leaves, I wouldn’t be surprised to smell it also on dandies as a floral summer cologne.
The garden on Eden for a while turns into a forrest covered in strange mists and obscure spells. C’est la faute à Merzhin? No, it’s because of Anatole Lebreton and his Grimoire, the book of spells. Some kinds of lavender are very close to labdanum and can be magic with incense. That’s the spell, a luminous mix of lavender and herbs cutting through the dusty yellow pages embalmed by an hermetic mix of incense and sensual spices. Subtle yet powerfully evocative.
Halfway a fresh rose and crushed leaves, Egyptian geranium has been featured in some successful perfumes during the last years, so I was really curious to smell Aedes de Venustas’s take on it. Nathalie Feisthauer sets the green, powdery freshness of Pelargonium in a peaceful veranda in summer at noon playing with the silvery, almost sage-like, amber facets through light and shadow with the Sichuan Pepper’s lemony sparkle and vetiver duskiness. There’s just a light breeze carrying hints of the signature incense aloofness from far.
Inspired by “Redwood Alien”, a picture Roger Steffens took back in 1973 portraying a wood drenched in overexposed light and red reflections, Woody Mood takes out of the X-Files another olfactory alien, the masculine confidence of coniferous woods. Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour builds a red sequoia impression with the piney, slightly animalic sap of jatamansi (Himalayan nard), warm spices and leathery resins that remember us the mastery he showed playing with incense in many of his greatest hits.
Born from the ideal encounter of a noble soul and violets, Giovanni Sammarco latest addition Naias is more than a perfume. It is a violet chameleon swirling in spiced saffron and fruity-floral facets rendering the completion of a young woman. Its warm, rosy cheeks textured in velvety osmanthus make you want to kiss her pulpy, sweet lips keeping your nose wanting for more.