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Z'bad

Z'bad

Z'bad, Zebad or Zubad, Zabād, Sinnawr al-Zabād simply means civet in Arabic, and is the origin of this word in Western world (Civet, civette, zibet and zibetum are some of its Western spellings). In the Arab world, civet paste is still used today in its raw form, as an aphrodisiac, and a hair grooming product: to smooth and scent eyebrows, moustache and beard, as well as treatment for hair loss and various other folkloric uses. If you understand Arabic, this video explains how it is used also. But Z'bad is also a perfume type, just as "White Musk" is a type of fragrance nowadays, and not just one literal ingredient. Although civet is the key ingredient that gives it its character, it is not the only one. Z'bad was used to protect against the evil eye, so it is a magical concoction as well as an aphrodisiac.

I first heard about Z'bad from Dan Riegler (Apothecary's Garden), who have found it in an old perfumery and apothecary in the midst of a Souk in Yemen. I was both intrigued and hesitant about purchasing it because it was a bit unclear to me at the time what this was - aged civet paste or an authentic Yemeni perfume, and since I don't use the former in my creations, it seemed superfluous to make such a purchase.

When I stumbled upon this article about The Painted House and heard from Ayelet Bar-Meir that the Yemeni artist used this mysterious perfume and that it was a strong memory she left with her children and grand children, I knew I had to try it for myself. Dan has kindly gifted me with two jars, and I'm so thankful he did. The Z'bad that Dan found in Yemen is indeed not just aged civet but a full perfume, a solid paste of civet mingled with camphor, spices and that has aged and mellowed for decades.

In Dan's own words, "Z'bad is a potent traditional Yemenite Civet based perfume mix, used for hundreds of years among the Yemenite Jews, but abandoned by younger generations, Z'bad, or Zabad, doubled as a prophylactic against the evil eye, which may also be a contributing factor to its decline in popularity(...)". Which fits right in with what I read about Afia's use of it in that article, and what Ayelet has spoken about.

I received the Z'bad while I was still in Canada, and made great efforts (over the course of four weeks!), to not open the jar till I entered The Painted House. I wanted to have a very specific place association and emotional memory with it. And trying it on first at the house of a woman who lived with similar fragrances and put great care to incorporate them into her daily rituals. It was at first surprisingly fresh, and surprisingly familiar: a burst of camphor and spearmint emerges from the jar as I first uncorked it and smeared some of the dense, rich salve onto the back of my hand.  It had strong banknotes of balsams and civet, but nevertheless there was a surprisingly green, minty, camphoreous freshness to it for the first few minutes. It was a tad medicinal, but not as medicinal as Tiger Balm (which is what the uninitiated nose might dismiss it as at first sniff). There are also earthy qualities, almost musty-dusty, which makes me wonder if there isn't some patchouli oil in there as well, or more likely - a kind of infusion of the dried leaves. I have very little knowledge of how these traditional perfumes I made, but from the little I know about Arab aesthetics, just as the oud oil is used as the "base oil" for other ingredients, in this case it is not unlikely that the civet paste was infused with several resins, spices and herbs to create this rich perfume preparation. I'm also smelling cedar, which gives it a rather pervasive dryness in the opening hour of so on the skin. Perhaps even a hint of myrrh or opoponax. There are no flowers to be smelled in this, but it is unnecessary. There is so much indole in the civet that it really blooms on the skin, and develops into this luscious, purring animalic-balsamic presence for hours on end afterwards. It is not overmpoering at all, but simply becomes part of my skin.

Youth Dew & Z'bad

In both its scent and consistency, Z'bad reminds me a lot of vintage Youth Dew solid perfume in a vintage necklace I have that is probably not that different in age. It seems like Z'bad was the inspiration for Youth Dew, as well as its predecessor Tabu. Both rely heavily on civet, and have a distinctively heavy-sweet-cloying-exotic character that is heavily inspired by the Orient. To Westerners that never smelled the original, these two must have been earth-shuddering at the time, and immensely original. And they are in their own rights. But they wouldn't be around without this Arabian unguent.

Likewise, the evocative packaging and thicker liquid in the Western Orientals - Tabu, Youth Dew, Opium, Obsession and Shalimar - is created in such way as to recreate the ritual of applying a thick paste to the eyebrows, nape of the neck and perhaps other unmentionable strategic spots. The richness of materials create a heavy veil of scent that is highly intimate, personal and also precious. It does not need to be applied in great quantity, and ironically - the economy in which is can be used is part of its luxury and appeal.

Intimate


There is a box of decants that I kept from the days when perfume trading was fun and exciting, and collecting more vials than I will ever need in my lifetime didn't feel burdensome. There was the thrill of the hunt, and the wonderful feeling of being taken care of when someone you only knew by their screen name and fragrance wardrobe sent you a surprise in the mail with vintage perfumes that smelled like nothing you ever smelled before... That was of course, before I smelled too many perfumes, before each year offered over 500 new releases, and I became too jaded and selective about what I put under my nose.

In a moment of olfactory boredom last night, I unearthed a roll-on with vintage Intimate in its vintage form (Revlon, 1955). The concentration is not specified, but judging from it lasting well into the next morning, I imagine it's at least an eau de toilette.

Intimate is a softly-spoken echo Miss Dior's green-floral-animalic-Chypre; a hazy mirror image of its New Look glam. There are green aldehydes at the top, but they've lost their sharp edge (possibly through aging and mellowing, but even still, comparing to the vintage Miss Dior I have they are less intense).

Intimate is definitely from the same genre (Chypre Floral Animalic, and sporting some definitive green notes), yet has a softer, powderier character right from the the start (a trait that is only evident in Miss Dior if you really pay close attention somewhere around the second act). It has edgy, woody-herbaceous notes peeking underneath, making the greenery less obvious. There is an aldehdic wisp at the opening as well. Mingled with the orris this creates a blending illusion, like smudging and blending pastel crayons that obscures the shapes of jasmine and rose that were just drawn moments ago. One can't quite tell when the jasmine and rose end and the oakmoss, sandalwood and cedarwood begin. The woods create a dry feel, a sort of temporary cleanliness. An animalic power roars from underneath, with the carcass of castoreum and the concentrated piss of civet create a dark, musky-sweet epilogue.

This phase dissipates faster than I would have liked it to, turning into a vintage Revlon lipstick scent, like the ones I would try on from my grandmother's dresser. My grandma always dressed elegantly, so lipstick was the only way to tell she's going somewhere importatn (work included, and she worked well into her 70s, and continued freelancing even after she officially retired). And if it was somewhere social, there will also be a dap of perfume or some Eau de Cologne splashing.

The drytdown (as observed the next morning) has a sweet and smooth amber and a musk compound that bears some fruity, berry-like qualities. Oakmoss is still there as well as a hint of greenery. Overall, there is a soft, close-to-the-skin feeling that's exactly what I would like in a perfume from the night before: a sweet reminder that something wonderful happened last night, but without having all your clothes reeking of it or making you want to wash it off. You could easily apply something else on top, or go for a second round.

Intimate is beautifully constructed and elegant, and smells sexy in a down-to-earth kind of way. If I didn't know who made it I would think it is a French perfume - it skips the loud statements that American fragrances so often have (both in sillage and tenacity) and instead offers a more nuanced perfume that even if it isn't a groundbreaker for its time, it is very well done and wonderfully enjoyable. The bottle in the ad shown perfectly conveys its style and class, which will be evident even if you are blindfolded and can't see it.

Top notes: Green Aldehydes, Bergamot
Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Cedarwood, Sandalwood
Base notes: Oakmoss, Civet, Castoerum, Musk, Amber

Studio Re-Opening Sale

Clil Art Crawl 29.12.2017
As part of re-opening at the new studio location across the world, I'm offering for sale many special perfumes that have been part of my creative process over the years - olfactory sketches and perfumer's liquid drafts, that are too beautiful to hide and stash away. Make one of them yours!

Perfumer's sketches + vintage testers for sale, from 17 years of perfuming at Ayala Moriel Parfums - several of these were part of our moving sale and many others were added after unpacking all the liquid treasures in the new space in Clil.

after many years of creating custom perfumes I realize that if clients don't reorder (or even bother to pick up their signature perfume) - I can no longer keep it for them either.
If 7 years have passed, I reserve the right to repackage/resell to someone else...

One-Of-A-Kind Perfumer's Sketches (1/2oz lab bottles):

Amber & Ginger
Pre-cursor to Zangvil, an ambery-gourmand fragrance; a bit darker and sweeter than Zangvil, containing Immortelle absolute (Helicrsyum).
15mL $60

Rose & a Thorn 
Green rosy Chypre with antique patchouli, hyraceum, osmanthus, Japanese rose, violet and curry leaf. Melancholy yet grounded.
7.5mL $69

Assam Oud
Animalic-boozy oud with a spicy garam-masala finish...
Notes of Sandalwood, labdanum, patchouli, helichrysum, honey, spices, ruh gulab (Traditional Indian steam-distillation of roses), jasmine, ylang and a garam masala accord.
4ml $20

Audrey series 
Chypre with oakmoss, patchoui, hay and vanilla, exotic floral heart of tuberose, jasmine and osmanthus, and intriguing top notes of curry leaf, lime and citrus. Each has a bit of its own twist though.

Audrey No. 2 - Chypre Fresh, bright and refreshing, with notes of lime, jasmine, curry leaf, oakmoss, hay and basil.
15mL $60

Audrey No. 7 - Chypre Fruity, with notes of osmanthus, jasmine, ylang ylang, rose, orris, garam masala, curry leaf.
15mL $60

Black Licorice No. 2
A sequel to our classic candy-inspired fragrance. This one has a hint of orange blossom,
15mL $40

Bright Angel
Fresh, green and naturally musky angelica soliflore. With notes of clary sage, ambrette seed,

Cacao Anise
Rich gourmand fragrance whose charm lays in its simplicity. Cacao absolute, coffee, honeyed, vanilla, marzipan and anise notes. Yum.
10mL $30

Chocolate Pernod
Delicious gourmand of boozy Pernot (anise liquor), mingled with créme de cacao, honey, almonds and powdery vanilla sugar.
10mL $30

CocoaNymph Berry 
Highlighting the berry and wine-like aromas of cacao absolute. Notes of cacao, dark patchouli, botanical musks, geranium, tuberose, yang yang, davana, cassis, blood orange and pink peppercorns.
(created 2010)
15mL $60

Frangipanni 
Frangipanni (Plumeria) soliflore. Delicate tropical flower with waxy, suave and skin-like tones.
7.5mL

Gentille Alouette
Sophisticated, whimsical, gentle yet elegant floral with boronia, tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine and rose.

Gentille Alouette 1
Delicate floral bouquet over incense and Asian spices.
Notes: Sandalwood, frankincense, tarragon, orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose, violet, boronia, rose, lavender, grapefruit, blood orange, fresh ginger and star anise.
7.5mL $65

Gentille Alouette 2
Like a walk in the forest with whimsical wreath on the head and leis of tropical flowers from the jungle. A dash of Asian spices for an elegant balance.
Notes: Fir absolute, sandalwood, frankincense, tonka, tarragon, orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose, violet, boronia, rose, lavender, grapefruit, blood orange, fresh ginger and star anise.
6mL $60

Gentille Alouette 3
Powdery floral with swirls of Japanese incense, overdose of orange blossom and hints of the other florals mentioned before.
Notes: Hinoki, sandalwood, tonka bean, fir absolute, frankincense, tarragon, orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose, violet, boronia, rose, lavender, grapefruit, blood orange, fresh ginger and star anise. 
7.5mL $60

Geranium & Cacao
The name says it all. Rosy geranium leaves nestled in a sweet cacao and amber base. What else you should know is that the base also has botanical musks and sweet benzoin; some lemon drops at the heart alongside the geraniums, and lavender, grapefruit and bergamot at the top to give it a lighthearted freshness.
7.5mL $28

Ginger & Amber 
Pre-cursor to Zangvil, an ambery-gourmand fragrance. Light, honeyed, delicious and slightly floral. Notes of honey,
(24.05.2008) 5mL $15

Honeysuckle & Curry Leaf
Lovely and original floral green with milky undertones.
Inspired by the random juxtaposition of honeysuckle in bloom on the streets of San Francisco and a marvellous coconut dessert in a Southern Indian restaurant, decorated by crystallized fresh curry leaf. Notes of massoia, sandalwood, honeysuckle, tuberose, narcissus, rhododendron, kaffir lime leaf and curry leaves.
15mL $150

Hygeia Series
Series of fragrances of clean and natural Mediterranean fragrances,, inspired by the Greek Godess Hygeia. Notes of olive, myrrh, cistus, orange flower and other historical Mediterranean plants prevail in all three versions offered, with slight variations in the proportions.

Hygeia No. 2
Notes of myrrh, Haitian vetiver, honey, cistus, lemon leaf, olive leaf, violet leaf, orange flower water absolute, bayberry, juniper and lime.
7.5mL $30

Hygeia No. 3 
Notes of Haitian vetiver, myrrh, saffron, cistus, honey, orange flower water, neroli, violet leaf, olive leaf and olive fruit, bayberry, petitgrain, juniper, coriander and citrus rind.
7.5mL $30

Hygeia No. 4
Notes of Saffron, myrrh, Haitian vetiver, cistus, honey, jasmine, orange flower water, neroli, violet leaf, olive leaf and olive fruit, petitgrain, juniper, coriander, bitter orange and other citrus.
7.5mL $30

Incense & Chocolate
A perfume that combines elements of two ancient rituals of offerings - burning of incense, and drinking a sacred beverage (hot cocoa, consecrated wine, etc.) as offering to the gods. Both the burning of fine incense and consuming (responsibly!) quality dark chocolate can be practiced as daily moments to easily create a sanctuary anywhere and anytime for mindfulness and self-care.
So exhale all your worries, uncork this bottle of magic and breath in the aroma of dark chocolate, olibanum, prehistoric fossilized amber resin, oak wood, champaca, cardamom and oud.

Jasmine Pho
Inspired by a good cup of Pho and Lab-style vat of the beloved limited edition.
15mL $60

Patchouli & Camphor
The scent of antique Indian mahogany chest filled with fabric treasures preserved with botanicals such as camphor and aged patchouli leaves and cedarwood shavings.
(2012)
7.5ml $15

Noriko
Delightful and delicate Japanese bouquet of honeysuckle, osmanthus, magnolia, Japanese rose (Rosa rugosa) and orange blossom with top notes of yuzu and base notes of hinoki, siamwood and Indian sandalwood and Kyara.
15mL $120

Tea Olive
Lovely osmanthus soliflore!
Luscious, delicate fruity-floral with the distinctive and rare osmanthus aroma of apricots, tea and hints of leather backed up by jasmine, gardenia, tea rose, ginger, vanilla and milky oolong. Top notes of ruby red grapefruit make it sparkle.
10mL $96

Tea Rose
Soliflore hybrid tea rose - which is more fruity and violet-like than the Damascus and Centifolia roses.
Tea Rose perfume celebrates the bliss of Asian roses. The sheer quality of Chinese tea rose (rosa odorata) and Japanese rose (rosa rugosa) is highlighted by osmanthus, green tea, cassie and a hint of musk. Tea Rose is a harmonious, sweet rosy perfume with violet and tea accents.
Notes include: Cassis, Tea Rose, Japanese Rose, Osmanthus, Green Tea, Ambrette Seed, Vanilla
7.5mL $26

Thé Vert
Refreshing and subtle green tea fragrance, with tea leaves, sandalwood, lemongrass, honey, citrus notes and hints of freshly grated ginger and green peppercorn.
(created 2003) 10ml $15

Violetta Cacao
Violets and dark chocolate. An unusual match, both haunting, sensual and delicate.
Limited edition in a lab vat.
Top notes: Bergamot Ginger Lily
Heart notes: Violet LeafJapanese Rose, Jasmine Egypt,  Orris RootRose Absolute (Turkey),
Base notes: Cocoa AbsoluteCassie ,  Deer's Tongue (Liatrix)Tabac BlondPatchouliTarragon Absolute,  Vanilla Absolute
 
10mL $86

Yuzu Rose
Juicy Japanese fruity-floral bouquet of roses, honeysuckle, osmanthus, magnolia and orange blossom with top notes of yuzu zest and pomelo peel.
15mL $120


Perfumer's Sketches & Testers Sale
Cobalt Blue Lab Bottles with Spray (50-60ml capacity, but contents vary so read each item listed carefully): 

Elixir - an herbal Chypre from 2006, 1oz $40

Finjan (2005) Turkish coffee fragrance1oz $60

Democracy Classical ambery Fougere from 2001. 1oz $30 


Cucumber (2002) as cool as its name. Natural fragrance that is as refreshing as cucumber water 20ml $15

Terlona (tropical-inspired, full-bodied fruity cacao with marigold) 20ml $15

Bleeding Hearts - green, fruity floral Chypre with galbanum, ylang ylang, hyacinth, cassis, oakmoss and vanilla. About $15mL $130

Jasmine Stars, 2003, 15mL $130

Eau de Tinkerbelle (2002) a boronia soliflore - about 20ml $140

Libra - lovely remnant from the oldie but goodie Zodiac collection in its very first incarnation.
Contains a vintage sweet pea base (not 100% natural). 2oz (60mL) $60

L'Ecume des Jours first module, with tuberose which I sadly discovered to be a faux later on. Smells lovely all the same. 1oz (30mL) $120


Perfumer's Sketches & Testers Sale


Diorella


Before I begin, I have two announcements to make: First of all, I want to thank the generous Joanna for sharing a decant of vintage Diorella with me. This review is based on my subsequent wearings of this beautiful rendition, prior to the oakmoss banning days. My second confession is that some ten or so years ago, when Diorella was quite widely available (and before oakmoss was so ridiculously restricted) and it did not quite capture my heart. While I liked its freshness and similarity to the brilliant Eau Sauvage, here was something about it that I disliked - a combination of the heaady floral note of honeysuckle, and the soapy aldehydes at the opening. Time perhaps has been kind with Diorella, because she has aged gracefully. Or perhaps it is an even earlier formulation of the same one. But it is certainly different from the scrubbed and lathered version you’ll find on the Dior counters nowadays.

Way before its time, Roudnitska was at ease incorporating fruit salad elements in his fragrances in a most refreshing, light-weight manner... created in 1972, Roudnitska’s fruit has thankfully no affinity with the syrupy, unbearably sweet fruity-gourmand florals of the new millenia; but rather posessed a cheerful lightness paired with complex substance from more earthy and floral notes of natural raw materials. So again, these are far superior to the light, watery fruity-florals of the 90‘s, though these were strongly influenced by the asthetics that Roudnitska developed with the creation of Eau Sauvage, which introduced the concept of space and expansion to modern perfumery.

Diorella is munching on a honeydew melon (or is it a cantaloupe?). It is ripe, juicy yet somehow still crisp, as it is brilliantly paired with citrusy notes of lemon and bergamot and a touch of spicy-sweet green basil. Her peach-toned skin emanates a scent that is similar to white peach’s delicate, milky and slightly nutty aroma, due to the use of peach aldehyde and peach lactone. These unique fruity notes were both brilliantly used in a non-edible way (as Edmound Roudnitska explains beautifully in Michael Edward’s book, Perfume Legends - French Feminine Fragrances). Rather, it brings freshness and a unique texture to the jus. It is brilliantly paired with effervescent, ethereal and soapy honeysuckle, crushed basil leaves and a tad of the oily aldehydic notes backed with ionones, that simultaneously give the clean impression of triple-milled soap, and the dirty allusion to hosiery that’s been worn and sweated in for at least half a day. That dichotomy between anti-bacterial herbs and animal/human secretion seems to be at the core of Diorella.

The oily aldheyde and peach notes fades rather quickly, allowing the basil and citrus notes more breathing room. Orris butter is present yet very subtle, giving a soft-focus background to the composition, and making it somehow smell more feminine. What truly moves to the forefront is jasmine. Pure, unadulterated, indole-rich jasmine at its best. And it is that indole that will accompany Diorella throughout her strut on the skin and the surrounding air - first an ethereal jasmine, and later on a full, unabridged indolic jasmine, with its fruity, jammy peach-like and earthy and animalic character beautifully showcasing this gorgeous phenomenon. The similarity to Le Parfum de Thérèse as well as Eau Sauvage are striking; but what surprised me what the affinity I discovered with Eau d’Hermes. Also a perfume that is all about jasmine, yet from a very different point of view - more warm, sweet-earthy and spicy. It is probably the juxtaposition of jasmine with ionones that creates that olfactory connection for me.

Last but not least, it’s time to talk about the base notes, the foundation of Diorella. No matter how much Roudnitska denies any connection to Eau Sauvage, the similarity is striking, despite the differences. There is definitely oakmoss, but not nearly as much as in Eau Sauvage, which gives it more of a green, dry and woody character rather than a dense, brown-earthy and musky feel. Vetiver also supports it in this direction. Even the patchouli, which appears in both, seems to be toned down and instead of the big-warm-oily patchouli hug you get in some feminine Chypres such as Miss Dior - there is just a single brush stroke of it, done in aquarelle. Last but not least, where Eau Sauvage has a generous dose of hay, which gives it an almost-fougere quality, Diorella has a subtle sprinkle of tonka bean (or perhaps just pure synthetic coumarin - in reality there is a very small difference between the two), giving it a slightly bitter finish, but with that feminine soft-focus that reflects the orris from earlier on.

Diorella is a very Mediterranean perfume, and truly reminds me of Grasse and the surrounding area, including the perfumer’s home and garden (which I visited in 2009). It also reminds me of a perfume that his son, Michel Roudnitska created way into the future - Eau Emotionelle - also playing on the cantaloupe-jasmine-ionone theme, but in oil-pain strokes rather than the sheer aquarelle of his father's. The culture in that area is greatly influenced by Italy and Spain, and there is something very Italian about it, especially in the opening notes. If Diorella was a woman, she would be one with a very outgoing, young spirit. A woman that loves to laugh and enjoy life’s pleasures, and just goes with the flow - but isn’t audacious or dominant by any means, and is very kind, generous and open but without ever being vulgar in the least. There is something truly carefree, open, fun, bursting with life and joie de vivre about it. In case you didn’t know already - it’s a true masterpiece. It has been relatively recently re-introduced along with the other classic retro Dior-fumes: Diorling, Dioressence, Diorama... I’m sure the new version pales in comparison but I’m nevertheless intrigued to find out what they’ve done to it to overcome the restrictions on jasmine levels and the industry’s new (low) standard of avoiding oakmoss at all costs (even though it is still allowed - the washed-down version of atranol-free absolute, and at only very low percentage).

Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Basil, Melon, Aldehydes, Peach
Heart notes: Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Hedione, Orris, Violet
Base notes: Oakmoss, Patchouli, Vetiver, Coumarin

Crêpe de Chine

crepe de chine by Millie Motts
crepe de chine, a photo by Millie Motts on Flickr.
One of the legends of perfumes of yore is Crêpe de Chine, created by Millot perfumer (and the founder Félix Millot's grandson) Jean Desprez in 1925, the same year the iconic Shalimar was born. However, unlike Shalimar, Crêpe de Chine did not survive long enough to undergo the many embarassing reformulations that so many classics have faced throughout the years. No, Crêpe de Chine remained true to its original self, and coming across the bottle is akin to a private sniffing session at the Osmotheque.

I always imagined Crêpe de Chine to be a dark, mysterious, ineffable creation that I would  only admire from afar when I finally encounter him (I thought of this perfume as a very serious masculine creature, perhaps a very severe fashion designer constructing accurately flowing evening gowns from this particular fabric). Non of this turns out to be the truth about Crêpe de Chine (except that its beauty is indeed ineffable!). A vintage half-full bottle of the eau de toilette landed in my mailbox two evenings ago as part of a swap with a perfumiso from the Netherlands, and added a lot of beauty to every moment of my life since I could not stop applying and re-applying. The vintage bottle itself is also easy on the eyes (though a bit too generous with spilling out its precious jus to the sides of the spray nozzles every time I apply a spritz or too - a sure sign that bottle designs have improved in the past 50 years or so - Crêpe de Chine went off production in 1968, a few years after Millot was purchased by Revillon).

Crêpe de Chine

Nothing could have prepared me to what Crêpe de Chine would smell like. But, I didn't really need any preparation: Crêpe de Chine was one of the very rare cases of love at first sniff, with a very complex perfume. It begins with a burst of laughter, emanating from a rush of galbanum, crushed sweet basil and zesty citrus! I'm surprised these vibrant notes managed to remain in the bottle after all these years and remain true to their zestiness. Playful, cheerful, bitter-green but not intimidating or formal at all (which is often the vibe that one gets from cool, bitter greens).

Moving quickly to the heart of Crêpe de Chine, deeper notes of incense and hints of smoky leather begin to swirl around the skin, and this warmth stayed with me for hours, lingering like the remnants of an ancient ritual, omitting the charred aftermath. Sensual and reassuring, like a quiet reminder to breath in the beauty around us! The fine aroma of lingered fragrant smoke kept weaving through my aura, making me smile every time. This incense effect is achieved, I believe, from the conjunction of fine, santalol-rich East Indian Sandalwood (now extinct), aged Indonesian patchouli, the resinous-leather-incense-amber of labdanum, and musk.

Weaving through the wafts of incense, earthy and warm aromas of forest floor and sun-warmed hills bring grounding. Labdanum and oakmoss, surrounded with the spice of carnation and hints of cinnamon. Ahh... How I love the roundedness, complete mystery of Chypre! No one note truly sticks out, though I'm certain there are plenty of florals to support this very abstract structure.

Finally, we come to the drydown, or deepest base notes. Here the sweetness of earth and sunny rockroses is replaced by the bittersweetness of coumarin (could be from tonka beans, but most likely supported by the first synthetic aromachemical used in perfume history), paired by non other than clean and dry vetiver. That's a balanced duo, and a very surprising finish to a masterpiece olfactory tale with many twists and turns. At which point, you wonder if it isn't a fougere after all... And indeed, like some other reviewers of Crêpe de Chine, it is suitable for men to wear and enjoy without worrying about smelling like a bouquet of flowers or a lacy hosiery. 

Top notes: Galbanum, Basil, Fresh Aldehydes, Lemon, Bitter Orange, Bergamot
Heart notes: Carnation, Jasmine, Gardenia, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Cinnamon, Roman Chamomile
Base notes: East Indian Sandalwood, Musk, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Indonesian Patchouli, Leather/Smoky Notes, Labdanum, Musk

For other reviews of Crêpe de Chine visit:
The Non-Blonde
Now Smell This
Yesterday's Perfume

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