Saturday, April 4, 2015

Parfums d'Empire Musc Tonkin

Review of the EdP

I was initially intrigued by a fragrance so daring as to be named after one of the most sought-after ingredients in all of perfumery--tonqin musk--from the Tibetan Musk Deer. The opening was a brief citric blast followed by a persistent somewhat clean musk with a tinge of Scotch tape. I get the "wet dog" note they were going for, but this fragrance falls short of my expectation of natural musk. There is little to no development throughout the course of the fragrance. I'd stick with Musc Koublai Khan.




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crown Park Royal

Park Royal is a near copy of Trumper's Eucris (or Eucris copied Park Royal since it used to be a light lily-scented toilet water). Park royal is spicy, dry, earthy, and musky all at the same time. The opening is citric yet dark with bergamot and lemon rind that gives way to a heart of spicy mace, nutmeg, and clove. The base appears shortly, which is a dry and earthy oakmoss with resinous patchouli and cedar. Park Royal is overall a very unusual scent that does not fit well into the modern world, but is darned good for what it is. I prefer it over Eucris as it is richer, sweeter, and less dry (I don't normally like sweet scents, but Eucris is bone-chillingly dry).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crown Ess Bouquet by Crown Perfumery

An interesting lavender fragrance indeed. Ess bouquet derives from "Essence of Bouquet," a popular perfume genre at the end of the XXVIIIth Century up until the beginning of the XXth Century as citrict-floral cologne on top of an ambergris and orris base. During the Victorian age, sweet lavender and thyme were added in order to adjust to the tastes of "little old ladies" of whom we think when we think about Victorian perfumery. How does Ess Bouquet fit into this? Well, I would say at first blush, but to my nose, Crown Ess Bouquet is all about sweet lavender (not as sweet as say Caron PH or Gris Clair) with a grassy "new mown hay" flair. Ess is a simple scent that dries down to tonka, musk, orris, and vegetal musk (ambrette seed). Good quality, but strange and greatly out of place in today' s world.

Cypr├Ęs-Musc by Creed

I was at first uneasy about this scent. It struck me as odd for the Creed lineup, but it has grown on me recently for a number of reasons. CM is a fairly straightforward scent that is the same from when you spray all the way through the drydown. It is an intense, dusky cypress with a little citrus, musk, and light amber. It is soapy and mossy at the same time. This reminds me of country part of town and country fragrance pairs popular in the 19th Century. Mossy, dewy country roads in the heart of Arles or even Normandy with Van Gogh's cypresses blowing in the wind beneath the starlight.

Creed Epicea

A grand fragrance indeed! Epicea reminds me of something the 17th Century Russian aristocracy would have worn (along with their fur kaftans and leather boots before Peter the Great forced them to adopt silk shoes, bows, knickers, silk stockings, and powdered wigs) around a fire in an ancient pine forest perhaps roasting a wild boar. The pine, smoke, and birch tar are founded in powdery, slightly sour ambergris and slightly sweet, but still robust musk.

Helmut Lang Eau de Cologne



Helmut Lang Eau de Cologne has somewhat of a misleading name—one would think it is a light, airy citrus fragrance—but in fact, the cologne demarcation refers to the concentration rather than style. The opening is a bit fuzzy with lavender, dark citrus, and rosemary. This soon gives way to the soft, floral heart of jasmine, lily, heliotrope and rose. The powdery, musky base is comprised of sandalwood, cedar, orris, and musk.

Helmut Lang EdC is where Victorian barbershop meets powdered wig and 1950s machismo though it is nowhere near as brusque or imposing as any of them. This fragrance has a certain “volume” to it though it is light and never cloying—perhaps from the buttery and “fatty” quality of the base.Be forewarned that Helmut Lang EdC has a modern, laundry detergent edge briefly that may offend some classicists.  I think it is a better approximation of the tailoring industry on Saville Row than a recent "sartorial" release by a well-known English firm. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lorenzo Villoresi Musk

While Villoresi's Musk is far from what most would consider a musky fragrance, one must examine the sheer artistry and quality of ingredients. The opening and considerable parts of the heart are a soft yet persistent natural (and very expensive) Bulgarian rose absolute sharpened by galbanum and a slight spicy/earthy/fougere accord from the geranium. After about a half of an hour, the marvelous musk/oakmoss/sandalwood base emerges and lingers for some time. The base is not "musky," but rather powdery with wisps of tonquin musk.

Musk is a soft, yet substantial fragrance. Another reviewer compares it to the rich velvety fragrances of the 18th Century, but I think it is more in line with the rich, unctuous scents of Arabie popular in Victorian Europe at the end of the 19th Century like Hammam Bouquet. The strong rose accord could make this scent verge on the feminine, but it is not overly so. I do not smell the harsh synthetic accords of which other reviewers speak. The luxurious quality is beyond reproach. Bulgarian Rose Absolute tends to have a metallic property, which is what other may be detecting.

All in all, a dash of good taste in an otherwise tasteless world.