Fragrance Finds: Sex and Silver, Blood and Fire
For some people, there’s only autumn. Autumn and its feast of fragrances: spiced pears and pumpkins, chestnuts and smoky teas, honeyed vanilla, boozy cherries, patchouli and ginger.
Now is the time to wander aimlessly through the park; get lost in the woods. And everywhere you go, breathe in the heavy richness of autumn: oakmoss and balsam, overripe berries, and cedar. Then wear it all the way home.
Winter is coming - but, for now, it’s all about the smells of autumn.
Blood Concept: AB Parfum
In the chill of winter, in the throes of adolescence, you might’ve licked an icicle that you broke from a window - and the taste was like cold metal, reminding you of when you’d licked the jungle gym, just to see if your tongue would stick to the frozen steel, just to see if it would draw blood in winter and if your blood would freeze.
Blood Concept fragrances provoke such reveries, not only for their subliminally suggestive advertising, but also because of the brilliance of the packaging. The four unisex perfumes are labeled by blood type, from O to A, B, and AB - and sold in gleaming silver antique medicine bottles with red-lined droppers. The concept is deliberately inflammatory - and immediately evocative of a medical spa, where someone like Keith Richards might get his blood changed.
Established by Giovanni Castelli and Antonio Zuddas, Blood Concept’s fragrances each end with a metallic basenote, meant to convey blood’s essence, our own mineral content. Perfume AB opens like asphalt in spring rain, a hint of something citrus on the air as you sit in the middle of your macadam driveway, waiting for something to happen. Sipping from a can of Fresca, you can taste the aluminum as much as the lemon-lime tang - and as you lie down completely on the driveway, you mouth open to the rain, you’re thinking about what happened in wood shop, the last period of the school day. There was sawdust on the floor.
Perfume AB is the scent of adolescence, when hormones and pheromones are all and everything - and blood flows with greater intensity than ever before: to the groin, to the heart, to the head.
On the driveway, you turn your head, eyeing a cedar wood chip from the mulch your father spread along the hedgerow. But it’s your teacher that you’re thinking about - and the chalk on the blackboard, writing his name, without him knowing.
You don’t yet know the word "iconoclast" - but already you are one.
PRICE: $180 / 40 ml EDP, w/fragrance dropper
LINK: Blood Concept AB Parfum
Elie Saab: Le Parfum
Candis Cayne. That’s the first thing that comes to mind with a spritz of Elie Saab’s debut fragrance Le Parfum. The first transgender actress to play on prime time television in ABC’s "Dirty Sexy Money," Cayne seems the personification of Elie Saab’s first fragrance: an elegant white floral, bursting with honey, money, and sex.
For more than 25 years, the Lebanese couturier has been synonymous with femininity, his dresses the embodiment of Monet’s "Water Lilies." Saab’s dresses twirl and swirl with air currents of their own, much the way that Candis Cayne worked a room (and the streets) with her New York cabaret act.
This is a big girl fragrance, voluptuous with curves and bada-bing sensuality. Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian opens the fragrance with a blast of orange blossom and jasmine. "What I found fascinating was the idea of radiant femininity," said Kurkdjian. It’s as if you’ve been invited into Candis Cayne’s dressing room, where rows of dresses are punctuated with a profusion of blooms: jasmine and gardenia.
Ultimately, about the time that Candis Cayne pulls a dressing gown from the closet, her slip falling to the floor, Le Parfum settles into basenotes of cedarwood and patchouli. Candis glances over her shoulder at you, as elegant and sexy as Jessica Rabbit - and it strikes you then that love takes many forms.
PRICE: $90.00 / 1.7 fl oz EDP
LINK: Elie Saab Le Parfum
Lubin: Idole de Lubin
One whiff of Idole de Lubin and you’re traveling on the "African Queen" with Bogie and Kate, the scent of rum and smoked ebony permeating the air as you head for Lake Victoria.
Originally introduced in 1962, Idole de Lubin was reformulated and relaunched in 2005, when former Guerlain creative director, Gilles Thévenin, took over the house of Lubin. One of the world’s oldest and most illustrious fragrance houses, Lubin was founded in 1798, serving as the official perfumer for European royalty throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
According to Thévenin, "Lubin fragrances have their own character; they have a strong personality" - and there’s little question that Idole de Lubin, the house’s first 21st-century fragrance and the 466th from the house, is as assertive as it is seductive. The bottle, created by Serge Mansau, evokes the sail of a felucca, a wooden boat traditional to Africa, with a carved African mask as bottle stopper.
Idole de Lubin opens with cumin, saffron, and bitter orange in a cloud of rum. Think of it as Bogie’s breakfast, with Kate fanning the air. Yet in the jungle heat, the rum burns off, leaving a sugary, smoky sweetness - and by drydown, as evening falls, Kate has succumbed to the leather and sandalwood that closes in around her as Bogie hovers near.
Idole de Lubin’s perfumer was Olivia Giacobetti - and her touch with such dominant components is equivalent to witnessing Kate tame Bogie in the jungle. "Set the jungle on fire," says Giacobetti - and that’s exactly what will happen to your heart while under the spell of Idole de Lubin.
PRICE: $120 / 75 ml
LINK: Idole de Lubin
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