Text: Ksenia Golovanova, author of the telegram channel Nose Republic
2017 turned out to be rich in olfactory adventures: a large-scale revival of Comme des Garçons, pleasant excitement in the Russian perfumery market, as well as the launches of fragrances claiming a place in history. At our request, perfume critic Ksenia Golovanova talks about scents that should not be overlooked.
The best fragrances of the year
RUB 11,200 for 100 ml
The Florentine brand Santa Maria Novella releases new colognes at about the same frequency with which high-rise buildings are erected in the historic center of Florence – that is, about once every hundred years. You can afford it if your coat of arms indicates the year of foundation – 1612: if you please respect not for the rate of fire, but for the age and quality.
You can do whatever you want: for example, throat lozenges worth fifty euros or an unexpected collaboration with the Ballantyne brand, which has been dressing aristocrats in expensive cashmere for nearly a hundred years. Do not rush to suspect the Florentines of snobbery. Smell first Lana, or “Wool”: this is how – autumn roses and trimmed lawns – smells in the Boboli gardens, where the sun shines equally for everyone, regardless of the composition of the pants.
RUB 6900 for 100 ml
This year, the Japanese brand did not sit still: it quietly removed something from production – for example, the Dover Street Market citrus column, on the contrary, returned a lot (see below in the New Collections section), and also released two new scent: Concrete, which we already wrote about, and Andy Warhol’s You’re In. Better to sell will be Concrete, but more interesting is Andy, an “energetic” from the future, which smacks of tangerine, metal and sea plasma collected on the planet Solaris. Not the coziest, but brilliant scent.
RUB 9500 for 25 ml at TSUM
Clinique’s first fragrance, the classic Aromatics Elixir – that endless “sea of grass” from the school dictation, poured into simple matte bottles, was released in 1971. Since then, the Aromatics franchise has grown with several sequels, such as the cute Aromatics in White, but none beats the latest, 2017’s Aromatics Elixir Premier. Almost everything is good here: the contrast of light and darkness characteristic of the best chypre, transparency, mathematical beauty of proportions, and even a relief bottle with a ground glass stopper. There is only one bad thing – they did little for Premiere, but what they have is brought to Russia in small editions, practically in drops.
RUB 15 600 for 75 ml
Dojima is the famous Osaka Rice Exchange, founded in 1697, and the main center of Japanese money-grubbing during the rich Edo era. Formally, Dõjima revolves around the topic of rice, but besides rice milk and powder, there are many other things in it that evoke the idea of fabulous riches: toffee, expensive spices and fragrant sandalwood chips in a smoker at a successful speculator. The Dojima market was a complex formation, and the scent of the same name was also uneasy: under the tree and rice husks, warm and slightly sweaty musk darted around like an unwelcome rodent in a barn.
RUB 27,000 for 100 ml in Fragrance Secrets boutique
Figment, which translated from English means “a figment of the imagination”, is not a fruit, but a whole smoothie from everything that has grown in the rain forest: white flowers, small green citruses, transparent mushrooms that have not seen the sun and fruits filled with sweet juice. Anyone who loves a green, chlorophyll gardenia will “drink” one hundred milliliters in three months.
RUB 14,250 for 80 ml
The texts about the new fragrance Mugler, Aura, are still under embargo, and it will only be released in February – that’s why Hot Cologne. It’s also very good: a cologne in which the effect of morning soapy freshness is accompanied by the warm, crunchy aroma of granola and freshly roasted coffee beans. Another example of the same brilliant temperature contrast comes to mind – Gris Clair by Serge Lutens, but Hot Cologne, like most of the Les Exceptions fragrances, is both friendlier and easier to wear.
RUB 8500 for 65 ml in the Golden Apple perfume supermarket
Cosmogony is not really a brand, but rather a Russian niche project of the Brocard Group holding. Both Cosmogony fragrances were collected by the perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, who often visits Moscow, but the creative process was led by the Russian creative director Lyubov Berlyanskaya, and the perfume was bottled at the Aroma Prom plant near Moscow.
This is important: we have not produced a real niche for a long time, and the same Brocard, which made a splash this year, most often chose the mass market segment as a platform for its experiments. But back to Moon Light, Moonlight. This is a slightly sad and detached iris, washed by the sea wave – fragile, salty, bogged down either in fog, or in wet sand. It causes vague irritation, like any elusive beauty: you want to focus, you want to see streaks and pollen – but they only give a blurry image in the wrong light of the moon.
RUB 10,900 for 50 ml
Perfume journalists, despite the small number of their tribe, manage to divide into camps: vintage and novya lovers, fans and persecutors of natural perfumery, those who love chypre, and those who are afraid. But everyone agrees on one thing: 2017 was the year of tuberose, and the most unusual was the Nuit de Bakélite of the Australian brand Naomi Goodsir. Perfume Isabelle Doyen, known to us from Annick Goutal fragrances, took out the icy-camphor part from tuberose and brought it to smoky skin and plastic – it turned out green, toothy and refreshingly asexual. Anyone who expects the usual debauchery from tuberose – tune your noses to the new reality.
RUB 5050 for 10 ml at TSUM
Superstitious is the common brainchild of Frederic Mull and Albert Elbaz, an aldehyde-floral scent, which, since its presentation at TsUM, is said to shine in the same constellation with Chanel N ° 5 and Arpège by Lanvin. If so, then Superstitious is its alpha, which clogs up any stellar interferometer: under the icy clouds of aldehydes, such roses and jasmine bloom here that, in the absence of a habit of such beauty, it can stab under the heart. Superstitious’s only problem is that it is out of place in everyday life: it is too handsome to be loaded into a small credit Renault in the morning and carried to its work corner under an uncleaned air conditioner.
The best new brands in Russia
From 990 rub. for 10 ml in Cosmotheca stores
The fact that a new French brand 100 Bon appeared in Cosmotheca stores (pronounced “san-bon”, which is homonymous “sent bon”, “smells good”), only a few learned: there were no loud announcements, no buffets with champagne and DJs. 100 Bon arrived quietly, because they themselves are – quiet, watercolor and not too expensive fragrances, declared by Robertet as 100% natural. All ten compositions are very cute, but two are especially good: the ash iris Cèdre & Iris Soyeux and the golden resins of Myrrhe & Encens Mystérieux.
€ 92.56 for 30 ml
It happened: one of the main indie perfume brands was finally brought to Russia. Not to Moscow – the distributors of Fragrance Limited have not yet managed to agree on terms with the capricious stores of the capital, but in Kursk, Sochi, Penza and Khabarovsk, works by Spyros Drosopoulos are already being sold. Strange, dynamic and fluid, like Alexander Calder’s outboard mobiles, they sometimes come across as unstable, poorly balanced. In fact, Drosopoulos accurately builds models of processes occurring in nature, fluid and not always predictable: the convergence of a lead winter to Berlin in Berlin Im Winter, early summer in Amsterdam in Onder de Linde, the running of clouds in Indigo, and so on …