The Final Perfume Review of the Year ft. Tauer Perfumes, Vero Profumo, Puredistance & Hiram Green

The Final Review of 2013
The Final Review of 2013: Tauer Phi Une Rose de Kandahar, Vero Profumo Voile d’Extraits, Hiram Green Moon Bloom and Puredistance BLACK

I am plagued by a constant lack of organisation in my life and it’s always at this time of year that I cannot help but feel I am running out of time. In a little over a week, 2013 will be a distant memory on the horizon and everyone and everything will be fully focused on what 2014 will bring.

But it isn’t time to give up on 2013 just yet, after all It has been a busy year for perfume tmwith way over 1,000 new launches to sniff and throughout the year I’ve been seeking out the good, the bad and the downright ugly to help you know what to bother with and what to ignore. On the 27th December I’ll be holding my annual perfume awards (‘The Candies’) but before we start the celebrations I wanted to share with you four reviews of perfumes that (for the most part) deserve not to be ignored this year.

Here you’ll find new scents from the likes of Tauer Perfumes, Vero Profumo and Puredistance – venerable houses that constantly push the boundaries of the perfume industry, as well as Hiram Green, a newcomer. So for the very final review of the year let’s take one last look at some new fragrances that have helped make 2013 one heck of an interesting year for perfumery.

Phi
Phi – Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer Perfumes

The Notes

Apricot Extract, Cinnamon, Bitter Almond, Bergamot, Rare Rose Essential Oil, Rose Absolute from Bulgaria, Bourbon Geranium, Dark Tobacco Fond, Absolute of Dried Tobacco Leaves, Patchouli, Vetiver, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Musk and Ambergris [1]

How Does it Smell?

I’m always intrigued to see what Andy Tauer is up to. He’s one of those perfumers that has a signature accord (affectionally referred to as the ‘Tauerade’ after Guerlain’s famous ‘Guerlinade’) along with the talent to always do something new and exciting with it. I like to think of his approach to perfume as a balance between familiarity and innovation and the end results of this balance is often nothing short of wonderful.

Andy’s latest fragrance within his Collectibles line is Phi – Une Rose de Kandahar (hereafter referred to simply as ‘Phi’), an ephemeral edition that is “inspired by a natural extract of roses produced in Afghanistan’s rose region, Nangarhar” [2] and it is by no means his first foray into the world of roses, in fact one could argue that Tauer and roses go hand in hand, but yet again this unique nose has brought something entirely new to the table.

If I were to sum Phi up in two words I would call it ‘marzipan rose’. Right from the outset it appears as a soft, pliable take on the flower with sweet almond facets. The signature Tauer notes of vanilla and ambergris sit comfortably underneath this chewy rose alongside the green and sweet cherry vibrancies of tobacco. Surprisingly, the whole thing isn’t quite as edible as it could be (thanks to the almost arid quality of the rose at times) and it never even tiptoes into sickly sweet territory, despite its gourmand edge of marzipan.

As far as Tauer scents go, Phi is not a stonking powerhouse and what makes it so enjoyable is the fact that it hums along rather quietly (albeit by Tauer standards, it’s still relatively tenacious) on the skin. There is also something distinctly autumnal about it and where rose scents are usual emanate hues of red and pink this particular variety is cast in shades of deep browns and burned oranges. Wonderful stuff!

Availability

Joining Zeta in the Collectibles Line, Phi – Une Rose de Kandahar is available in 50ml Eau de Parfum for £115.

Voile
Ruby, Kiki, Onda and Mito Voile d’Extrait by Vero Profumo

The Notes

Rubj; Bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli, Orange Flower Absolute, Tuberose, Jasmin, Cedar, Mousse de Chène and Musk [3]

Kiki; Bergamot, Citrus, Cassis, Lavender Absolute, Geranium, Opoponax, Caramel, Patchouli and Musk [4]

Onda; Bergamot, Citrus, Mandarin, Ginger, Coriander, Basil, Iris, Ylang Ylang, Honey, Vetiver Bourbon, Sandalwood, Patchouli and Musk [5]

Mito; Citrus Accord, Peach, Magnolia Grandiflora, White Magnolia, Champaca Absolute, Tuberose, Galbanum, Hyacinth, Labdanum and Musk [6]

How Do They Smell?

When Vero Kern announced that her brand – Vero Profumo – would be launching lighter, sprayable versions of each of her phenomenal Extraits (the incomparable Rubj, Kiki, Onda and Mito) I pretty much leapt for joy. Each of Vero’s four signature perfume are truly remarkable and the thought of having them in a format which was less intimate and truer to the original structures than the EDPs was most exciting indeed.

So how do they smell exactly? Well, in keeping with their concept of lighter concentrations for day wear, each of the Voile d’Extraits is a less intense and more diffusive version of the original Extrait without coming across as weaker or thinner. Due to the lower concentrations in each, the focus of the scents has shifted slightly from that seen in their purest form. Rubj Voile d’Extrait for example, is less honeyed than the original and feels more peppery thanks to the addition of cedar, whereas Mito’s fizzy buzz of white flowers and citrus is more prominent than the chypre base found in the EDP.

Kiki is the most similar to its Extrait sister, but has a more intense burst of fruit in the beginning that brings an intriguing sense of freshness to the original’s candied lavender accord. Onda’s lighter feel is slightly less enjoyable and whilst the sum of its parts are all certainly intact the intense darkness and rooty quality of the vetiver that made it so interesting/unsettling is lost somewhat in the veil.

The big question with these four particular scents is whether they are necessary. After all, Vero Profumo already has Eau de Parfum version of each of the Extraits, so do these cover any new ground? The simple answer, on both counts, is ‘yes’. The Eau de Parfums should be seen as entirely different scents from the Extraits as each (excluding Mito which was launched first as an EDP) showcases an experiment of how the note of passion fruit can mix things up a little, whereas the Voile d’Extraits are the perfect way to wear the Extraits in a more extroverted form. I’ve already got a bottle of the Rubj Voile d’Extrait on my wishlist!

Availability

Vero Profumo’s Voile d’Extraits are £156 for 50ml.

Moon Bloom
Moon Bloom by Hiram Green

The Notes

Tuberose Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang, Coconut, Leafy Greens, Tropical Spices and Resins [7]

How Does it Smell?

Moon Bloom is the first perfume from independent perfumer Hiram Green. It is described by the man himself as “a lush and elegant tuberose themed eau de parfum” [8], a description that had me welling up and softly sniffling – “you had me at tuberose” – in true Renée Zellweger style. I am well known for being a tuberose addict and therefore my interest was certainly piqued by the idea of a new ‘tube’ on the block, especially one with such an evocative name as ‘Moon Bloom’.

Hiram Green’s tuberose is done in the fresh and tropical manner as opposed to the bombastic bitch in heels style. If I were to pull out my handy ‘tuberometer’ to properly gauge Moon Bloom’s tuberoseness (I’m fully aware that ‘tuberoseness’ isn’t technically a word but let’s just run with it) I would say that it sits somewhere comfortably in between Edition de Parfums Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower and By Kilian’s Beyond Love as a natural, green and fresh tuberose.

Much like the two perfumes mentioned above, Moon Bloom speaks of the tuberose flower itself rather than the narcotic and sordid deeds that it has been used to so wonderfully evoke in fragrances such as Robert Piguet’s Fracas. It poses the fresh, menthol quality of tuberose next to the zesty green facets of jasmine and the tropical coconut and banana of ylang ylang, to create a perfume that is more of a exotic floral bouquet than a tuberose solifore.

Moon Bloom is an impressive first effort from Hiram Green, despite the fact that it is more than just a little bit derivative and doesn’t quite live up to being as refined as some of its contemporaries, most notably Malle’s Carnal Flower. Still, if one is looking for a less euphoric (and less expensive) version of Malle’s magnum opus then Moon Bloom is most definitely worthy of consideration.

Availability

Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom is available in 50ml (€135) and 5ml (€25) Eau de Parfum.

BLACK
BLACK by Puredistance

The Notes

No notes for BLACK are provided.

How Does it Smell?

I think I may be the only perfume blogger in the whole of Perfume Land not to have reviewed Puredistance BLACK yet, a fact that makes me look a bit naff seeing as I’ve had my sample for so darn long. I’ve been following and admiring Puredistance for some time now and their perfumes (namely; I, M and Antonia) seem to create a contemporary take on luxury that isn’t found in many niche brands at the same price point, but compared to the others in the line BLACK leaves me a bit miffed.

The overarching concept behind BLACK (created by Antoine Lie) is that it should be smelled, felt and not analysed, an idea that is all well and good seeing as that is, in fact the primary purpose of perfume, but it is good to approach perfume with an analytical mind and when doing so it seems that BLACK doesn’t really live up to the ingenuity and unique take on luxury that the Puredistance brand is so widely renowned for.

To my nose BLACK is a highly anisic patchouli with hints of rubber and dried fruits (plums, prunes etc) that is a little rough round the edges and more than slightly pedestrian for such a sleek and refined house as Puredistance. It doesn’t evoke the colour of black either, instead feeling more like a royal purple or dark burgundy with the texture of velvet – rough when rubbed one way, smooth on the other.

With all the ‘black’ and ‘noir’ perfumes on the market, along with a veritable world of patchouli scents, BLACK fails to make much of an impression. Let’s hope that this missed mark is just a mere blip on the beautiful Puredistance landscape.

Availability

Puredistance BLACK is available in 17.5ml (€198), 60ml (€330) and 100ml (€590)Parfum.

Disclaimer
[1] & [2] via tauerperfumes.com. [3], [4], [5] & [6] via Vero Profumo Voiles d’Extrait Press Release. [7] & [8] via hiramgreen.com. [9] Puredistance BLACK Press Release. Image via @puredistance, hiramgreen.com, perfumeoflife.com and Vero Profumo. Image 2 via fragrantica.com [cropped]. Image 3 via Vero Profumo. Image 4 via hiramgreen.com. Image 5 via perfumeriaquality.pl.

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