Ex Idolo : Thirty Three

40s photo of the dance floor at the Cocoanut Grove.

40s photo of the dance floor at the Cocoanut Grove.

Created by : Unknown perfumer

Date : 2013

Genre : Rose patchouli

Concentration : eau de parfum (at least)

One of my favourite courses in library school was Collection Development, i.e. what to buy! With all that is being published and evermore shrinking budgets, libraries are becoming more and more choosy. The Acquisitions Librarian of a large library in Québec City gave us a presentation of their purchasing policy. It was detailed and complex and fascinating. And the presentor ended it with, “And, of course, we NEVER buy first novels!” I said, “Excuse me, did you say never?” He answered, “NEVER!” (Unless of course the novel becomes a best-seller or a subsequent novel becomes a best-seller or the first novel wins a literary prize… but I digress.)

So… here we are with a first perfume launched by Ex Idolo from an unknown perfumer. Should I review?  Well… the creative force behind Ex Idolo, Matthew Zhuk, sent me a lovely email and a sniffing expedition was in the works so I decided to give it a try.

Both Matthew and the SA at Etiket talked about Thirty Three as being an oud… “thirty three” being the age of the oud which was used… but actually, it’s not really an oud perfume, not on my skin anyway. Yes… the oud is front and centre for the first 20 minutes, but it quickly takes a backseat to a beautiful, quality rose-patchouli accord which is the heart of Thirty Three. Yes, there is musk and some powder and maybe the oud is in there somewhere but for the most part it’s an exquisite red rose-patchouli… not yellow roses, not pink, RED! Over time, the patchouli disappears, the powder lingers as does the rose, and a soapy note emerges (perhaps the musk) making me smell cleaner at the end of the day than when I stepped out of the shower that morning!

So… what impressed me most? I would say the quality of the materials. That rose note is exquisite.  In addition, the composition is good… no rough edges, no overly chemical smells. It has a few twists and turns but I like that in a perfume. The longevity is similar to extract strength. And, Thirty Three is totally legible which I think is a plus in these days of “just feel the perfume.” There are others in the same genre but this composition straddles deftly between a rose soliflore and one of the many big rose chypres on the market making it quite unique. I would say its closest competitors are David Yurman and Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose and Oud. Evidently, Matthew Zhuk has been able to steer Thirty Three through a narrow opening on a crowded dance floor.

Now people who read me regularly know that I never discuss bottles or names but I love the bottle and I particularly like the art deco-inspired font. There is some marketing savvy behind the packaging.

Overall… it’s very beautiful and if you’ve been thinking of adding a quality rose fragrance to your collection, check this one out.


Ex Idolo's Thirty Three - beautiful presentation!

Ex Idolo’s Thirty Three – beautiful presentation!

Thierry Mugler : A*Men Le Goût du Parfum / The Taste of Fragrance / Pure Chili (limited edition)

Great bottle!

Great bottle!

Created by : Unknown perfumer

Date : 2011

Genre : Spicy wood

Concentration : eau de toilette

This flanker is part of an A*Men series following Pure Malt and Pure Havane.  Actually, I know very little about the whole line (except for Angel and Angel edt, which I love) let alone two flankers, but a friend, Mario, brought me a sample of The Taste of Fragrance and insisted that I write a review.  When I asked him why he wouldn’t write the review himself, he wanted to know what a person not familiar with the A*Men line thought.  So… here I go… with my blank, uneducated mind.

This is not the kind of perfume I would wear but it is the kind that I WILL wear.  I was totally blown away.  A*Men The Taste of Fragrance is a warm, ambery woody scent laced with ginger and candied anise.  It’s an incredible combination.  The hot ginger and cool anise work together perfectly.  Other reviewers speak non-stop about the chili paste but I didn’t smell the chili at all, although I sure could feel it.  There is a “hotness” note in there which bumps up the “wow” factor.  I found this fragrance to be long-lasting and very sexy!

So… when I decided to wear it to this year’s Art Tattoo Montreal 2013 show, it made me feel confident AND totally rebellious, even though I don’t have any tattoos and after visiting the show for the past 10 years, it’s unlikely that I will… well, maybe just a little butterfly or a religious theme or marine or Old School or… wait for it… the SHALIMAR bottle!!!  Yesss!  What a great idea.  And then again, maybe not.

Enjoy the week!

Art Tattoo Montréal 2013 (click to enlarge)

Art Tattoo Montréal 2013 (click to enlarge)

Jean Patou : Joy eau de toilette (UK version)

Created by : Henri Alméras originally, but this version unknown

Date : 1930

Genre : Iconic floral

Concentration : eau de toilette

Angela from Now Smell This described Joy eau de toilette like this…

The Eau de Toilette starts with a fizzy, stemmy neroli, then a few minutes later bursts into roses tangled with full-bodied but fresh jasmine. The Eau de Toilette stays close to the skin once it dries down and fades into dull roses and a vague warmth after a few hours. But overall, Joy Eau de Toilette feels bright and, well, joyous.

And that is EXACTLY how I felt about Joy when Angela wrote that review… back in 2008.  I remember I was at a luxury department store here in Montreal when the Jean Patou sales associate had me try it.  It was really, really beautiful!  Just two distinct, quality notes… jasmine and rose.  It was something to behold.  I hope I never forget it.  Unfortunately, I had already bust my perfume budget for that month so I left the bottle on the counter.  Less than 6 months later when I went back, the SA told me that they had “distribution problems” and all the Jean Patou perfumes had been sent back and the line was discontinued at the store.  Not long after, I read about the 43rd amendment of IFRA (2009) that restricted jasmine grandiflorum absolute to .7% of the finished product and jasmine sambac absolute to 4%.  Then it seemed that Joy, in all its forms, simply disappeared off everyone’s shelves!  I swear… it was like a science fiction movie!

Moving forward, a discount perfume store called me a couple of weeks ago to inform me that they had received a bottle.  I literally RAN to the store to pick it up.  Unfortunately, I should have run in the opposite direction.  This version of Joy smells horribly synthetic and muddled… no space between the notes, no hint of a jasmine-rose duet.  It smells like cheap, detergent-grade jasmine… no rose oil, a dollop of aldehydes and a mashup of non-descript “floral” notes.

As for lasting power, Joy edt has it in spades which in this case, is NOT a good thing.  It hurts me to write these words, but my bottle of Joy smells… dreadful!

If anyone out there has a great smelling, recently-purchased Joy edt, I’d LOVE to hear about it!  I’m hoping that it’s just my bottle that has gone wrong.

Let’s end this post with the jasmine and rose duet of all-time to remember what Joy was like…


ADDENDUM (added August 6th, 2013)

Perfume friend FiveoaksBouquet sent me this interview with Patou perfumer Thomas Fontaine that gives me some hope that Joy might be restored to its former glory.  You see, Joy was once produced in the UK and it is now produced in France.  My bottle was produced in the UK so I have the version BEFORE Thomas Fontaine got involved to restore the brand.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Thomas Fontaine: First of all, the Big Three of Jean Patou— Sublime, 1000 and Joy—are on the market now. And when I arrived at Jean Patou, they were my first job—to organize the new production of them. During the Procter & Gamble period, everything was produced in the United Kingdom, and now it has come back to France. The concentrate is made in Grasse again, the glass is coming from Verreries Brosse, Normandy and the bottles are also filled in Normandy. In P&G times the sources did not fit the brand image, so we changed the sourcing also, and now the concentrate is more expensive but the quality of it is much higher. That was my duty: to restore the previous quality of Jean Patou perfumes.

Source : http://www.fragrantica.com/news/Perfumer-Thomas-Fontaine-About-Jean-Patou-4338.html

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