puredistance : M

Created by : Roja Dove

Date : 2010

Genre : Oud leather

Concentration : perfume

When I researched this perfume after wearing it for two days, it didn’t really surprise me that Roja Dove, noted Professeur de Parfums, had created it because M has so many references to masterpieces of French and British perfumery of the late 19th and 20th centuries… the dark rose note from Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet (1872), the smoky-leather accord from Tabac Blond (1919), the cumin note of Eau d’Hermes (1951) and the overly-sexy oud note of Yves Saint-Laurent’s M7 (2002).  Add to all this, a frankincense that popped in and out of the mix throughout the day giving it an oriental feel.  This one, readers, is a lesson in perfume history… and it is gorgeous!

M starts with a deep-orange, mouth-watering bergamot that floated ever so slightly above the heart which is powerful and sexual.  Although not listed, I picked out the decidedly “down-under” male scent that only oud can produce… bringing to mind L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Al Oudh.  But what is so special about M is the way it evolves… sometimes leathery, sometimes woody, sometimes smoky, but always interesting.  The drydown surprised me many hours later leaving me with a powdery, clean vanilla-musk accord… all the sexy notes gone.

In short, M is intelligent, rich and researched. It feels like a fragrance that Edwardian men might have worn… big and unapolagetic. They don’t make perfume like this anymore, or rarely… complex and controversial and with “space between the notes” as FiveoaksBouquet would say.

When I thought of who might wear it, I thought of King Edward VII and his frequent trips to Parisian brothels, notably Le Chabanais, his favourite room being the Hindu room with its “siège d’amour”.  As depressed as I’ve been about the state of perfumes recently, this one was a very welcome trial.

On both men and women, M could easily seduce both sexes.  Its sublime, fleshy animalic qualities are universal.

Have a nice week everybody!

Top image : Portrait of King Edward VII (1905)

Bottom image : Male nude by Dan Lacey

Estée Lauder : Youth Dew

Created by : Josephine Catapano (?)

Date : 1953

Genre : Cola amber

Concentration : Eau de parfum

My friend Roland knows wine.  He elbowed me at the cinema while watching Midnight in Paris to signal out a very prestigious bottle of wine that was at Salvador Dali’s table.  I hadn’t noticed… I was too busy enjoying the Youth Dew that was wafting through the air.  At first I thought I was surrounded by several coke fiends.  The smell of cola was dizzying, as was the heavy butter scent, no doubt from the popcorn.  But it was Youth Dew that was mystical.  It brought me to another time.

When Estée Lauder realized that American women didn’t buy their own perfumes, she tricked them.  She came out with a bath oil which she named Youth Dew.  Apparently, she asked the perfumer to make it gentle enough that it could be put directly on the skin as perfume, if desired.  When the ladies were seduced by its scent, she came out with the eau de parfum.  No one can accuse Estée Lauder of not being a smart businesswoman.  I wish I had one-tenth of her savvy.

I don’t like to list notes that most people won’t get.  Most perfumes can be reduced to 3 or 4 notes and it’s the same with Youth Dew.  It’s a herbal amber (think balsam wood, not vanilla)… but it has a distinctive and predominant cola facet.  When I hold the scent strip up to my nose, I also get a frankincense note.  I like to use Youth Dew in my perfume workshops because it is so distinctive and fun… a little goes a long way and, true to Estée Lauder’s mission to provide women with a little luxury for little cost, this one is extremely reasonable.

Youth Dew is classic top-down architecture.  It starts with a slightly citrus top… moves to a herbal cola centre and ends with a sultry, sexy frankincense finish.  I know of very few perfumes where I look forward to the basenotes… this is one of them.  I had a great time wearing it today.  I was never bored.

In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen used Parlez-Moi d’Amour as the leitmotif for the past in his movie and although it doesn’t hark back all the way to La Belle Époque as the movie might suggest (it was written in 1930), it’s a lovely song.  Enjoy!

Top image : Photo of Estée Lauder

We Three Kings : Frankincense – Passage d’Enfer by L’Artisan Parfumeur

Created by : Olivia Giacobetti

Date : 1999

Genre : Incense leather

Passage d’Enfer by L’Artisan Parfumeur was my very first niche perfume.  It was thanks to a very observant sales associate who had me sample several fragrances before suggesting that I might like this one.  When I smelled it, I purchased it immediately.  My reaction was visceral because Passage d’Enfer reminded me of the smell of religious ceremonies of my past – biblical frankincense, a hint of pine and a big diffusing waxy note that reminded me of candles and which oddly mirrored my slightly blurred memories of Christmases past.  For me, Passage d’Enfer acts like a time machine.

But what makes Passage d’Enfer transformative applies to sex as well as time.  There is something forbidden and subversive about Passage d’Enfer.  When I wear it, I can almost hear the Gregorian chants in the background.  For those who liked the movie The Name of the Rose (1986), you’ll love this fragrance.  It’s a period piece from the Dark Ages.  As for its classification… I’m calling it an incense leather with facets of  perversity and obsession… with a moral decay backstory.  (Ouch!)  Yep… this one is from the dark side.

Although I tell everyone to wear whatever they want whenever they want… this one defies my recommendation.  Wear this one only if you want to get noticed.  Guys… you won’t attract girls with this one… but you’ll attract women.  Gay guys… young men will be anosmic to Passage d’Enfer but men over 40 who know what to do when the lights go out will definitely get it.  As for women, if he or she doesn’t notice you with this one, they’re hopeless.  So when the moment is right… spray this one behind your knees… light the candles… put on the Gregorian chants… close your eyes… and pray that in the morning you’re still the person you were before you decided to sleep with the devil…


For more We Three Kings posts check out other fellow bloggers.

Scent of the Day

Redolent of Spices



All I Am – A Redhead

Chicken Freak’s Obsession 

Notes from Josephine

Bonkers About Perfume 

My Perfume Life

Top image : Three Kings Icon ©2010 Megan Ruisch

Bottom image : Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave in The Devils (1971)

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