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.

Enjoy!

Ex Idolo's Thirty Three - beautiful presentation!

Ex Idolo’s Thirty Three – beautiful presentation!

Sisley : Soir de Lune

Created by : Dominique Ropion

Date : 2006

Genre : Rose chypre

Concentration : eau de parfum

Funny how you can wear a perfume for years and not recognize a certain note until you compare it with another perfume.  Such was the case when I compared Sisley’s Soir de Lune with Estée Lauder’s Knowing.  I had never noticed that Knowing had a camphorous note!  But, there it was when I put it up against Soir de Lune!  I guess I’ll never think of (and wear) Knowing in the same way again.

As for Soir de Lune, I knew I had a winner on my hands when a colleague walked into a meeting room and asked me what I was wearing.   Such is Soir de Lune… an in-your-face rose chypre that one wears like my mother wore a rhinestone skin brooch which she glued directly on the skin in the 50s… for drama!  That brooch with a strapless gown must have been spectacular… as is Dominique Ropion’s Soir de Lune.

To say the SdL is a rose chypre is really an understatement.  It is THE rose chypre of rose chypres, no doubt about it!  All the elements are there in chypre-glory… oakmoss, patchouli, labdanum and what smells like one of the best rose absolutes on the market.  It’s got some powder but it is not overpowering and as for longevity, my eau de parfum lasted longer than I did.

The day after wearing Soir de Lune, I wore Paloma Picasso and although they share DNA, they don’t deliver the same punch.  Soir de Lune is almost in a class by itself… rich, dark, mossy, forbidding and worldly!  My only concern is… who is woman enough (or man enough) to wear it!  All the Cates and Gwyneths rolled into one actress couldn’t wear it, I don’t care what fancy dress they’ve got on.  Penelope Cruz might be able to get away with it in a few years but I’m not sure.

No… I’m going to go out on a limb and say that to wear Soir de Lune, you had better know who you are and I think that Sean Connery in full Scottish regalia could wear this magnificent Scottish rose chypre magnificently.

If you have the bucks, buy this one for special evenings when you wear your best dress and all the fancy jewelry you own.  If you want a rose chypre that is more wearable for daytime, check out David Yurman.

Enjoy!

Sean Connery dressed like this could easily wear Soir de Lune.

Sean Connery dressed like this could easily wear Soir de Lune.

Serge Lutens : Muscs Koublaï Khän

Created by : Christopher Sheldrake

Date : 1998

Genre : Animalic musk

Concentration : Eau de parfum

I didn’t understand Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens until I saw my first Wagnerian opera.  To be specific, it was Wagner’s Die Valkyries.  When Siegmund stumbled on stage dressed in animal hides and stinking from being chased and Wotan charged across the stage in knee-high leather boots with big metal straps and a metal vest looking like he hadn’t seen the inside of a shower stall in a couple of months, Muscs Koublaï Khän suddenly made complete sense… the fur skins, the leather, the animal smells… GOT IT!

Muscs Koubläi Khän is a great big animalic musk… on steroids.  Supposedly they used all the animalic notes available to the perfumer : several musks, civet (cat urine), castoreum (beaver marking scent and urine), costus roots (wet dog), ambergris (salty whale vomit), eye of newt (OK… I made that last one up, there is no eye of newt)… but whatever is in there, it smells about as animalic as it gets.  Even armpit Eau d’Hermès seems almost tame compared to it… a cat compared to a lion. 

Muscs Koublaï Khän might not be wearable (and this is debatable) but what’s truly wonderful about it is that Serge Lutens has staked new territory with it.  I can’t imagine it will ever become a best seller but it might bring us somewhere else… far away from fruity florals… to something completely new and wild and delicious.

This one is VERY hard to describe.  I’m up to 6 tags (or notes) and I could have added more.  It’s like pastry… very much a Guerlain in a sense… but not edible.  Think of musk and honey and some rose and animal scents dancing around in there.  It’s as spectacular and as wicked as a Wagnerian opera.

When and where to wear MKK?  I have no idea!  First date?  No way.  In bed?  Too risky.  You might just buy it like I did because in the history of perfume this one stands alone… for the moment… and it’s magnificent.

Now back to our story where Siegmund and Hunding are about to fight while Sieglinde looks on in horror.  Brünnhilde  is about to appear (at right of screen) to help Siegmund against Wotan’s wishes.

——————-

Quick Brünnhilde!  Tell Siegmund about the sword!

Siegmund, trust in the sword!  Trust in the sword!!!

Oh no!  It’s Wotan!  THAT BASTARD!

Brünnhilde!  Get Sieglinde out of there!  There’s no time to waste.  Don’t forget the broken sword!  HURRY!  RUN AND HIDE!

Sniffles… sorry, I’m too verklempt to go on.  Have a nice week everyone.

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Top image : Publicity still of Bryn Terfel as Wotan by Brigitte Lacombe for the Metropolitan Opera

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