May 26, 2015

Ephemera by Unsound: Drone, Noise, Bass

From the Ephemera by Unsound site
Geza Shoen has made three perfumes for a project called Ephemera by Unsound, relating to three pieces of music, with perfumes and music made in such a way as to sensitively reflect each other in a syn-aesthetic way. 

I found the three, Drone, Noise and Bass presented together in a box (at Twisted Lily in Brooklyn) that opened to a lyrical- minimalist presentation. There are references to scent molecules and/or constellations both on the flacons and underneath them, as each is set as a glass rectangle within cutouts in a dark square box. This makes for a beautifully boxed set of perfume that carries layered symbolic meanings within every detail, if you want to find them.  They also come as separate full-size flacons.

photo of my boxed set
by Lucy Raubertas
They are all elegantly beautiful, but my favorite is Drone, described on the site as "...aldehydes and air notes, developing to fir and juniper, with a base of patchouli, ambergris, and vetiver."

 Probably because of the warming season, I am most drawn to this airy brightness, sharpened by edge notes of evergreens, softened by subtle versions of the base, especially the dry vetiver.  

I am glad evergreen notes are being reclaimed for fine perfume.

Drone is the most unisex of the three, and holds the brightness of the evergreen notes closely to the soothing, relaxing and balanced influence of ambergris and patchouli, to hover near the center of the dial, warming up with skin heat.

Noise reflects the strong scent and sound impression made by incense used during religious ceremonies on Catholic church holidays, along with the scents and sounds of bush fire, insect drones and moisture (rain storm scent, I assume) and pays homage to their influential sense-memory powers. Mold, gunpowder, solder, rust, all those specific scents that affect you when you first encounter them as full of the energy of processes that are mysterious but clearly making something change, something happen.

Selected notes listed are aldehydes, ozone, black pepper, saffron, and labdanum, which creates a sum total first impression of a freshly lit match held to a cigarette, later lifting off with a spark of electrical brightness. The depth of the base notes are raised aloft with the strong fresh brightness of sparkling aldehyde, crossed with ozone and the tang that sharpens your the nose from fresh-ground black pepper.

Photo of full size Drone from Twisted Lily
Bass, as appropriate to the name, is the darkest and deepest of the three, and most likely to be perceived as a masculine fragrance, initially. 

This one relates to a burn/smoke of soft grey dust, crossed with animalic musc tones. 

The burn is pleasantly clean in its electrical fire aspect.  The inspiration was a vacuum cleaner that gave off a burning dust smell as it first came on.   

The most predominant notes are listed as woodsmoke and rum, developing into leather, mastic, and tea, and finishing with castoreum and moss. This one opens big but dries down quickly on me, to a soft multi-dimensional musc.

All of these fragrances have a good hold but not an intrusive throw, which is a more modern way to wear fragrance.  The wearer would give an impression of an atmosphere of a life lived making things that involved using sharpened metal tools, and the energy of the elements of water and fire.  That makes perfect sense in an organically electrical combination of this type of modern music with modern perfume, as they sensitively interact with and reference each other.

I intend to experiment with using more than one at a time.  Their cohesive inner style makes them compatible. 

I liked them so much I impulse-purchased the box set at Twisted Lily in Brooklyn.  

Further credits and info from the Twisted Lily site:
Ephemera presents olfactory compositions based on musical resonances and reverberations. The nose behind the project is Berlin-based Geza Schoen, known for the groundbreaking Escentric Molecules series as well as various avant-garde/conceptual scents.
In the first phase of the project, three musicians – Ben Frost, Tim Hecker, and Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) – created raw sonic material which Schoen then reinterpreted to create three different scents: Noise, Drone and Bass. These scents and sounds are now used in an installation environment, and also encapsulated as unique perfumes.
The project is curated and produced by Malgorzata Plysa and Mat Schulz of Unsound.
See the link to the perfume page of the Ephemera by Unsound project for a lot more information and especially to hear and download the music.

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Images from the Ephemera by Unsound site, Twisted Lily and me.
Quote above from Twisted Lily.


May 15, 2015

Sweet Anthem: Enchanted Fragrances, Heroines and Villains


Enchanted Fragrances, four new eau de Parfums from Sweet Anthem of the Pacific Northwest, are modern and stylish takes on classic Fairy Tale personages, as aromatic depictions of the essence of four famous characters.  All of the characters are influential on children who know them from reading or films. Two villains and two heroine personalities are filtered though  a youthful American sensibility, one perhaps brought up with lavishly illustrated picture books and vintage Disney movies.

These edps all have a modern freshness, creating an atmosphere of elegant simplicity.  They last about 4 - 5 hours, have a 20% concentration and also come in solid perfume form as a stick that is easy to travel with for touch up as you like.  They are fun to layer and play with,  and come in a well priced 10 ml size so playing with them is not so frightening.  They don't throw a big trail, but are definitely there for your to enjoy on yourself and whoever comes within three feet of you.

They all share a signature Sweet Anthem tone of clean musk skin, with a slight caramel tinge, that belongs to someone of active energy and youthful optimism.

In other words, I am picturing Pacific Northwest young people with highly developed online personas who nonetheless bike around the woods rain or shine, in vintage clothing and elaborate body adornment, who are well-read yet outdoorsy, and who comb the secondhand shops, wildcraft their own herbal tea and entertain each other with their own music and songs, much like the Elizabethan youth of yore.

These would also be people who appreciate subtle references to pop classics from all directions and cultures and use them in their own self-presentation.

The two Villains:

Black Queen, the beauty obsessed, opens with a quick bite of apple, then flows into the fresh floral sweetness of the Linden tree blossom and then goes on to be overgrown by trees covered with Oakmoss while hypnotized by a relaxing dose of Tonka Bean.

The soothing end holds flashes of the fresh open, a little of the apple's crispness while the signature musk skin tone pervades all with its distinctive personality. A darkly green-tinged haze flows over the orchard.

Red Queen starts with a flash of brightness too, a slightly sideways facet of White Pepper, with Cardamon joined to Fig and Rose coming up right around the corner.  Those virtually tactile aromas infused with Rose carry over to Honey and Leather. Rose is the central spine of the fragrance, and settles down over the signature clean muskiness.

Two Heroines:

Briar Rose opens with a green tomato leaf, then builds up fast to a honeyed rose otto that permeates the entire composition, softened with white amber.  I am not familiar with white amber per se but from this experience I assume it means the grounding element which is not the typical deep and meltingly fluid dark amber but more a lightly smokey creamy golden waxy amber effect.

Snow White aka the fairest of them all, opens with the green astringency of Petit Grain and moves on to a lovely apricot tinged Osmanthus floral time, white musk and a  dry sunny hay-like vetiver.

All four provide moments of pleasure which deepen if you are conscious of the detailed fairy tale references, as they are reflected with such care.

This style of perfume is casual to the core, and would be easy for a modern young person to love, while transporting everyone else to recall their own time of smooth physical ease and open optimism, because they don't read as too 'young' to be enjoyed by everyone else.

See the above links for more information and to order.

A song to listen to perfume by:

At Forest Edge by Vetiver

Lyrics (by Andy Cabic):

          At forest edge I swore I saw
A lovely young girl from afar
(Did she smile?)
Yes, she seemed to smile right at me


So I stepped in
(Was it dark?)
Yes, the light was leaving
Wind came moving off the leaves
Where did she go?


Long branches wet
To hide promises
No one would keep
Wanting to catch a glimpse


I ran deep into the woods
Moving across
I look back to find
I was lost


Up ahead I hear her footstep
But I don't see her anywhere
It's not like me to run off
And leave the rest behind

Go my way home
And just leave this girl
And these woods alone
(Is she real?)
Real as I'll never know
The setting sun she soon won't show a thing


I've got to find a path
Through the trees
I've got to find my own way
Tonight, I've got to find the right way

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved

Disney Images borrowed from  Pinterest sites.
Music video of Forest's Edge by Vetiver from YouTube
Samples provided by the perfumer.


May 12, 2015

Supernatural Spring


Link to see my Spring piece on Clarimonde: 

Supernatural Spring

"Clarimonde’s spirit can travel as a scent on the breeze. She travels along on the breath of a spring blooming flower, especially those intoxicating ones like Hyacinth, Lilac and Violet..."

All links herein and therein contain many-layered messages.

April Aromatics Rosenlust, Tempted Muse. Rosine: Rose d’Ete. Oriza L LeGrand: Jardins D’Armide, Deja Le Printemps. Parfums Lalun: Phenomene Vert II. Acqua di Callitris. DSH Jacinth de Sapphir and others in the Brilliant Collection.


There are Pinterest boards devoted to Clarimonde, Happiness, and Kick of the Day to see more images, if you are so inclined.
There are also evolving impressions on Tumblr at Indieperfumes and Clarimonde.


Clarimonde’s long and perfect memory for all the Spring seasons she has known contributed to the build up of her essence. It gives her skin a luminous quality, like mother of pearl, a nacre shell, abalone, pearls, iridescence. Her cousins the peacocks understand this best.

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

May 5, 2015

April Aromatics: Tempted Muse and Erdenstern

Garden of Love, Illustration to Boccaccio
Two new fully natural perfumes from a master of the form, these have intriguing and lyrical sources of inspiration.

The perfumer Tanja Bochnig sees Tempted Muse as dominantly inspired by the feminine and Erdenstern as a masculine force. While further balanced into unisex forms, they both hold powerfully archetypal and mythic aspects of gender.

Tempted Muse (eau de parfum) is inspired by the concept of divine ambrosia, nectar and honey, fresh fully opened flowers warmed by the sun in a fairy tale garden where lovers meet to kiss and inhale each other's breath.

It has the sunny character of citrus grapefruit opening to a bright fruit accord, that hovers over a collection of ultra rich florals, especially Frangipani and Tuberose, a heady pairing. It continues to hold on with a garden full of richly fragrant white florals, mixed with pure wax, tonka and vanilla, and an ethereal sandalwood base.

Close to narcotic while still meditative, this perfume is suffused with calmness and flowers heavy with nectar, that relax the skin as if warmed by the sun.  A mood changer. 

One of those natural perfume experiences that can make you forget everything else around you as you focus on it, as it is so dimensional, engaging and soothing.  It seems to stain the skin like a bright ink made of light, and so holds on with tenacity, thankfully. Luxurious.  

Reminds me of the ideal enclosed gardens in medieval miniatures, as their fragrances would be caught and magnified by an enclosed space illuminated by the sun.

al ajaib al makhluqat 1570
winged horse angel
Erdenstern (eau de parfum)  - warm earthy mildness, the wild sweetness of tobacco, an animal heat like that of a fine horse after a long gallop, resting in loose leather straps, stopping for a drink and grass in a sunny Autumn field.

Erdenstern is the Earth Star,  the conduit between the two worlds of gods and mortals, the exalted and the earthy, like the restful feel of the all-pervasive energy of an afternoon of warm sun on wet leaves, slowly releasing a thousand subtle scents of trees, earth, water, mixed into the air.

Musk, a botanical Ambergis accord, Tonka, Vetiver, Tabak, Cacao, Opoponax, exhale a rich leather feel, imbued with the calming tones of fine fresh tobacco and that energy of sunny warmth.

As time passes the perfume grows more refined, somewhat less darkly earthy, more like a finely milled powder made of sandalwood infused with a light breath of cocoa, joined intimately to the natural skin tone. A pure musk that enhances a human presence.

Both perfumes are pervaded with deeply peaceful calm.

Please see the April Aromatics site and/or Lucky Scent for more detailed ordering information as to prices, size and samples.

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Samples provided by the perfumer.

April 25, 2015

Monsillage: Aviation Club, Eau de Céleri

The back of the bottle, love the birds
The French Canadian perfumer Isabelle Michaud of Monsillage has garnered a lot of appreciative attention lately, especially as the winner of the Art and Olfaction Award in the Artisan perfume category, for Eau de Céleri, one of my two favorites of the current line.  

I was able to try them all in person in the relaxed atmosphere at Twisted Lily in Brooklyn, which brought the line in as they do keep an eye out for creative, fresh and even experimental artisan indie perfumes with strong appeal.  

That makes for a refreshing difference to Manhattan lately, which tends to stay within the range of the highest end ultra luxury niche perfume lines. While elegantly wonderful the Manhattan perfume experience may often feel more classically traditional or even conventional and lean exclusively toward the intimidating end of price range and style of presentation.

I was excited to find that Monsillage also offers a travel perfume size which is well priced (as is the whole line) for those who like a portable perfume (as I very much do) and also like to experiment. It's casual, well designed and thought out while energetic in tone. 

It's Spring, and the line is definitely a refreshing departure from a lot of the over-the-top, seriously expensive and intensely heavy perfumes that seemed to proliferate this past winter. 

I am intrigued by the back story of the perfumer, an unconventional one for someone classically trained, as she came to perfume after a full lifetime of other experiences.

I immediately fell in love with Aviation Club. This eau de toilette releases depth within its transparencies, and revives my fondness for the edt form, in that its facets reveal themselves with clarity while surrounding the skin with an air of energy. 

The immediate speed of evaporation of everything at once imparts brightness and uplifting energy.  There's serious green right away, backed up with metallic tones, plus the pleasant woods, tobacco, amber, coffee and cognac -- all those elements I normally love in an edp or full perfume, but here as an eau de toilette, put together skillfully to hold a strong impression of engaging atmospheric brightness. 

It lingers and projects, which makes me happy when I catch it around me, out of the corner of my attention as I go about my business. Its appeal creates a thirst for the initial notes so I find myself wanting and willing to re-apply every couple of hours. As one of the original purposes of the edt form was for refreshment, that is more than fine with me.

Eau de Célerie edt is green too, and does indeed carry the true scent of fresh celery just pulled out of the local garden's rich black earth, fresh, but that distinctive green has been mixed into a cloud of vetiver, patchouli and galbanum which all bind the initial green to a drier more earthly tone. 

There's lots and lots of fresh citrus like lemon and bergamot and grapefruit so this earthiness continues to hold an optimistic, joyful personality. 

I picture myself re-applying this one frequently during the hot city months for refreshment and uplift, or when wanting a hit of grounded happiness in the colder months.  This line's edt style is strong and full and not all that fugitive. I find it to be the essence of a refreshing modern brightness that uses the edt form to pull the nose and mind straight up, that good posture held while demonstrating a backbone of skillful earthy astringency.

These perfumes are true enough to re-connect you to personal experiences with the aromatic powers of Nature and of the life forces around us, in case you should have forgotten them, as you well might spending too much time in front of a screen, as many do. 

I look forward to the next perfumes to come in this line, as the style established so far has instant appeal for me and I believe would for many, once experienced.

There are also soaps and travel sachets. Please click the links  to go directly for more info as to prices and sizes, or for samples and to order.

Disclosure: samples provided by Twisted Lily.
Photos from the Monsillage and Twisted Lily websites.

Music to listen to perfume by: 

FC/Kahuna - Hayling

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved