John Biebel, with January Scent, has refined his scent obsessions down into concentrated elegant form.
|Garden of Earthly Delights detail, Bosch|
He has said he finds the paintings of Bosch to be an inspiring trigger for scent experiments. Details full of vivid color, gestures and actions that are the essence of contrast. Combining opposites together, as mysterious messages that speak to us immediately.
These three perfumes are gentle, beautiful messages. They harmonize opposites. I find contrasts within perfume highlight the effect of each accord. Smolderose remembers its thorns, with sweetness misted in white smoke. Whispers of airy feathers and hooves stand under dark green shade with Eiderantler. Delicate apricot tinted milk, rice, yeast, bread and earthiness in Selperniku.
|Detail of Garden of Earthly Delights, Bosch|
It’s been awhile since I’ve been so excited and surprised by a set of three new perfumes. I spoke to John about them, as we know each other and share mutual friends. I was lucky to get samples which threw me into one of those perfume lemming states of yore. Dreamy shades of fragrance that work together like songs on a good playlist that covers a good mood.
He made up the titles himself with references to the fragrance inspirations and elements. Making sure that out loud, the sounds work.
I got full agreement to sometimes wear them in a combination of two or three. I like to use Smolderose as the dominant base on the neck and a bit of Selperniku and or Eiderantler on the arms. The unifying nature of rose welcomes the other scent stories into its own. They each have an intimate chamber music quality, that concentrates the moods within each. I think of Eric Satie's piano pieces with their silences and simplicities, speaking volumes.
|Icelandic Silver buckle 10-11th Century|
I know he kept the thought of the North as imparted by Icelandic sagas in mind too. Fairy tales, Bosch, the magic effects of chemistry, incessant reading and experimentation, careful notes. Part of it all is his exposure to a wide range of perfumes over time, both modern and classic. As part of Fragrantica, he is immersed in modern scent culture.
Smolderose notes are listed as damask rose, bergamot, saffron, roasted seashells, frankincense, elder flower, patchouli, cade, agarwood, and labdanum.
Within tenacious sillage, it's the roasted seashells, elderflower and saffron that singe the delicate edges of roses into smoldering. Up close, a true and even surprising freshness lies right on the skin's surface. Yet give it a little distance and you find the full if gentle volume of the rose theme, deepened by the base notes.
Warming rose, as it wears down there are the grace notes that rise up from behind the sheer curtain to reach out at you.
Eiderantler is listed as an Ivy Fougère: Contains notes of lavender, green leaves, moss, pink pepper, lavandin, champa leaf, ivy, elemi, fir cone, hay, oak wood, cashmere, vetiver, and musk.
A fougère that forswears traditional brightness, this is a soft focused, earth musk. The warm air caught in swan's down, and the hard animal horn, alive in deep green shade. Cashmere softness infused with dry clean grass scents, maybe a nap on the ground wrapped in a soft cloak. Relaxing, intimate, evokes a sense of connection. Insulation for weather of any kind. Could wear this every day, anywhere. Layers well with the other two, with a dimensional weight like fog, warm meets cool. Gentle yet tenacious, it does not shout but ornaments the skin, to smell like an enhanced, pure you.
Selperniku themes of salt, milk, and fruit: notes of apricot, immortelle, butter, cardamom, petitgrain, chamomile, milk, cypress, juniper, tobacco, and sandalwood.
Sheer, creamy whipped butter tinted with milk, apricot, woods and leaves, makes strong first impression. This calms in moments to a gentle gourmand. Warm rice infused with tinctures of wood essences. Subtle, intimate, round, full, a cloud/aura, an atmosphere, a faint shade of apricot. Sandalwood style meditativeness. Another perfect companion to the others, also as a stand alone infusion of comfort in scent form. Sophisticated simplicity without overly minimalist austerity, a generous air surrounds the skin.
The packaging is beautiful, incorporating magnified brush stroke gestures by John. The labels are fine wine bottle worthy, size is 100 ml generous, and the smaller 30 ml size will be available soon. Samples sets available, too. He knows how to make it easy to dive in.
Glad of his driving inspiration and energy to show us his own heart and mind through the medium of fragrance.
Beginning to think there is a school/style of fragrance arising here. Original scent ballads, gentle auras with layers of meaning within, floating elegant simplicity. Thinking of Hans Hendley, Bruno Fazzolari, Josh Meyer and now John Biebel.
Photos of flacons above from the January site.
Art photos linked in captions
To order samples and for more information: January Scent
For more on John Biebel's other artful endeavors: John Biebel.com
More insights from Ida Meister on Fragrantica: Smolderose