Refinement is hard to define and easy to recognise. When I lined up the six Cognoscenti samples and before I started smelling them, I was struck by the elegant simplicity of the packaging, the naming (numbers with a subtitle, no Datura Catastrophique nonsense for a change), and the straightforward explanatory text, miles away from the usual hyperventilating tosh. The fragrances, while very diverse, have a family resemblance in their effect, i.e. strikingly original, inviting topnotes followed by a complex, engaging heart. They cover most of the territories of perfumery: woody (32) animalic chypre (17) an odd oakmoss (8) green-aromatic (1), white floral (19).My favorite is 16 Tomato Leather, a decidedly weird vegetal-green fragrance reminiscent of (but better than) Elléna’s Un Jardin en Méditerranée. This one is deliciously slippery, at times smoothly sultry and reminiscent of a muted Gucci Rush or Dioressence, at other times primly fresh and fruity. If, as I believe, fragrances are a message in a bottle, these feel like nuanced, erudite, long-form olfactory essays. Very nice work.