Murphy’s Law. A long-awaited box of fragrances arrives from Canadian firm Libertine. First thing I do is break one of the bottles by opening the box too enthusiastically, manage to dip two smelling strips in what’s left and curse myself for being impatient and clumsy. That would have been Soft Woods, mopped up off the floor, its lovely smell mixed with the weird hospital waiting room smell of wet kitchen paper. On the strips, I realise I’ve just trashed a perfume I’d like to wear: I’m a complete sucker for fir balsam the way some people like red hair and grey eyes, and since Shaïna I’ve been waiting for someone to put a truly massive slug of it in an oriental. Soft Woods comes close, a civilised but grand fresh-amber affair which Anthony Powell, had he been a perfume critic, would probably have called immensely presentable. The others are: Sex and Jasmine, a very nice jasmine in the style of Lutens’ A la Nuit, with a built-in contrast between banana-peel trashiness and lemony-green elegance that is true to the flower; Witch-Doctor and Troubled Spirits feel like two facets of the same perfume personality, the first as dry as dust, not a million miles away from L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme (1994), the second softer and spicier but still in the late 90’s floppy-haired affable style, which I consider a high point of masculine perfumery. The most original is the memorably inventive Sweet Grass, which smells like an old-fashioned apothecary, somewhere between bitter almonds and Band-Aids, with a backing chorus of healing herbs. All in all, superb work, the sort that makes keeping a blog like this one worth it.
Categories: niche houses