It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Primordial Scents project so I thought it was about time to tackle another group.
I’ve already written about Seascape so i’ll just copy and paste my thoughts here
Sea Scape by perfumer Anu Prestonia of Anu Essentials
A herbal, aquatic jasmine/orange blossom thing
Seascape is pretty gorgeous up top. It’s a harsh, astringent, herbal (again) beginning of bitter violet leaves, and listed seaweed (which is used much more effectively than in the stomach churning Black Amber by Agonist) – it smells marine without the salt and water – enhancing a more fragrant, idyllic olfactory vision of the sea. A hint of citrus, a lavender-like herbal accord and florals – with an indolic jasmine coming in pretty upfront and that’s where Sea Scape develops – into an aquatic jasmine we’ll say. It’s got a honeyed quality to it, and the bitter herbal notes begin to retreat. The honeyed quality becomes a touch resinous – a bitter orange-blossom like scent stung with more citrus and a hint of anise.
It gets much softer as it begins to settle, the jasmine retreating a touch as the sea-like greenery pushes forward – but still clean, no driftwood or rot in here. The scent of woods, light indolic florals (now paired with a subtle rose) and the citrus-florals create something easy to wear, spring-like and completely innocent… still, the bitter undertone keeps it interesting and a light, musky ambergris finishes. It’s not something I’d wear as I prefer my marine’s with a bit more power and a challenging edge… maybe more photorealistic… still, nice whilst it lasts
Essaouira by perfumer Ane Walsh
A strange, flat “smell” of almond/vanilla that starts tropical and ends with wax.
Mmmm, a bizarre coconut/lime opening, both “fizzy” and a touch lactonic – a bit of salty citrus, and a sharpness to it like vodka… it smells like a tropical cocktail for a short while. I struggle with the rest, not too sure what’s going on (no notes pyramids on these fragrances to be found!)… it is a little bitter, a little sweaty with an unusual leathery accord underneath that comes in so quick it was totally unexpected.
Is there something floral in it? Well, there’s a little waxy sweetness, a bitter pollen stain like the rot of an old flower… the coconut morphs into an almond-like scent. From here on, Essaouira remains a bitter almond wax and a touch of cocoa butter/vanilla (and the merest hint of dry woods (the sweatiness?). It’s not sweet, or gourmand, and more of a smell than a perfume – unbelievably close to the skin within minutes… still, an interesting little thing whilst it’s around.
Lylli Bleu by perfumer Justine Crane of The Scented Djinn
A slightly spicy/mossy, anisic blue lotus
Another herbal, anisic thing of an opening… rosemary? Sweet basil? Fennel definitely. This reminds me instantly of a slightly more “homemade” version of Tirrenico by Profumi del Forte with the volume turned down a little. The vegetal, anisic fennel is lovely – fresh, green, lacking the salty driftwood of Tirrenico and seems instead enhanced with a little lavender? I’m not sure.
A lotus-y floral accord comes in, a delicately scented, aquatic floral note – with a soft mossy note underneath. There’s again, the quietest touch of woods, and so far the fragrance is the “darkest” of the Water Perfumes.
It’s very quiet on my skin, remaining herbal start to finish – like a slightly mossy, spicy, super-light floral. Not for me, but a nice smell.
Rain Bath Oil by perfumer Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes
A gorgeous, sharp, fresh, herbal/anisic apple/chamomile/eucalyptus
Well this is a bath oil but I’m not running a bath for my review so, straight on the skin it goes
Mmmm! It’s beaut - a super tart green apple, crisp and juicy, paired with again, some anisic herbal notes that bring to mind, again, sweet basil, fennel, star anise (a lot of it!), and a super bright chamomile. It’s sharp, but crystal clear… the apple not turning at all soapy thankfully. The herbal notes are hugely astringent but almost sweet, like a shot of apple Sambuca.
It begins to turn a touch mentholated as a tea-tree oil-like scent comes in, or maybe eucalyptus, something cool that almost tingles your skin… peppermint? Whatever it is, this cooling, herbal scent is super fresh, astringent, and bizarrely sensual (as well as smelling like it would clear your sinuses in the winter! – it’s powerfullllll!). It gets softer as it goes on – and swims on your skin in a dense, gorgeously balanced herbal layer of chamomile and dry woods (with a hint of smoke and vegetation at the finish). Invigorating.
A Study in Water by Shelley Waddington of Envoyage Perfumes
A clever , soapy green floral arranged to smell like an aldehydic accord
Fresh apple, a gorgeous aquatic lily of the valley, dewy green leaves and clean rose – beaut! A Study in Water gets soapy after the top settles, smelling like a mix of various body washes (slightly soapy, slightly creamy, slightly floral, slightly fresh, slightly… subtle?) – I’m not sure, subtle in texture for sure, but it’s actually got a fantastic performance on my skin! Now, the ”body wash” reference sounds like a bad thing ey? No. Multiple Rouge by Humiecki & Graef is a bad body wash (but fun!), Puredistance 1 is a bad hand cream (but not fun!), A Study in Water is bizarrely comforting – it’s a watercolour blend of florals and greenery – mixed with ozonic notes and a touch of lactones to create something that doesn’t smell like perfume. It smells undoubtably clean… clean clean clean, but extremely appealing in the same way that Stephen Jones smells hyper-clean up top.
The brilliant thing about A Study in Water, is it smells extremely aldehydic, without the pungency of aldehydes – it retains that bright, white soapiness that seems to disguise the floral accords underneath from start to finish – with a greater weight to it. As for the florals themselves, similar to Chang Chang - they are blended to something almost impossible to pull apart. The muguet disappears, leaving behind a clean pink rose, maybe a hint of jasmine – drying down to a watery wood, with Shelley’s signature musk in the base. It probably sounds like many perfumistas worst nightmare, but honestly – it’s my favourite of the group! Very clever, and weirdly sexy.
SO! Definitely not the strongest group so far, but some interesting things in here for sure