The other day I met up with Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies, Val the Cookie Queen and numerous other bloggers including The Candy Perfume Boy, Bonkers About Perfume, The Smelly Vagabond, Tara from Olfactoria’s Travels, Michael Borg and other lovely perfume folk! As Portia was stopping by Aus Liebe Zum Duft in Austria, I asked her to pick me up Blask by Humiecki & Graef. I fell in love with Blask in Berlin, when I was torn between buying it, and Bosque (I left with Bosque but regretted not just buying both!). So although I hadn’t tried Blask for well over a year, I was very excited to finally have a bottle… this is why.
Blask is one of the most difficult fragrances I’ve ever had to describe. It starts with a slightly boozy accord, a very dry mahogany wood, a deep fruity accord that smells like prune? – and a musty wine smell (listed is a red wine accord – but it’s more a wine interpretation than something realistic). It has this subtle fungal quality to it, like mushroom – along with a greenery that is listed as bay leaf… but I don’t quite get that either.
It has a weird personality on the skin, almost vanishing up close when you try to look for it, but it’s throw and aura is huge. It is like at times you can feel it all around you, but when you try to pull it apart it totally disappears. I’m not saying it is light or “hardly there” – it’s quite the opposite. It has a similar feel overall to the weight of Iso E Super (not the smell)… as in, you can smell it, but it can disappear up close. Very very weird!
Overall, after the initial and confusing blast, it settles into something with a ridiculously smooth texture and a little fizz up top. The “fizz” smells to me like violet. A slightly powdery violet and peach – reminding me if anything, of the peachy/fizzy accord in Vraie Blonde… in fact, Vraie Blonde may be the only fragrance I find has some similarities to Blask, but they are still very different.
Underneath the violet, the subtle aromatic greenery (bay?) is paired with the mahogany wood (which I find has a pungent, almost wine-like smell anyway). The fragrance is meant to be a new interpretation of an oud… although there isn’t any oud in here. It tries to play at all it’s characteristics without actually smelling like oud wood, which it bizarrely succeeds at… although in a VERY abstract way.
All on top of this is Humieck & Graef’s signature “weirdness”… the house seems to have this way of making their compositions even more unfamiliar (as if they needed it!) – but it is in no way unappealing. It’s synthetic without smelling a chemical bomb… there’s no heavy aldehydes and zero metallic notes if that’s what you’re thinking by weirdness. The only way I can describe it, is as though they have changed the texture of everything, but you can’t tell what. It smells so unfamiliar.
The drydown is a fruity, dark wood, lightly smoked with a large dose of ever-so-slightly-raunchy suede… with apricot and dried fruits on top with a hint of violet and carnation (yes there’s a tiny bit of clove spice in here too). Listed is “walnut”, and whilst I agree it has this very savoury, slightly salty “nutty” smell, I find it to be an aspect of the wood more than anything. All this talk of wood though, I wouldn’t describe Blask as a heavily “woody” fragrance… I guess because there are so many intriguing facets of it that take it in many more directions than “woody” can simply cover, or classify. Lastly is a heavy dose of “marron glace” in the base, the classic caramelized chestnut smell that seems to run throughout (and I adore that!). At times I get strong hints of amber (and maybe even a touch of myrrh) – but there are so many subtle nuances going on in this I could be hallucinating through my nose.
The throw is gorgeous for the first couple hours of Blask and it then retreats to an equally gorgeous but restrained skin scent… smelling of sweetened, wine-y woods, chestnuts and fuzzy suede… Truly exquisite. Blask is in no way challenging though, whilst the opening may be extremely complicated, what it settles into is extremely comforting and strangely alluring. A modern masterpiece? Very close.
Blask 100ml EDP Humieck & Graef – 150 Euros http://www.ausliebezumduft.de