Category Archives: Humiecki & Graef

Blask – Humieck & Graef

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 Humiecki Graef

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

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Video: Bosque by Humiecki & Graef

Hi!
I haven’t actually posted a video on the page in a while so, I wore Bosque today and decided to talk about it.
I know I’ve gone on and on about this one already – I don’t care :P I love it.
Voila…

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Video: SMELLYTHOUGHTS’ Fragrance Starting Lineup 2013

A new video here!
Please excuse the unflattering stalling towards the end of the video :) x

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SMELLYTHOUGHTS’ 1 Year Anniversary + Freddie’s Best of 2012

Hello!
Ok, I’m gonna crack straight on with this.

First of all: Happy New Year :)
Now that’s out the way – here’s what I loved and discovered in 2012.

My Favourite 3 Fragrances in 2012:

Haute Claire

Haute Claire (far too closely followed by Secret Garden) by Aftelier Perfumes. Both of these fragrances are a tie for me, completely different, but absolutely beautiful. The richest, most naturally grand florals I have smelt – truly beautiful, wearable and classic – timeless fragrances that will be with me for a long time. Outstanding!

Rubj EDP

Rubj EDP by Vero Profumo is simply awesome. A sexy, volumptuous floral with an unexpected, almost tropical/sour “fresh” slice of green passionfruit smothering it. Mouthwatering, huge, and an absolute necessity. Exceptional.

Miriam

Miriam by Tableau De Parfums is a modern classic. It combines so many elements of fragrances I love into something seamless – the aldehydic resins of La Myrrhe, the aldehydic white floral/incense combo of No.22, various fragmented particles of classic Tauer’s such as the bay of Un Rose Chypree, the violet/iris of Pentachord White… I can go on… but it is its own being – Miriam is gorgeous.

Most Unexpected Beauty:

M/Mink

M/Mink by Byredo completely took me by surprise. After months of thinking I hated it (after trying it only twice on paper) – I found it’s evolution on the skin absolutely captivating. Whilst I still struggle to wear it, when I finally accept that it’s a beeswax/incense/patchouli and not the fishy atrocity that my mind conjurs up – I love it.

New Talent:

Indigo

Mangetic Scent is an awesome line. Indigo was one of my sampling highlights of the year and I can’t wait to get my hands on a full bottle. The packaging is beautiful, the fragrances are truly brilliant and I can’t wait to see what this guy comes out with next :D

Best Marketing and Packaging:

O'Driu

In all honesty, O’Driu is pretty pompous and poncy (a little cringeworthy at times)… but judging the brand through it’s products, marketing and advertising – it owns. Not only have they kicked off massively solely from threads on Basenotes, the gorgeous sample packages were handed out extremely generously, and the packaging is fantastic. I love the boxes stuffed with feathers and hessian, the advertising images are beautiful, the bottles are solid (although a bit wierd, when you buy 50ml, you get 50ml in a 100ml bottle…), and I like the atomizers (but wouldn’t use it – evapouration and all that shit). All in all, kudos to you O’Driu.

Oh and just in the category of advertising, Lady Gaga’s Fame commercial was brilliant (there, I said it)… as we all know, the fragrance was piss poor.

Sad To See Go:

Eau D'Epices

Eau D’Epices got discontinued this year – which gave me a little heartache… but it’ll be back next year I believe so no big deal :P I guess it’s removal from the market re-trigged my admiration for this challenging composition. I will get it when it returns!

A list of other fragrances I loved in 2012:

Iris Silver Mist
Sepia
Bosque
Chypre Rouge
Musc Maori
Putain Des Palaces
Ambra Nera
CDG EDP 2011
Bolt Of Lightning/Fermes Tes Yeux/Jarling
Tawaf

Ok so you might be wondering where all the hate is here? In all honesty – there’s too many to write about and compile into neat categories, so I’m just gonna real some off and get the dirty stuff over with…

Crap of the year:

Seville A L’Aube (loved smelling the ingredients that went in it… didn’t like ‘em all together…)
Serge Noire/L’Eau/L’Eau Froide/Nuit De Cellophane (obvious reasons)

BEX
(the write ups that started the trouble)
Sentifique
(words can’t describe these fragrances… so I won’t try) 
Jean-Claude Ellena’s Dreary Diary (and most of his work)
Seven Veils
(I still re-live the nightmare of when it hit my skin)
Jovoy
(the line, not the shop)
Blah blah blah – I have a terrible memory and the list could go on forever, trust me. That’ll do for now :)

So yes – every bloggers doing these in far more detail so there’s my little two cents. Thanks for the support everyone <3<3<3

Freddie x

Oh, and some perfect music… just because :)

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Bosque – Humiecki & Graef: The Essay

Bosque

Bosque constantly has my mind rattling. Ever since I wrote my first impressions of it, I have never forgotten it – but then I have bought bottles and bottles of other fragrances since then and never Bosque. I’ve always tried to wonder what it is in there that I truly love, why does it have the effect of pure joy as it advertises…

Everyone says Bosque is the easiest to wear of the Humiecki & Graef line… the most generic, the least risqué in a line-up of fragrances with complicated personalities that take unexpected directions. Bosque is the most complicated to me, emotionally at least.

What opens Bosque is a bright, dewy, pastel yellow shade of dried grass, hay – a handful of saffron and an indescribable floral accord listed as “primrose and daffodil” – it’s perfect, it brings to mind exactly that: natural weeds, common flowers – things with a subtle beauty that go unnoticed amongst grander florals. There is citrus, a slightly bitter grapefruit that acts as a “lift” rather than a scent – and I love that. Since when has “joy and contentment” (the emotional concept of this fragrance) been about tangy citrus’ and fluorescent roses and indolic jasmine – these notes are so often used to create this “mood lifting” scent. Here, the opening is joyous – but in a way like no other. It’s a memory scent – the almost mundane smell of weeds and subtle florals, subtle not in the sense of their volume on the skin but rather the lack of power (scent) these flowers actually produce. The saffron a surreal spice inclusion – it’s always a mysterious ingredient and tints the fragrance in an olfactory shade, similarly to how it literally tints food in its culinary uses.

The grass? It’s not the “I love the smell of fresh-cut grass” effect, because it’s not like that at all – it’s dried, yet again a subtle aura of an almost unnoticed natural aroma given a limelight. It’s bathed in dew and sunlight but with such little lift and lack of “sparkle”. It is instantly muted – a relaxed, meditative joy. But this totally isn’t my sort of thing is it? Since when do I like such a relaxed, “happy” perfume? Maybe that’s one of the reasons I find Bosque more challenging than others – I’m not used to this emotion in the opening, and because of that, it almost unsettles me on first spray. How can it do this? Well – it can easily because so many people experience these “happy” perfumes, maybe I just choose not to hunt for them. But happy for me isn’t the imaginary flower garden and tart “fresh” citrus, and Bosque isn’t at all fresh, even from the get go – but then it’s not exactly soiled or dirty either. There is a subtly animalic/human element from afar from the initial blast… maybe it’s a mirage… the saffron? Something more sinister underneath?

Daffodils

What comes next is where it all gets confusing – a Secretions Magnifique metallic/salty/lactonic element. I’ve always loved the heart of Secretions Magnifique – and not its heart in terms of the construction, but more what it’s trying to achieve with its contrasting textures and elements. However, as I stated in my Secretions Magnifique review – it’s all too much. The idea is blown overboard by making it excessively loud and amping up the unsettling notes to an uncomfortable pitch. Here – the metallic element is subtle but undoubtedly evident, the lactones come in and join the florals and the grass – turning them into a “meadow juice”, like an earthy elixir – whilst the salt combines to make Bosque that touch more savoury and the lactonic note “spermy”. It’s undoubtedly familiar for those who have tried Secretions Magnifique – and it captures everything about the fragrance I love at a level that is far more accessible.

But… how perfect is that! Ironic? No, it has to be intentional: The “joy”, of course – the release! The sexual release, a burst of salty, milky, sperm – it’s not literal of course, it’s the concept through a magnifying glass – broken down into accords that give the effect perfectly. You start with the most innocent of joys, the natural meadow grass, the delicate wild flowers and the warmth of the sun (saffron/grapefruit) – followed with a more sinister but perfectly fitting blast of sperm. It congeals and morphs without ever being uncomfortable, the glory of the opening slowly blurring and disappearing into the ugly, and human aromas enveloping it. A musk just enhances this even more – a musk that isn’t glowing and white, there may be that subtle hint of laundry and clothes – and sheets, but more so the subtle hint of skin that appeared at the beginning and vanished.
Now, I said ugly… Bosque isn’t ugly, there’s not an ugly thing in here – but it’s like a dirty, unexpected stain across something so harmonious and innocent, but it wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t there. Is it joy now? Most definitely, it always has been – but now I understand it more, it was there at the beginning but I couldn’t see it properly.

The vetiver drags the earth-bound opening into the base, along with the saltiness of the heart. The vetiver is bone dry, gradually soaking up the lactonic/milky notes into a crusty residue – still hinting at the moisture that was once there. It’s overlaid with a signature Humiecki & Graef “weirdness” – an almost chemical blur that verges on Iso E Super. It seems to smell more processed than that – if that’s possible: a cross between the laundry detergent previously mentioned and a more intense cleaning product – an antibacterial cream that merely attempts to scrub up the sexual crust that remains on the skin. Constantly: the memory of the innocence at the start, the true contentment of pure, unnoticed beauty, flickers to the surface of the skin – an almost tear-jerking reminder of what once was and what is now. It’s almost embarrassing. Is that ridiculous? Probably, but Bosque matures as you do – the life of the fragrance is literal, and it tells a story more so than any other fragrance I’ve tried. “A fragrance about contentment” – that’s perfectly true, at the start and at the end at least – once you’ve come to terms with everything in between. Sound familiar? Of course – it is a fragrance so accurately expressing life and emotions it’s overwhelming. Love, contentment, peace, selfishness, joy, guilt – it’s all there, in a harmonious and perfect order.

Bosque

Am I alone here? It seems not – I read one small write up on Katie Puckrick’s blog by a reader who wrote to her regarding Bosque. I’ll quote what he wrote:

“I gather Bosque is H&G’s crowd-pleaser, not only because of all the musk and its accompanying sinus-clearing, steam-cleaned, bracingly fresh freshness (crowds love to be fresh), but because it’s marketed as “a fragrance about contentment”.

I’m not the target for contentment. I’m more content with apprehension, which means Bosque is perfect for me because my fondness for its fresh contentment makes me apprehensive.

In its defence, Bosque isn’t all clean. It also features buffalo grass and vetiver and supposedly some florals that are so pale and quiet, they smell like they’re coming from the perfume on the person across the room from you.

But mostly, Bosque smells clean, like emerging from the chlorinated swimming pool of a desert resort, surrounded by miles of dry grass and nothing else. It’s chlorine and dead grass and while I can’t defend such a thing, I’m hooked on it like its heroin.”

I was relieved to read this – it fits my thoughts perfectly, and I think me and this guy would get along just fine! Although I’m sure we’d drive each other literally insane talking about this fragrance. So what is it about it that is so unsettling? Or is it as this Bosque-fan so cleverly put it “I’m more content with apprehension, which means Bosque… makes me apprehensive”. Ok, so I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m more content with apprehension, but maybe I am in perfume?

This could go on and on and on, and I probably wouldn’t get anywhere. All I can say is – when you smell Bosque (if you haven’t already), don’t expect something extraordinary; maybe in writing this I have destroyed the fragrance due to exceedingly high expectations (for others of course not myself). At the end of the day – it is a perfume, and everyone connects with fragrance differently. It is what it is – a combination of materials, it’s how we interpret them and how we enjoy them that makes a fragrance so special, and personal. For me, Bosque is extraordinary – and it’s a relief to finally own it, I can’t imagine my collection without it already.

I don’t think I will ever figure out Bosque, me and the other quiet ones out there who are struggling to come to terms with it. The most I can do is spray it and enjoy it – personally enjoying the journey and the struggles that go along with it: re-living innocence and the loss of it, finishing in absolute contentment right before it dies peacefully on my skin.

Bosque

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Humiecki & Graef – Skarb, Askew, Bosque, Geste, Multiple Rouge

This post could be huge if I went into detail about the crazy descriptions surrounding these fragrances released by Humiecki & Graef themselves, so I’m going to just do my bit and leave the rest to the company.

This company piqued  my interest after some noses I love to listen to had mentioned great things about these guys. So, I ordered 5 samples: Skarb, Askew, Bosque, Geste and Multiple Rouge. I haven’t tried these yet, and am going to try them now, and write my initial impressions. I’ve never done this before so it’ll probably be a little shaky and maybe not make much sense but I’ll do my best!

Okay… 1st one:

Hmm, Skarb doesn’t actually open as I expected, this is the only one I read into a more than the others. Bizarrely it reminds me of watermelon, there is a sweet, watery vibe to it, and it smells like a fresh cut of watermelon, not the bubblegum kind of flavouring.
Really that’s all I can pick up at the moment, there’s an underlying sweetness to it but it’s not dominant at all.

This watermelon aromachemical explosion of calone, holds a little bit of earthiness underneath providing a tad of substance.
Something metallic is peeks through, almost in a Secretions Magnifique vibe – the fragrances aren’t similar, but they both have this sour/metallic edge although here, Skarb is droned by aquatic synthetics. The effect is clever – a watery scent that has a solid density, nothing light and aquatic here.

I’m picking up something slightly herbal now, it’s savoury, and not that strong. The watery accord is most dominating, it’s very bizarre actually and somehow compelling. It is almost the scent of drowning… If that makes any sense in an abstract/visual way…

I’m actually finding it very easy to wear, I don’t know what all the fuss is about…
Not much more to say really…

The first blast of Askew is like a quick blast of I don’t know what. I think I quickly picked up cloves, and now before I know it a tart  citrus accord has came in. Instantly from tart citrus it becomes “disinfectant” citrus. It reminds me of swimming pools, not the aquatic chlorine, but the chemical disinfectant smell.

It smells a little sweaty, and now I’ve mentioned swimming pools, I can’t get this image out my head. Great… and now I can smell feet.
There’s some menthol coming in now, and some birch tar from what I can pick up.

I like this, It’s typically masculine but so overtly modernized that drones into something almost genderless.

The mental image for me is swimming pools, but like, all the good aspects of it, not the headache inducing chlorine or the water, more like everything else that’s involved in it. I know this sounds really grim, but it’s not. It’s a fascinating “environmental” fragrance in the style of many Christopher Brosius’ scents. The smell is so familiar and so literal, I feel like I am in a completely different environment.
The slight spice (cumin?) mixed with the disinfectant lemon, musk? and chemical explosion, combine to make this abstract aura of a gym changing room – fantastic!

WOW! This is fantastic! Love the opening blast of Bosque! Gosh I don’t know what this is so bare with me

Oh well, it’s some florals that I’ve never smelt before that’s for start. It’s like a natural, almost “blonde” smelling floral, neutral and kind of hay-like, with a raw meadow grass scent that is fresh, and muted. It smells bright and absolutely stunning. There’s something bizarre underneath it all that’s kind of salty or maybe milky… wait it’s turning a bit strange already.
It’s been like one minute, and I don’t mean to keep referencing it as though I’m trying to bring it up, but this really has got a Secretions Magnifique vibe coming through. I’m still really liking it, but then I don’t find SM all that bad.

Unfortunately the face dropping buzz from the beginning has kind of blended into this slightly sour milky accord. I think I can smell iris now, although it’s not listed in the notes.
Ok so this sour note is becoming more skin like, it’s quite green underneath, the meadow grass become stronger and silkier. I love the combination – a bizarre sour salted milk (sperm accord?) and the freshness of grass. It’s raw and sexual.

This is definitely my favourite so far. It turns from a blast of pure, joyful florals and sunshine into this bizarre milky skin scent. The transition is uncomfortable just for a couple of minute. But now yes, it is a refined, wearable version of Secretions Magnifique… It’s what SM should have been!! It’s natural smelling, and I’m finding it very comfortable. Thumbs up!

Ow wow, Geste now and I love the opening to this too. Kudos Humiecki & Graef! I’m very impressed!
Well, I can definitely pick up violets in this, I didn’t type quick enough to explain the initial opening. It was great, I’ll just say that :)
So yes, 10 seconds later there’s violet, violet on top of a beautiful, creamy musk. There’s some very pale but exquisite amber under there too, it acts like a pillow to support the violets and musk.

This is a very, very pretty scent. This is impossible not to enjoy, a beautifully put together feminine. Sorry if I’m jumping to my conclusions quickly, but I’m taking little breaks to smell this in between sentences.

Yes, delicate, elegant and fragile. I could imagine many people becoming completely attached to this fragrance as a comfort blanket. There’s a slightly “laundry” feel to it too, but it’s really clean and lovely. The delicate violets become slightly more powdery, and the musk becomes sheer, white with a laundry softness to it that is delicate on the skin and utterly comforting. Maybe not the most complex or original of the bunch, but beautiful non the less.

Multiple Rouge opens like an explosion of every fruity scented bath and body lotion in a confined area. It is extremely fruity, but not edible at all!
This gives way to an ozonic note that has surrounded all this fruit, it’s all fuzzy and metallic. Hugely synthetic and exhaustingly loud.
I’ve never smelt anything like it!
It reminds me of hairspray too, it’s almost dizzying! The two words on my mind are “robot fruit” :’)

Picking out the fruits, it’s just a huge bundle, I think I’m getting a fair bit of peach, and berries. These fruits are all leaves and stalks attached giving it a green feel. There’s a dash of immortelle providing a slighty syrupy spice to it, but the overwhelming scent is that of a robot fruit and broken stems. It’s intense, and hillarious.

This is not like any Luten’s fruit mix, it’s not stewed or candied, but neither is it fresh. (Update: I find it very similar to the opening of Byredo’s Pulp). Yep as I expected, I’m making absolutely no sense! Hopefully I’ve put this across visually enough for you to get the jist!

Ok so that’s the basics of all 5 fragrances over and done with. I have to say, I am hugely impressed with these scents so far.
I’m gonna do a quick one liner type of thing on all the fragrances again now, just as they’ve been on for a while:

Skarb – the watery accord isn’t as strong, I can still sense the watermelon notes of earlier, there’s a faint woodsy note under it all. Very pleasant and minimal. Maybe a big dose of Iso E Super in the base?

Askew – kind of reminds me now of Lush/Gorilla Perfume’s Dirty fragrance. Slightly salty/ozonic/mint, not quite as interesting anymore, but I’m sure if it was sprayed, what I loved at the start would last a lot longer. Please remember I have only used an applicator for these out my sample vials.

Bosque - still love it. It’s milky, a little salty, but with those bizarre florals now floating around on the top. Very abstract fragrance, it reminds me of sunshine… :’)

Geste – subtle, but beautiful violet. The effect of this scent almost makes me want to press my nose against my hand as though it’s a pillow. It is subtle, loveable, and comfortable.

Multiple Rouge – Unnaturally fruity, ozonic, slightly metallic, with a strange wet dog note. It’s wearable, very interesting, but I just can’t make up my mind on what I think of it!

All in all, I’m desperate now to sample the rest of the line. Very impressed, more so than I hoped. It’s great to discover something so new and unusual.

These were just part of a huge batch of samples I ordered, and I’ve pretty much been disappointed with all of them, so I’ve now got a great big grin on my face and can say that despite all the crap that Humiecki & Graef have fed us regarding these scents (the huge price being part of that crap), I think they are an exceptionally strong house and I know I’ll be investing in one of their fragrances some time soon.

I’m feeling very inspired – Wonderful stuff!

Please let me know what you think of these if anyone has gave this house a go yet :D

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