M/Mink starts with an absolute, horrific overload of aldehydes – no, not the gorgeously rich, floral/citrus Chanel style aldehydes; Adoxal - a material I haven’t smelt in its raw form, but I believe it practically is here. Adoxal smells waxy, intense, sour, heavily marine (almost verging on fishy). It has a balmy/lemony quality which soon reveals an overtly intense incense, not at all comfortable in volume, texture, or scent. It’s texture turns to liquid: black, murky and pungent – the perfect ink representation.
But, it’s settling… it morphs and changes, floating around on your skin as the discomfort and intensity begins to disperse and evaporate, leaving behind something difficult, but much more approachable… just. The incense is potent, as described before – balmy with a true “lemony” quality. It’s not the normal incense variety I’m fond of, it reminds me of the note in Comme Des Garcons 2 Man – only I don’t particularly like that fragrance. The salty, literal marine notes still sit underneath, crystallizing into a more solid form that almost “crackle” on the skin.
Patchouli plays a leading role, but it’s crisp, clear, stuffy yet almost translucent. There’s nothing “headshop-y” about it whatsoever. It has a leafy quality to it like a freshly picked handful of the plant, roots and all, with maybe a hint of vetiver adding to the earthy/saltiness.
But the texture isn’t right, there’s something morphing it into something bizarre: beeswax. A completely de-sweetened honey note adds a pungent aroma that swallows the entire composition of M/Mink in a thick, greasy layer of cloying warmth and an unwelcome bitterness. The honey’s use is hugely animalic, yet not at all “pissy” as in my favourites Miel De Bois and Delivre Moi (yet to review): paired with a warm amber underneath it has this soiled, “breathy” quality that smells unclean and literally “sticky”.
There is something floral going on underneath though – the only trace of anything “perfume-y” desperate for attention whilst buried neck-deep in the “ink”. Is it rose? Jasmine? Maybe it’s hyacinth? It’s something… made a mere sparkle by the crisp patchouli that helps to bring it out. But it’s completely blurred, unnoticeable and unimportant – it hardly has a contribution but it’s nice to know it’s there.
The sourness still rises to the surface every now and again, along with marine/driftwood notes, metallic elements, waxy textures and animalic musk. It sounds like hell in a bottle right? It sort of is… but it’s undeniably compelling. The thing is, yes, the first spray of M/Mink is almost unbearable-y difficult, but it’s drydown whilst extremely impossible to wear when broken down – combines into a relatively harmonious blend that is somehow mysterious, soulless, and utterly fascinating.
It’s mystery is what keeps me hugely interested, because even from afar it’s complicated personality is evident and I find that almost meditative. But M/Mink isn’t all a challenge, within half an hour to an hour, your nose has got through the worst, and what is on the end is more approachable, even enjoyable. Enjoyable sounds boring, it sounds like it is merely “good” – but if you’ve made it this far, M/Mink is “great”! And by “great” I mean it’s actually a lovely smell. The patchouli/incense/amber leads – which makes it sound like a thousand other fragrances out there, but with the still-potent residue of marine notes and the muted, unsettling beeswax, what it manages to create is something completely original and perplexing. At this point it’s not at all difficult, yet it remains avant-garde and completely unfamiliar – fascinating to wear with an aura of abstract beauty. A brilliant fragrance.
M/Mink 50ml EDP Byredo – £88 www.liberty.co.uk
So after my two-week fragrant tour around Europe (which went swimmingly!) – I managed to pick up some goodies on the way (of course).
Here are my somewhat unusual choices if I do say so myself…
Bosque by Humiecki & Graef
I love Bosque. I always have. I got thinking about how people say it is the easiest to wear and the most “generic” of the H&G line – I completely disagree, but maybe that’s my mindset. I’ve planned this big friggin’ essay on Bosque that I’ve been working on and am looking forward to posting, it might be a bit ridiculous for most people to read but it’ll be there anyway
Bosque is a dried grassy/floral with really bizarre floral notes I might add… it dries down to this bizarrely salty/milky/spermy? accord undercut with vetiver, it’s extremely unusual, absolutely beautiful and I’m thrilled to finally have it.
M/Mink by Byredo
I had tried this one before but only on paper. I thought it was absolutely disgusting. However, as soon as it hit my skin in the store in Germany, I got this blast of animalic musk and an intensely synthetic aldehyde combo that still, turned my stomach a bit. But as it dried down and the bitter, set honey, dark incense and unsettling inky notes came in, I found it completely captivating. I’m not sure whether I’ll wear M/Mink much, but I knew it had to be in my collection – it fits an empty spot. It’s both intimate and completely soul-less – brilliant!
Miriam by Tableau de Parfums
Miriam is an incredible fragrance, a modern vintage classic that carries a true Andy Tauer signature. It’s such an emotional fragrance, beautiful, elegant and timeless – full of interesting twists and turns that take it in unexpected directions. It evokes such strong memories and emotions with me and is a real “homely” fragrance – it is pure bliss. I have written my big review on this so I don’t need to write much more, but I feel like I can sigh relief with a smile now I have it.
Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens
I knew I was going to get this one – it’s the most perfect iris (soliflore?) fragrance I’ve smelt. Full of carrots, powder, clove, earth and blahhhhhh it’s just great. A cold, calming, haunting perfume that has been on “the list” for far too long now. I needed it!
Rahat Loukhoum by Serge Lutens
Now here’s a weird one ey? Well… after my deep exploration of the exclusives line both outside of the Palais Royal and during my visit, I decided to pick up this one again for a quick sniff – having reviewed it many months ago after I had a slight obsession with it before smelling it. I loved it all over again – cherry, marzipan cakey goodness. But before, I was disappointed with the drydown – it lost the cherries, it lost the sweetness – it became a subtle skin scent that just hovered on my skin in a light, slightly powdered layer of vanilla, rose, musk and almond. The thing is, right now – this part appeals to me just as much. It is the ultimate comfort scent and I’d love to fall asleep to it. But also, It is the perfect fragrance to wear when you don’t know what to wear – something that will just within an hour or two melt into your skin in a delicate sweet layer that smells like a part of you – just a little more yummy. Thoughtless, elegant, edible? but necessary! I had to buy it. It alters my mind completely on first sniff – a complete joy.
Rubj by Vero Profumo
Rubj is one of the greatest florals created… in my opinion of course. As Judas as it is to say, I love the EDP more than the extrait… now, I adore the extrait, it’s beautiful – but the crisp green quality and the tart passionfruit in the EDP just tips the scale for me and could literally make me faint in adoration of this fragrance. An overwhelmingly gorgeous perfume that I almost feel is too good for me to wear, but when I wear it I feel incredible – and that’s what a real perfume should do! A necessity.
Leva by O’Driu
I have always wanted an O’Driu - but thought I didn’t like any of them enough to own – and the price is indeed terrifying. Leva always gets put down a bit in the lineup as being too sweet, too light, and too unlike the other O’Driu’s - I can’t disagree with that enough. Leva is a powerhouse on me, holding a typical O’Driu signature up top with THE MOST intense lemongrass and green olive combo which smells like a dense, pungent almost vinegar-laden oil on the skin. But the thing that captivates me the most is its perfect development (using only naturals I believe). The olives burn off after half an hour or so, the pungent lemongrass undercut by the greatest vanilla I have smelt. I struggle with vanilla so this is a big deal for me. Difficult to wear, but a real piece of art work.
Fracas by Robert Piguet
Ok I’m lying a bit here, this was a gift from the Robert Piguet house, but I came back to it from my holiday so I’m including it After all, it is a new bottle. I do love Fracas – a playful ditsy tuberose that I can splash on in abandon and roll around smelling of candies and cream – all buttered up in creamy white florals! Of course, there’s more to it than that, but I’ll be sure to write something a little more mature about it soon
So yes! There you have it. What do you guys think? Did I do good?
THE GIVEAWAY – NOW CLOSED!!!
(the real reason you’re reading this)
So one lucky reader can win a 1ml sample of each of my new goodies!
All you have to do is subscribe/follow (if you haven’t already!), let me know which one takes your fancy the most, AND – LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THEM!!
I love feedback, negative and all, don’t be afraid to tell me you hate something that’s part of the fun But it sucks to send people stuff and never hear from them again – just saying
I’ll announce the winner next Sunday: 23/12/2012 so make sure you come back and check because people keep forgetting to collect their goodies
Thanks for the support everyone
I got this sample free with a purchase so I thought, why not review it…
I could just spray this and dismiss it and forget about it with great ease but, I’m writing this blog to expand my knowledge and appreciation for fragrances. That won’t happen if I dismiss lots, so maybe some of my next fragrance reviews may not be very “me”, but they are for others and I’ve got to understand and remember that.
So here it goes…
Gypsy Water opens quite sparse, the alcohol is more prominent for a few seconds than anything else. A pale familiar floral creeps in and then a tart lemon-curd pudding type of note dominates. I actually like the lemon, it’s not used as fresh-aquatic, but is instead quite dense and creamy. At this point, it smells quite edible, gourmand even, like a lemon meringue pie – mmmm!
Some white musk hovers underneath, pleasant, easy to enjoy, nothing revolutionary. There’s a nice pine needle smell which I couldn’t initially put my finger on (had to look up that one), that thankfully stays away from floor cleaner territory. I like pine, and it adds a really nice green-ness to the lemon pie.
There’s lots of vanilla in the base, which is most likely providing the creaminess, along with some amber. There’s a little sandalwood in there too, just solidifying that base a tad more.
Gypsy Water remains relatively linear, the lemon pie notes go a little flat, as does the pine needles. What remains after a short while is a slightly musky, vanilla/amber base. Pleasant enough. Some very pale incense creeps in after about 15 minutes which also takes this away from gourmand territory, along with a handful of pepper who’s spiciness doesn’t really match with the rest of the fragrance.
This is the first Byredo I’ve worn on skin (had some quick sniffs in store recently and I will try to sample more of the line) and I know they don’t really have the best reputation in consistency. I will need to try M/Mink as that seems to be the only one that might captivate me enough.
Sorry I’m going off topic there. So yes, Gypsy Water… a pleasant lemon pie and vanilla pudding fragrance, slightly boosted by some green pine and pale, creamy woods. It’s ok, and that’s about all. I wouldn’t recommend it… but it’s a safe, easy to wear fragrance that is just “nice” and not much else.
Byredo Gypsy Water 50ml EDP – £88 from byredo.com