Frazer Parfum: Contemplating Soliflores
Two weeks ago I was introduced to Frazer Parfum at Elements Show in NYC, and instantly I realized that Founder and Perfumer Tammy Frazer has command of raw materials and the agility to morph them into very wearable yet sophisticated liquid. Frazer Parfum makes their home in Cape Town, South Africa, crafting 100% natural fragrances sourced in Africa. Interestingly, her grandfather was chemist Graham Wulff who invented Olay, and one can feel his pioneering spirit vis–à–vis his granddaughter and her fragrances.
Three soliflores from their African Collection continue to hold my attention: ROSE from Morocco, ORANGE BLOSSOM from Tunisia, and YLANG from Madagascar. The definition of a soliflore in perfumery is a fragrance that represents a single flower, but Ms. Frazer gives us more. Each speaks proudly whence they came, but they also tell the story of a single raw material as muse that guides a perfumer into abstraction, emotion and intimacy. Ms. Frazer gladly takes this plunge and brings forth subtle facets that at times play childlike, discordant, and emotional. They dramatically ignite a cacophony of well-studied resinous accords that sparkle fresh, and settle tenderly on the skin. These soliflores gently push us to reconsider and reconnect to our sense of smell, and make us notice their life cycle, their composition. Simply, these close-to-the-skin fragrances belong on the skin.
The opening moments of ROSE are mesmerizing. The green aspect of the rose is pushed around by blackcurrant and a giddy almost minty sensation rises, pink pepper keeps things spicy yet fresh. A harmonious composition continues to develop, and a glorious rose damascena takes center stage and reveals a romantic rose that cross-fades between being velvety and honeyed. Benzoin with its powdery and vanilla-like facets keep things sweet and warm. Myrrh, seems mossy and earthy, and somehow delivers a base that is breathy not cloying. Rose is known for its calming properties, a symbol of love and purity. This soliflore embodies these noble qualities.
As I wear ORANGE BLOSSOM I notice how the fragrance ebbs and flows, creating a kind of floral-citrus current. This fragrance is buoyant. The perfume cyphers jasmine-like sweetness from the orange blossom and magically keeps its indolic nature at a low-level. This fragrance prefers to bring forth a crisp citrus that has a green aspect, namely bergamot and neroli— a smidgen of opoponax leaves a soft subtle balsamic echo on the skin. Hypnotic, yet diffuse and revitalizing.
YLANG takes the wearer close-up to the flower. I feel as if I am almost inside the exotic flower, and somehow this fragrance reminds me of the flower’s shape and how its petals face downward like limp tendrils. Tendrils that sound a scent that is bellowing and pithy, but Ms. Frazer imbues warmth and seduction. Here lives a jasmine-like essence that is spicy, ethereal. A wave of resinous warm green mossy washes over me. An exotic scent that slows the breath, the heartbeat, and allows us to imagine. Resinous deep.