Night Fragrances: Walk into the Night
The notion of pairing perfumes to a particular season has always felt a little odd; deciding what and when to wear a fragrance has less to do with the time of year and more to do with my mood and intention. You can find me wearing the heaviest gourmand during a summer heat wave. If pushed, I tend to think about fragrance through the lens of day and night. This approach offers more flexibility and the freedom to connect scent with the highs and lows of our daily circadian rhythm. Wearing fragrance at night allows for generous application and dismisses the conservative daytime spritz. Some brands seem to naturally lend themselves to the night-ByKilian, Caron, Neela Vermeire Creations are some of my favorites. Night fragrances explore the darker tones that slow down the pulse, and allow us to give-in to the more luxurious, hypnotic, and spiritual side of fragrance. Think Garbo, grand entrances, and striking sillage. Oriental and Noir perfume can easily take us there as they arrive on the skin as scented chiaroscuro. Their resinous bold embers want to be noticed. Their intense beauty can also deliver understated shadows that offer different degrees of scented illumination. O’s and N’s can land spicy, woody, boozy, leathery, metallic, smoky, and amber-y sweet.
An out of the box vanilla arrives ethereal and elegant and belongs to the night sphere. AROMA M VANILLA HINOKI plays trickery on the skin and casts subtle contrasts and shadows. A Japanese revered note, Hinoki or Japanese Cypress lends a lemony resinous chord and it is paired with a gorgeous Moroccan vanilla whose sweetness is made buoyant through a smoky facet. Together the two harmonize on the skin. Brooklyn Perfumer Maria McElroy went against the norm and took five brave years to create this ode to vanilla, and tamed these bullish and sometimes cloying notes to arrive at juice that delicate precision. An initial burst of tangy citrus mixes with an array of cool and warm spicy notes that stay at a low volume so that the sweet yet moody vanilla can rise. Even more lift comes from a dry floral-amyris (reminiscent of iris), incense, and leathery and woody accords. This is a fine dry spiritual vanilla not a clingy one. It remains haunting, calm, and emanates a kind of stifled howl.
Lubin’s upbeat UPPER 10 FOR HER has a fragrant pulse that lives in the carefree nightlife of Harlem in the roaring twenties. This juice insists on making you the life of the party, the forever “it” girl. Take your moment. Feel completely your best-self in this all-enveloping oriental floral. Upper 10 is fixated on a fun-loving berried-rose that comes across jammy and peppery; there is an overall fizzy-ness that creates a buzz on the skin. A special dark chocolate note embraces its rose heart and shimmies up to its sensuous frankincense amber base. Make no mistake you are wearing a luxury scent, there is enough warmth and spice balancing all the sweetness that makes this fragrance a masterful take on what it means to be carefree. If you haven’t, pay a visit to the gorgeous Lubin website, to experience Upper 10’s rhythm through sound and visuals.
Galactic crispness via cool spicy citrus notes seem to fall from the sky, then suddenly turn warm and welcoming as it enters the atmosphere and settles on the skin. PUREDISTANCE BLACK EXTRACT delivers peppery notes that frame boozy, woody accords. Even though there is no denying its strength there is a subtle quality about the extract that doesn’t allow its floral heart to get swallowed, rather the rose accord comes in and out of focus as it develops. Its complexity continues to change on the skin as you ride eight to ten hours of tenacity to the shoreline, thanks to the high percentage of perfume oil, 25% that signifies an extract. Sublime, effervescent, BLACK possesses scented intensity that sparkles and glimmers. A star. Haute Perfumery is alive.
Perfume and its undeniable link to memory is creed to MEMO PARIS, each fragrance linked to time and place. I quickly fell for KEDU. The muse for this perfume is the Kedu Valley, the valley is bordered by a volcano on the island of Java in Indonesia, and is home for the Borobudur Temple, one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world. Ash laden earth makes way for fertile soil. Ritual and spirituality defines this fragrance. What makes Kedu absolutely special is that it is centered on a note that is so uniquely itself, and minimally used in perfumery, the sesame seed. Inside the fragrance at times the delicate seed is pronounced and delivers a low sweet register, but at times a toasted almost burnt sesame rises making a glorious pointed statement. Sesame absoulute finds its strength in its delicate gourmand nature, and its delicate floralcy, namely freesia and peony accord. The overall effect is sweet and warm with a good dose of white musk to finesse even more comfort. Kedu can easily take you from day and add an aire of mystery to the night, “like spirits in the night.”
All perfumes are unsolicited from AROMA M, Lubin from Arirelle Shoshana/Mosaic District, Purdistance, and Memo Paris, and photo by: J. Bass