Sampled this, sampled that
Collage of: Picture 1, Mysore Classic and Mysore Vintage by @ahom_oud and Extract of Mysore Sandalwood by Crabtree&Evelyn; Picture 2, samples of A Fleur de Piel; Picture 3, samples of Angelos Créations Olfactives; Picture 4, L'Osmotheque raw materials; Picture 5 Kyara by DiSer.
Santalum Album, the source of our precious sandalwood oil, a yellow-aromatic oil found in its heartwood that reaches maturity and it starts to build the perfect density when the tree is older than 30 years (the purest form of oil after the distillation is almost transparent). Due to its scarcity in the Mysore region of India and the government's legal ownership rights over the trees, the Santalum Album have been successfully planted in other countries in Asia and in the Northern Australia and although the plantations are still young (about 20 years old) the oil extracted is almost similar to the Mysore one (for more information on the theme, i recommend reading https://takeonethingoff.com/ and the chapters dedicated to reviews of sandalwood fragrances).Sandalwood oil is one of the most complex single materials used in perfumery i know. Mysore's woodiness is freshly carved wet wood and it's slightly green (guava/lime-like), milky (lactonic) as the butter left overnight at room temperature, it's sturdy and it has a certain "human secretions" aspect (my friend Nikhil beautifully described it as "wet-lovemaking"). All of that is backed by a soft trace of dry-smoke.
Several days of those was about a small brand called A Fleur de Piel and its Xipres set, which contains three fragrances that play around bergamot, oakmoss, labdanum and patchouli, the accord that defines the chypre family.
- Xipre Fresc, my favorite of the three, is an homage to fragrances as Eau de Rochas by Rochas, Eau Sauvage by Dior and Monsieur by Chanel. A clean and refreshing scent with a tinge of a classic eau de cologne. Verbena dominates the top, with its fruity/lemony freshness, where similar elements join to enrich its attributes by adding a bit of sour (bergamot), of spicy (cardamom) and a sparkle (ginger). Once the yellow starts to dissipate, the green steps in, with its floral, metallic, slightly sweet tonalities keeping alive the radiance, even though the base, which is airy despite the dark materials chosen to complete and continue the fragrance. Damp, rooty, earthy, salty and resinous/waxy unify Xipre Fresc.
- Xipre Cuir. Sour and old-fashioned birch tar. A mix of Isobutyl Quinoline with aldehydes and savory aromatics with a pungent, waxy, smoky-airy, soft-floral and damp forest floor finality. It grows in the shadows of Bandit by Robert Piguet or Cabochard by Grès.
- Xipre Verd, the trio's floral counterpart, is mostly a sour narcissus, although many other things hide it its trail to give it weight and sense. It feels very dry and astringent (acetone-like) - the greens are intense, spicy, bitter and terpenic; the florals austere and honeyed; the woods are cold -, yet rich and resinous. My second favorite.
- Noi Nit came as a extra gift to my purchase and it's a dark minty chocolate inspired fragrance with a warm resinous and vanilla-like background. Interestingly, it has a cooling effect, pushed by the central accord, built on lavender - cacao - patchouli.
- Ambrarome 5% concentration (Synarome), derived from the resin extract of the labdanum, it's a resinous base with ambergris facets - salty, leathery, woody, soft incense tonalities, animalic, waxy -, traces of halitosis and a warm ambery aura.
- Absolu Castoreum 5% concentration (Floral Concept). Animalic, of course, with leathery, smoky, salty, resinous, woody (dry, old wood) and virgin olive oil tonalities.
- Essence Oud 1% concentration (Givaudan). Even in this concentration its olfactive profile is amazingly complex. It's animalic-balsamic, woody, leathery, cheesy, inky, slightly smoky, it has nuances that remind of Castoreum.
- Infusion Pierre d'Afrique aka Hydraceum 5% concentration (Behave - Le Sourceur). Fecal and pissy, in between civet and castoreum, with leathery and dark chocolate facets, dried leaves and wood.
- Absolu Civette 1% concentration (Floral Concept). Quite overbearing, especially at start, with a strong fecal and ammonia-like scent, characteristic that brings cheese to mind, honey-sweet with some indolic-floral facets, balsamic, resinous and waxy.
- Paracresol 1% concentration (Givaudan). It's used to enhance the indolic facets of florals like jasmine, narcissus or to recreate the Ylang-ylang accord and other floral bases. Tarry-smoky, phenolic, leathery, almost floral - with a greasy-waxy-powdery mimosa-like feel.
- Figue de Vertu sizzles in a delicious coolness on the skin's heat. As Eau de Vertu's extension, Figue is lactonic, creamy and salty. It's less soapy and floral than Eau and more green and herbaceous. Bitter/fruity, sour, tart, savory, milky, oily, sweet, mineral, with an astringent woody edge. It smells like mid of Summer on the Mediterranean side. Of unripe figs crushed by bare feet, where sap meets skin, under leafy figs. And aromatic herbs, when it stop to absorb energy from light. Of flowers rising under citrus trees. The sea's saltiness on caramel skins.
- Yloud-Yloud starts, curiously, with a carnation accord (eugenol and ylang-ylang), that shines through a mix of different type of ouds. The ylang supports the indolic quality of the oud, it does not show off other facets than the floral, but it's subtle. Its warmth and sweet powderyness are sleeping in a skunk bed, which it's not precisely fecal, but more leathery/animalic with a sour/ammoniacal tinge. The presence of nargamota in the oud accord, adds it its rooty/vegetal touches, pulling it out of the dry woodiness.
Extracting the oil from the Kyara wood it's an extremely difficult task because if the method, specific solvents and a special control of pressure and temperature are not well chosen, can occur breaks in the molecular chain and many compounds that define the profile of the precious oud can be lost. It has taken Di Ser's team over 15 years to perfect their technique of extraction. Mr. Yasuyuki managed to catch all of Kyara's facets in this Extrait, and despite being considered as one of simplest types of oud, Kyara proves simple has a whole new meaning when its spicy aroma enriched with a touch of green herbs and a faint medicinal nuance of beeswax, sweetened by honey, and slightly smoky woodiness, shifts from a tonality to another with each movement.