Saturday, March 23, 2013

First Impressions: Jeke Extrait (March 2013 batch) by Slumberhouse

Friendship. We use the word all the time, but rarely do I, at least, consider the meaning. I consider a lot of people my friends, from people I've known my whole life like my estranged "brother," to a few classmates I met just a few short months ago in the concrete walls they call a university. I'm not convinced.

Enter Josh Lobb, a man who's whole life now revolves around scent, and yet for the longest time he had no interest whatsoever. I emailed him six months ago or so asking about the sample suite he offers on his site, wondering if I could get a few extra samples of fragrances not included and pay the difference. He responded within the hour, saying he'd include what I asked for with no extra charge, and thanked me wholeheartedly for my purchase and support.

I knew from then that he would become my friend, and in a way redefine what I consider friendship. Many months later now, we've corresponded in the neighborhood of 25 or 30 times, and during that time I've learned a lot about his fragrances, and most importantly, the man behind the fragrances. Josh is a strong person, and if I could end up like him when I turn 30, I'd be very happy.

The reason I bring all this up is to set the stage for a first impressions post. He sent my mother a sample of Pear and Olive so she could figure out if it was something she wanted for her birthday (it was), and along with it, unknown to me, he sent along a sample of his newest version of Jeke, a fragrance I'd experienced a few times in the past during my month long Slumberhouse binge back during winter break, and one I've now worn the newest version of just once.

Jeke is an interesting creature, and really, like most Slumberhouse fragrances, is more of an experience than simply a fragrance. I know it sounds lame, but stay with me here. See, the thing with Slumberhouse, and in particular Jeke, is that if you give up after the first hour or so, you're not getting the whole story.

Just like all his other creations in their last few iterations, there are no dedicated top notes in Jeke, which is interesting, because it comes off as very dark, rooty, and dirty off the top, something I'm familiar enough with. Still, after a bit of breathing, the bracing harshness of the fragrance starts to die and you are left with the heart of a very modern masculine that somehow harkens back to the lost days of perfumery where every creation was new and exciting. This is something uncommon today, and is something that Josh seems to capture like a still photograph that sticks in his mind while creating fragrances.

Once everything settles in, Jeke changes considerably, into a softer, yet still robust combination of benzoin, woods, and some tobacco to round it off (it certainly seems he loves tobacco). Oh, and a note on the tobacco in his fragrances. It is usually dry, very dry, but also very unique. I can't quite place another fragrance that smells of the same styling of tobacco, but if you bear with me, it's like the smell of a dried out humidor after it's been aired out and all the water has been sucked out of the reservoir. It's not exact by any means, though.

At first, I wasn't such a big fan of Jeke, but now with this new version, it has this strange allure to it that makes me want to wear it more and more. Once I get a truly proper review in my mind, I'll post an addendum to this with the same opening as what you found here in that review.

Overall, I'd suggest every curious nose catch a whiff of Jeke, as it is truly an original composition.

If you want to know anything about Josh, I offer you a quote from his last email to me regarding Pear and Olive: "I'm very proud with the final result -- hopefully it treats your mother to many great wearings and memories." Indeed it will, and perhaps, in time, Jeke will for me as well. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Introducing "First Takes"

As a brand new blog, and me fairly new to the scene as a whole, I've been wanting to include some articles that highlight certain things I'm interested in around the fragrance world. The first thing that came to mind was doing a first take series like you would see on Youtube or elsewhere.

These will not be full reviews like the one I did on L'Air du Desert Marocain, but will highlight my initial thoughts on the fragrance, offer some insight, and send you on your way to anticipate a full review once I've spend a sufficient amount of time with a fragrance.

Also I feel I should be honest when I review a fragrance, so while I'm on the topic, I'll mention that each time I do a review, first take, or anything else review based on this blog, I'll be sure to mention just how long I've spent with each fragrance.

Cheers, and I look forward to offering a first take on several fragrances in the near future.


Monday, March 18, 2013

L'Air du Desert Marocain by Andy Tauer

It's funny to me when I listen to people talk about childhood memories, because there is always one little thing that reminds them of some grandiose story that weaves in and out of believability. I humor them of course, as I expect others do for me.

When I came across L'Air du Desert Marocain (LDDM) by Andy Tauer, it was completely by accident. I was asked to tell someone what sample I would like to try with an order, and I said Oud Wood. However, I was given the Tauer, and after being upset for a moment, I sprayed it on and we were introduced. This was not a formal introduction, and in fact, it would have to wait for today, my second proper wearing, to really come and explain itself completely.

I was actually waffling quite about about LDDM, since while I have an affinity for incense in life in general, and more specifically in perfumery, I didn't think it did one particular thing perfectly, but rather several different things good enough by modern standards.

Just a few minutes ago, though, I was transported not to Morocco, but rather the basement of my grandparents old house on a small pond. I'm not sure why, but between the amber, incense, and coriander feel I get from it, I am reminded of that basement with every breath I'm drawing in.

Needless to say, when you can attach a memory to a scent, it ends up holding a special meaning for you. And thus, L'Air du Desert Marocain has etched itself in my memory so perfectly that I can't help but love it.

When it is first sprayed, I get a heavy dose of incense, and while it is not listed in the notes directly, I definitely get that distinct burning incense feel that so many fragrances claim as one of a kind (here's looking at you, Avignon). Still, this isn't as linear as most incense heavy fragrances, as it has a backbone of amber that adds a little sweetness, and when combined with the coriander creates a slightly sticky pile of seeds held together by a very faint smoke, again, like burning incense.

After it settles on the skin, the incense does the same and it reminds me of walking into my grandparents basement as a young child, hoping there is ice cream in the standalone freezer. Maple Walnut, my favorite. And, somewhat like that unique flavor, LDDM has a hint of sweetness that blossoms into an enveloping wrap that helps the incense stay calm. It's during this time that cedar and vetiver start to peak their head in, checking on the amber/incense combo to see if it's asleep.

Once things die down, nearly ten hours later, the woods start to become more apparent. Don't get me wrong, the combo is still there, but I embrace the change just like we all had to when the house was sold a few years back. But, unlike my family, I can relive my memories of that house in an instant with one spray. 

 I hesitate to say it becomes completely woody, as that would be a misguided judgement. Rather, it morphs into a peppery, woody base thanks to the vetiver that provides its signature rooty, earthiness that I've become fond of these last few months.

Performance and longevity are very good, though I'm not sure it forms a hand and tickles the nostrils of those six feet from me like some love to claim. Instead, I'd say it's arms-legth projection at most. Still, that's all I really want from a fragrance, and seeing as it lasts between ten and twelve hours on my skin, I can't say that I am disappointed.

To be honest, it's hard for me to judge it solely as a scent alone now, as it has woven itself into my memories. It sounds corny as all hell, and maybe it is, but in my mind scent memories are one of the most important benefits of fragrance collecting. After all, don't we all long for that one scent to take us back to a good time in our lives?

L'Air du Desert Marocain does just that, and as a result, has found its way into my collection. Sleep tight, Mr.Tauer. I'll call upon you when I want to reminisce.


An Introduction

Hello everyone, first of all thank you for visiting my fragrance blog. Now, I want to start off by saying that this blog is not being run by a very experienced nose, nor is it being run by a snobby, overly critical perfume expert, so don't expect the topics and fragrances discussed from here on out to be like a typical fragrance review. Instead, I hope to paint a picture with words, and be able to give you a reason to either pick up a sample or completely avoid a given fragrance. Most of these reviews will not be of brand new fragrances, and in many cases, they will be for fragrances most of the community already knows about and have perhaps already smelled. This is fine. My goal here is not to introduce readers to uncharted territories in perfumery, but rather to offer my own style of reviews, largely to express myself and my views more openly.

I hope you enjoy the blog, and please be sure to leave a message if you want to offer your opinion or some feedback. I'm a writer by trade, so I am used to criticism.