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February 2019

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Actually, it’s gentle Fluidity Gold Edition and Gentle fluidity Silver Edition:

Two new fragrances by Maison Francis Kurkdijan with a well explained and executed inspiration and context:

„Same notes, two identities.
Working the ingredient to express its full potential and meeting the challenge of composing two different Eaux de parfum with the same notes: juniper berries, nutmeg, coriander, musks, ambery woods, and vanilla. The Gentle Fluidity Duo was born of the perfumer’s imagination to offer two distinct olfactory silhouettes, for her or for him.“

Actually (again), it’s more than those ingredients listed above, it always is…

The point is in focusing on six key ingredients among 49 used. Playing with them, dosing, providing specific effects, being a perfumer. A perfumer that won Prix Coty in 2001. (at age 26) for his lifetime achievement. Let’s not forget that, as well as the impressive list of his creations for various perfume companies, a long time before he co-founded Maison Francis Kurkdjian, and a long time before it became a part of LVMH.

Is this concept absolutely new? Not really. We’ve seen fragrances released in pairs before. We have also witnessed fragrances released one after another that use the same components but differ in the final effect.

What is new is that the whole concept of creative fluidity is rounded up perfectly, communicated clearly, smoothly executed, and presentation follows adequately. Let’s see how they smell:

Gentle fluidity / Silver

The accent is as follows, bold signifying that those accords are accentuated: Juniper Berries oil, Nutmeg oil, Coriander seeds oil, Musks, Ambery Woods, Vanilla Blend.


Silver opens with a cold and fresh note of Juniper Berry. I couldn’t help but imagine a Juniper berry stuck in an ice cube, floating around a glass filled with gin. Very enjoyable! I appreciated that cool, relaxed, uplifting vibe. Later on, it does become a bit warmer but nutmeg shows its cooler, dryer side. Never too loud, it moves in a quite an elegant way, gaining warmth but still staying composed all the way to the drydown – when it becomes silky-woody. When I sniffed my wrist the next morning, I could feel typical vanilla toned sweetness, colored with a musky hue. My favorite, if I have to choose one: if you like Aqua Universalis (like I do), you’ll find it appealing and comfortable to wear.

Gentle Fluidity / Gold

Accent changes its place: Juniper Berry oil, Nutmeg oil, Coriander Seeds oil, Musks, Ambery Woods, Vanilla Blend.


There, you can almost feel the difference, even without sniffing! Same ingredients, yet it smells like a different perfume. On the first sniff, it’s all about Vanilla, golden-glowing, curvy Vanilla…Vanilla everywhere!
Gold is a well-chosen name for it. What is also interesting is that Nutmeg oil here shows its different facet, much warmer, leaning towards an oriental feeling: it only adds to this gold, warm, and smooth flow, becoming a bit powdery later on. I enjoyed that piece of olfactory music in the middle part of its performance, which does last for hours. The final drydown is almost identical to Silver: I do get that „caramels on my wrists“ feeling at the end. On my skin Gold definitely outlasted Silver, in projection and in longevity, if that’s what you are looking for.

Gentle Fluidity Duo will be widely accepted, I am certain of that. I am really enjoying that these fragrances are raising awareness of the fact that subtle changes, different proportions, thoughtful accentuation of few details – make all the difference…In perfumes, and in life…

Gold and Silver are available in Croatia: @ Martimex Niche Perfumery, Trg Bana Jelacica 11, or @ Maison Francis Kurkdjian website, 70 ml Eau de parfum – 150EUR/1125Kn.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl
Samples provided by Maison Francis Kurkdjian during the promotional event at Martimex Niche Zagreb, opinions of my own.
Disclaimer

Ah, the Millennials! Gen Y, born between early ‘80ies to early ’00s!

Who are they, this cohort of young people, generally marked by increased use and easy-going familiarity with digital technology, media, and communications? Are they App-friendly dreamers? Achievers? Peter Pans? Well, it’s a Millennial World we are living in now, take a better look around. They’re not kids anymore, and they’ve turned out just fine!

What happens when a Millennial takes things into her own hands, writes a project, finds funding, and develops her own perfume brand? Because she really-really wants to do just that and won’t take a no for an answer? 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona, that’s what happens:

Romy Kowalewski is the founder, 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona is the name of the brand, as well as the date/year of her birth. She won’t disclose the month (“People needn’t know my horoscope sign as well!”, she laughed when I asked), but she readily speaks about her fragrances with a big, contagious smile. Why Barcelona? Well, among other reasons (it’s a beautiful city, lively, business-oriented, and great to live in) – Puig is here…And all the other resources you need to start-up a perfume brand.

Millennials are also citizens of the World: Romy, born and raised in Germany, living and working in Spain, traveling around Europe on a regular basis. I was lucky to catch her during my short stay in Barcelona. We managed to grab a couple of freshly squeezed organic drinks, and chit-chat a bit:

27_87 is a new niche perfumes brand: it all started in 2016., The first fragrances released were Wandervogel, Elixir de Bombe, #hashtag and Hamaca. Genetic Bliss is the newest addition (2018.), forming the Next Generation Collection together with #hashtag. Unisex (of course!), 87 ml Eau De Parfums, created by renowned perfumers, using quality materials.

Everything is well-thought about: I admire attention given to design and presentation. Minimalist, white opaque (and one black) bottles, carefully designed packaging contrasting the white canvas of bottles – suggesting that you write your own fragrant story. Different packaging of the bottles is telling you more about the inspiration, ingredients or the perfume itself. I really enjoy holding these bottles: funny, but it feels like you’re holding a smartphone! I tested and wore the whole collection, it felt somehow carefree, here-and-now, just-do-it, optimistic and vibrant. Quite refreshing! Long-lasting too, a couple of spritzes are more than enough. Carefully crafted, these fragrances did not fall of some big company’s shelf, nor are they a byproduct of some grand perfumer’s assistant’s assistant, or composed of cheap synthetics: Romy knows what she wants, from the very beginning…I’d love to watch her negotiate 😀

The whole 27_87 collection is revolving around some key aspects of a “Millennial” lifestyle: it’s all about your daily social media presence, tweeting, posting, hash-tagging, vlogging, blogging, chatting, capturing insta moments of a day – technology driven. Traveling light and easy whenever you feel the itch, feeling at home wherever you land. Leaving sea salt on your skin and in your hair after the sunset on a beach, relaxing, chilling, and meditating. Feeling sexy and wild, partying, loving like there’s no tomorrow. Being unique, happy about yourself, with the utmost joy of living. Perfumes? Yes. Boring? Never. Too complicated? Naaah, who’s got time for that? Perfumers? Yup, it’s great to have some “strong” names, but what really mattered was to get the Zeitgeist feeling right.

Let’s start from the newest one, the “black sheep” in this family:

Genetic Bliss

The “black sheep” in this family: Genetic Bliss was released in 2018., and it’s the first fragrance that comes in a black bottle. Why? It’s composed of 100% synthetic materials, and Romy told me very proudly in Florence that she managed to obtain the very best and hard to get ones – 5 captives, Akigalawood – Belambre – Moxolane – Javanol and Georgywood. You might remember these as experienced in Molecules, one by one. Again, the whole story gets individual, because it does depend on your skin: if you are a fan of molecular perfumery you’ll enjoy this fragrance. When I’m wearing it, I leave a trail of goody-woody feeling around me. Very linear, expectedly abstract, a well-blended scent, fir-like on my skin at the beginning with just a slight accent of deeper, ambery tones. Longevity is good, sillage massive: I also get a lovely creamy sandalwood whiff on my skin, obviously due to Javanol. Later on, warm, soft oud-like notes rise, with a musky aura. If this is my personal skin scent made olfactory visible, I like it very much, thank you. It made me visualize my own skin like it’s covered with the most delicious, dark honey. I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrists, just to make sure that I still feel it.

Perfumer: Jordi Fernandez.

Notes: Akigalawood – Belambre – Moxolane – Javanol – Georgywood (TM)

#hashtag

My favorite. Every time I wear it, I’m like: yesssss/big smile! With a clean, clear and sparkling opening, this is a refreshing, aldehydes, jump-start-wake-up-call! It feels slightly metallic, like the cold but familiar metallic surface, of an iPhone or iPad. Perfect for any time you need a quick positive energy boost: very uplifting, fresh, and mineral-water bubbly. I wore it on hot summer days and it felt great, but I also enjoyed it during colder weather when I felt that I needed something to pick me up and get me going through the day. Later on, as the perfume develops, #hashtag shows its softer side, staying cool, but becoming comforting as well: if you can imagine frankincense being “cool”, this is it! Violet leaves are moist green, iris notes are soft and cold at the same time, very slightly musky, and the whole composition remains fresh even during dry down. The musky-woody-cedar accord feels tingly, adding surprisingly calm but sharp urban vibe! The more I thought about it, sometimes it reminded me of a well air-conditioned, glass and steel corporate office room, other times of moments when I entered an old, stone-built church at noon, on a hot August day: just when I reach to take my straw hat off, the incense-scented coldness from inside glides over the hot skin, bringing finely-scented immediate relief. Longevity is remarkable, although I keep spritzing on during a day, just to feel that energetic start again. The Nose behind this fragrance is Daniela Andrier (the “German connection” in Givaudan? She signs quite a long list of perfumes, and I must admit that I like very much what she’s done for Etat Libre d’Orange, for example). Hit me, baby, one more time! The message conveyed by the brand is: “Blog, tweet, regram. #hashtag is the story we smell.” I’m not a Millennial, but I love wearing #hashtag. What an instant upper!
Notes: Aldehydes, Violet Leaves, Iris, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Musk.

Hamaca

Chill&Cozy. Yey, we’re on Summer holidays again, but this time it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, laying down (after a great lunch) in a hammock (hamaca) tied between two trees…Your skin still has some traces of that coconut sun-tan lotion left on it, it’s vanilla sweet and sunshine glowing, it’s balsamic, and yet quite marine. If you’re into sun-tan-sea-beach-sweet and juicy kisses fragrance, Hamaca is what you can wear all year round, because it might be just a little bit too heavy for Summer/high C temperatures. If you layer it with #hashtag, then it won’t. That’s what I did and it worked out just fine.
Notes: Marine Accord, Sandalwood, Coconut, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

Elixir de Bombe


From the Diversity Collection: the name behind this fragrance is Mark Buxton, who’s been awfully busy lately. A fruity-leather-ambery fragrance, Rapbsberry Beret… Pink lip-balm flirty, sweetish-spicy in the opening. If you like fragrances that sport fruits’n’flowers/vanilla’n’spice in strong dosages, this fragrance delivers. On my skin raspberries on leather turn later rather Labdanum resinous, warm and hazy. Even a bit sour, in a good way. My son (16) loves it: he says it’s fresh-teasy-fruity-punch is fun. Making this a “young-people-friendly fragrance for partying” (he got me with that last remark, didn’t he?).
Notes: Tangerine, Red Pepper, Ginger, Ylang-ylang, Rock Rose, Raspberry, Caramel, Leather, Amber

Wandervogel

The name says it all: wondering birds. Actually, it used to be Wanderlust, but that had to be changed. A strong desire to travel, to hit the road, to be on the move, to experience new places and people with all of your senses. That feeling, when you open your suitcase and start packing. That feeling, when you dig your toes into a sandy beach, just next morning upon arrival from a cold and smoggy urban jungle.
This is a fresh-green fragrance. The opening is fresh and minty, like ice-tea with crushed mint leaves. I really enjoy that mint-anise touch, which again reminds me of a time when we had a glass (or two) of Ouozo in a small village on Corfu Island one Summer…Even the dry-down reminds me of that island-hopping Summer vacation, spending a couple of days in one place, quickly moving to another, packing and unpacking, ferries, backpacks and buses, and long evening walks along empty beaches. Created by Shyamala Maisondieu (signing Hamaca as well), responsible for Besos/Carner Barcelona, among other fragrances on her list. Love it!
Notes: Mint, Shiso Leaves, Marine Accord, Anise, Fennel, White Floral, Caramel, Leather, Amber

Layering tips:

You can be anything you want to be or mix and match for fun of creating your own olfactive story! Here are my favorite three combinations:

#hashtag/in the morning + Wandervogel/in the afternoon: Good morning Monday (wrk,wrk)! At the end of the day, just when I feel exhausted, Wandervogel mint&anise make me feel fresh again. #hashtag’s woody tones underline well the caramel’n’leather notes of Wandervogel later on, turning sweeter on my skin, and cold-weather appropriate. Or just any kind of weather-appropriate…
#hashtag / Hamaca: or the other way around! I am fond of ocean/sea/beach&sun&sand fragrances, so I can wear them just about anytime and anywhere. That coconut in Hamaca blends so well with the #hashtag, so I’ll probably be wearing every possible combination of these two.
Genetic Bliss / Wandervogel: Like taking a walk through a mint-tree forest. Wandervogel gives me this icy mint green freshness and Genetic Bliss provides lovely brownish, woody-earthy tones. Great morning to evening combination, in any season of the year. Ok, I guess I could mix Wandervogel with any and all of these fragrances, but this layering gave interesting results: I could feel it in colors and tastes: it resembles fresh mint leaves dipped into chestnut honey.

Or, just feel free to create your own combo if you’re into layering. This is where the discovery kit comes in handy: you can order 5x2ml vials with a brochure and descriptions – 25 EUR. These fragrances come in 85 ml Eau De Parfum/145 EUR, except Genetic Bliss/185 EUR, available at 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona website.

Enjoy moments of Millennial bliss, even if you are not a Millennial! Keep it playful. (Spring is in the air…)

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: The Plum Girl, 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona
Samples were provided by 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona, opinions of my own.
Notes: as declared by 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona
Disclaimer

“You are under my skin.”, he whispered, holding my face between his hands, just before kissing me. We were standing on a long wooden pier at the seaside, in the complete darkness. I could feel the soft body-aura surrounding him, the scent of his skin closing in on me.

-“That’s what I keep telling you, you’ve stolen my line. You are under my skin. Always.”

– “Yes. So are you. Always. Under my skin.

The moment before the kiss. Soul-deep is maybe a better expression of how I feel him. Like flows of sparkling energy, pure and spiritual, radiating from inside of me, ricocheting through every cell of my body.

Subtle, softly whispered words, meaning: “I feel you”. I feel not only your skin, I feel you, the very being, the essence of you. Almost Avatar-like. And in you I feel myself, I see my reflection. Two souls touching. It’s beautiful and frightening at the same time, to feel someone so intensely. So divine and so human at the same time: like observing Eros and Thanatos dancing slowly, tightly embraced.

Years have passed since that moment, and then came the perfume, the exact olfactory imprint of one single moment in time, before a kiss – translated into a fragrance:

Under My Skin by Francesca Bianchi (2017.):

She is something else, Francesca.

I knew that the moment we met. Energetic, bright-eyed, intense, and witty. Hard-working, a well-traveled Italian living in Amsterdam. She does things her way: after she graduated in History of Art in Florence, she got into natural perfumery and started to experiment. The Alchemist in her rejoices, mixing and blending, holding her breath as she creates formulas that are hand prepared in a lab in Italy. She is also notable for taking great care of the ingredients she uses, quite quality-driven. An Alchemist, a mom, a lover, a business-woman: and yes, emotions matter to her. Just before publishing this review, she wrote to me, knowing how long it took and why: “I like it when it gets personal. “Everything is personal” should be the motto of my brand!”

Light and shadows. Francesca Bianchi plays with this duality so well, describing the concept:

“This is my personal interpretation of the animalic theme: not loud but whispered, an elegant powdery leathery scent, more human than animalic.”

I never wanted to describe this fragrance by merely interpreting notes and accords: Francesca twists them in surprising and unexpected ways, making lavender feel like its first bloomed dainty flowers are trembling before sunrise, the milky-soft opening with just a touch of underlying sweetness reminds me of a grapefruit peel and it’s inner, whitish and soft side, leathery notes smell like sun-warmed skin and Iris! Oh, that creamy, greenish, lush, beautiful Iris rolls over a thin shiny layer of Ambergris! Spices, pepper, carnation emerge and glide together with woody tones, dancing cheek to cheek to their own music, every now and then showing the musky side of this composition, purposefully restrained in a tempo adagio. It’s never about the notes. It’s about feelings…

Under My Skin touches you in a very intimate way, like a warm breath of your lover, when you wake up in the morning and see him sound asleep, in a messy bed. Relaxed eroticism: there’s no rush, no open, straight forward sexuality, it radiates elegant moves and seduction with style. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, loving its texture, the way your own fingers glide over it, exploring it, gently caressing all your curves and glides. Erotic:

The more I thought about Under My Skin in its drydown phase, the more it reminded me of a sleeping beast. Have you ever watched a black puma asleep in a ZOO? This facet of the fragrance perfectly matched that sight of a huge sleeping puma I observed for an hour or so, fascinated by it: a large black cat, seemingly fully relaxed, sleeping on a mossy tree, big paws hanging down. Yet, if you look closer, you notice the tip of its tail twitching slowly, strong muscles moving below the purple-black thick fur… Every now and then, seemingly closed eyes open just a little, slowly and deliberately, and you can feel that this magnificent animal is looking at you as well, observing you, smelling you and not feeling disturbed at all, slit-eyed, relaxed, but always aware of its surroundings. A purring wild black puma, relaxed in all its strength.

Intimate. Human. Animalic. Beautifully blended and so expressive! Under My Skin triggered carefully guarded and safely locked-away emotions so strongly that I kept crying every time I wore it, even while sniffing it on a blotter. When Francesca and I met, we laughed, I cried in public, we laughed again. No more tears. This is it: a one moment in time. La vita e bella:

I avoided writing about it for so long. I was too emotional, too personal: my intimate Proustian Madeleine cookie, dipped into an ocean of emotions. An extrait of my feelings in a 30ml bottle…

That’s not all: Francesca handed me a sample of her newest release at Pitti Fragranze in Florence this year: The Lover’s Tale (2018.): “This is a story about a lover’s secret encounter.”
She did it again: I froze after the first sniff, waves of emotions rushing in. It still awaits me to collect my scattered notes and finish the review. Let’s just say if Under My Skin is a fragrance describing me before this kiss, The Lover’s Tale is what happened afterward.

With Valentine’s Day coming, this perfume would be the best gift from me to myself. And for him, it is definitely unisex. In past years I have encountered so many exquisite perfumes and given up the idea of a signature scent: until this one came along. It’s personal. It’s me.

Notes: grapefruit, lavender, black pepper, spices, Bulgarian rose, carnation, iris butter, musk, castoreum, ambergris, leather accord, costus, tonka bean, tolu balsam, Peru balsam, sandal Mysore, vanilla, tree moss.

Available at Francesca Bianchi Perfumes website or chosen retailers, 30 ml extrait – 98 EUR.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Francesca Bianchi Perfumes.

Samples were provided by Francesca Bianchi. Memories, feelings, and opinions of my own.

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