There are many ways of seeing things and ways of finding your personal interpretation. Yes, sometimes it’s a Rashomon. Words express thoughts, thoughts can suggest an interpretation but it also works the other way around. Nomen est omen, and choosing a name for perfume is one of the hardest things any perfumer or brand manager faces.
The same goes for the newest addition to Der Duft‘s line of fragrances, created by Prin Lomros: Act.
Anselm Skogstad‘s (founder of Der Duft) philosophy rests upon freedom of thought, freedom of interpretation, and aesthetic simplicity that doesn’t steer your attention from the most important thing: perfume. All their perfumes have names that you can interpret as you find fit, and here is my interpretation of Act!
“The intention is that each perfume, each scent will create their own story and association for the person wearing it. It all begins with a good sniff while understanding the name of the particular perfume!” – Anselm Skogstad
There are the obvious meanings of this word, be it a verb or a noun: 1. take action; do something 2. behave in the way specified 3. a thing done; a deed 4. a pretense 5. a performance (this was on my mind)
But there are also other possible meanings, and I will tell you more about the one that first came to my mind when I first tested the Act: I created my own story, as I always do, most closely tied to the meaning of this word in art – photography and painting.
Mostly because my thought process isn’t necessarily in the English language, the first association for me was actually in German: Act as Akt /noun/m, translated as nude. Aktfoto, Aktmalerai, Aktmodell – a fine art nude photograph, painting or a model, an unclothed human figure as interpreted by artists. A performance.
A nude. A strange fact is that nudes are getting less and less acceptable in the 21st century (mostly due to the massive presence of pornographic images and interpretations that all nudity is in fact pornography) that seem to have tainted the subject in the perception of most viewers. Schade. It’s really a shame because there’s rarely anything more beautiful than an artistic interpretation of a naked human body – ever since the Venus of Willendorf, made around 25.000 years ago.
Because it all began with a good sniff! What I saw with my nose while testing Act is a play of light and shadow, curvy sensuality, soft focus, elegant eroticism, inherent realism, and subtle allusions to classical perfumery. If it were a nude photograph, it could be described as a pictorialist one: not a mere recording of reality, but an artistic expression on par with other art forms.
Act greets your nose with citruses portraited with soft-focus lenses, their freshness and bitterness smoothed out and enriched by a vignette with hints of green, made of Star Fruit (Carambola). This fruity, pulpy, delicately juicy tone flows smoothly, forming soft curves that add depth and glide with ease into a feeling of uttermost tenderness created by vetiver. This well-balanced, vibrant overture exhibits ever so discreet sweetness, flowing juiciness with a touch of a tart, sour undertone.
I am simply thrilled by the use of a ripe Carambola accord, and the fact that its fruitiness is so well-paced and restrained by an introduction of a slightly smokey, dry, and dusty- woody vetiver. Erotic, but never explicit, juicy but not sticky or overly sweet – and this makes it alluring.
In the later stages of Act, this dry, vetiver-infused woodiness leads us to the other side of the fragrance: it changes its flow which becomes deeper and darker. It takes another direction with tender woods, earthy-dry tobacco leaves, spicy lavender, and deep green mossy tones. What I found interesting is that the ambergris accord swirls around all the other dry-down notes, adding hints of saltiness as opposed to the tender tropical sweetness in the early stages. This distinct musky saltiness felt like a fine layer of clean, fresh sweat on naked, unapologetically beautiful in all forms it may come in – human body.
Prin’s (Prin Lomros is a self-taught perfumer based in Thailand and an Art and Olfaction Awards winner in 2017 and 2018) handwriting is very recognizable, and yet Act is so unmistakably Der Duft: highly creative but very wearable, highly artistic but approachable, and at the same time allowing multiple interpretations. All their fragrances are unmistakably genderless, lacking suggestive marketing, and fairly priced.
Notes (as listed by the brand): Lime, Bitter Orange, Star Fruit, Vetiver, Ambergris, Cypress, Musk, Tobacco, Moss, Lavender.
If you want to know more about Der Duft fragrances, you can find my Grasse and Pride reviews here.
Act is available at the Der Duft website, 50 ml / 120 EUR, and they offer a sample pack with all 6 fragrances (Grasse – limited edition, Pride, Monopteros, Cinematic, Bubble, and Act). Test before you buy!
The Plum Girl
Photos: Elena Cvjetkovic, Der Duft, Pexels. Drawing by N. Reiser is a part of my personal art collection.
A sample of Act was graciously sent to me by Der Duft, opinions – as always – are of my own.
If you like what I do, you can always: