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New York, NY April 11, 2019.: Fragrance writers, journalists, fragrance entrepreneurs, and influencers gathered to find out the Winners of the 2019 Perfumed Plume Awards. While they were gathering in New York, sipping champagne, I was at home sound asleep. Time difference… But what a difference the morning after made!

Maria McElroy of Aroma M Perfumes, a finalist herself, kindly agreed to represent me at the Awards Ceremony.

When I woke up at 6 AM the next morning, there was one unread message blinking: “You won!

“The Perfumed Plume Awards™ celebrated the 2019 winners at the 4th celebration attended by a lively guest-list of writers, journalists, entrepreneurs, influencers and industry notables from the world of fragrance, media, art and design:

The fun and festive party took place at the Society of Illustrators, a New York gem, where the prolific skills of each winner in creative fragrance journalism were recognized and greeted with warm applause and congratulations by all who attended. Both Lyn Leigh and Mary Ellen Lapsansky agree that it is a highlight of the year and a great joy to honor such gifted writers, all of whom elevate the art and craft of fragrance through their perfume stories. Winners were each presented with a signature Tiffany pen.”

I’m so honored and humbled! Thank you! Here’s more about the Awards:

“PERFUMED PLUME AWARDS™ FOR JOURNALISM: “is an independent recognition of creative storytelling that engages and educates the consumer on the art and craft of fragrance. It celebrates stories that give the reader an inside view of the cultural, historical and personal approaches to fragrance design and what it takes to create an evocative scent. Stories that illuminate why some fragrances can instantly evoke memories of a person, time or place. The Perfumed Plume Awards™ specifically targets the many talented writers and visualists who bring to life the craft, the inspiration, the emotion and the sensory journey that are at the heart of fragrance creation, quickly becoming an annual, iconic symbol of media excellence that will positively impact the fragrance category. The Awards provide a new way to create a broader awareness & appreciation for fragrance through high quality, informative, enlightening and of course entertaining storytelling.”

I’m also grateful to Filippo Sorcinelli Brand for providing me with a sample of but-not_today perfume, at Pitti Fragranze in Florence, which inspired me to write a very heartfelt review and an Instagram short story.

Here’s the complete list of winners:
Perfume Stories in Mainstream Media – Print – Magazines, Newspapers
“Chemical Romance” – New Beauty — by April Long
Perfume Stories in Mainstream Media – Digital – Magazines, Newspapers, Blog Postings, Webzines
— A Tie! —

“How Britney Spears Built a Billion Dollar Business Without Selling a Single Record”
InStyle — by Rachel Syme
“Fragrances of Film Noir: Scenting Five Femmes Fatales” CaFleureBon — by Despina Veneti, Sr. Contributor
New Category: ‘Short ‘n Sweet’ Perfume Stories – Print & Digital
“Blind Faith” New Beauty — by Brittany Burhop Fallon
Visualization of Perfume Stories — Print & Digital
“Travels in France, Part One: Everything Is Lavender” The Fragrant Journey — by Cynthia Lesiuk
New Category: INSTApost — Perfume Stories on Instagram
“but_not_today”
The Plum Girl — by Elena Cvjetkovic
Fragrance Book Award
“Spritzing to Success — With the Woman who Brought an Industry to Its Senses”— by Annette Green

“The awards were established in 2015 by Mary Ellen Lapsansky and Lyn Leigh, both experienced fragrance and cosmetic executives, to honor and recognize fragrance stories and the many talented writers and visualists who give the reader an inside view of the cultural, historical, scientific and personal approaches to fragrance design and what it takes to create an evocative scent.”

Congrats to all the winners, finalists and organizers!

Thank you for reading and following me here and on Instagram! :-*

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: Perfumed Plume Awards/The Plum Girl
Awards information: Perfumed Plume Awards

I see skies of blue, flowers pink and yellow, lilac and white, tree branches budding with fresh green leaves, dainty little fruit-tree and big, porcelain-cup thick Magnolia blossoms everywhere! Yes, Spring is here…Persephone has returned!

Spring in March, still struggling with chilly mornings and evenings, but it seems like everything bloomed in only a couple of days. Time has come for me to pull out a fragrance I gave a lot of thought and occasional wearings during the past six months – Southern Bloom by Goldfield and Banks.

This perfume is very comforting every time I wear it, it felt like a warm hug during cold, Winter days, but now the timing to sit down and write about it was somehow right for me. Or maybe it’s because while enjoying the first sunny and warm late March days, I remembered that it isn’t Spring everywhere…

It all began when we met in September last year, during Pitti Fragranze in Florence. Dimitri Weber spoke to us over lunch about Spring in September and how he has to rush back to Australia because Brown Boronia fields were starting to bloom. Spring in September!

And Boronia flowers:

Dimitri, the creative director of Goldfield and Banks founded this brand in Sydney, Australia and he wanted to use native Australian ingredients as much as possible, giving importance to this specific terroir, making a difference.

He spoke with so much love about Australia, Brown Boronia flowers, fields on Tasmania’s Bruny Island, the harvest time – because the brand is working directly with growers. Then he pulled out a bottle of Southern Bloom perfume (harvest 2017), together with a tiny bottle of Brown Boronia Absolute, one of the most expensive ingredients in the world, at 100USD/gram:

Brown Boronia absolute, derived from concrete – is really different. It has a rich, multifaceted floral character. As much as I remember, it’s flowery with a touch of green, a bit dusky, never too sweet. I would say even a bit „dry-creamy“, like you are smelling the whole bush, not just flowers.

Southern Bloom is a limited edition fragrance – because the perfume itself will depend on the harvest, absolute being slightly different every year. It has been used in perfumery before, but Southern Bloom puts it in the heart of this perfume and weaves the whole fragrant story around it.

All the time after hearing this story about Southern Bloom, I kept thinking about – black swans!
I’ll explain: until the 19th century and discovery of black swans in Australia, all existing swans were thought to be – white. No one imagined that swans of any other color existed.

These beautiful birds also have their role in the Australian culture, representing „Australianness“. There’s more, a whole „black swan“ theory!

The idea of „black swans“ is mentioned in a quite famous book „The Black Swan“ – by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, ranked in 2007 by Sunday Times as one of the 12 most influential books since WW II. I remember reading it a number of times.

The impact of highly improbable is tremendous, we can all agree. The books also underlines that we humans tend to find simplistic explanations for unexpected events, but only after these happened.

The concept of Taleb’s „Black Swan“ is that highly improbable events have three principle characteristics: they are unpredictable, they carry a massive impact, and after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes these events appear less random and more predictable then they were. It’s a brilliant book, I suggest you read it if you haven’t yet. Black Swans are everywhere…even in the world of perfumes.

I digress, but this is where the story about Brown Boronia took me…Back to Southern Bloom with this extraordinary, „Black Swan“ note at its heart!

We have here high-quality ingredients from all over the world, elements of Australian terroir, the owner is Belgian-French, coming from fragrance industry….enter a Frenchman: the perfumer behind this fragrance is Melbourne-based Mr. Francois Merle-Baudoin, a 5th generation Perfumer from Grasse.

Southern Bloom is a floral-creamy-powdery fragrance, beautifully blended and finely balanced. Elegant, comforting, soothing – in a quite unique way. Longevity is very good, projection moderate: it becomes discreet, with a lovely drydown many hours later.

The fragrance shifts from the very beginning: at first, you are greeted by a bright fruity-slightly tart welcome. As you enter and walk along, it embraces you, it feels like you have walked into a cloud of creamy, soft pink petals, swirling gently around you.

This sensation of white flowers is just a little bit resinous and soon the fragrance transforms as sensual ylang-ylang and jasmine begin to flow. At this point I could feel milky strains of coconut appearing, weaving its way around flowers, and a string of orange-like tones.

Half an hour later the fragrance shows it’s greener side, becoming more earthy- green with the addition of dry, broken flower-bush twigs, adding depth to that beautiful powdery-iris sensation I enjoy so much.

The drydown is very beautiful: at this point Southern Bloom stays close to the skin, forming an aura that will stay with you for some time, very creamy and rich. You can still feel occasional whiffs of opulent flowers lingering over sandalwood, with a powdery-dry, a bit earthy iris dust sprinkled over them.

These transitions are smooth and the overall impression is refined, making this a very wearable fragrance. I wear it as a comforting fragrance and on my skin, it feels very feminine.

Southern Bloom, released in 2018, is the latest, first floral fragrance in the brand’s Native Collection, including Wood Infusion, Desert Rosewood, Pacific Rock Moss, White Sandalwood, and Blue Cypress.

Notes (as stated by the brand): Boronia Absolute -Tasmania, Jasmin Sambac – India, Cassis – France, Sandalwood – Australia, Vetiver – Indonesia, Ylang Ylang – Madagascar, Coconut Accord, Iris – Italy.

Southern Bloom, harvest 2017/2018 is available at Goldfield and Banks website and chosen niche perfume stockists, USD 249/100ml Eau de parfum, limited production.

It took me six months to ponder over this perfume, but the moment I first smelled Brown Boronia absolute was unforgettable…

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: The Plum Girl

Southern Bloom perfume generously provided by Goldfield&Banks, opinions of my own. Terms as stated below:
Disclaimer

It’s funny how things in life sometimes take unexpected turns. Last summer, while I was staying in Grasse and frenetically driving around Cote d’Azur, I got a DM on Instagram. “Are you in Cannes now?” – “Not today, I was there yesterday…” I replied to Sulékó.
It turned out that Anastasia was there, at the Croisette, and she wanted to meet in person. Unfortunately, every second of my stay was planned in advance and we didn’t manage to meet in France.

Later on, we wrote to each other over months to follow, postponing our meeting for Esxence 2019 in Milan in April – where Sulékó shall exhibit this year.

The longer we talked, the more curious I got. In the meantime, I tested and wore Sulékó perfumes, and decided to bring you this brand closer by arranging an interview with Anastasia and Cécile! Let’s find out more about Sulékó!

Sulékó Paris
The brand was founded in 2013, and the name Sulékó recalls a Georgian poem, which became a very popular Russian song – “Souliko”. The poem is about a young man, seeking his soul mate. There are five fragrances in Sulékó’s portfolio, all created by Cecile Zarokian: Midi Eternel, Albho– its name is the Indo-European root of Lebed – Russian for swan; Vy Rosa -in reference to Tatiana, the heroine of A. S. Pushkin’s novel, Eugene Onegin (I was so fascinated by A.S. Pushkin in my teenage years that I managed to read Eugene Onegin in original, in Russian); Djélem is a Gypsy song which became the anthem of the Gypsies (to hear the song click here); Baba Yaga is the terrifying witch, which appears in many Russian tales…or is she so scary?

Sulékó perfume bottles are beautiful Limoges porcelain sculptures, created by artists Joelle Fèvre and Alain Fichot.

Anastasia Sokolow: The Designer

Tell us more about the way that led you to start your own perfume brand? Why did you pursue a path in perfumery?

– My first encounter with the universe of perfume creation took place while I was working at the Yves Saint Beauté marketing team in New York. I realized that this universe was not for the experts only who passed their secret knowledge on, from generation to generation… In fact, that world was accessible to anyone who wanted to explore it; also I realized that there is much more to explore that you might think and much more that should be shared with the buyers of fragrances.

Back in Paris, I took various classes and went through several training programs focusing on the many facets of the world of fragrances; at the same time, I was working at a major hair designer company on its international development programs. But I was hooked: I became a member of the French Society of Perfumers and took specific courses at ISIPCA – the school of perfumers. In just a few years of intense training and exploring, I noticed how much my sense of smell developed – I had opened myself to a whole new world. Scents became to me a form of expression and I decided that I should share my new philosophy of life with others in a more organized fashion.

What are your favorite dish and a bedtime story that your grandmother made/told you when you were a child?

– One of my favorite dishes from my grandmother is her “krendel” when it comes straight out of the oven. It is a sort of Panettone with vanilla, dry fruits, and fresh almonds…

My grandmother, when I was in bed, would tell me all sorts of Russian folk stories but I remember vividly her reading of Pushkin’s poem, “Lukomorye” which told about all the main characters of Russian folk stories such as Baba Yaga, Rusalka, Kaschey… Nature was shown as powerful, rich and beautiful, full of magic and mystery…

How did you meet Cécile? What was the (brand) story you tried to convey to her? How did you two click together?

– I first met Cécile at the opening of her exhibition IP01. I loved her work and her ability to translate illustrations into scents. A few years later, when I started working on my perfumes, I reached out to her. At that time, she had her own laboratory and worked with a major supplier of raw ingredients.

I told her about my language of scents, explained to her the story behind each of the perfumes that I wanted to create and how in my view each story should be “translated” into scents and detailed the ingredients that should be selected. She was able to fully immerse herself into my universes and my way of conceiving perfumes. Cécile is sensitive to Arts: she shares my view that a fragrance is not only about scents, it is also about texture, rhythm, colors, and emotions. I enjoyed working with Cécile —it was real teamwork, a real constructive dialogue.

How do you intend to separate yourself from all the niche brands and offerings that flourish today?

Sulékó is one of the very few brands which combines artistic craftsmanship and perfume and which seeks to trigger all the senses; our sculpture-bottles were created as a visual and tactile reflection of the perfume: you slide your fingers through the bottle of Vy Roza and it is as if your hand is touching fresh grass; you linger on the soft curvy sides and you are caressing the soft petals of a rose! Sulékó highlights the riches of French artistic craftsmanship in the creation of perfumes and in the design of a unique porcelain bottle.
Our bottles and our perfumes are the results of the work of a man/woman and not the result of processing by a machine.
Sulékó also collaborates with artists to explore the links between scents, colors, textures, and movements; an example of such collaboration, “Baba Yaga, a movie for the senses”, was presented by Sulékó at Osme, during Art Basel. The perfume then fully becomes Art.

Which scent do you relate most to Russia?

– Our perfumes are all inspired by Slavic art and culture and they involve many scents …
Russia is such a wide and diverse country that it is very hard to pick just one scent representing it without it making a bit of a cliche…but I would say the scent of wheat fields in summertime.

Your favorite perfume and why?

– Aside from my own creations, I use several perfumes which I love, one of my favorites is Chanel N°22 created by Ernest Beaux (a Russian perfumer of French descent). To me, it is a classic. It is timeless. It is rich and light at the same time, it is full of youthful energy and joy with a hint of solar sensuality.

SULÉKÓ perfume bottles are porcelain sculptures. Why such a high level of bottles-art?

– Because seeing beauty makes us happy!
I believe that holding an object, which is unique, handmade using traditional know-how, creativity, attention to detail and passion is precious.

I also think that nowadays more and more customers want to buy authentic products, products with a story, a meaning, that will enrich their everyday life. With these bottles, our customers uncover new artists, learn about their art and how they reinvent centuries-old know-hows while adding a contemporary touch. There is something fascinating about the work of clay, knowing that men have been working this material for thousands of years, creating beauty with earth and fire. That is actually why we chose the name «Talisman» for our travel spray, there is something primeval about porcelain biscuit.

By buying such objects, customers get involved in the preservation of unique traditions and know-how and will enjoy bringing beauty to their home!

How would you define the current state of Russian Haute Parfumerie?

– Russian Haute Parfumerie was at its high at the beginning of the twentieth century before the Revolution. Nowadays, a few Russian perfume brands are emerging; maybe it is a new beginning, a resurgence of Russian Haute Parfumerie…Sulékó believes that for sure, in its own original way, it is a part of that resurgence.

Please define perfumes that represent different seasons of the year in your collection, Sulékó Spring, Summer etc?

– One can easily connect specific smells, notes, scent ingredients to each season. Spring shall bring into your mind the watery freshness of lily of the valley and hyacinths, luminous and light scents! If I mention fall, you will most likely think of the scent of dead leaves and the dark, earthy, woody scents of a forest after the rain.
Furthermore, we do live through phases in our life, which influence our state of mind, these phases are not necessarily linked to our age and can be qualified as seasons; many poets and writers have used seasons as metaphors to describe their state of mind and their emotions. Fall, for instance, is used to describe a state of « spleen », when sadness and melancholy prevail whereas spring is synonymous with new beginnings, it is a celebration of life and everything luminous and joyful. Therefore, we can say that within each Sulékó season, scents meet emotions and create a specific language.

Each Sulékó perfume, because of its scent ingredients and because of the emotions, which it translates, can be classified in one of the four seasons; it is a small facet of one season. This is a very intuitive classification of perfumes. We currently have 5 perfumes: *Albho– is part of Sulékó Winter, Vy Roza is part of Sulékó Spring, Djélem and Midi Eternel are part of Sulékó Summer and Baba Yaga is part of Sulékó Fall.

Do you plan any new releases soon?

We have several creations in the pipeline and will be happy to tell you more about them soon!

Cécile Zarokian: The Perfumer

Cécile Zarokian graduated from ISIPCA, she was trained for four years in Robertet, at first in Grasse, then in Paris. She was still a trainee when she created her first fragrance, Amouage Epic Woman.
In 2011, Cécile decided to found her own company, CECILE ZAROKIAN SARL, and to set up her laboratory in Paris, in order to be able to dedicate her entire time to working freely as an independent perfumer.

Cécile has been very busy lately. She created an impressive list of perfumes, and I’m a fan of quite a few she did for various brands. Let me just mention Uer Mi OR, Jacques Fath, Puredistance, Evody, Masque Fragranze or Jovoy Paris. You can find the complete list here. And I’m a fan of Cécile’s big smile, fast spoken French (too fast for me…), and bubbling personality. I’m looking forward to more of her creations, and seeing her again, soon! Let’s see her side of the Sulékó story:

You are a very busy lady. Why did you accept to create for Sulékó?

– I was very interested in the universe of Sulékó. Anastasia told me what she had in mind for her brand, the story behind each perfume. Her approach was different and I was passionate about her briefs, fully detailed with very inspiring ideas.

„Baba Yaga“ is a scary story. What is Baba Yaga to you? What is the purpose of this fragrance?

Baba Yaga is the witch that frightens lost children in the forest, kind of the bogeyman of Russian fairy tales. But in particular cases, she can be seen as a dark force who scares you but in a way she’s forcing you to face and overcome your fears. And it’s the same for the fragrance, it was very challenging to create an edgy fragrance that would be a bit dark but not too much because at the end you have to light it up. A bewitching dark scent that still has to be pleasant because it’s a perfume after all and you have to want to wear it.

What would you say is specific about Sulékó, the point of difference in concept?

– A lot of attention to every detail. The story, the raw materials, the handmade ceramic bottles, the perfume, the distribution, education…being able to explain the whole creative process behind each perfume, every step of the way, directly to the customer.

Which fragrance from this line was the most challenging for you to create?
Baba Yaga definitely. Because of the above reasons, racing on the edge…

What defines Sulékó to you, in short?

– A unique brand embodied in its founder’s personality, with a very artistic approach and niche distribution.

Now, let’s take a closer look at these four fragrances:

Baba Yaga

My first memory of Baba Yaga character dates to my early childhood and times when I was reading Russian Fables and Tales, every night before sleep. The book was a gift from my mother who thought I should read stories and books coming from different cultures, to widen my horizons. My favorite story from this book was the one about Vasilisa The Fair, and to this day I remember her words of wisdom: “Mornings are smarter than evenings.”

Baba Yaga didn’t scare me at all, although always portrayed as a mean, (allegedly) child-eating witch. I thought of her as of a strong, independent, no-nonsense woman, living on her own, helpful to those that deserved her help. Dark, intense, different… then the rest. Daring. Powerful and aware of her strengths, dressed in black, uncompromising, everything I was not (at that time).

Baba Yaga (the perfume) begins its spell with a sensation of a dark yet crisp Autumn day somewhere deep in the forest. Multicolored leaves are ruffling as you walk, clouds turn darker and the forest starts to murmur, branches of big, old trees making a crackling sound. This bitter-fresh opening is now tainted with a pinch of cinnamon and a healthy dose of nutmeg, brownish-orange, resembling oak leaves you are walking upon.

Berries protrude – red berries on layers of dark pepper. A spell is cast, with black pepper rising in the air, sprinkling away nutmeg and introducing a bitter orange. It sways from bittersweet to sweeter tones, still spicy.

With time it begins to feel like you are lying on the ground in this dark forest, on soft layers of black earth, leathery-patchouli blankets, and moss-covered oak branches, still feeling traces of spices that sprinkled your clothes, with bursts of nutmeg and pepper rising every now and then…Intriguing.

Djelem

Warm Summertime evenings, light cotton dresses imprinted with flowers, music, dance, loud laughs and an open fire crackling in the dark.

These images are portrayed by spicy notes, hay, amber, vivid red carnations and cloves, and that feeling of freshly mown hay is addictive!

The hay settles and warms everything up, relaxes its vividness by becoming more powdery, yet never too heavy…

Gypsies have stopped singing and dancing and are now relaxed and simply- happy!

Vy Rosa

Vy Rosa: an ode to great A.S.Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin…The first verses of this fragrance are starting with sweet springtime freshness of lilies of the valley, very white and green, clean and light, almost soapy. The heart of this fresh, bright, soft smelling rose is surrounded by this bouquet until it becomes more bitter-woody, a bit too bitter for my taste.

Albho

Albho, a word for swan, Lebed, labud: a cold breath of Winter, grace, and elegance. Russian Winter. It took me back to St. Petersburg, my evening walks along Nevski Prospekt, the sight of frozen Neva river and the warmth of the Hermitage Museum hallways which I roamed for days.

It opens with cool mints, like when you inhale sharply cold Winter air above the surface of water, rivers or lakes, underneath a pine tree. Woody and balsamic notes take over, it becomes warmer, suaver. A nice play of cold-warm transitions, ending in quiet, subtle and balsamic tones. I enjoyed its drydown, it was so comforting. This fragrance has an inner beauty, poise and elegance, while darker tones are lurking underwater. Like looking at a swan gliding across a lake so clear that you can see its feet pedaling under the surface. Quite different. My favorite.

You can purchase these perfumes at Sulékó online shop here. Prices vary according to chosen combinations/bottles. The sample-set is available for 15EUR.

Dear Anastasia and Cécile, thank you and see you soon – at Esxence Milano 2019!

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl/ Sulékó/Cécile Zarokian
Samples were provided by Sulékó, opinions of my own.
Disclaimer

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
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