Nomen est omen, so let’s start from the name. AENOTUS is a non-existing word, Puredistance says that it stands for the notes of the winds blown by Aeolus, the „keeper of the winds“ in Greek mythology:
„In AENOTUS the cool notes of Aeolus are fusing with the soft, sensual warmth of the South. And the classic (Latin) ending of the word Aenotus suggests the depth and maturation of time.“
This word is made up, but the wind this perfume made me think about – exists! Oh, it does! Of all the winds you can experience on the Adriatic Sea, in Croatia – Maestral is the Master of winds.
It’s the most desired wind during Summer months: it blows from NW, in the afternoon, rather soft and gentle. Not strong and cold, like Mistral in France! Alongside the Adriatic Sea coast and islands this benevolent, friendly wind brings refreshment, strongest just when it’s most needed – in July and August.
Maestral announces nice weather, it cools down the stone walls and houses, promising a good night’s sleep. What I find special about it is closely connected to my vacation time on the Island of Brac: since Maestral blows from the North-West, it doesn’t bring the scent of the sea on my micro-location. It rolls down smoothly across the land, through lemon and orange treetops, staying low and close to the red earth in the garden, in my back yard. Yes, AENOTUS instantly reminded me of – Maestral in my garden…perfectly fitting that description of the „sensual warmth of the South“!
Puredistance describes the concept of AENOTUS as follows:
„A perfume that would first refresh and then – unlike the 1000+ perfumes that are fresh but quickly fade away – transform into a sensual but subtle (skin) scent. A refined and silently seductive perfume that doesn’t give away its personality to everyone instantly.“
Puredistance is a luxury niche perfume brand that I respect and value: they are indeed worthy representatives of the best niche practice, the „niche“ in perfumery – as it should be… They don’t release dozens of perfumes each and every year. What they do is pay attention to perfume creation, ingredients used, leave enough time for perfecting each perfume released, have simply beautiful, elegant presentation and packaging, and – in my opinion – do things „the right way“ regarding their sales&promotions activities. Respect.
Yes, I respect their small family business producing perfumes I am fond of: you can read my reviews for Sheiduna, Warszawa (The Fragrance Foundation Top 5 rated Review/Editorial Excellence, 2018) and Opardu.
This is why I have been waiting patiently for their new release: March 1st, 2019 was the day of AENOTUS launch worldwide. I’ve been expecting it for quite some time, knowing that the fragrance has undergone several iterations, knowing its name, yet the launch was being postponed over and over again. Now it’s here:
What made this whole story even more interesting to me is that the new perfume was always meant to be the signature scent of the founder, Jan Ewoud Vos:
“More than ten years ago I founded Puredistance and I really love all eight perfumes we have done so far, but I missed my own signature scent in our collection. Three years ago (May 2015) I decided to start up the process of creating one. I came up with the name Aenotus and asked Antoine Lie in Paris to create my signature scent.”
I must underline that Jan Ewoud Vous and Antoine Lie (the list of his creations is truly impressive, let me just mention that he signed many perfumes I find wonderful, like some created for Comme des Garcons, Etat Libre d’Orange, Maison Trudon, UER MI, etc…) worked together on this fragrance for three years!
Antoine Lie already had this experience with Puredistance while working on WHITE: that lasted over a year…and he is the perfumer behind Puredistance Black and Warszawa as well. I guess this time it was even more complicated to reach the level of desired satisfaction, even though time or the price of ingredients weren’t limiting factors. Like all the other perfumes in the collection, this is an extrait de parfem, with shocking 48% perfume oil! Well, hello citruses!
„Cool, sensual & refined“ – this is the tagline for AENOTUS. After three weeks of sniffing, wearing it and thinking about it, this is how I feel about it:
I’ll start from the drydown this time.
The final phase of perfume, its character when „all the guests have left“ is something that matters to me. While initially testing AENOTUS, I first sprayed it on a blotter and left it standing on a paper clip, on my desk for two weeks – just like that
When I came back to it, I was amazed: its drydown was still simply beautiful! It is obvious that expensive ingredients used are making their final statement: a yellowish dry-earth colored oakmoss can be felt, smoothed out with silky musks, tainted with a pinch of patchouli, just a light, transparent veil of its dry, slightly spicy feel. Much to my surprise, occasional whiffs of mint-tainted citruses rising could be felt as well, even after such a long time! The drydown does feel sensual, but its sensuality is restrained in a most elegant way, tranquil, never too open or in plain sight. Germans have a great word for it: zurückhaltend...and this makes it even more attractive.
I’ve been wearing it occasionally for two weeks now.
On my skin AENOTUS opens with a platter full of freshly cut citruses, displayed in such a lavish manner that I couldn’t repress a loud sigh, almost drooling over all those mouthwatering lemons, oranges, and mandarines sprinkled with that specific, slightly bitter yuzu twist. I haven’t smelled citruses so lush and exuberant, and so…edible – in a long time!
After this bright and optimistic prelude, hues change: now you can see and feel leaves that came from the same branches from which all those delicious citruses were picked from. It’s getting thicker green, like lemon tree leaves, crisp and shiny in sunlight, like in a Mediterranean orchard of lemons and oranges. You can also feel that this green has a tinge of a wild mint plant growing under a lemon tree, hidden beneath white stones, just as if you have stepped on, crushing its small, dark green leaves, while approaching a tree to pick fresh fruit.
After a couple of hours, all those yellows and greens become cozy. Relaxed, in a musky way, slowly warming up in slow motion, and this is when you can observe cool and warm tones starting to mingle, leaving a soothing trail of calming warmth, musky skin warmth…leading to the drydown as I described it above.
I wrote The Wind of Change: this fragrance is different than all the other perfumes in Puredistance range up to now. I see it also as a sign of „returning to old values“ trend in niche perfumery, in the sense of taking the time and creating quality perfumes that „sing“ – not shout and scream at the top of their voice – out of tune, nor meek wannabe niche pretenders, either.
Those that give you a reason to think about them, listen to their whisper and murmur, make you daydream, take you places, make you feel good about yourself. The sort of fragrances you wear for yourself and not for somebody else, to express yourself and not to impress others. Intellectual, pensive fragrances, beautiful works of art, fine and timeless creations.
Time will show, but AENOTUS has all the elements that can easily make it a – classic.
Notes (as listed by the brand): Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Yuzu/ Mint, Blackcurrant Bud, Petitgrain/ Oakmoss, Patchouli, Musks. On my skin, sillage and longevity are moderate, if sprayed on clothes – prolonged.
AENOTUS is available at Puredistance website or at Exclusive dealers: 17,5 ml=175 EUR, 60ml=295EUR, 100 ml=490EUR, 2ml Perfume Extrait Giftset=89EUR.
Click here to see the video about AENOTUS.
P.S. I met with Jan at Esxence in Milano (wearing a light blue jacket matching Aenotus colors) and we talked for quite some time. That helped me understand his signature fragrance better: quiet waters run deep…”The Dutch prince of classy perfumes” does sometimes leave his castle hidden somewhere in The Netherlands to mingle with crowds: cool, composed, well-educated, aware of fragcomm but keeping his distance. His passion is not bluntly exposed, his dedication firm and aligned with his personal values system. It all made sense…
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Puredistance
The sample was provided graciously by Puredistance, opinions of my own.