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terça-feira, 20 de outubro de 2015

Alexandria in a Bottle: La Fumee Alexandrie (Niche Perfumes)

by: Elena Vosnaki

The smoky density of incense has been an inspiration for a galaxy of fragrances, especially since the rise of niche brands during the late 1990s and beyond. It is also among the present author's most beloved scents. Miller Harris, the British company founded by perfumer Lynn Harris, has created a small universe of incense scents with the La Fumée line. Beginning in 2011 with the first La Fumée, now packaged as La Fumée Classic eau de parfum, the range took on nuances that reflected specific regions and traditions: La Fumée Arabie (2012) which first expanded the originally small-aim editions of La Fumée and La PluieLa Fumée Ottoman (2013), La Fumée Maroc (2014) and La Fumée Intense (2014). 
Now the 6th installment comes in the shape of La Fumée Alexandrie, an eau de parfum presented in the sumptuous square bottles holding 100ml with the graphic illustrations we have come to know and love by Miller Harris. Indeed the bottles are a joy to look at and to hold, heavy and having the unusual feel of at once luxury and artisanal joy. 
"This installment in the La Fumée canon is going to pique the interest of the thousands of incense lovers across perfumeland."
Inspired by the place where incense gained footing as a means to communicate with the gods, smoke rising upwards, and the port that shone brightly across the ancient world, La Fumée Alexandrie is the next scroll in the incense saga: The sacred flowers dedicated to the Egyptian pantheon, the rich spices of the ancient world, the dry winds of the desert, the western visions of a journey through the exotic lands where civilization bloomed. The fact that like with the MH Ottoman edition, inspired by Constantinople, this one is also inspired by the city rather than the land, makes a difference. 
The Library of Alexandria
For La Fumée Alexandrie, the note of nell'oud is present as it is in the whole collection of La Fumée fragrances but the focus is shifted to lighter and spicier notes with a dry background. The composition is given a rather modernized vision of how Egyptian scents must have evoked images and feelings rather than replicating any sort of historical accuracy. The top notes of Italian tangerine and that of lychee are characteristic of that, while the presence of incense and Turkishrose absolute (underscored by Egyptian geranium leaf) brings balance. Spicy notes of cinnamon and cumin are felt through the heart of the fragrance.
Ancient Egyptian incense burner
For the most evocative and interesting segment, the dry-down, perfumer Lynn Harris chose bitterish and specifically dry materials, eschewing the common feel ofwater lotus flowers used in compositions to give an Egyptian flavor. The saturation of dark, smoky birch tar, with its almost leathery connotation, papyrus for a touch of authenticity, sandalwood and a dry amber with hardly any vanillic elements. The feeling is languorous yet also mystical, as befits the cosmopolitan town that was epoch-making with its famous library. A spiritual adventure in the city founded by Alexander the Great .  
This installment in the La Fumée canon is going to pique the interest of the thousands of incense lovers across perfumeland. 
Pic credits: wikimedia commons (incense burner), (library), Miller Harris

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