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quarta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2015

Olfactive Studio Selfie – Boozy Winter Delight


Olfactive Studio Selfie – Boozy Winter Delight

by: Miguel Matos

I have never smelled a bad perfume from Olfactive Studio, but when I thought that Panorama was the best edition from the French niche house, this creation signed by Thomas Fontaine surpassed it and surprised me. When I smelledSelfie for the first time in Pitti Fragranze, I was instantly seduced and the general opinion from other perfume bloggers was very positive too (nevermind the nonsense name of the fragrance. I am not fond of it). But I got my hand and nose on a full bottle that I have been wearing for the last few weeks and I am truly mesmerised. It's not often that we smell something and can't relate it to another previous fragrance, but I dare to say it's the first time I smell this accord. After all, Olfactive Studio is known for introducing new materials (like wasabi in Panorama). This time it's not really a new material, but a new combination that results in the perfect scent for this winter.
When I tell you that Selfie is a winter fragrance, it's not in the sense of it being dense or hot. It's not. In fact it's enormously comfortable besides being balmy and spicy. It's actually perfect for one of those cold sunny days without any clouds. The fragrance is a work on resins and spices and it has a strong boozy vibe. The opening is very bright and rich and resembles the smell of a very old and rich whiskey with green hints here and there. Whiskey is an obvious note, and a gorgeous one, but for the last two weeks that I've been wearing it, I always get a very familiar feeling beyond that.
Selfie has a very recognizable opening for me and I couldn't put my finger on what it was. The enigma started to unsettle me, but I know that the things come to us when we stop looking for them, and so I waited... Until last night. I was meeting my friends at a bar in Lisbon and they were all drinking red wine (Portuguese wines are among the best in the world in case you didn't know). I wasn't in the mood for wine and so I decided to ask for a very traditional Portuguese liqueur called ginjinha. Ginjinha is made from sour cherry brandy and sugar. My favourite brand is Espinheira, which uses caramel sugar and this makes all the difference.  The result is a very sweet and balanced blend of fruit, sugar and alcohol with the whiskey-ish brandy nuances. I drank my glass of ginjinha and when the glass was empty, without thinking about perfume at all, I started to smell it. And it was very clear to me: Selfie was there, inside a glass of ginjinha! Who would have known?
Ginjinha has a characteristic sour cherry smell, which is not sweet like regular cherries and has a spicy aspect based on cinnamon. The brandy gives it the alcoholic vibe with the woody facet of the vats where it is stored and aged, just like whiskey. The caramel sugar thickens the liqueur and gives it not only the sweetness but also the velvet gourmand texture of caramel. This is all present in the opening of Selfie, but it doesn't turn it into a gourmand scent. It is spicy and boozy and yet fresh enough to keep it from being dense.
Another beverage we all know very well in Portugal is anise liqueur, but actually only old people drink it. And this is another major ingredient to compose the top of Selfie, imparting some more freshness, with the help from elemi and ginger. It's the richest spicy boozy opening you will find. Olfactive Studio usually uses innovative top notes, like the wasabi accord in Panorama. In Selfie, it's the unusual way of combining alcoholics and spices that makes it new and original. Incense and angelica contribute for the dynamic and effervescent start, too.
As it evolves, Selfie even reminds me of mulled wine, as the cinnamon really shines. But then there is a thicker entrance of maple syrup. And boy is this delicious. All of these notes are strange when I remind you that the perfumer who signs this composition is Thomas Fontaine, known for his masterful vintage-style concoctions for Jean Patou. This is mega contemporary and truly original, and it fits the Olfactive Studio line perfectly. Back to the maple syrup. It develops into the heart making it truly delicious, wintery and balsamic. There is a strong woody background with hints of spice and balsam and this comes from cabreuva wood, which yields an essential oil that is used to treat common colds.
Perfumer Thomas Fontaine
Suede, tonka bean and labdanum are the comfy cushions where Selfie lays on the drydown stage. It is a skinscent after a couple of hours. It has decent longevity but the final chypre drydown is not loud. Looking at the notes, you might think it could be overwhelming, but it's not and the office would not be offended by a responsible wearing. You can always choose to overdose it, but it never gets opulent as a night perfume should be. Sandalwood envelops the whole composition in a creamy sensation and gives this liquid a caressing character. Selfie is an expensive, thick, oversized, caramel brown, cashmere sweater and a hot cup of ginger tea with cinnamon (or ginjinha if you are in Lisbon). Overall this is a complex fragrance but not to the point of being difficult to wear. It's just a bit quirky as we can't accurately describe it, for the fresh, balsamic, medicinal, boozy, ambery and woody aspects are all continuously dancing without settling into a unified single theme. Having said that, it's a rich and soothing scent. And that's what makes it genious. I would still like to see this eau de parfum in a stronger concentration though... but that's just me.

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