terça-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2016

Elma by CR7 – Madeira's Hidden Treasure

by: Miguel Matos

Some of the readers here may know I am very partial to amber and animalic fragrances. So here I am sharing with you a recent discovery of an ambery composition that may become one of my signature scents. It comes from a place I love, the Madeira Island, in Portugal. And, surprise, it's a celebrity fragrance from the universe of soccer and fashion, but to me it seems pretty niche. Oh well, more important than anything: I just happen to love it.
Business woman Elma Aveiro is one of the sisters of the famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, also designated as CR7. Now, CR7 is a clothing brand and there are two shops. One of them is in Madeira (where the family comes from), the other in the Algarve area of Portugal. Elma loves fashion and she in in charge of the shops and the concept of the company. “To have and design my own perfume has always been my dream. And I am very happy I finally made it. I knew my brother was going to launch his perfume and I wanted to be first”, says Elma.
Elma Aveiro presenting her fragrance in the CR7 store in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.
Elma is a pure perfume lover, one of those addicts that can never leave home without putting perfume on and having a bottle inside her purse. She may not be very savvy regarding brands and raw materials, but when I was talking to her I could see that her nose is naturally sophisticated. She showed me a picture of a bottle she had just finished and it was Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain. She prefers sweet and oriental scents with presence and a strong sillage. She is also a fan of Montale. When she started working on her own fragrance, she told the perfumer that she wanted to have an assertive scent, something with a bold character. She also sent him a list of perfumes she loves. After that, she was given a set of 9 samples from which to chose. The chosen one was her favorite, and maybe in future she will launch some of the other trials, for she loved more than one.
In fact, nobody would expect a Portuguese perfume to be this outstanding, much less coming from the small island of Madeira and from the hands of a soccer family. But I have no doubt, Elma by CR7 is a hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. It's actually not a very complicated fragrance throughout most of its development. It's when it reaches the drydown that I am left puzzled and can't figure it out completely. As soon as you spray it on, it tells you what it's all about. It starts already heavy on the resinous heart and base notes, with the faintest top of citrus freshness just to lift it up a bit. However, within a minute these are rapidly followed by very subtle florals. The jasmine comes subdued, just to impart a carnal whisper, as an introduction to the oriental base notes. Lily of the valley elongates the freshness of the already gone citric tones. 
The core composition of Elma is a cedarwood/amber duo. And the way it was done is so direct, sultry and sensual that, as an oriental lover, I was literally on my knees as soon as I felt it. I'm guessing that the cedarwood here is the Atlas variety, in all its animalic glory, and it's perfectly blended with a sweet resinous amber accord; it resembles a vintage composition. Imagine a Bal a Versailles turned young, with a more contemporary and softer heart, twisted with a strong ambergris base like the one in Alyssa Ashley's Ambre Gris. Now infuse it in a bottle that used to contain Donna Karan's Black Cashmere and add a green drop of Diorissimo and the slightest fruity whisper of Ambre de Cabochard. Later on, the amber subsides a bit, and what happens is a beautiful duo of animalic accords, cedarwood, vanilla and a green floral hint. The names I am giving you here are merely like pins on a map telling you where to situate this perfume, and I may add Prada Amber to help you get an idea.
Madeira is an island where the sea meets the mountains and there is a tree sap aspect in Elma that refers to the dewy woods on the top of the hills. There is also a green quality that I can't quite pinpoint. It seems like galbanum, but it only comes out in the drydown and galbanum is generally a top/middle note. It may also come from the lily of the valley. Or is it oakmoss and a green vetiver in the base that is not listed? The end notes of Atlas cedar can remind us of the warmth of civet, so my brain is sometimes fooled into thinking this is the actual civetone running its carnal and sexy march. The dirty woody-ambery base stays on the skin for the whole day, revealing a fragrance that's everything but faint. More often than not I find myself thinking “where does this sexy smell come from?”, and it's me...
Elma Aveiro and Cristiano Ronaldo
So, come to sunny Madeira to buy Elma by CR7 and you will not regret taking the trip, for it is a semi-tropical paradise in Europe. If not, buy it in the Algarve shop or through the CR7 online shop.
Notes: citruses, cedarwood, amber, jasmine, lily of the valley

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