Not only has this year’s Esxence brought me a new interesting person to talk with, but he also turned out to be the nose of a new upcoming line of Alexander Sumenkov perfumeur russe perfumes. How come? I just randomly (and luckily) started to talk to the blogger of a well-known blog in Russia Petit Parfum and found out there was a whole story of big future plans. Alexander’s goal is to become the first real Russian perfumer, because – let’s be honest – The Vagabond Prince with its kitschy blackcurrants doesn’t really count.
I was honoured to be one of the first ones to try the (hopefully) final samples of four future fragrances. So far, all I can say is it’s something new. Unique style, purified, wide and somehow rhetorical compositions don’t seem to limit themselves but rather ask a question. Be patient: it’s just a matter of time before you could check it out.
Cologne – cold as ice and hard as glass. It instantly reminds me of something: could it be the steamy sauna of my childhood and eucalyptus drops on hot stones; could it be a metal box with bandages and cooling minty ointments; could it be tall thujas in a small cemetery. The smell is extremely cold and freezing, yet it takes a couple of minutes to get warmer and softer. Then the classic eau de cologne structure appears and bitter tones become clearer. There’s a hint of my father’s fresh aftershave which fortunately doesn’t get sweeter and cheaper but remains slightly angry and violent. Cologne isn’t heavy: on the contrary, it hangs and lingers in the air and gets somewhat balmier in the heart without losing its angles. Bitter herbs seem to disappear in liquid nitrogen and a creaking sound of snow under your feet. Lightweight and airy, very masculine, quite sad.
* Notes: geranium, vetiver, jasmin, tonka bean.
Salt Vetivér was one of the biggest impressions of all four due to an unexpected interpretation of vetiver. Once again chilly, with a lot of air and wind, which tears off vetiver lying on the ground and lifts it up to the sky. Intense salty fragrances have never been my cup of tea, however here the saltiness is so right you can’t stop sniffing the wrist. The result? Amazing vetiver mixed with salty breeze. Smooth yet simultaneously tickling like butterflies in your stomach and the feeling of excitement about something you don’t dare to dream about. The scent is clean and tidy, pretty linear, nice on paper, marvelous on skin.
* Notes: lemon, vetiver, musk, muquet.
Rum Rosé. Another fragrance of my wish-list is dedicated to a boozy rose. It’s warm alcoholic, yet so luminous it has nothing to do with vulgarity. Rum is clearly perceived in the top notes: the combination of the lush intense liquid and fresh crispy rose makes your head spin so much you start to doubt if it’s really a rose or just a lie. Rum Rosé is sharp and quite sweet, it’s soft and creamy (not oily!)
It doesn’t flirt or provoke, yet it’s so deeply feminine and full of beauty that you simply can’t pretend you are not falling in love. Very lively, sparkling and followed by boozy sighs and buttery petals, it slowly comes to more quiet woody base notes. A great unisex. It’s opposite to vulgar flirty glances and loud chats. It’s somewhat mature and sophisticated, very classic and yet very modern.
* Notes: rose, pink peppercorn, iris, muquet, sandalwood.
White Candle. An anthem to warmth with the first notes of light soft spices. Cardamom? White pepper? Milky sandalwood? For a minute it reminds me of Serge Lutens Santal Blanc, but then it twists to a thicker and more solid side. I perceive a light medicinal tone of almonds. Is it plum? Heliotrope? Tonka bean? Even if there are moments when it gets cooler, generally the scent is round, warm and embracing. It’s dripping like melting wax and it’s intimate like soft yellowish street lights during a snowstorm. It’s cozy like tea in a fancy china cup and a rose embroidered shawl on your shoulders. Beautiful, cashmere, a little gourmand, a little sad-eyed, a little serious and having thousands of thoughts in its head.
* Notes: sandalwood, burn wood, white flowers, angelica root.
Alexander Sumenkov perfumeur russe perfumes are strangely wide, airy and laconic yet so full of everything they have a story to tell. They are thoughtful and nostalgic for something that probably has never existed. They are fragile and graceful, silent and beautiful from the inside out. They are poetic and similar to books with characters who get blown away by the wind and those you keep thinking about. They are cold ant getting warmer; they leave room for thoughts you don’t have yet.
But you never know.