Marina

Marina has 15 articles published.

The Two Latest Mods

I must apologize for not reviewing the two new mods sooner. Life has been hectic in more ways than hundred. Perhaps, I have also been reluctant to write about the latest mods, because I can feel the end of the project is near. The Holy Grail can be almost visible (or smellable, heh) on the horizon. And this has been so much fun and so much excitement that…well, can you blame me for not wanting to let it go?

Anyway, the last two mods. I liked them a lot, but not as much as R6/T, one of the two previous mods, the one that I call Gardenia and Leather. When I reviewed R6/T, I asked Clement to make it a little softer, to get rid of some of the leather and to give me more, more, more gardenia. The two new mods show that the scent has indeed become softer. It is still, however, much too heavy on leather for my taste, and I don’t get enough gardenia.

So this time I would like to ask Clement to do just two things: less leather, MORE GARDENIA. heaps and heaps of gardenia, gallons and bushels of it. Basically, as much gardenia as can be possible.

After that, I think, we will be done. *sigh*

Summer Favorites

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Clement

I am doing a small but very fun project on my blog, called Perfume Stars: Summer Favorites, in which I ask some of the most interesting people in the perfume industry about the fragrances they prefer to wear in warm weather and about their preferred holiday destinations. I decided to cross-post Nobi’s, Clement’s and Laurent’s answers here, with some additional pictures kindly provided by Clement.

Clement 2

Clement Gavarry

What are you favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“For Women: Happy, Light Blue
For Men: Polo Blue, Unforgivable”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“Kenya”

Laurent Le Guernec

What are you favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“My summer fragrance is the same as my regular fragrance, because I wear a lot of fresh fragrances. For me it is more a mood thing rather than a season thing.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“I love to go places where you can relax and visit at the same time, and Mexico is great for that. But my best vacations still is 3 weeks in the south of France. I’m sure there are many places like that but I haven’t been there yet.”

Nobi Shioya

What are you favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“Why would I want to spoil my BO with men’s fragrances? Here’s how to make the ultimate men’s scent for summer. Go to a boxing gym on a sizzling hot day. Inside the above-90-degree gym with closed windows, do the two-hour routine including sparing with black, Puerto Rican, and red-haired white fighters. Get the sparring partners’ sweat, saliva, and blood over your body. You will feel and look like you swam in olive oil after that. Don’t take a shower after, in stead, pour 2 to 3 oz. of the 2005 version of 100% Love all over yourself. You will feel sexier than Brad Pitt in Fight Club.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“I cannot decide on one destination… my favorite destinations will vary depending on the season, my mood, and the length of the vacation. If I have two to three weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, I will stay in Big Island and hop to the other islands. If it’s one week around Thanks Giving, I will go somewhere on the Atlantic coast in Mexico or Belize. For summer, two weeks in the South of France will be perfect.”

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Clement 3

Gardenias and Leather

This concludes Marina’s Round 6 with mod R6/S and R5/T.

One of the previous two mods had me saying that it was the beginning of the end, one of the last two, specifically mod R6/T, convinced me even further that Holy Grail is almost within our sight. Like last time, the other mod, in this case R6/S, was great, but not exactly what I wanted. It was leather and not much else…not that it’s a bad thing, but, again, not what I wanted.

With R6/T, however, Clement hit the spot with amazing precision. I asked for gardenia and leather, he gave me gardenia and leather. Both notes were apparent from the start, intertwining like silky ribbons of creamy-white and black, weaving a luscious, nocturnal ornament. The base was earthy and deep and featured a little bit of patchouli, which I liked. The overall effect was that of a gorgeous contrast of lightness and dark, of the yin of the flowers and the yang of leather, of velvety softness and elegant harshness. I find the pairing of gardenia and leather to be incredibly appealing, even more so than the gardenia and labdanum combo (Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia, which I adore). Whereas the latter is prone to creating a “blue cheese effect” (which I admittedly like), leather does nothing of the kind.

While some of the previous mods felt – understandably- like drafts, sketches of a great perfume to come, R6/T strikes me as a perfectly finished product. If I were say, an owner of a famous niche fragrance line, I would have been proud to include this scent in my collection. Given its sumptuous feel, its forcefulness and an overall attitude of unapologetic luxury, I would say that R6/T might be a good fit for the aforementioned Tom Ford’s Private Blend line.

And that brings me to the question of what I would like to be changed in R6/T. I would like it to be somewhat less robust. I am not asking for an understated scent, but I feel that, on the scale where L’Eau d’Hiver would exemplify the subtle and Obsession would illustrate the too-powerful, R6/T edges a little too close to the Obsession territory. If on that same scale L’Eau d’Hiver is a 1 and Obsession is a 10, I want my perfume to be no more than 7. Strange as it may sound, the mod feels…too rich. Using Luca Turin’s comparison of chic and luxury, I will say that R6/T smells luxurious, whereas I would love it to smell chic.

Another change I would like to see in R6/T is for the yin of leather to be brought down a couple of notches and for the yang of gardenia to be strengthened further. In other words, I want the leather note to become less strong (quite a lot less strong, in fact) and I want gardenia a little stronger than it is now. And then… you never know, one of the mods from the next batch might really be last one…

Images: Yin and Yang by Peter Sanderson, avalongallery.com; Gardenia Garden by Rebecca Swanson, allposters.com.

The Beginning of the End

This concludes Marina’s Round 5 with mod R5/Q and R5/R.

Maiden with Holy GrailDo not be troubled by the ominous title of this post. It is all good. I liked one of the last two mods so much, I believe we are now not simply on the right track but actually well on the way along the track towards the happy ending. The mod I am talking about is R5/Q. I suppose I should mention R5/R as well, just so it doesn’t feel completely left out. It is a great leather scent, a little smoky, a little salty. If all I wanted was leather and nothing but leather, it would have been wonderful. But I envision something more for my Holy Grail, with leather certainly being a prominent element, but still just one of many elements.

R5/Q, on the other hand, has the complexity and depth I am looking for. It starts on my skin with a sweet-n-spicy accord, which features a pronounced fruity undertone. Not sparkly-pink fruits, which I hate, but over-ripe, dark, exotic fruits oozing honeyed nectar. This spicy-fruity accord reminds me very much of that in Fendi Asja. In fact, R5/Q’s beginning seems to me to be a little too similar to Asja, and maybe just a tad too fruity for my taste. The middle stage is creamy and vaguely floral; about two thirds into the scent’s development a leather note appears. At first it is a rough, smoky, take-no-prisoners leather, but slowly it begins to soften and turns into the most delicate of calf skins or maybe even suede. Because of the “fruits”, the smell of which is still lingering even at the later stage, the mod at this point reminds me quite a lot of Serge Lutens Daim Blond, which is one of my most favorite scents of all time, but again, I would like a little less similarity. I am sure that if we toned down “the fruits”, the similarity would disappear.

GardeniaTo sum it up, what I want to be done to Holy Grail now is for the “fruits” or whatever it is that I perceive as “fruits” in its top notes to be taken down a notch or two. I also would love for the scent to have a stronger floral accord in its heart. Something languid, exotic and creamy, to compliment the general warm feeling of the composition. Perhaps we could try gardenia? Gardenia and leather…does it not sound wonderful to you? It does to me! As for the leather note, I think it is just perfect as it is now, not too smoky and forceful but not too wimpy either. So – less fruits, much more flowers, no change to the leather, and…we will be done!

Image source, mythinglinks.org, echonews.com

We Have a Winner!

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Just when I started to think that perhaps I need to supply more clues, Benvenuta guessed the answer! Clement Gavarry’s favorite movie is indeed The Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu). The movie was one of the most financially successful French films in the 1980s, and played in French theaters for a whole year. It’s release was initially blocked in Italy, because Enzo Maiorca (the real-life diver and inspiration behind the character Enzo Molinari, played by Jean Reno) felt that his portrayal in the movie was unfair. Jean Reno connects The Big Blue to The Da Vinci Code, in which he plays Bezu Fache. And it is yet again the very active Jean Reno who released a scent called Jean Reno Loves You, created by Nathalie Lorson, the IFF perfumer based in France.

Congratulations, Benvenuta. Please send us your address to madebyblog at gmail dot com, and the bottle of Insolence will be on its way to you. Thank you, everyone, for playing, stay tuned for another quiz coming soon.

Quiz time! Clement’s Favorite Movie

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Katie’s mods are on the way, mine are not quite complete. While we are waiting, let’s have a prize draw. Guess Clement Gavarry’s favorite movie and receive a bottle of Guerlain Insolence. Should there be several correct answers, the name of the winner will be chosen at random.

Clue 1:
blue.jpg
Clue 2: It was so popular in one country, it played in its theaters for a whole year.
Clue 3: Its release was blocked in another country.
Clue 4: The film is one degree of separation from The Da Vinci Code (the movie).
Clue 5: A couple of years ago, a person who plays one of the main characters has released a fragrance, created by an IFF perfumer.

Quiz now closed. We have a winner!

Report on the phone conversation with Clement Gavarry and a review of the latest mods

This concludes Marina’s Round 4 with mod R4/L and R4/M.

clementonphone1.jpg
© What We Do Is Secret

I had a wonderful opportunity to talk on the phone with Clement Gavarry, the wonderful perfumer who is creating my Holy Grail. He said that my idea behind the scent was very “niche” and “avangarde”…and that is the best compliment I have received in a long, long time. In turn, I told him that I loved one of the two latest mods, R4/M, and that I thought that we were on the right track.

R4/M has all the qualities I am looking for in my ultimate fragrance. It has soft spiciness (cardamom), sweet amber, quite prominent leather and musk, and a comfortable and comforting but not too “fluffy” vanillic drydown. What I want now is for all these qualities to be amplified and emphasized. I would like more spice (I asked Clement to experiment with pepper and coriander), more leather, more musk, even more vanilla. Plus I’d love for the scent to acquire a distinctly smoky undertone. Not so realistically smoky as to be borderline disturbing, like CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves; I am looking for subtle, elegant and softly-enveloping smoke of Bois d’Armenie.

The other mod, R4/L, although not drastically different from R4/M, still had, on my skin, the saffron note that I apparently cannot stand anymore. I realize that I actually specifically asked for saffron in my proposal. I loved the note but now the love is gone. I wonder if perfumers in general and Clement in particular find their clients’ ever changing requirements exasperating. I also wonder whether working with one individual client is actually harder in that respect, whether it might not be easier to deal with a committee who submit their brief once and don’t mess with it again, like I do with my “brief” for Holy Grail. In other words, I wonder if it is easier to satisfy a corporation than it is to satisfy one fickle perfumista.

Holy Grail. Mod 3. Marina’s Review

This concludes Marina’s Round 3 with mod R3/H.
I have received my third Mod, Holy Grail R3/H, and these are my impressions…Actually, I have received it several weeks ago, it just took me this long to make up my mind about it. The more I tested it the more I liked it and I am happy to say that I feel like we are on the right track now. It has spice, it has warm, slightly animalic musk and it even has a strong leather note in the drydown.

What I would love to happen next is …I can’t believe I am saying this…I want the spicy note (which, on my skin, is mostly saffron) to become subdued. Right now, the note is very prominent; it overshadows other ingredients and makes the scent feel almost like saffron “soliflore”. In fact, perhaps we could try it without any saffron at all, just to see what it would be like? I know I asked for saffron in my proposal, and I am sorry to change my mind, but somehow the note just isn’t working for me, it is too strong, too persistent. I am over saffron. Perhaps, we could even have two mods next time, one without any spice, one with a different spice, for example cardamom?

In general, I would love for the scent to become a little softer, even warmer, sort of “rounder” in feel, perhaps even a little sweeter. I was wondering if adding more vanilla wouldn’t achieve that comforting, soft effect? I know I am asking too much, but I’d love for Holy Grail be to simultaneously intense and soft. Right now it is a little sharp, and I would like it to lose that spicy edge a little. So this time I am not asking for more “skank” and more “darkness”, I am asking for more “comfort”.

An Interview with Clement Gavarry

clementvideo.jpgFor your enjoyment, here is an interview with Clement Gavarry, a short film by Miss Liz. Clement talks about his source of inspiration, his favorite perfume ingredient and the creation of his that makes him most proud. Personally, I had only one comment running through my head when I was watching the interview…so handsome, so young, so talented! Enjoy!

If you would like to ask Clement a question, please do so in the comments section. He will try to answer some of them in a future post. [by Marina]

Marina’s Message to Clement regarding the second mod of Holy Grail

This concludes Marina’s Round 2 with mod R2/D.
My second mod, Holy Grail R2/D has arrived! This is my message to Clement regarding the mod:

Dear Clement,

I was so thrilled to try my second mod! It started with a spicy explosion of saffron and my heart rejoiced. I do like this version more than Mod No. 1, simply because it is spicier, warmer and more “substantial”, not as ethereal.

For the next mod I was wondering if we could make it even warmer, heavier and more animalic. I know that my proposal said that I want my scent to be spicy, but I was thinking that perhaps we could tone down the spice (which I perceive to be mainly saffron) a little, not so much by reducing the amount of it as by making the other notes stronger. As it is, to my nose and on my skin,” saffron” overwhelms everything else. I do smell a little musk and some amber in the drydown, but apart from that the scent seems rather linear, like a saffron “soliflore”. (If you are familiar with Safram by Laura Tonatto, this is how Mod 2 smells to my nose.)

I would absolutely love the scent to have more woods, particularly sandalwood. And I would be so happy if the musk was made much, much stronger. I also want this musk to be very obviously “dirty”. No clean musk for me, please. I don’t know if you had a chance to read the comments made by our readers about the first mod…One of my wonderful fellow bloggers, March, came up with an idea of Marina’s Skank-o-Meter. On a scale of 1 to 10, where Clair de Musc by Serge Lutens is 1 and Muscs Koublai Khan is a perfect 10, I would like my Holy Grail to be 8,5 or maybe even 9. Please don’t hold back and don’t be afraid to scare me off with animalic notes. I love my scents to be dark and dirty.

I also wanted to note that some of the people who received the 2nd mod told me that they smelled a leather note there. I was a little upset that there seemed to be no leather on my skin. However, after a couple of more tries, I did actually start to smell leather, albeit faintly, in the very late drydown. I would love for that note to be much stronger! Paired with the dirty kind of musk I have in mind, spiced up by some saffron and cardamom, softened by the velvety sandalwood and perhaps some vanilla…oh my!

To sum it all up and hopefully to amuse you, here are my impressions and wishes:

This is how Mod R2/D smells right now- bright, thrilling, but essentially insubstantial:

Fireworks

This is how I would like it to smell- warm, sensual, generous, inviting, like a fire burning in the darkness of the night:

Fire

I also want it to be “dirty” and not at all innocent. I would go as far as to say that I want it to smell “dangerous”, perhaps even a little sinister…Like this:

 

Franz von Stuck, Sin

Thank you very much again! I am looking forward to hearing from you and to the next mod!

Best wishes,
Marina

The images are from art.com.

The samples of R2/D are now available in the online shop.