Marina’s Project - Page 1

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*

Don’t Think It’s Over Yet.

I’m happy to know that one of Made by Blog’s first projects is still moving forward. I just received two mods from Clement for Marina’s Holy Grail (thanks, Clement). Marina, I will hopefully send them to you on Monday. A limited number of Marina’s new mods are available upon request (sorry, samples will be send only to U.S. addresses).

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

New mods are now available

A limited number of Katie and Marina’s new mods are available upon request. If you are interested in trying them out and commenting on them when the reviews are up, please write to: madebyblog [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing address. Numbers are limited and available on a first come first serve basis. (Sorry, but we can only send the samples to U.S. addresses this time.)

Thanks all, mods will be sent out shortly.

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.