Naomi Goodsir Or du Sérail, Lagavulin & Sinbad’s Seven Seas
Ingenious Australian hat designer moved to France and probably made the best decision in her life – to start making perfumes. I think that her creations overwhelm thousands around the globe because I can’t think how one couldn’t appreciate those, true niche, scents. Vive la globalisation et creative spirit of Naomi Goodsir studio.
It’s so rare nowadas to find beautfiul, captivating perfume houses. The ones that have soul and some story to tell, but also, and what is most important to me, personality. With Naomi Goodsir Parfums I can feel her personality in every creation because I connect it to the open minded and unique personality, just like she is in real life.
My latest crush is Or du Sérail. I mean, I have 24/7 crushes on her creations because they are simply must-have for all perfume lovers. What is the most magnificent of all, I constantly re-discover creations. As I change, they do change as well. It’s the olfactory magic of artistic approach to the creation. That might be the highest quality of this studio – independent creations with cojones.
Naomi Goodsir is all about uniqueness. Like it was aforementioned, she is Australian creator, designer, that specialized in accessories mostly. Nowadays, you can see beautiful and creative hats signed by her hand, which are truly extravagant, elegant and eternal. It’s the combination of high quality materials with creative touch. The same goes for bags and accessories. If you ever have a chance to meet her in person, don’t miss it.
Uniqueness is translated to scents. Each scent is praised by perfume lovers and have positive notes by perfume critics such as bloggers and journalists. They combine the artistic touch. The latest acclamation came by Art & Olfaction institution that awarded Nuit de Bakélite as the best independent creation last year. If you smell that one, you will have olfactory enlightenment and discover how tuberose can be white and green. One of my favorites, Bois d’Ascèse offers spiritual smoky effect of burnt coal and dark leather. It’s a house to explore, that’s for sure.
Or du Sérail is as intoxicating as crystal eyes lurking in the dark, somewhere in gentleman’s club with Cuban cigar between his fingers and smoke fulfilling the room. In the same time intoxicating sweet tobacco scent arouses and brings irresistible whiffs of it.
Second main component is the miracle from Gods, golden nectar that heals the soul. It is golden honey that makes it sensual, soft, sweet, with generous ambery tones. It’s like sunset somewhere in the desert, where endless sunrays play with heat.
When I first saw les merveilles in Paris, I was amazed with the art of patisserie. It was the scent of delicious, baked sweetness. This perfume reminds me of same, exciting feeling. The intoxicating scent of olfactory art curated by notes of tobacco, golden honey, sweet oriental spices and dried fruits. What a wonderful perfume, the ona that lingers in the air and leaves appealing scent of sweet and innocent seduction.
Sinbad and Lagavulin
I would pair this masterpiece by Bertrand Duchafour with Lagavulin 16 YO. It’s the refinement of this Islay heritage that makes it smooth, while richness comes from the combination of oak casks which are well toasted. Lagavulin has the smooth smoky aftertaste that makes you feel sensation of spices and warmness. Exactly the same effect has this perfume. I was serving Lagavulin, dried figs, dried dates, almonds, nuts, cashew and Juan Clemente Dominican cigars to friends when they came over. The air was full of natural Or du Sérail. It’s the magic of this scent that possessed me.
Another motive that I am thinking of is the story of Sinbad. This fierce sailor from Middle East had adventurous life full of unexpected encounters and supranatural places. On his sixth voyage, yet again he is shipwrecked quite violently on the cliffs. He builds a raft and discovers a river running out of a cavern beneath the cliffs. The stream proves to be filled with precious stones and becomes apparent that the island’s streams flow with ambergris. He woke up in the city of Ceylon and discovered that diamonds are in its rivers and pearls in its valleys. He returns to Baghdad with a cup carved from a single ruby, a bed made from the skin of serpent that swallowed an elephant and a slave-gril like a shining moon.
Ceylon, famous for its spices is one of my leitmotivs, while the Oriental warmth gives this ambery, warm, tobacco feeling. Enduring and beautiful.
Or du Sérail is truly like a shining moon. At the moment, I can’t imagine more suitable perfume than this. Enveloping, beautiful, spicy and warm miracle. It makes me go read Thousand and one night stories. Let me know if you were enchanted as I am.
Text & photos by Juraj Sotosek-Rihtarec
The smoky aromas of bonfires, roasted chestnuts, frankincense and lapsang souchong tea are among the most complex, and I know quite a few individuals who fantasise about a fragrance that smells like a charcoal-grilled steak. There is a difference, however, between enjoying a scent in its proper context – charred ribeye at a barbecue or burning leaves in an autumnal park – and wearing a fragrance that reprises such odours. For this reason, the perfumery interpretations of smoke tend to blend it into a more familiar setting of woods, spices and resins.
One of the best introductions to a smoky perfume is L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Passage d’Enfer (£105 for 100ml EDT). Perfumer Olivia Giacobetti is known for her ability to create olfactory watercolours – airy, transparent compositions. Passage d’Enfer combines lilies and incense, filling the spaces between the white, cool petals with smoke. Giacobetti’s touch is light, and the perfume remains soft and radiant, from the smoky opening to the vanilla- and cedarwood-accented drydown.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another delicate and smoky perfume created by Giacobetti for Hôtel Costes in Paris. Capturing the idea of woods and velvet, the perfumer composed a sandalwood and rose fragrance laced with incense. Hôtel Costes Splash (€110 for 125ml EDT) proves that smoke can be glamorous as well as intriguing.
Smoky nuances in perfumery aren’t new, and classics like Chanel’s Cuir de Russie (£150 for 75ml EDP), Guerlain’s Shalimar (£99 for 90ml EDP) or Molinard’s Habanita (€94 for 75ml EDP) have flirted with the smouldering inflections of frankincense, benzoin or amber. What makes the modern smoky fragrances different is their boldness. Naomi Goodsir’s Bois d'Ascèse (€140 for 50ml EDP) doesn’t hold back on dramatic materials like birch tar, leather and incense, and the effect is striking. The fragrance smells smoky, but it’s so cleverly balanced that wearing it is no different from enjoying a classical woody oriental blend, albeit one with more verve.
Those who indeed want to smell of charcoal and tar can have their wish granted by Comme des Garçons’ Black (£80 for 100ml EDT). The name doesn’t lie. It’s a dark perfume that evokes charred woods, crushed black pepper and tanned leather. The first time I wore it, I was shocked, because I didn’t expect such an explosive effect – and so much smoke out of a bottle. The fragrance turned out to be addictive, however, and I’ve grown to enjoy the potent opening and the unexpectedly tender and warm drydown. It transpired that perfumer Guillaume Flavigny used a gingerbread accent to round out the edges of Black, thus making smoke smell sweet.
Article by Victoria Frolova, December 2018.