I had read only amazing things about strangelove nyc, so I finally bought a discovery kit when it became available again. The “nyc” part seems to appear on some of their branding and not others. Each of these perfumes by master perfumer Christophe Laudamiel is composed around real, sustainable oud and other “rare and unique ingredients,” to quote the website.
My initial experiences:
Monday, Jan. 17: deadofnight—On first spray, I got a whiff of smokiness, which lasted only a second before the pungent yet soft oud emerged to the forefront. A beautiful, delicate floral diffuses close on the heels of the oud, which I recognized as rose. If other, heavy rose-oud perfumes could be compared with syrup in its intensity, this is more like an herbal tea in that it blooms in the space it is given. My skin seemed to soak up the oud, leaving behind gentle woods and florals, revealing a classic structure. On fabric, however, the animalic oud growls, encouraged by the green edge of violet leaf, and the white flowers (jasmine and tuberose are listed) are more prominent, eventually giving way to sharing the floor with sandalwood and incense.
Tuesday, Jan .18: meltmyheart—Chocolate! Iris! This, perhaps, could be my favorite version of both of those things in perfume. I don’t really smell any oud here; its effect might be hidden in a softly smoky, woody backdrop to the development of the heart into dried fruit notes, spiced like a potpourri might be (guessing this is due to the nutmeg and sage?). A very approachable beauty.
Wednesday, Jan. 19: silencethesea—This was a strange one for me. It was salty, not in the fashionable way many recent fragrances seem to be going, but concentrated, like seawater. Perhaps with shellfish, tangled up in seaweed. The real ambergris comes across to me not as rich, but cold. I could not smell the oud in here. The fragrance seems more “high pitched” at first; when I saw angelica as one of the listed notes, I pulled out my vial of angelica root essential oil for reference, and it is indeed earthy and rooty while also cool and minty. After a few minutes, the florals—jasmine and tuberose—seem to be revealed from their encasement in a hard, salty shell. I don’t perceive the narcissus and mimosa, but perhaps they contribute to the overall depth of the scent. My brain could be playing tricks, because I start to sense black pepper, almost as a counterpart to the salt (maybe I was just hungry). This one manages to be vegetal, animal, and mineral at the same time!
Thursday, Jan. 20: lostinflowers—Opened with banana, which made me think ylang-ylang, but maybe it’s the tagetes (marigold)? Also something like animalic ambergris, which is not listed here. To let the flowers bloom and to get lost in them, I needed to play hide-and-seek instead of sniffing directly where I had applied the perfume. As though with “peripheral olfaction,” I could get the best of the chorus of sweet, heady flowers (champaca, jasmine, and gardenia enfleurage) and woody notes (again, not that I would recognize unaided as oud).
Friday, Jan. 21: fallintostars—This is oud, no mistaking it. Smoky and dark. After the initial, brief pungency, it steps aside to introduce its eternal partner, rose… or does it? I was surprised that rose was not listed, but rather, rosewood and “the rose-inflected sweetness of pink peppercorns.” This leads into an ambery, floral phase before sinking into deep wood on fabric and revealing a vanillic drydown on skin, in which I smell Peru balsam.
Of these 5, the one I’m most drawn to is meltmyheart. Coincidentally, it was also mentioned in this week’s episode of my recent perfume podcast indulgence, On the Scent (hosted by Nicola Bonn and Suzy Nightingale): Episode 33 – Addictively Moreish Chocolate Fragrances.
Have you tried strangelove fragrances and if so, do you have a favorite?