In these early days of summer 2012 those of us who live east of the Mississippi River have been in the grip of an intense heat wave with the temperatures outside climbing into the vicinity of 100 degrees. When the weather gets this hot for this long there comes a time when you just feel like you want to be wearing less of everything; and wearing perfume? Well that just seems like the wrong thing. It is during this kind of heat where I generally return to my arsenal of classic eau de colognes. I like to put them in the refrigerator and give myself a cool refreshing spritz throughout the day. I have some classic old friends in this category that are mainstays but there have been some modern new versions of this which have also made their way into my refrigerator this summer. Chief among these are the Eau de Colognes from Thirdman. I reviewed their first release Eau Monumentale last November and earlier this year they released two more versions Eau Profonde and Eau Moderne.
Thirdman came into being in the latter half of 2011 with the release of Eau Monumentale. With that release they claimed on their website and in their press materials that they wanted to create a new generation of refreshing and exceptional citrus fragrances. Not an easy thing to do in what is a very crowded sector of the fragrance universe. Eau Monumentale turned out to do a more than creditable job at living up to this ambition. These latest two releases actually do it better and together this collection of three eaux de cologne make up a refreshing alternative for these hot days.
Eau Profonde is the most citrusy of the Thirdman fragrances as it bursts to life with all of the brightness of those notes. What makes Eau Profonde stand out is the use of amber as the partner for all of this bright citrus. Very often the complaint of eau de colognes is that they have no depth; some will even go so far as to say they have no soul. Eau Profonde definitely has depth and soul. The opening moments of Eau Profonde are lime and orange. The sweet tart pulpy accord these two create can’t help but refresh and the arrival of an intense neroli really adds to the liquid sunshine feel. This shine is dimmed a bit by the amber which tiptoes into the composition before eventually becoming the lead dog. Cedar adds the final bit of clean woodiness to close things out. The choice of a great amber to replace the more traditional herbal component in eau de cologne is an inspired choice and makes Eau Profonde a good choice for a moonlight stroll.
Eau Moderne is the one that I keep returning to because it feels like the one of these Thirdman fragrances which does the best job of living up to the ideal of creating something both modern and exceptional. The note that makes that happen is an incredible orris used in Eau Moderne. Along with the citrus notes the orris seems to be in a constant state of flux among all of its many guises; at times rooty, then slightly metallic, then green, then cleanly floral. Through each new iteration Eau Moderne seems to shift like a chameleon trapped on a rainbow. The bergamot note in Eau Moderne is a beautifully intense version and it brings out all of the slightly green quality of the orris. The next to come is orange and it accentuates that earthy rooty nature inherent in orris. A bit of cedar and sandalwood bring out the metallic shine of the best orris. In the end as the final wisps of Eau Moderne disappear it is the orris alone exiting stage right. For anyone looking for a truly modern version of eau de cologne Eau Moderne lives up to its name.
Eau Profonde and Eau Moderne are true eaux de cologne and require liberal application and frequent re-application if you want to wear them all day. Also the entire Thirdman line benefits from a heavier application as the subtleties really only became apparent after I wore a lot of all three Thirdman colognes. With this kind of application, especially initially, there is a lot of sillage but it does get much less fairly quickly.
I have been a bit uncharitable when it comes to the whole “Who is Thirdman?” PR campaign around who the perfumer is. Frankly I don’t care if the perfumer behind these excellent compositions wants to keep their name a secret that’s fine with me. As long as I can have all three lined up in my refrigerator for this heat wave I’m in the middle of right now; right next to the pitcher of Hendricks and tonic.
Disclosure: This review was based on decants purchased from Surrender to Chance.
–Mark Behnke, Managing Editor