“create something unusual, something that goes beyond their normal boundaries”
That first collection was quite the interesting group as Yosh Han, Tristan Brando, Sarah Horowitz, Sarah Barton-King, and Maria Mcelroy all took that simple request and followed it beautifully. One of the things I liked about this collection was the thought that there would be regular installments. Alas, that didn’t turn out to be the case as year after year went by with no new Untitled releases. I would ask from time to time, of the team at Luckyscent, whether there were plans to do more and be met with the vague, “We’re thinking about it.” Until late in 2010 when asking Franco Wright this question again at the end of an e-mail I got a different answer, “We’re going to release three new ones by the end of the year.” The next question was “Who?” to which the answer was, “Susanne Lang, Hilde Soliani, and Brent Leonesio.” I felt like these three perfumers were great choices to live up to that simple brief to create beyond their normal boundaries.
Untitled No. 6 by Susanne Lang
Susanne Lang Cashmere is one of my favorite amber and incense fragrances. Ms. Lang was able to control the two strong central notes and surrounded them with a supporting cast of spice that turned Cashmere special. For Untitled No. 6, Ms. Lang used as her cornerstone an aged patchouli oil from 1998. Just as with Cashmere it is the surrounding notes which help define this smoother and somewhat softer patchouli. The spicy duo of clove and nutmeg appear in the opening phases to match the somewhat attenuated earthy pungency of the vintage patchouli oil. Sandalwood and agarwood complement the almost woody base. Untitled No. 6 reminds me of the way balsamic vinegar becomes smoother and more complex with age. The vintage patchouli oil Ms. Lang uses is identifiably patchouli but it is also smoother and more complex and something far removed from more common patchoulis out there.
Untitled No. 7 by Hilde Soliani
Just as with Ms. Lang, Hilde Soliani has also created one of my favorite coffee fragrances, Bell’ Antonio. It evoked a diner at 2AM with the smell of cigarettes and coffee pots cooking on burners. Untitled No. 7 moves us firmly into the daylight about twelve hours later. It is a simple mix of three notes; citrus, vanilla, and Mysore sandalwood. Ms. Soliani coaxes every nuance from all three of those notes and it creates a swirling spiral of brightness which bursts off your skin. The citrus is tart and lively, the vanilla is sweet but not cloying, and the Mysore sandalwood is rich and deeply woody. Each of these by themselves would be a beautiful centerpiece but like “The Three Tenors” Ms. Soliani has created a fragrance which allows each note the opportunity to shine as a solo but in harmony is when Untitled No. 7 really hits the high notes.
Untitled No. 8 by Brent Leonesio
Brent Leonesio has been one of the most exciting young indie perfumers going. He created his own line, Smell Bent, and has been creating a number of excellent fragrances for about the last year. One of my early favorites was Horny Little Devil which was a mix of an excellent cinnamon with a very dirty musk. It left me wondering what Mr. Leonesio would compose if he was going to really unleash a skanky filthy musk fragrance. Untitled No. 8 is the answer to my question as Mr. Leonesio manages to turn in one of the most skanky animalic fragrances I’ve ever run into. This is a fragrance for only those who love something like Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan and Untitled No. 8 is another level on top of that. Mr. Leonesio takes civet, oud, and musk adds in a little narcissus and leather and unleashes a fragrance that seems to revel in its dirty skankiness. Civet and musk take no time in setting the feel for Untitled No. 8 narcissus and oud add more intensity and finally a shot of leather. I imagine that Untitled No. 8 will only be for those who really love the kind of animalic fragrances that many do not. Even for me who loves my fragrances on the animalic side there were times I felt Untitled No. 8 was wearing me than vice versa. It wasn’t until the third time I wore it when I realized what an incredibly balanced piece of work this was and began to let myself relax into it. Once that happened Untitled No. 8 was tamed but no less feral for it.
All of the Untitled fragrances are perfume oils and have above average longevity and below average sillage, wearing quite close to my skin.
Even though it took, five years all three of the perfumers who have participated in this round of Untitled allowed their past to speak as to where their boundaries lie, then they gleefully and successfully raced past them.
–Mark Behnke, Managing Editor