December 16, 2010
Case File December 16, 2010
My associate Liz Zorn of Soivohle had asked for my olfactory skills to be applied to The Strange Case of the New Absolute. Upon arriving at Ms. Zorn’s laboratory Over The Rhine in Cincinnati I was presented with one of her latest compositions “Meerschaum”. Removing the pipe from my mouth, doffing my deerstalker hat, I proceeded to employ my magnifying nose to explore this new creation. I submit to you my findings.
Over and over again in my investigation of the best artisanal perfumers I have come into contact with I run into one common thread, their almost intimate bond with their ingredients. Ms. Zorn is one of those who seems to really work from a sense of getting to know the components of her fragrances. Her goal was to present a tobacco and leather pas de deux. Meerschaum comes to represent a perfume equivalent of real Meerschaum which starts off white but as it ages and is waxed takes on a warm deep patina as it deepens in color. As the material goes, so goes the fragrance.
Meerschaum starts off in its un-aged white form as a lightly spicy mix which is kept on the light side as the promised tobacco comes in almost as if you were loading this pipe of the olfactory. Now that you have packed the pipe it is time to lean back into your leather wing chair and take in the leather as you hold the pipe nearby. The tobacco and leather in Meerschaum intertwine to really create that opulent smoking room feel. Cedar continues that feel as you get the clean woody lines that that note provides. Meerschaum has now fully aged into the deep brown as dark amber anchors the base and the spicy aspect of amber reminds one of the opening stages of Meerschaum. Meerschaum is never anything but an intimately warm and comforting fragrance, much like the experience of smoking a good pipe on a cold winter’s night in a leather chair.
Meerschaum has excellent longevity but as with almost all of Soivohle’s absolutes it is resolutely a skin scent. If you are someone who likes to share your fragrance while wearing it this will make Meerschaum problematic. On the other hand if you wear fragrance for you and those whom you let get close to you Meerschaum is ideal.
I slowly got up from my chair and as I was reclaiming my jacket, adjusting my hat, and reloading my pipe I could see Ms. Zorn looking for a conclusion. Elementary my dear Zorn, Meerschaum is another complex, rewarding fragrance from an artisan who knows how to make all of her ingredients lead to a very satisfying conclusion.( No S$%* Sherlock).
Until we meet for our next fragrant exploration, Case Closed.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Soivohle for the purpose of this review.
–Mark Behnke, Managing Editor