March 24, 2012
If there was a perfumed genie who would grant a perfumista three fragrant wishes I think one of those wishes would be for a bespoke perfume made especially for that person by their favorite perfumer. For many of us the idea of a bespoke perfume being made for us is as likely as coming upon Aladdin’s Flacon. Keiko Mecheri has called her latest collection of seven fragrances Bespoke. I’ve seen a number of comments on how she could call something that is widely available Bespoke. After having experienced these fragrances I think I might have an answer to that question.
The seven fragrances which make up the Bespoke collection are perhaps some of the most individually interesting fragrances Ms. Mecheri has made. When I say “interesting” that means “not for everyone”. In the case of this collection I believe Ms. Mecheri composed each fragrance with a clear vision and knowledge that she was creating something that would sing for some people and for others fall flat. The nice thing is I also believe there is at least one fragrance in here that will thrill most perfumistas. I’m going to break these reviews up into two parts because each of these fragrances deserves more than a couple of lines. As I tried each fragrance I imagined a potential customer asking Ms. Mecheri for the perfume and so my start of each review is my thought of what a customer might have asked for if this was a true bespoke perfume.
“Make me an amber perfume which has a vintage vibe to it.”
All too often perfumers choose to soften amber perfumes with floral notes and to tame the beast that is amber. One of the aspects of ambergris which usually gets buried is that subtle sense of the ocean which gives it birth. That oceanic quality is a kind of strong iodine laden quality. In Amber Mirabilis Ms. Mecheri surrounds her ambergris heart with strong woods and spices. Once all of these are put together this ends up feeling more like a fragrance that could have been made 50 years ago.
Amber Mirabilis opens with that unique note that only ambergris brings to a fragrance; there is a hint of rose to balance the early going. As the ambergris persists a zephyr of spices start to blow across it and it accentuates the spicy facets of amber. In the base Ms. Mecheri pulls out the big guns as cedar and oud take this in an extremely woody direction. In the final phase of the development Amber Mirabilis feels like a classic vintage perfume. It is very bold and it accentuates all of the strongest facets of the notes present. If you like the amber, cedar and oud you will find Amber Mirabilis to be right for you.
Amber Mirabilis has outstanding longevity and average sillage.
Bal de Roses
“Can you combine rose with other strong floral notes for me?”
If you are someone who loves the stronger floral notes Bal de Roses is a banquet of those notes. The titular rose is combined with some of the stronger floral notes in the perfumer’s palette. It is a surprisingly balanced floral study for all of the power on display and it never pulls any of its floral punches as it just keeps adding to the bouquet one after the other.
A light dewy rose is the opening of Bal de Roses and it is matched with ylang-ylang. The rose turns deeper and spicier and it needs to because jasmine also joins at the same time and it is a dirty indolic jasmine on display. Tuberose is added to the mix and Ms. Mecheri takes a note which would normally overpower and instead has it add more intensity without making it unbalanced. It is very strongly floral and this is where Bal de Roses stays until it fades away.
Bal de Roses has average longevity and above average sillage.
“I’d like a fragrance which smells like Monument Valley at dawn.”
This is closest to something I would ask for if given the opportunity. If you’ve ever spent the night in the desert there is a special fragrance to sunrise. As the desert is at its most fragrantly concentrated in the coolest moment of the day; the sun is now starting to heat up things and it adds energy to everything. There is a slightly spicy, earthy, floral quality to this accord. Canyon Dreams captures sunrise in the desert.
Bergamot adds a bright citrus quality to the top notes and there is a deepening of the citrus quality as Canyon Dreams develops. The heart is a mix of light sandalwood and rose as if from a distance. Ms. Mecheri keeps these notes light and breezy. Oud and patchouli make up the base notes and it creates a sagebrush-like accord. This is the final touch which closes this dream of the desert, for me.
Canyon Dreams has above average longevity and average sillage.
In Part 2, I will cover the remaining four fragrances in the collection: Cuir Fauve, Sousanne, Tangeri, and Vetiver Velour.
Disclosure: This review was based on the sampler coffret of the Bespoke collection which I purchased.
–Mark Behnke, Managing Editor