March 16, 2017
Prism, photo by Todd Liotine©
What is the smell of refracted light?
Pierre Guillaume’s Aqaysos, the newest addition in the Huitieme Art collection, is inspired by the faceted brilliance of crystal. Combining this lucent mineral with the light-absorbing opacity of woods is a particularly "Guillaumian" contradiction. Who else but Pierre Guillaume would enhance the quick fire bounce of crystal by juxtaposing it against a porous, retentive material like wood? This is not the watercolor translucence of Jean-Claude Ellena, but transparency done Guillaume-style, witty and paradoxical.
Come to my Window, photo by Michael Taggart Photography©
Pierre Guillaume’s Huitieme Art has a different aesthetic from his Parfumerie Generale and Phaedon lines. Huitieme Art is stripped down perfumery, where two or three accords or raw materials are focused and intensified , extracted via a technology Guillaume calls “phyto-perfumery.” To further enhance the focus of the central notes, Huitieme Art perfumes do away with the traditional fragrance structure of top, middle and base notes.
Light painting by Stephen Knapp
Aqaysos opens with sharp angles: light citric zing, part grapefruit, part herbal, the tiniest bit peachy. The soapy tang of coriander is evident, and peppery spice quickly comes forward. As Aqaysos warms on the skin, the citrus note reveals different aspects: the underripe aroma of citron one moment; the dusty floweriness of lemon verbena the next; then, the oily, bitterness of bergamot thereafter.
Metallic fashion, photo by Jamie Nelson ©
Aqaysos’ initial effect is of a stripped-down Mediterranean fougere, modernized barbershop cologne with an Italian bent. But, as the bitter herb-citrus notes intensify, a secondary fruity aspect joins them, and Aqaysos leaves the gentleman’s club as the fragrance heads towards fruity-musky. Soft, furry white musk blends with the sudsiness of coriander. Interestingly, the cassis note smells more like redcurrant than the cordial-sweet black variety; tart, berryish.
Rain Branch, photo by Gordana Adamovic Mladenovic ©
Within about 10 minutes, the coriander has moved up in the fragrance and the pepper note comes into focus. I am reminded of the unconventional beauty of the original Coriandre by Jean Couturier, a favorite of mine from the 1970s. But now woods emerge, adding dimension to the fruit and herbal accords. There is a damp, porous wood quality – it’s almost like smelling rain on a fallen tree branch.
Photo by Miki Asai©
Aqaysos does not have a dry-down. Rather, it continues to glint its citrus-herb-woods facets for several hours. With its sunny, keen-edged fruitiness, spicy herbals and wet woods, it is a fragrance for days when little contradictions can put a smile on your face.
Notes: limette, bergamot, cassis, baies de sancho (which evoke pepper and citron), coriander, cacao beans, woods, white musks, animalic musk. Sillage modest; moderate longevity.
Disclaimer: perfume sample provided by Huitieme Arts Perfumes – many thanks. My opinions are my own.
— Lauryn Beer, Editor
Aqaysos (in the new shadow flacon a blend of colored glass and ceramic)
Thanks to the generosity of Pierre Guillaume Huitieme Arts, we have a 50 ml bottle of Aqaysos shown above for 1 registered reader in the U.S., Canada or Europe. To be eligible please leave a comment with what appeals to you about Aqaysos based on Lauryn’s review, where you live and if you have a favorite fragrance signed by Pierre Guillaume . Draw closes 3/19/2017