Although I have spent far more than half of my life so far in large cities at home and abroad, I cannot speak freely of the strangely irrational, ambivalent, mystical longing of the Germans for "their" forest. Even when I think of scents, I regularly go into raptures over woodland echoes, and I suspect that this theme could come to me even more extensively. That I would feel the same with Bracken Man was a real surprise in two respects.
Amouage is, with a few exceptions, not one of my brands, which is due to the fact that oriental opulence in fragrances leaves me rather cold under the aspect of "wearing it myself". Amouage, however, would no longer be counted among the authentic Orientals, and besides, it's also the untypical, i.e. non-oriental Amouages that I like to call everybody's darling Reflection Man and -respect, Fougère, even if not classic Sunshine Man. Whether I am a clichéd representative of western fragrance or simply not yet mature for the olfacto-cultural appropriation of animal, heavy ouds and balsam and spice bombs, I leave to the wide field of the future.
In addition - the second unequalled class goal - classical Fougères are not necessarily among my identity donors. This is due to the firm neck grip typical of Classy Fougère, which is often too abrupt, too Y-chromosomal, too soapy-sweetish-mossy-groupy and uncharming. A classic Fougère doesn't smile charmingly and slyly, but sometimes grabs with clenched teeth and hurts a bit. But everything has its time, as we all know
Bracken Man actually belongs to this Art Fougère. Actually. But.
But one at a time.
Last September, as the month came to an end, I went on a short visit to the area where I was born. There are vast mixed and coniferous forests far away from the background noises of civilization, and I had set my mind on introducing my city plants to the magic of the forest, as I remembered it from my childhood days of picking blueberries. So I packed the children and the man into the car and into the golden green of late summer, hoping to find untouchedness dripping with romantic moss and lichen mysticism.
The weather was autumnally cool, in the morning there was Droste-Hülshoff-like dense fog, but the afternoons were crystal clear and sunny. The September sunlight fell through the treetops like in a fairy tale.
As we climbed over rotten, decaying wood, sank into thick green cushions and sank deeper and deeper into the forest of my childhood, the usual moaning and clamouring of the brood, which had been dawdling behind me for some time, ceased and it became increasingly quiet. In the precious moments of the collective shutting up, one could perceive every branch crackling that one produced when walking across the moss floor, strangely amplified and reflected by the proverbial forest echo. And before we knew it, we were swallowed by the strange physics of the forest.
The magic was happening.
In front of us lay a barely manageable clearing, covered with a man-sized colony of green, feathery leaf feathers, which sprouted from thin, yellow-golden overhanging stems. The afternoon light fell through the roof of fern fronds to the ground, which was covered with a dense carpet of tall, star-shaped moss in the most unlikely shades of green. If you bent down, you could partly see under the fronds, and I wouldn't have been surprised to spot the seven dwarves on their way somewhere further ahead. What grew here in such a stately manner was bracken
The Bracken Man bottle is decorated with unfurling golden fern fronds of bracken. When I smelled the fragrance consciously for the first time a few months ago and inspected the bottle from close up, I immediately remembered this special day and our encounter with the vegetable "Bracken" deep in the forest.
Bracken One conveys this golden autumnal forest atmosphere. The fragrance is decisively influenced by a fougère-typical soapy spice, which oscillates with an earthy, forest-like impression and a crystalline sweetness, without ever appearing musty or composty. How this works in terms of fragrance is fascinating to observe and a mystery to me.
The central note that characterises the fragrance from my point of view is clove, which - watch out, fougère neck handle - immediately grabs you after a very short and somewhat shrill opening. However, this clove by no means evokes the feared sauerbraten or Christmas impression, but presents itself in a pithiness densely interwoven with lavender. In addition there is a slight pungency, I think of nutmeg - very difficult for me to discern, I interpret a slight pulling in the nose as typical of nutmeg. All this creates an astonishingly soapy and herbaceous impression, through which, however, earthy, forest soil and rotten wood shimmers again and again. Patchouli contributes unobtrusive woody and mossy ground contact, while one has the feeling of sucking in oxygen-rich spicy forest air.
Above this lies golden, sunny-looking sweetness, which, after the initial dominance of clove and lavender has at some point - and the duo takes its time with this - is then withdrawn in gentle noblesse, absorbed by a warm, mild, almost fruity spiciness. I suspect that cinnamon should play a major role here. According to the fragrance pyramid, rose geranium would still be in play, which also has a not insignificant soapiness. At the end, in the base, these impressions merge into a warm overall picture, the fern forest in the golden light from afar, so to speak, becomes blurred, but essentially retains its character.
As a classic fougère, the fragrance is extremely well-behaved, noble, modern, masculine in the most beautiful sense and perfect for the golden september days. Booked for the autumn...