I am in the middle of an ancient village, one where you can breathe medieval air. I go down the stairs that lead me into the basement. There is a half-open door. I enter, and I am immediately surrounded by an aseptic air, which smells preservative. I see on the walls a series of shelves filled with dark brown glass bottles, similar to those once used for storing pharmaceutical iodine liquids. Perhaps one of them has recently shattered. The smell of the pharmaceutical-like odour is pungent. A vast, old, damp wooden table is in the centre of the room. On its surface lie stacked several splits of all sorts of animal skins. Raw leather, wet-white or wet-blue, from calf, buffalo and cow. Maybe this place was an old tannery. The atmosphere is dense and crowded but not stuffy or annoying. Indeed, the mixture of medicinal, wood, and leather smells creates a perfume that is anything but obnoxious. These are the sensations that the images take shape in my mind when I smell Guilty Absolute.
I recently came across the Guilty Absolute pour Femme
perfume, which pleasantly blew me away. Despite being intended for a female audience, a male audience that does not cease at the initial fruity and floral accords can also wear very well the perfume. And I am talking about berries and dark blooms, and the rose is just a hint. It's not as tough as Guilty Absolute pour Homme
, but it manifests those cough syrup undertones that remind me of my beloved Joop! Homme Eau de Toilette
, to give you an idea. But, apart from this excursus, my intention here is to tell you something about Absolute, a masterpiece that immediately kidnapped my soul and that was kindly given to me as a birthday present a few years ago. So, Absolute is so dreadful, an explosive bomb full of woody, leathery, animalic, earthy and smoky accords. This scent is dry, with no sweetness. It has the same intensity and opulence as oud-based perfumes, while not containing any trace of oud: could it be the custom-made Woodleather ™, a molecule isolated from the rare and precious Oud oil?
Regarding the scent, Absolute is purposely linear, and its structure doesn't change much with development and tends to stay the same all the time. It's far from common designer trends, and if you smell it knowing nothing, you might think of something niche. It doesn't contain many ingredients but only focuses on the toughest, woody and earthy tones. So, it wouldn't surprise me to read that it's anything but a crowd-pleaser.
Absolute announces itself with a peaty and incisive bouquet, almost phenolic, and at the same time, I perceive its sensuality. It reminds me a lot of those places where the atmosphere is full of medicinal smells, but also that smoky cloud that surrounds you when you smell an excellent peaty whiskey, my favourite kind of scotch whiskey. At first, it can be scary, especially imagining it by reading my impressions. Still, I assure you that it works, and it is this almost aseptic smokiness gives Absolute this semblance of a niche. So, it may sound a little creepy, but it doesn't bother me at all. I guess the smoky, resinous aroma is due to cypress, here in a species called Nootka Tree, which features grapefruit undertones and sour currant smells, woody and resinous, of course, with leathery and amber-rich accents. And the leathery look is already there, lingering in the background.
The initial burst calms down quickly, and a more woody accord continues through the scent development and hints of leather and incense are combined. The leather is quite dark and soft, relatively restrained, and is much less direct and robust than other famous leathery-centred colonies. At this stage, the perfume is very magnetic for me. I find myself sniffing my wrist, or the cork of the bottle if I have it close at hand, repeatedly during this phase.
At the bottom, a characteristic shade of vetiver takes shape, which is salty, smoky and dark that hatches, intensifying the chemical and phenolic atmosphere and increasing the leathery one and projecting an element of warm vegetation, giving relief from the harshness. As Absolute dries, it clears without betraying the overall aroma, becoming more and more transparent until only a shade of peat smoke remains, that smoky veil that eventually remains in the now empty whiskey glass. I get some weaker patchouli in the bottom, but it's not prominent. It gives it a slight earthiness, but it's not spicy, chocolaty or minty, just a little dirty.
Ultimately, regardless of its linear peculiarity, for me, it is a spicy and smooth alcoholic skin that glides into dark smoky vetiver and rests on a dry base of patchouli and wood. Dark, warm, comforting and mysterious. I can't think of any mainstream designer perfume that smells like this. It's not too strong. It sits close to the skin but strong enough to stay with me most of the day. I would recommend wearing it in autumn and winter, discreet enough and suitable for the office. It has a medium yield on my skin, not bestial, lasts a long time but casts weakly.
I base the review on a 50ml bottle I have owned since June 2017.