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Hot'n Cold or the best of both worlds
When I write about a fragrance - and it doesn't happen that often - it usually jumps right at me. Of course, there are also the favourite scents, those that have made it into a top so-and-so folder, those that touch and delight you again and again and those that you have been longing to talk about. But strangely enough, I dare to approach these treasures less often than those perfumes that suddenly come rushing at me from the depths of our fragrance universe. It doesn't even have to happen on the first test, but when it does happen, there is suddenly an inexplicable urgency to express and share the sensations triggered by the brew, to turn the fragrance into words, as it were, just as programme music does the opposite with words and music.
So the more lyrical the fragrance, the more words and sensations that already flow out of it, the stronger the attraction to reach for paper and pencil to pick up these little stories or even mere scraps of sense and make them readable.
I felt the same with Vanilla Absolument, it is truly a fragrance that can be said to have "character". But not only that, it is completely unusual, provoking a double look, or even double sniff, so surprising is its prelude, its transitions, its images.
The most astonishing thing is probably this unbelievably - and I mean this literally - smooth and cool vanilla, which already comes rolled up in the top note, like a shiny billiard ball and which makes the other scent balls arranged in a triangular shape come tumbling apart.
Like the crisp air in a stalactite cave and as smooth as the stalactites cut by the clear water is the trenchant scent of this vanilla.
That's why I like her so much, as I'm usually less taken up with vanilla-heavy compositions, because she refuses all the many sweet and sticky, comatose cookie creations that are too large, and her gentle warmth also seeks out a squiggly, slowly climbed path.
Into the cathedral-high cave, whose stone is as black as the pod it smells of, a timid ray of light suddenly penetrates through a crack as the sun moves. As slim as it is, it warms the spot it hits on the ground with its balmy embrace.
Now the fragrance seems like a collage layered with itself, a two-tone cord dangling from the damp stone wall, a change of filmic attitude, a dynamic parallel montage that jumps back and forth between the constant coolness and the billowing spiciness that announces itself through tobacco leaves and tonka bean, a photograph whose play of light and shadow embodies our many layers of consciousness, shallows, desires, extremes and repressed potentials.
With some distance the pleasantly fresh air still caresses us, it is very cold when we suck it in, but when we come closer and the longer the round molecules fill the room, the more a pleasant spice and uncheesy sweetness spreads, which remind us of dates with almond paste, whisky and resin.
The finale is modest, the unobtrusive sweetness of benzoin increasingly joins the main protagonists and creates a silky roundness that is second to none.
I have seldom experienced before that a fragrance can rush along two tracks - one wheel glides over the ice-smooth track through airy heights, the other generates pressure and thus warmth in the curve - towards its wonderfully sensual finale, and this is the greatest joy I have ever experienced when observing the development of this widely felt and multi-faceted creation.