Xerjoff 17/17 - short first impressions

Xerjoff is an Italian brand making very exclusive fragrances. High quality raw materials, rare precious essences and the modern techniques are used to create the perfumes. Sculptured in quartz bottles, embellished with gold and hand made wooden boxes make the dignified packing for those fragrances. More about the brand itself you can read on their website, on Dimitri’s Sorcery of Scent blog or on basenotes.

What’s the reality behind the marketing myths and legends? I was lucky to get three samples from Xerjoff 17/17 series from moon_fish. Here are my short first impressions.

Unisex woody-amber fragrance. Well, to me it’s more an exotic peach jam with white flowers of jasmine (and I can recognize a kind of white floral gardenia-tuberose-jasmine complex there) and a nice black pepper twist. Served on patchouli leaves. I’d describe it in terms of tasty, yummy or delicious rather than in olfactory terms. It’s properly made and seem to contain plenty of modern exotic aromachemicals, especially musks (oh yeah, musks are cool nowadays), but I’d prefer it in “jam” or “confiture” concentration rather than eau de parfum. It would be perfect as a thin layer on buttered bread by high tea. But this is the way fragrance opens on my skin. Reading other reviews I understand that it can also open with its herbal side (that is not pronounced on my skin) and being less sweet and eatable. After the peach jam stadium the fragrance becomes more dry and more serious. I recognize the woody base sweetened with musks and resins as components of amber accord. To my nose the resins are extensions to the sweetness of tropical flowers and they don’t fall together making the amber accord – I don’t smell amber there unless I search for it. It’s a nice fragrance and I’d probably wear it, but not for the price it’s sold. The theme it’s build around is also not new. I’ve heard it so many times. Was it Guess Suede? Or One Million Dollar? Or… well – you can find something pretty similar and less expensive almost in any perfumery.

A floral oriental fragrance for her. Well, this is another one I’d prefer in “jam” concentration. Was it made by perfumer? Or by flavorist? Anyway… it’s delicious and dangerous at the same time as I might love to eat the one who wears it. It’s a perfect cherry jam or even bonbon with a cherry and rum filling. The note of cherry to me arises from a combination of bitter almond note and fruits. And there are a lot of other fruits there – pineapple, mango, strawberry, cherry – just name it and take a sniff and you’ll find it there. Those are tricks of the modern aromachemicals I guess. Probably the fruits are supposed to be just the fruity notes of tropical flowers, but they definitely live their own lives here. The fragrance is nice and lovely and has all chances to succeed (especially among their target group), but the theme again is not new – I guess Lolita Lempicka or any Angel clone would give me similar impression for less money.

Now we are talking. It’s a different kind of pleasure than smelling fruity delight. Homme is all about leather. Rough and very dominant. Shoe leather with a strong accent of shoe polish in combination with a frosty menthol note on the top. It’s everywhere and it’s almost linear. Although, leather becomes softer and warmer when a note of cumin comes to join. Leather is accompanied with herbal accord that sounds almost like a fougére. Herbs almost substitute the floral heart here – guys don’t smell like flowers. It’s very masculine and a tough one – for real guys with balls. To be honest I do like leather scents and birch tar just too much to give this fragrance a good judgment. I have to admit that there is too much birch tar and too little support to fill it in and develop to a balanced accord. But I just love “that much” of raw birch tar. Try if you dare. And if you are not prepared to pay that much, don’t worry, Knize Ten is still the best and affordable.


A random surprise: Chanel 22

Russian version - click here

Image: Well, I was having some Photoshop fun

Yesterday I’ve picked up a pack with fragrant samples from the post office sent by a generous Russian perfumista. The samples were numbered, but not signed. So I could concentrate on smell only not being distracted by the name, pyramid or review – a different perception of a fragrance and an interesting game. Well, I’d say it’s not easy – it’s like an attempt to describe an elephant by a blind person. But it helps to imprint the image of the fragrance in your olfactory memory.

Sample number one contained an amazing iris – rich classic flower with a touch of carrot-sweetness and very characteristic woody undertone build on a strong ionone framework. It was surrounded with an indolic jasmine with a touch of ylang, sticky rose petals with a thick layer of vanilla powder. All those flowers were presented on a classic woody-ambery plinth. I was so amazed by its iris and disappointed by its sticky rose-vanilla powder that I even didn’t notice the presence of aldehydes at all (and they were the main part of this perfume). Sample number one contained Chanel 22 perfume, but I couldn’t recognize it… Well, to be honest I should mention that I didn’t know this perfume well – just routinely smelled it a couple of times on a blotter.

Later I tried this sample again after reading of some information on it. Well…
A light citrus cloud quickly disappears and you start a skim on a thick layer of frosted aldehydes that brings you from a cool snowy mountain top into a warm valley full of flowers. A frosted aldehyde slide turns into a wide iris road – a perfect smooth passage. There are jasmine fields on the both side of the road surrounded with deep indolic forests and narcotic ylang jungles. The skim stops abruptly when you smash into a sticky mountain of rosy Turkish delight covered with vanilla powder. The wet pieces of rosy jelly dry under the sun turning into small pieces of amber falling apart into vanilla powder…

I could compare this sample of modern perfume with a sample of vintage fragrance. Chanel 22 issued on 1922 was “officially” re-orchestrated twice – in 1998 and 1999. Unfortunately I don’t know how old my vintage sample is.

Vintage fragrances have different flow of time. Compared to their modern version they seem to be tardy and hasteless. So, the skim on vintage Chanel 22 was slower. Unfortunately old perfumes are also more fragile and may show the signs of decay. So the citrus cloud in my vintage sample stung me with a bitterness of decay and frosted aldehyde slide was noticeably melted. But it still was the similar skim from the top of the mountain into the valley. But here I could notice dark red carnation flowers with soft silky petals growing between jasmine. I could also see some bitter weed here and there (you often notice it in vintage perfumes touched by decay). The rose here was not only the part of Turkish delight – I could also smell fresh flowers. The mountain of Turkish delight was less sticky, dried and covered with cracks. But there was no smash and I could enjoy the floral heart much longer. Some people say that you may meet tuberose flowers there, but I couldn’t recognize its flowers between the jasmine flowers. I couldn’t find the small pieces of incense found and mentioned by other visitors. May be next time when I make this skim again.

Well, aldehydic perfumes is not my cup of tea. But I did like the fresh intensive start of the modern perfume and hasteless classic base of a vintage version. If they were combined in one perfume I’d be really happy with Chanel 22.

Thanks to Svetlana for this interesting experience.

You can find an interesting version on Chanel 22 origin at Octavian’s blog.

Very interesting reviews you can find at Marina and Victoria.