While we are at it I thought I ‘d write about another “Greek summer” fragrance I have in my wardrobe. It was a blind buy because it was cheap and I had read great things about it. First of all the packaging is amazing. The box comes in a silver plastic wrap. Inside there is a seemingly ordinary box nested inside a black paper sleeve with the name of the brand and perfume minimalistically printed. Once the sleeve is removed the black box is in full view. The back of the box is covered with information printed in an austere, technical layout reminiscent of Comme des Garcons packaging. When you lift the top flap of the box the whole box collapses as the six sides are not glued together but are rather cut and folded around the bottle like an origami. This is probably the most interesting box in the market and although it looks perfectly ordinary it is an interactive experience. The bottle itself is strict and geometrical, very close to the shape of the precious crystal bottle of Encre Noire eau de parfum.
The perfume itself is a not ground breaking fougere but full of intricacies to my nose. It instantly brings to my mind a most carefree time, a summer lunch by the sea after a morning at the beach. It opens with some bitter citrus, a combination of bergamot and green bitter orange. And bitter is the theme that runs throughout this fragrance. Lavender kicks in but not the barbershop variety. It is a herbal lavender, slightly camphorous and very discreet. A soapy, fresh ginger note adds to the effervescence of the composition. An anisic spice note lurks in the background and in the end vetiver, fir and oakmoss create a very masculine base. So how does all this relate to lunch? These are just the conventional notes that I can isolate. But on a different and spontaneously associated level I smell different things. I get the smell of squeezed lemon on my fingers. The bitter herbal smell of boiled greens, a very traditional boiled salad dish that is as diverse as it is fragrant. To copy from Wikipedia, at least 80 different kinds of greens are used, depending on the area and season, including: black mustard, dandelion, wild sorrel, chicory, fennel, chard, kale, mallow, black nightshade, lamb’s quarters, wild leeks, hoary mustard, charlock, Smooth Sow-thistle and even the fresh leaves of the caper plant. You can imagine that these can taste quite differently, from the rather soft, nutty flavour of Amaranthus viridis (Gr. vlitta, βλήττα) to the bitter taste of chicory (Gr. rathikia, ραδίκια) and the intensely aromatic and complex taste of Tordylium apulum (Gr. kafkalithra, καυκαλήθρα) which reminds me of immortelle. These green leafs served boiled mostly or even raw, with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon can be a light, refreshing side dish or can be used in recipes for main dishes as well. Angel Schlesser Homme has the common denominator of green leafs trapped inside the bottle. The anise note evokes inevitably ouzo. And the weirdest part of the composition is the inexplicable grilled fish note. This may sound repulsive but I am not referring to the smell of fish flesh but rather to the smell of charcoal grilled fish skin or grilled prawns. In fact it is very close to the caviar note of Thierry Mugler Womanity but I guess calling it “caviar” sounds a lot more appealing than “grilled fish”. A very marine smell, full of iodine and hints of smoke. I was driving myself and others crazy trying to confirm this strange note and I am happy that at least one more Fragrantica reviewer (RobbieX) picks up the same fish note and the overall savoury gourmand vibe of this unusual and imaginative fougere composed by Thierry Wasser. Unfortunately I cannot say that I can pick out the rice note that most other noses get, maybe because it doesn’t fit in with the rest of my Greek summer synaesthetic experience.
Angel Schlesser Homme has such a profound interaction with my memories and experiences that every time I smell it I can feel the sweet exhaustion of the heat, grains of sand stuck on my skin, needle thin rays of sun coming through the shade of leaves, the cool glass of ouzo in my hands and cicadas causing mayhem at high noon as the table is set in front of me.
Notes from Fragrantica: bergamot, lavender, vetiver, sandalwood, virginia cedar, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, rice, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss and fir.
Notes from my nose: lemon zest, green leaf salad, grilled fish, ouzo
image of green leaf salad from bhranch.wordpress.com