Talented John Pegg appears to be quite prolific as well. In less than two years Kerosene Perfumes is releasing their sixth and seventh scent. This is a big bet because among the first five releases stood three breathtaking perfumes: R’oud Elements, Creature and Whips and Roses. I admit I get a little nervous when I read about a new Kerosene release because so often familiarity breeds contempt.
Wood Haven opens with an amazingly juicy grapefruit that is quickly laced with fresh bergamot rind. This is the real thing, the exact smell of the fruit, not the smell of good quality extract. It has the zing of citrus and minimal sweetness. The citrus opening morphs into warm, freshly grated ginger root. Ginger quite often comes off soapy, at least to my nose, but not here. This is another photorealistic natural note in the opening of Wood Haven. From this point things get a darker turn with the addition of hot black pepper and a resinous green note. The base is vaguely woody to my nose, I cannot exactly pin down what sort of woods I am smelling. I am afraid however that my skin devours Kerosene woods because this one is surprisingly short-lived on my skin the way Santalum Slivers was. I haven’t heard a lot of people complaining about SS longevity so I have to think that something in this woody base clashes with my skin chemistry. I particularly enjoyed the bright, lively, glossy opening and the warm, spicy heart.
Notes from Kerosene: bergamot, tangy grapefruit, lemon, black pepper, pink peppercorns, juniper leaf, ginger root, vetiver, cedar and gaiac wood.
Notes from my nose: grapefruit, bergamot, ginger, black pepper, juniper berries, white woods
Fields of Rubus despite its benign name (I had to look up “rubus” to find out that it is the latin name for the berry genus) leaves the sunlit paths of the field for darker places. My first impression was patchouli straight up. But this was just my first “rip the envelope, splash some on” impression. I have spoken here already about my fear of what fruit is today in fragrance. A note added hastily as a “digestif” to make the composition more recognizable and accessible to young consumers. Fruit however can be incorporated beautifully in the composition to create a specific texture, much like aldehydes. It can make a perfume feel round and shiny. Jean Laporte has been the master in this use of fruit with L’Artisan Parfumeur Murs et Musc and the less berry-centric use in Route du Vetiver (you have to try really hard to get the note in this one) and the Muskissime series.
Fields of Rubus develops like an inverted pyramid: if your read the official note listing, read it from the last to first to get an idea of what this smells like. First I get patchouli, a brown, autumnal patchouli laced with amber. It is not a camphorous, herbal, green patchouli. This patchouli smells of chocolate, or to be more precise, it smells of carobs which are used to make chocolate substitute. Now carob has a labdanum similarity so probably this is where I get the amber lace in the opening of this. Then comes a bread yeast note with slightly sour hue. From the way I am describing this you can tell that the opening is right up my alley, strange, difficult and moody. It is not meant to be a crowd pleaser but please bear with me and my rantings because it is worth it. Yeast goes away and carob just leaves its autumnal warmth on the skin. Then comes tobacco and guaiac wood (yeap, I get guaiac wood here), good old unscented tobacco, not the cherry flavoured variety. So where is the fruit? It’s in there, in the deep drydown as a berry note with a subtle vanilla and an even more subtle musk note but in reality it has been there all along making the carob sticky and the tobacco leaves damp. Although this is by no means a feminine scent it is probably the one that more daring women, the ones that enjoy Bandit, would feel most comfortable slipping into. Fields of Rubus dwells on the edge of the field, in the shadows of the trees, in a mysterious and dubious, genderless place. If Creature conjures Dryads, Fields of Rubus dances on the Faun’s goat legs.
Notes from Kerosene: Raspberry, Plum, Apple, Tobacco Wood, Musk, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Cedar, and Patchouli.
Notes from my nose: carob, yeast, tobacco, guaiac wood, vanilla, musk, berries
Kerosene Perfumes available from House of Kerosene
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