Min New York kindly offered me a set of samples of their new olfactory project, Scent Stories, s series of 11 perfumes available through their site and for registered members of the Min club only. This is Volume 1 which will be more widely available when Volume 2 becomes available for members. I was delighted as I have exchanged emails with Mindy Yang and Chad Murawczyk in the past, and I know how passionate they are about their projects and the perfume/epicurean collective project they have created in New York. I will give you my mini reviews based on my brief experience with their first attempt at story telling through scents.
Long Board: this was one of the first Scent Stories that I tried and I was taken aback. For some reason I was expecting something completely different. The name probably predisposed me for something butch and sporty. What I got was a big tuberose-jasmine opening that slowly unlocked a green and ozonic heart. Long Board feels like levitating eerily in a cold and very bright space. Its floral component is quite strong but at the same time, that’s not the point of the composition. I still haven’t figured out what it is, maybe the strange rubbery note that creeps in underneath the jasmine… but it is a very modern green floral, as modern and detached as can be. I get an image of someone balancing themselves on the edge of a springboard, mustering up the energy to take a dive thirty meters down into the ocean.
Momento is the take on cologne I guess. Green, minty and bright, but somewhat hollow to my nose. I am not the best person to talk about this genre, but Momento is interesting. Green, bitter and somewhat buttery, it gives me the impression that this hollow space that I feel is not there by accident, but was rather designed into the composition.
The Botanist was the first one of the lot I smelled and went Wow……………… This is a vetiver straight up but done in a most wonderful way. I can say that this is the first vetiver that brings something new to the genre since Lalique Encre Noire. Sherapop has found a nice way to describe Emcre Noire, as the smell of Darth Vader, dark and broody, lacking conventional topnotes, as if it were drawing you into the dark side. Well, if you agree with this description of Encre Noire, consider The Botanist as what Anakin Skywalker used to smell, before he joined the dark side: inky, watery vetiver, vibrantly green and earthy at the same time. This is an ode to spring, or better to the last days of winter, just when the first green shoots appear. It is all about the promise of life, the potential of growth. This is simply beautiful! It smells round and sparkling and there is just enough floral notes in there to make this interesting and fresh.
Shaman: a few weeks ago I was writing about the heartbreak of having Basala, an old love of mine, turn bad on me, and how my memory of it is so strong that the gaps created in the composition are being filled in by recollections of it. Shaman has a weird resonance of Basala in it. It smells of green-blue folliage, misty woods and the strangest cigarette smoke note ever… It even has the strange metallic clang, like an armor, that Basala had. When I try to pin down specific similarities they escape me but still I am so happy to find a scent that smells so not like the 10’s. It remains clear and transparent but plays with the mystery of Of course it is done in a very different way, much more transparent, no aggressiveness, and everything smells less bombastic and more natural. It remains a mysterious scent however. Another beautiful composition.
Moon Dust is a very evocative scent. It feels a little neo-goth, a little claustrophobic. There is tons of mineral notes in here and a bitter pine resin accord that is difficult for me because it carries a story. A personal one. This pine resin note reminds me of Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline, a fragrance I loved and was gifted to me by someone I was very close to at a time. Later on I realised that what I perceived as friendship was nothing but manipulation and this ruined pine resin for me… Childish reaction? I don’t know… it still feels very strange to be reminded of my Black Tourmaline bottle, and Moon Dust has the same distant fire vibe. It isn’t a copy cat however. It is intensely smoky but it also smells like a rock. Bone dry and mysterious.
Dahab is a leather backpack full of oriental spices, with a vanilla scented love letter hidden somewhere. The vanilla note makes this very interesting to my nose because it is a very counter-intuitive occidental vanilla that characterises what is in general an oriental voyage perfume. I couldn’t help but think of L’Air du Desert Marocain when I smelled this, but the cool vanilla note gives this a different, more approachable and more interesting vibe.
What I like about Scent Stories is that they are consistent. They have a very clear direction and it leads towards a dreany atmosphere. They are transparent and smoky at the same time. They have a sad darkness in them that I find very appealing and if their goal is to tell scented stories, then they are very good at it.