Notes: bergamot, lemon, rose, jasmin, cinnamon, patchouli, moss, cistus, vetiver, vanilla, leather, musk
Whilst setting out to create the first masculine release for Dutch luxury niche house Puredistance, Roja Dove and his “team” decided to pay homage to a classic, one which has in recent times fallen pray to the evils of dreaded reformulation and that is the heralded Bel-Ami.
Holding the fragrance in such high esteem by choosing to use more than just a subtle passing nod to the Hermès classic, Roja Dove has almost seemingly “borrowed” (or resurrected?) the vintage leather prominent formulation as the inspiration/foundation for M; In conjunction with a creative brief put forth by PD owner Mr. Jan Ewoud Vos, the order of the day was to evoke the image of “luxury, the charismatic, the debonaire, the interior/exterior of an Aston Martin” in short personified by a certain Mr. Bond. James Bond.
This eventually led to a luxurious and modern reinterpretation of the classic leather-chypre which opens in a typical extrait de parfum manner, which I find for lack of a better word turbid and complex (yet immensely satisfying). The rich oak moss and leather let their presence as THE key players be known immediately and they’re joined by a wonderfully fresh and bright bergamot/lemon top note combo giving the opening some much needed and refreshing piercing light.
At this point the subtle and clever use of M’s spices are yet to make their introduction, but lurking behind the clouds is a charming and stunningly crisp semi-sweet jasmine note, making its way to the forefront to join the main cast in the spot light; through the opening of the dark turbulence of the base and the effervescence of the top notes. Continuing on with its progression, once the enigmatic jasmine decides to finally fully emerge, it does not arrive fashionably late, rather punctually on time and joined almost seamlessly with its intertwined guests of subtle rose and cinnamon.
The floral accords are simply beautiful, well conceived and a well paid homage to classical French perfumery, walking that fine line of elegance and femininity, stopping M short of becoming an all out bruiser (or dandified for that matter). I’ll add at this point, that this opening/mid unfold will be quite polarizing to many, due to the use of a prominent oak moss accord, which is often mistaken for cumin and which is giving many the impression of “curried spices”.
Personally, I find M decisively delicious and luckily I get far more leather, rich-smooth earthiness (vetiver/patchouli) and subtle sweetness (vanilla/jasmine), than I do the “curried spice” effect, which I find is more of a feint under cast, than a dominating factor on my skin. Never the less, after the deep opening and the subtly evolving mid salvo, I find M to take a turn towards the linear (which is fine by me) as it settles down to a rich, smooth and subtly sweet leather, conjuring up its indented image of the interior of Bond’s Aston-Martin perfectly.
M is meticulously blended to become more than just the simple sum of it’s parts. Each note is bold, yet is set to a specific “volume” to play its part in this concerto, making the composition appear smooth and seamless, but not to the point of blunting/overly rounding off key notes and rendering them unrecognizable. Dove has left just enough breathing room for the majority of the supporting cast to shine, without disrupting the balance of harmony in the base.
The final result has a decisively masculine feel, although this would work splendidly on the right woman, hence the reason for naming the fragrance “M“, a letter which can be inverted to form a “W” for woman. In closing I’d classify M as a clever and classically elegant tried and true formula, of rich and regal masculine proportions, complemented with a hint to the “naughty” (musk/leather/cistus) to keep it somewhat challenging and to keep an inquisitive nose coming back for more.
One caveat is that due to its high oil concentration level, it’s advisable to go easy on the trigger there slick. Over application can lead to what can be best described as the “muddy” effect, which is the build up of the very rich, dense and potentially overwhelming base notes.
Unlike its predecessor M boasts the wonderful sillage and longevity you’d expect from an extrait de parfum, which in my opinion justifies the hefty price tag. Bravo, a winner.
Occasion: Formal, Playing cards at Casino Royale