Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Xerjoff Casamorati 1888: Bouquet Ideale, Elle, Oesel

(Xerjoff Casamorati: Bouquet Ideale, Parfums Raffy)

Xerjoff Casamorati 1888: Bouquet Ideale is part of XerJoff Vintage Casamorati Collection. According to Xerjoff, this collection recreates the history of La “Fabbrica di Profumi C. Casamorati” established in Bologna, Italy, founded between the 18th and 19th centuries. Casamorati 1888 is named for the approximate year of the birth of the historical house. Xerjoff is a relatively new perfume house, established in 2003.

My first Xerjoff love is Verona 010, but Bouquet Ideale is equally fantastic. I'm very smitten with Bouquet Ideale, something of an ideal because I can experience both the beauty of a Floral Oriental and the edgy, smoky qualities of a Spicy Oriental in one. It is classified as a Spicy Oriental, featuring the following notes: powdery Cashmere accord, papyrus, cinnamon, nutmeg, tobacco flowers, labdanum absolute, vanilla, coumarin and musks. My first impression was that of vanilla with subtle hints of strawberry (it is an unlisted note but one my nose picks up). As the scent develops, it goes through a sweet Floral Oriental phase, and then, it takes an unexpected turn, with smokiness, tangy dried fruits and spices taking center stage.

If you are familiar with the spicy, dried fruits-and-leathery woods accord of Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe (2003), the scent is very similar. For me, Bouquet Ideale seems more floral, and to have more vanillic softness in the base. I'm also vaguely reminded of Penhaligon's Amaranthine. The spiciness I get here is simultaneously sharp and tart, a perfect balance with smoky, leathery woods. Cedar is not listed but the effect I get from the overall scent is somewhat cedar-like. As far as leatheriness goes, I don't get animalic notes from it. It is a clean, modernized version of a classic fragrance type. Perhaps it's evocative of the perfumed leather gloves as worn in Tsarist Russia, very much like Ambre Russe (although what I really get from Ambre Russe is dried fruits in a hookah). The subtle red berry note makes Bouquet Ideale a unique and well-rounded composition.

Sorry to change the subject, but I have one question regarding the Casamorati series: Xerjoff's website lists one fragrance I hadn't seen on any websites in the USA called Lira. The notes sound like they could be the same as the notes for Verona. Could they possibly be the same fragrance under different names? It's wishful thinking, since Verona is a limited edition and could disappear in no time, but I want to try Lira so badly, just to be sure.

(Xerjoff Casamorati 1888: Lira, xerjoff.com)

Now, here are my impressions of a couple of other Xerjoffs I recently tried:

Xerjoff Elle: This fragrance is part of the 17/17 line. The sample I have is parfum according to Parfums Raffy. As expected, it is concentrated; a tiny swipe with the plastic wand is enough to fill some airspace. The most prominent note in the opening is strawberry - this is a wallop of candy strawberry, red and sweet, megafruity. As other notes emerge, the combination of a full floral heart and a musky, creamy base reminds me of the original (now discontinued) Gianni Versace Versus Donna (1991 red bottle) which featured Carla Bruni in the ad (some sources say she actually wears Versus). I also smell prominent vintage florals, a very potent floral nectar as I've smelled in Crown Bouquet (1936). This scent is not my style, but lovers of big, sweet florals (like Gianfranco Ferre, which I used to love in the '80s along with Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle) might love it, provided you don't mind strawberries and cream in the otherwise retro Floral mix. (Update: Here is my XJ Elle review from July 11, 2011)

(Xerjoff Shooting Stars, Das Duft-Tagebuch www.alzd.de)

Xerjoff Oesel: This offering, which is part of the Shooting Stars collection, is marketed to Men, but it is a very floral number. There are huge hyacinths at the start (I know this hyacinth note, as I've used it in my Unreleased Mix Persephone). Orange blossoms emerge, blending with the fresh Green white florals, and I am reminded of vintage Casaque. The musky, creamy dry down is remarkably similar to both Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier (2004) and Jean-Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle (in the end, I think it's closer to Fleurs de Citronnier). I love that little key that comes with the packaging for the Xerjoff Shooting Stars line (I don't know if all Shooting Stars scents come with it), but my heart is still stolen by Verona and Bouquet Ideale.

Many thanks to Parfums Raffy for super fast shipping, and for the beautiful carded samples of Oesel and Bouquet Ideale (I was expecting all decanted samples).

I will report back when I try more fragrances in this dreamy luxury niche line.

Related link: From Romeo and Juliet to the Taj Mahal: My Xerjoff Verona Review February 12, 2011 Pink Manhattan