puredistance: master perfumes
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By Mark David Boberick
If I is the installment in the trilogy that pays homage to the most recent chapter in the history of fragrance, Puredistance ANTONIA is without a doubt the femme-fatale - seemingly whisked from the days when the legendary perfumers Edmond Roudnitska, Guy Robert, and Jean Paul Guerlain were creating floral masterpieces that are still in production today, over 50 years later.
ANTONIA is a spectacular green floral fragrance, bursting with energy and vibrancy that any perfumer in their right mind would love to have on their resume – but once again, the accolades all fall at the nose of Annie Buzantian. Notoriously private and shy, Buzantian does not grant interviews and with one whiff of ANTONIA, it starts to become clear why. Her work speaks for itself and she knows it! It tells the story in its entirety; it takes you on a journey, and without any rough edges or stones unturned – it still manages to depart with a touch of mystery.
Fine fragrances should “read” like olfactory novels. They should be complete and distinct experiences. They should present characters, chapters, portraits and places through plots and sub-plots. They should exude emotion, raw and pure. Who is ANTONIA? Is she a fragrant offspring from the mind of Jane Austen? Maybe. Can she be found behind the walls of The Secret Garden? Possibly. Is she a Grace Kelly-type, as imagined by Antonia White? Probably.
At the end of the day, ANTONIA is just as complex and layered as any literary masterpiece, but with a very healthy and lush dosage of high-quality iris and English ivy. Elegant and pastoral, her couture frock shows a few grass stains - a reminder that sometimes we should take life a little less seriously in order to live a full one.
Should I dare to choose a favorite fragrance from the Puredistance trilogy? I dare not. (But let’s just say…ANTONIA is the scent that makes me ponder the question.)
When Master Perfumer Annie Buzantian was called upon to create the first fragrance in the Puredistance collection, she took one look at the brief and knew exactly what the fragrance would end up smelling like. How? Because she had already created it as her own private fragrance. If you’ve ever wondered what a perfumer would create for their own personal use, then you need look no further than the radiant contemporary masterpiece, Puredistance I.
I is a study of contrasts, warm and cool, radiant and subdued, that follows in the footsteps of some of the most memorable fragrances created in more recent years from famed houses such as Dior and Estee Lauder, but executed on its own singular terms. Gone are the often overt synthetic characteristics of mainstream releases, in favor of the many intriguing facets that materials of precious quality can bring to the table. That is not to say that I is “all-natural,” because it isn’t – the success of modern perfumery has always relied on the marriage of chemistry and nature. In his exclusive interview with The Perfume Magazine in 2009, Renowned Fragrance Expert Michael Edwards spoke extensively about the use of synthetics in perfumery. “ Until Guerlain's Jicky in 1889, the perfumers were obsessed with trying to recreate the scent of nature and say, roses. Jicky for us was the first modern perfume, it used a splash of synthetic notes and when Aimé Guerlain was asked why, he said “Because it gave me an effect I couldn’t find in nature.” The evolution of great perfumery is in fact the evolution of the synthetic notes, 95% of which come from nature,” Edwards said.
Buzantian is a clever artist, at the forefront of her craft and with I, she has composed a perfectly balanced fragrance. Floral notes of jasmine, mimosa, and magnolia are introduced by warm fruity citrus accords before yielding to a smooth and seamless base of vetiver and amber, fully propelled and supported by graceful musk notes.
Does the idea of exclusivity rest solely in availability and distribution? Can the concept for an exclusive fragrance line surpass branding and permeate into the fragrances themselves? Jan Ewoud Vos, founder of Puredistance, has managed to answer these questions with a resounding 'Yes.' He has created a perfume line that turns a branding idea into a rock-solid concept that expertly lends itself to every aspect of the company – from packaging and presentation to the trio of exquisite perfume extracts.
Based in the Netherlands, Jan Ewoud Vos’ inspired vision was carried out by Master Perfumer Annie Buzantian in New York and Professeur de Parfum Roja Dove in London – with these two experts, Puredistance was in exceptional hands. While created with a truly contemporary overall vision, the three fragrances together represent an almost historical overview of Modern perfumery, each scent seems to honor a particular period in the history of fragrance – one era is nearly extinct, another is an endangered species, and the third? Well, the third is still in its infancy.
The era that up until this point has been left untouched is the same era where you might have discovered Jay Gatsby cruising toward his West Egg, Long Island mansion in a superbly handcrafted British automobile. Somewhere between machismo and reckless abandon, one finds Puredistance M.
Created by Professeur de Parfum Roja Dove (Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie, Harrods, London), M is the masculine entry of the Puredistance trilogy. Dove, ever the classicist, has given us a masculine the likes of which we rarely see these days. Upon first sniff, M delivers me straight to the historical doors of Francois Coty, Paul Poiret, and, yes, Jacques Guerlain. It is an oriental leather scent with an ever so slight chypre veil, distinct and yet so mythical it almost seems strange. Except that it’s not strange – it is just a time warp. Elegant and refined, with homages to eternal classics from Caron Tabac Blonde all the way to Guerlain's long-lost masterpiece, Djedi – it’s ALL there.
In its execution, M still manages to grasp hold of its contemporary bearings with an invigorating burst of bergamot and lemon. In the base one finds creamy vanilla, a nod to Shalimar, the long-reigning oriental monarch. And then there is the leather – buttery soft at the center, but just starting to get broken in near the edge of the carseat.
The story unfolds and Dove sets the scene. He gives us smoke, a hint of petrol, and he even gives us the leather tannery complete with a blazing sun up above. M is generous and indulgent, but it pulls back moments before becoming excessive. It is a flawless composition with incredible mileage, 1 spray can drive you well into the morning hours, and an entire 17ml bullet-shaped bottle will get you across the country and back before you'll need to refuel.
The true exclusivity of Puredistance is greater than just being a fragrance line that is hard to find. The collection is a curated trilogy of well-crafted fragrances that possess incredibly rare and respectable structures.
The fragrances in the collection are only available in pure perfume concentration, sold in 2 sizes, a 17-ml vial-shaped spray bottle or in a generous 100ml spray bottle for the individual that just might have discovered their next exclusive, signature scent.
What is truly spectacular about the collection is the varied methods of display offered in addition to the scents themselves, from the ultra-chic black lucite and gold vial stands to the embossed leather travel sleeves. Finally, there are the stunning gold and crystal bottle holders which take the journey straight to the pinnacle of luxury.
Curious about these fragrances? Puredistance offers a beautifully packaged sample set which provides the perfect opportunity to discover this beautiful line for yourself.
$198 | 17ml
$590 | 100ml
Puredistance fragrances can be purchased online through Luckyscent in the United States or directly through Puredistance, Internationally.
MARK DAVID BOBERICK | Managing Editor