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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Perfume Review: Nelly Rodi Scent Factory

Nelly Rodi is a company that specializes in providing trend information to fashion (and I assume cosmetic and perfume) industry; they are considered to be one of the pioneers of trend counseling in Europe and count such giants as L’Oréal, LVMH, H&M, and Givenchy among their clients. Forever being on the lookout for new fashion tendencies, it is no wander that Nelly Rodi spotted the growing trend for curated scent, i.e. scents commissioned directly from perfumers (one of the prime examples would be Frederic Malle’s Editions de Parfum).

Scent Factory, a line of eight scents, each a variation on the oriental olfactory family was developed by the perfumers of three of the largest fragrance manufacturers, Mane, Robertet and Symrise. Each perfume in Scent Factory focuses on a specific note and is supposed to convey a luxurious and contemporary image. I must say that I find it a little strange that Nelly Rodi considers the Oriental olfactory category to be “often overlooked by big perfume houses”; I certainly haven’t noticed a shortage of Oriental fragrances. I am not complaining though, Oriental is one of my favorite fragrance families, and I am grateful Nelly Rodi did not decide to explore say Aquatics.

INCENSE. Created by Alexis Dadier of Mane, the scent starts somber and intense, like an herbal-green (rosemary) incense, quite deep and forceful. Within minutes, however, the scent loses all its force and disintegrates into a rather bland vanilla-woody drydown with but a hint of incense.

RHUM. Created by Olivia Jan of Robertet, Rhum begins very unpleasant on my skin, bringing to mind an overheated plastic appliance that is about to start melting. Going from unpleasant to unremarkable, it seems to settle into a vaguely medicinal drydown of mainly vanilla and sandalwood.

CARDAMOME. Created by Fabrice Pellegrin of Mane, this is a rich and aromatic, slightly spicy scent with a woody undertone. Not bad at all except for the “dusty” (not powdery- dusty) drydown and the fact that the scent lasts less than half an hour on my skin.

CACAO. Created by Dorothée Piot of Symrise, this was my least favorite of the line and easily one of the most disagreeable perfumes I have ever smelled. Cacao is a medicinal and plastic-y chocolate scent, like Hershey Kisses gone not just stale but actually rotten.

GIMGEMBRE. Created by Richard Ibanez of Robertet, this is a very sweet, almost syrupy ginger scent, with –again- a medicinal undertone to it somewhere in the middle notes, rather like cough medicine of some sort. It has the inevitable vanilla-heavy drydown; still I would recommend this one to the fans of ginger fragrances, because the ginger note actually stays present till the very end, unlike that in another ginger-vanilla blend, Zenzero. The drydown here is also made more interesting by the presence of amber. All in all, perhaps one of the better scents of the line, apart from its extreme sweetness.

BOIS. Created by Amandine Marie of Robertet, this is my second favorite of the line. It is a cedar heavy scent made interesting by the presence of a dry and spicy birch note and a smoky leather accord, which manages to smell leathery and quite alike Lapsang Souchong all at the same time. The drydown is earthy, with notes of vetiver and patchouli being the most prominent on my skin; there is a little too much patchouli here to my taste, otherwise Bois could have been the favorite among these eight scents.

AMBRE. Another Dorothée Piot’s creation, Ambre has a very unpleasant beginning, at the danger of sounding gross, I must say that the start of this scent smells to me just like smoldering ashes of garbage. If one perseveres, however, the scent gets radically better and develops into a straightforward and enjoyable, rather dark and sweet, amber scent.

ROSE. Third Dorothée Piot’s scent, the best of her three creations, and my favorite of the line, this is a peppery-herbal-spicy rose fragrance. It is a beautiful scent, a dark rose with a "kick" and an "oomph", very wearable but extremely short-lived.

All eight scents seem to have some similarities, and I am not talking about all of them being “a contemporary take on the Oriental theme”. Several of them seem to have a strange medicinal undertone and an unremarkable vanilla drydown. Compared to another “curated” line, that of Frederic Malle’s Editions de Parfums, where each scent is a well-planned, masterfully executed, finished, polished, and complex creation, Scent Factory fragrances seem to be more like drafts, unfinished, raw versions of potentially great perfumes. Apart from that and apart from the very poor lasting power of all eight, my other grievance with this line is the fact that the fragrances are only available as a set. I liked Bois and Rose and perhaps- just perhaps- I would have bought the bottles if they were available separately. As it is, there is no way that I would want to be saddled with the other six.

NellyRodi Scent Factory is available at Aedes, where the set of eight 0.8oz bottles retails for $145.00.

20 Comments:

Blogger risa said...

this is interesting, and good to know! i've been very curious about the Nelly Rodi line for a little while, but have been avoiding Aedes in case i felt compelled to get one ;) i find it intriguing that your most and least loved scents were made by the same formulator, too!

10:36 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Risa,
I am so thankful to a very generous person who sent me the samples, because I was *this* close to an unsniffed order, and now I know that I would have been very disappointed.

It is interesting that Piot is the author of what I thought was the worst and the best scents :-) She is obviously a talented, multifaceted perfumer.

10:44 PM EST  
Blogger katiedid said...

Oh now I'm going to have to dig into Mireille's archives and contrast and compare what you both thought of the various ones. I think I find everyone's various reactions to them way more interesting than I would the scents themselves.

On a totally other note, I hope Nelly Rodi starts informing Givenchy that some of us appreciate their house best when they come up with the sweeter men's scents, and their woody orientals are what I consider what they generally do best anyhow. I still find LVMH a behemoth that destroys the things I love, so I hope they also advise LVMH that my most beloved Scharffenberger champagnes have THE WORLD'S UGLIEST LABELS EVER. No lie, ugliest ever. Sigh. (I almost typed Sith. Heh. LVMH as the Sith. I am such a geek. Possibly appropriate though. Taking away Theorema from the US does qualify as evil.)

11:06 PM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

I liked the amber and the incense, but not enough to buy the set. I would like the option of purchasing seperately.

6:29 AM EST  
Blogger Christina H. said...

Well,this was a $145.00 disappointment to me.I liked the Cardamom,and the Gingembre but they leave an oily residue on the skin and still did not last 3 or 4 hrs on me.It was more like an hour and a half.I'm being generous here.What can I say when I have nothing good to say:SAY NOTHING.

8:55 AM EST  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Oh, dear! After reading earlier reviews, I had been holding out hopes for the incense, but now. . . I think not! Actually, I should thank you; I NEED my lemmings killed!

9:33 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Katie,
Mireille's reviews were fun. The score!!

I would sign that petition to Givenchy! Please please more stuff like Pi and Organza Indecende and Oblique and less stuff like...well, pretty much like most other recent stuff :-)

9:56 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Victoria,
It seems to me most people would like these scents to be sold separately. So would I. I would buy Rose. And probably Bois as well.

9:58 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Christina,
You brought up a very important point, and of the biggest disappointemnts with these scents. They magical disappearing scents, seriously. Half an hour at best! If that. Practically no lasting power.
Did you like Rose?

9:59 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

J,
I believe Victoria (Bois de Jasmine) said she liked incense. Another Victoria (see comment here) said she liked it too. So you never know! Please don't let my post stop you from trying. but whatever you do, don't buy unsniffed :-D

10:01 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, you liked this set much less than I did, although I didn't see it as something I needed to buy either. BTW, the "dusty" in the cardamom was the best part, LOL! Signed, EFT

1:01 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Dear EFT,
So dusty was better than an "overheated plastic appliance" or indeed "garbage ashes"? LOL

1:30 PM EST  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Overall, I agree with your take on these as being rather a mixed bag. Incense and Bois were my favourites, as they were the only fragrances that did not turn super sweet and vanillic on my skin. Cardamome was lovely, but it is rather fleeting, so I am not sure what to make of it. BTW, have you tried layering them? Some of the combinations are very good. I posted a few ideas under my review (part II), and I still keep playing with them.

2:17 PM EST  
Blogger Patty said...

So, other than the smell, you pretty much liked them? :)

2:53 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

V,
The scents were so faint, I had to practically dump a whole vial to to test each, so there wasn't much left for layering. If what I tried, Bois and Rose (yet again) was the best combination, so it still meant I only liked 2 out of 8. They really really should sell the scents separately.

7:38 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Patty,
Yes, apart from the smell, and the bad staying power, and the faintness, they were lovely lovely scents LOL

7:38 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

I laughed all the way through your review. When I got to the comments, I laughed harder. Thank you.

9:24 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Tee hee. I am so glad to hear that. This is one of meanest reviews yet (apart from the Alien one). They are fun. Tomorrow will be a dull rave type review. :-(

10:24 PM EST  
Blogger Qwendy said...

I must admit that I like the mean reviews, and I found yours just honest and fair and interesting to read and imagine. It certainly makes me less interested in these in general, apart from the Bois that is! Why would the lasting power be so poor in all of them I wonder?

2:40 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Wendy,
I can'ty imagine why *all* of them have so little lasting power. It is like a certain fixative is missing, though I don't know what such a fixative might be.

8:50 AM EST  

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