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.