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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scent of Time by David Pybus. Part III. Mini Reviews

By Marla

Maya (soon-to-be-released): Maya is a rich floriental, verging on gourmand. Normally, I shun white florals and gourmands, as I prefer dry, green, or incense-laden masculines, but this is one case where I’ll make an exception. A yummy exception. Maya begins with deep, rich, chocolate, and a whiff of copal. I live in the Alps, and this is our local chocolate, which was of course brought here from the Americas. Copal resin is the traditional incense offered at sacred Maya sites. I’m one of the few who delights in Norma Kamali’s Incense, which is heavy, smoky copal, but this is very sheer, just a hint on the breeze. After a few minutes, the tropical florals kick in (sampaquita predominates) and it’s hard to avoid biting my own arm. Fortunately, the combination is neither overly sweet nor cloying, it’s just comforting and delicious. The drydown features vanilla and musk, with the cacao laid on lightly. Those looking for something akin to Kamali’s Incense will be disappointed, but floral and cacao lovers will be quite happy. It’s a very romantic perfume and makes me want to book a trip to Tikal.

Nenufar: This formula dates to 50BC, and was said to be used by Cleopatra to enthrall both Marc Antony and Julius Caesar. It is a soft floral aquatic, utilizing headspace blue lotus, accented by nutmeg, angelica, and almond. This is David’s personal favorite of his feminine line. For those perfumistas who loathe aquatics after having sniffed too much Calone in the 90s, fear not. The aquatic notes are very gentle in Nenufar. This is a very soft, feminine, powdery floral, feather light and perfect for spring days out in the garden. Angelica adds a touch of green, and the almond is blossom-soft, and bears no resemblance to marzipan. It’s very flirty, as it should be, considering the woman who made it famous. Sillage is minimal, and one would have to be in the flirty zone to smell this, so it would be very appropriate for situations where you don’t want to make too great an olfactory announcement.

Pyxis: Sperato, one of the unguentari (perfumers) of ancient Pompeii, had the good posthumous fortune to have his home, long buried in volcanic ash, unearthed several years ago. This perfume formula was created based on the analysis of burnt seeds found in his garden. Head notes are citrus, heart notes are rose and jasmine, and the base is incense and wood resins. This floral is stronger and more assertive than Nenufar, but still soft and feminine. Though a chypre, its heart is strongly floral and it’s definitely not unisex. Lasting power and sillage are both quite good, far better than most department store scents. While Nenufar could easily be worn during the day, Pyxis strikes me as an evening scent.

Ankh: Though this is David’ unisex/masculine, it’s my favorite of the line (with Maya coming in a close second). Ankh, his ancient Egyptian masculine, contains many of the principal ingredients of kyphi, the incense that was burnt either at sunset, or 3 times a day, (depending on the source) in the principal temples. The peppery opening is reminiscent of CdG’s Ouarzazate. Frankincense is of course the primary note, and Ankh can happily take its place with frankincense greats like Armani’s Bois d’Encens, CDG’s Avignon, and Duchaufour’s brilliant Amouage Jubiliation XXV. Any incense-craving perfumista in the UK, or who has a friend in the UK, or who is visiting the UK in the future, needs to try this one.

These four perfumes can be purchased through the British Museum Shop, and within the UK in various sizes at David’s own website, Scents of Time.

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Blogger elle said...

I spent most of my high school years in Guatemala and so I very much look forward to trying Maya. Sounds wonderful! My favorite incense is most definitely NK's, but I'm open to copal in any dosage. I've tried the other three (from samples at TPC) and definitely think I will be needing Ankh, but I am going to have to go retry Pyxis. I'm fascinated by the idea of a perfumer's garden in Pompeii. I had never really thought of someone in ancient times being specifically a perfumer. Can't imagine why I hadn't as I've had a life long obsession w/ perfumes, history and archaeology. Now I wish someone would write a novel about one of the unguentari. Thanks for this post!

9:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Wow, Marla, these sound so delicious! I think I must try Maya - chocolate, incense AND tropical florals? That's one-stop shopping for me! ;-)

10:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me, too!

12:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Yum, these sound marvelous. Maya is calling me, too. I have so enjoyed this series.

12:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ducks! Maya is really scrumptious, but I am a chocoholic....

12:22 AM EDT  
Blogger EileenS said...

Marla, thanks for these reviews! I've been curious about the line, but it's not readily available here.

1:38 PM EDT  

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