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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Puredistance Antonia: Modern Romance That’s Really Novel

By Donna

When the first Puredistance fragrance was released, I thought it seemed as though the ad campaign for it was all hype and no substance – but that was before I smelled it. As it turned out, I fell in love with its cool aldehydic abstraction and its family resemblance to Chanel No. 5 minus the part I never liked, the overly powdery aspect that was always the deal-breaker for me. Puredistance I was like the Chanel No. 5 of my dreams and I was definitely an admirer from that moment on.

Now a second scent is being introduced by the house, and Puredistance Antonia in turn has an unmistakable kinship with the first perfume. It was composed by master perfumer Annie Buzantian just like the first Puredistance perfume, and they share the hazy composition of abstract florals paired with aroma molecules that were never dreamed of when I first fell in love with perfume. The notes swirl around in tantalizing puffs, never stopping long enough to allow me to figure out what they are, but they all smell good. The opening did a little trick of briefly resembling one of those prim, “safe “cool green/white florals released by high fashion houses, meant to be worn as inoffensive badges of status by the type of woman for whom all the diamonds in her new tennis bracelet are real and whose wardrobe is impeccably tasteful and reliably dull. However, Antonia soon unfolds to reveal a lushness and warmth of heart that would rule out just being worn as a background scent by the ladies who lunch. It keeps its green character throughout its development, remarkably enough, but so much more is going on that it fascinated me for the entire time. Unlike so many light-bodied florals in this general category, Antonia does not fade away after an hour or so; it has more tenacity than most fragrances in its class.

The official list of notes for Puredistance Antonia is not being made public prior to its November 2010 release, but I can say that anyone who appreciates a good green floral will find something to love here. The closest comparisons I can make are to Henry Dunay's Sabi, which it resembles in style at least at first, but without the sharpness, and maybe a little bit of the great old Yendi by Capucci, which was very tender for a green scent. It is smooth and cool yet radiant and warm; a magical sleight of hand that I imagine must come from the delicate balance of aldehydes and other quality synthetics with natural materials. It shimmers and changes with a touch of sweetness here, a breath of sunlit meadow there. Is that violet leaf I smell? Maybe, but it's not watery or thin. How about lily? It seems likely, but if so it has been refined until it is but a shining point of white light. Orange blossom? Could be, but it's like a whispered suggestion made before running away, daring you to follow and then darting out of sight again.

If you think all green perfumes have a sharp edge, don't be afraid; it's as pillowy and gentle as can be and still be called green. I would also say that it is just a little sweeter than Puredistance I but not markedly so, as it is a subtle, slightly nutty sweetness tempered with the fuzzy and ever present greenness. It’s at times like these that my amateur’s fragrance vocabulary is inadequate; I am sure that a perfumer could tell me which sophisticated molecules are in this to make it as vibrant as the piercing chartreuse of the first leaves in spring, yet somehow solidly grounded and comforting too. Like its predecessor, it is entirely modern without being odd or strange; the makers were obviously aiming high and not looking for a quick hit with a trendy perfume that would soon pass out of fashion. I can see this becoming an enduring favorite in its class, and it's classy all the way.

Puredistance Antonia will be available in November 2010 at select European boutiques and by mail directly from the Puredistance Company; check their web site for firm dates, prices and stores. My advance sample was sent to me by the Puredistance Company for review purposes.

Image credit: Computer-generated fantasy art from

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Blogger Ducks said...

What a delectable review! I'm a green-o-phobe because my skin magnifies any sharpness or bitterness, but you make this sound so smooth and lovely I am tempted.

I wrestled with whether or not to love the original Puredistance. While I find it lovely, it is uncannily reminiscent of a plusher Love's Baby Soft to my nose -- which may be a fault of my nose, but there you have it. Between the hype and price point, I was never quite sure how to react to it. Nonetheless, I do find myself putting it on when I feel like wearing a softly tasteful, powdery, pearly, sweet floral... so, clearly, I like it.

5:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Ducks, don't fear the green! It is indeed as seamless and smooth as the first one.

I did not think I would like Puredistance I either, and it is really "not my style" but it really won me over. I like your term "pearly" for it, it's exactly right!

11:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Ines said...

I was lucky to be sent a sample in advance as well. :) I really didn't think they were going to make it as good as Puredistance I, but now, I think I like this one even better. Ms Buzantian truly does wonders.

3:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Marian said...

Oh dear, Donna! Your review has made my heart skip a beat. Puredistance Antonia" sounds as though it would be elegant without being aloof and refined without being too subtle. The combination of "green" but "lush" sounds perfect! I shall definitely keep my eyes on their website, and hope they come out with a purse spray size. I seem to remember that Pure Distance was rather pricey. Thanks for the lovely review.

8:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another wonderful review, D. I wasn't tempted by the original Puredistance, either, probably because of what I remember being the outstanding cost. (With all those beautiful vintage things going begging, I should buy an outrageously priced new thing? NOT.) But a beautiful smooth green scent? Sigh. Now I may have to find a sample.

2:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Ines, I agree, she is an amazing talent! It's nice to see perfumers who usually do work within a limited budget and concept have the freedom to create something wonderful.

4:05 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Marian, it is pricey but it's a lot less if you don't buy the special crystal flacon - it is available in a plain bottle too. No idea what Antonia's "special" casing will look like yet!

4:07 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Muse, thanks! I do know that the company decided to make the first perfume affordable for more people by offering it in the plain bottle as well as the fancy one, and I am assuming it will be the same for Antonia. Definitely worth a try!

4:10 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, right.

chat hispana

9:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous Cheap Perfume said...

Even though it is a new perfume scent, that did not keep me from liking Antonia. I've been using it since February 2011.

7:20 PM EDT  

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