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Monday, January 10, 2011

Puredistance M: Quiet Strength

By Donna

I have already expressed my appreciation for the first two Puredistance fragrances; now there is a third release hot on the heels of Antonia. This one is a stylistic departure from the others, as is it not by Annie Buzantian, and it is most definitely not intended as a feminine perfume. M is the creation of Roja Dove, who is well known for his high quality custom fragrances, so he seems like a good match for the Puredistance brand. According to the Puredistance Web site, he was inspired by the high quality standards of the house when he agreed to make the fragrance, which was in turn inspired by the idea of good quality leather.

The description says it's a leather chypre, but to me it's not that obvious. It is certainly not a fierce, dark thing like the old Cabochard, Jolie Madame or Bandit, the holy trinity of leather chypres, and not even leathery in the way of the newer, tamer versions of Jolie Madame. This perfume is a smooth blend of spicy, resinous and woody ingredients with the leathery part seamlessly integrated into the whole. As was the case with the first two scents, Puredistance is not listing the official ingredients in their publicity materials, but this is my impression of the notes after several wearings: Labdanum, patchouli, moss, opoponax, tobacco, honey, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, Tonka bean, balsamic notes, leather and a smidgen of smokiness, maybe birch tar. It sounds like a pretty big, ornate fragrance, no? Well, it's not. In keeping with the Puredistance philosophy, nothing is overdone. I am reminded somewhat of several other fragrances, including Serge Lutens Arabie and Fumerie Turque and Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, but not because M is overpowering in any way. It kind of simmers on my skin, quietly but persistently, and draws me in again and again. To me its character is more Oriental than chypre, though I certainly do smell and appreciate the resins and leather. In the beginning there is a little pungency, as one would expect from a chypre, with just a scratch of patchouli before it smoothes out and gets warmer and spicier, and it has a fuzzy, comforting feel in the later stages of development that does not say chypre to me. Longevity is excellent but the sillage is surprisingly subtle; it does not shout at all, this one.

I would recommend this fragrance for those for whom the huge, sweet, and yes, sometimes raunchy “Orientalist” fragrances are just too much for wearing regularly. It has some of that quality, enough to be intriguing, but it's dry and restrained where they are gleefully excessive. Sometimes I want big and loud, but I also appreciate a perfume I can wear anywhere, and M is just that, while having plenty of its own character. I have a feeling it's going to be very popular with men who like their fragrances elegant and sophisticated while still standing out from the crowd. In Europe it can be found at select boutiques, but in the U.S. it is only available via the Web site. Samples in a pretty little mini “gift box” are $19 each, which is steep, but it includes shipping from The Netherlands. (A set of samples of all three Puredistance scents is $49.) The regular size is $198 for 17.5 ml, but it contains 25% perfume oil so a little goes a long way. Disclosure: I received a free sample from Puredistance for testing purposes.

Image credit: Puredistance M in its sleek gray metallic cylinder from

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Blogger tmp00 said...

This reads lovely- where you you get it?

1:11 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a great Puredistance devotee. M is a wonderfully discreet and refined perfume, although it is not for me, because I am very sensitive to leather notes, and although it is subtle and beautifully done, just as you describe it, I can't wear it anyway :( Lovely review!

4:23 AM EST  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Excellent review, Donna. I have a sample too and couldn't agree more with your assessment. I don't get much in the way of leather, either, but M definitely has a delicious, slightly smoky, honeyed-resin character. Mmmmm....'tis good!

10:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Your review makes me even more anxious try this and Antonia.

2:30 PM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Oh, that review really makes me want to try it! You and Birgit are pushing me over the edge with your love for this line. :)

2:49 PM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Interesting. Speak softly, but carry a quality stick?

It does sound like the kind of thing I should try; I love me a chypre, but wouldn't complain if it opened in that realm, and closed with the one you describe.

5:59 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I own "M. I'm male, and "M" is absolutely intoxicating

7:25 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Tom, they were good enough to send me a preview sample. :-)

10:54 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Olfactoria, that's too bad, but at least you can enjoy the other two. And thank you!

10:56 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Thanks Suzanne! It really grew on me. I just wish I could "test" it on a man. :-)

10:58 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Marina, I really think you would like them, especially Antonia, it's your kind of elegant scent!

10:59 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Victoria, that's us, just perfume pushers.... ;-)

10:59 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

ScentScelf, I really liked that aspect of this perfume - a chypre surrounded by those comforting Oriental notes.

11:00 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Anonymous, I bet it is! I think it was made with male skin chemistry in mind, you must smell wonderful!

11:01 PM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

Your description is wonderful- I feel as though I can smell it right now :-) That sample set is loudly calling my name :-)

10:29 AM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Marian, be careful, you might end up loving all 3!

4:06 PM EST  
Anonymous Womens Perfumes said...

I am a great Puredistance devotee. M is a wonderfully discreet and refined perfume, although it is not for me, because I am very sensitive to leather notes, and although it is subtle and beautifully done, just as you describe it, I can't wear it anyway.

4:27 AM EST  
Anonymous Womens Perfumes said...

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! Thanks a lot.

4:34 AM EST  

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