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Friday, January 14, 2011

Sukhofrukty: Huitieme Art Parfums Fareb & Providence Perfume Co. Osmanthus Oolong

By Marina

Russian cuisine is all about preserving, pickling, marinating, fermenting, smoking and drying. I grew up eating dried fruits (sukhofrukty, сухофрукты) and somehow have considered them to be a Russian phenomenon. I now know that it is, of course, not so (hello! Moroccan food, to name just one...or Uzbek, to name one in the former Soviet realm!). My subconscious knee-jerk reaction upon seeing, tasting and smelling prunes (chernosliv, чернослив) and dried apricots (kuraga, курага), my two favorite types of dried fruits, is still, however- it's home! I mentioned numerous times before that I love a prune note in perfume. One doesn't come by it too often. The prune-iest of them all is Histoires des Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade. I also smell prunes in L'Artisan Al Oudh, Eau d'Italie Bois d'Ombrie, Serge Lutens Arabie and Chene and the old Sonya Rykiel scent, 7e Sense...that might be pretty much it. I was delighted to realize that Pierre Guillaume's new collection, Huitieme Art Parfums, will add another scent to that list.

Fareb is an acronym for Frais, Aromatique, Résineux, Epicé, Boisé (Fresh, Aromatic, Resinous, Spicy, Woody), which tells you right there to which olfactory territories its composition is going to lead. Apparently, in Hindi and Urdu, the word also means, delusion. Which might be appropriate in my case, since I have no idea whether there is in fact a prune-like accord in Fareb, whether the mix of the star notes, bois d'immortelle and ginseng extract, creates that effect or whether I am imagining it. Smell it and let me know. In any case, the fragrance starts with a somewhat sweet smell of prunes, with immortelle and a hint of leather in the background. As it develops, the prunes become spicier, even saltier, in other words savory rather than sweet, and the blend as a whole acquires what I will rather primitively call a "curry" smell. Which might not be a far-fetched comparison, since curry powder blends often include fenugreek, and everlasting has a fenugreek-like aroma...(I also detect cumin in the drydown.) The image I see when smelling Fareb is that of curried prunes, served on a leather plate...I don't know about you, but I find that idea irresistible. By the way, while googling bits and pieces for this review, I came upon a recipe of spiced pickled prunes and could not think of anything else ever since...

While it is possible to once in a while come upon a chernosliv note in perfume, I haven't smelled a kuraga one until I tried Charna Ethier's Osmanthus Oolong. Now, though kuraga is dried apricots, the smell of the two is not nearly identical. Kuraga smells much more ripe and simultaneously drier (obviously), with an almost leathery undertone. And that is exactly what Osmanthus Oolong smells like, to my nose. Osmathus famously has an apricot-like quality, and the tea note brings a certain smoky leatheriness to the blend. There must be additional fruity and leathery accords that add intensity to the blend, and overall the effect is oddly delicious. The two do not smell alike per se, but the only comparison I can come up with is Daim Blond. Imagine the latter with a more pronounced apricot note, with a smokier, darker leather instead of suede; imagine the composition stripped off any trace of heliotrope, iris and pretense...and you could sort of imagine Osmanthus Oolong....but not really. It is rather unique and a must try for fans of unconventional, non-sparkly fruity fragrances, leather and tea notes, osmanthus and especially for fellow lovers of sukhofrukty in perfume. Surely there are some. Raise your hand!

On this culinary note, I would like to invite you to the first post in PST's Foodie Sunday series, which will be curated by Beth and Tom. Please, stop by this Sunday to find out from Beth, Why Sunday Dinner? Tomorrow, Birgit will be discussing reed diffusers. Have a fragrant and delicious weekend, everybody!

(Fareb is currently sold at Huitieme Art Parfums website, First in Fragrance, The Perfume Shoppe, €95.00 or CAD$110.00 for 50ml, and will probably be available at Luckyscent along with the rest of Pierre Guillaume's creations. There is also a discovery sample kit for €19.00 or CAD$40.00. Osmanthus Oolong can be found at Providence Perfume Co.'s online shop, $25.00-$112.00, with samples also available.)

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Blogger Ines said...

I will have to try Osmanthus Oolong (I already know I want to try all of Huitieme Art) as everything you wrote about it compared to Daim Blond speaks to me, while Daim Blond just doesn't work at all for me.

4:53 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Try other Providence perfumes too, when you can, interesting stuff!

6:13 AM EST  
Blogger Ines said...

Marina, I've been smelling the outlaws (since Carol organized the packs) and I love their Gypsy so I will definitely try to smell all of their offer.

7:48 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I like Gypsy too. I now our Beth is a big fan of the line.

7:57 AM EST  
Blogger marsha said...

Frapin 1270 has a prune note.

8:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I made a note to retry it, thanks!

8:47 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Kuraga is usually made from a different variety of apricots and also they are generally sun-dried, which gives it its rich flavor. I love it too!
Osmanthus Oolong sounds so good!

9:40 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

My dad once experimented with making his own kuraga, but I think mom put a stop to that :) I have such a hankering for dried fruits now, but it's too cold to go out and get some :)

9:44 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it with food everywhere today? I am hungry! I love dried apricots as well, I always had them as a child. Providence Perfume Co seems to be another interesting indie line. Must investigate further.

9:54 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am hungry too :) Living vicariously through perfume :)

10:03 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I'm going to have to try Osmanthus Oolong..

11:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Not Fareb? :)

11:47 AM EST  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Mmmm, you make both of these sound delicious! I recently discovered that we have an Eastern European market in our town and have been trying all kinds of things -- one of them being the chocolate-covered prunes that you mentioned a long time ago in another post. At first I found them odd tasting, but now I'm addicted!

12:05 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

mmm, you are killing me! chocolate-covered prunes! I need to get myself to "Russian stores" :)

12:07 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Yes, most likely that one as well..

6:24 PM EST  
Blogger Katy Josephine said...

Marina, I never thought about prune being an element of the perfumes you mention, although my nose is not as attuned to that particular scent. I, too, love dried fruit in a way that I have never loved fresh fruit.

SL's Chene is a perfume that I imagine I would love, even though I have not yet tried it. Envisioning it now as pruney makes it that much more intriguing!

8:11 PM EST  
Anonymous Sthurding said...

Tonight I smelled an apricot note in carrot seed oil for the first time, but it was covered in soil and peels- not very nice. I'll glady lopt for Osmanthus Oolong instead. It sounds divine!

3:04 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Would love to know what you think of Chene in the end. It sneaked up on me.

1:10 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

actually soil and peels sound great! :)

1:11 PM EST  

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