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Saturday, May 03, 2014

The Painterly Palette of PK Perfumes (Part two)

By Donna

Last time I reviewed the first half of the PK Perfumes line, and now I am wrapping it up with the rest of the bunch. I have really enjoyed testing the various styles of fragrance so well crafted by Paul Kiler.
One that I keep coming back to experience is Velvet Curaçao, so intriguing is its dark and delicious take on orange and orange blossom. It does indeed feel like an opulent tapestry, or perhaps a heavy curtain in an opera box behind which all the grand ladies and gentlemen sit in their silken finery and flirt with slinky gloves, feathered fans and sidelong glances. It is almost candied it is so rich, but it is kept from being too sweet by its deeply burnished base of oakmoss, labdanum, ambrette seed, woods and musks. This would be a wonderful fragrance for special occasions, especially the kind where the lamps are turned down low, soft music is playing and candles are lit...

Carissa is a very bright, happy and extroverted floral. It is a classic bouquet scent with rose, tuberose, green notes, jasmine, orange blossom and and the unusual and rarely used Carissa flower, an Australian bloom with which I am not familiar but which has a gardenia-like scent. (Its fruit is quite poisonous when unripe; typical for a white floral, they always seem to have something sinister in their family tree and that's one of the things I love about them.) It is entirely unapologetic about its nature so those who shun floral perfumes like this for being “old-fashioned” will miss out on its effusive charm. Carissa would be right at home in the kind of American style mid-century perfumery that produced so many overtly feminine fragrances (think of White Shoulders, for example) but that is exactly why I like it so much. It's the kind of thing I splash on with abandon when I don't have to go to the office and I can just revel in excessive girly indulgence all I want.

I am always on the lookout for a good green scent, and Ere is a welcome addition to the genre. It's just grassy enough from the judicious use of galbanum but it's not chewy and dense like some fragrances that have an overdose of the stuff – mind you, I adore galbanum, but sometimes you just want to enjoy a nice soft green fragrance that reminds you of walking on dewy lawns, and this is one that fills that niche to the letter. It has a resinous (but not heavy) base that makes it linger much longer than most of its kind, and a juiciness that lets you know this grass is stemmy and freshly cut, ready for your bare feet to tread upon. I am saving the rest of my sample and I plan to trot it out the next time it's too hot to wear anything but a soothing, cooling green.

After reading the description of Pentecost, how it actually smells was quite a surprise. I was expecting a fresh spring floral with roses, but how about grapes? Yes, the aroma of grape must and wine dregs, intense and pervasive, is what hit my nose first with this one. I am particularly fond of the foxy pucker of grape skin so I enjoyed this immensely. The florals and exhilarating green notes chime in shortly thereafter, and it turns out that the initial impression was an illusion, simply another facet of rose, fresh and fruity yet rich, the immediate and vivid breath of a highly scented living flower. The other surprise of Pentecost is how long it lingers; I could still smell it on my skin the next morning after applying it the day before. It's flat-out gorgeous and I recommend it highly for any fan of rose perfumes.

Speaking of rose, the name says it all with Dirty Rose, a sultry black-red rose with a hefty punch of patchouli, made distinctive from others of its kind by the inclusion of just enough oud a great wallop of muskiness. If you want the overall structure of a rose/oud scent but the extreme versions from the likes of Montale are too much, this would be a great choice. Patchouli can be problematic for me, and sometimes it refuses to cooperate with my skin chemistry, but on a good day I can rock a perfume like this and feel like a femme fatale, and when that happens Dirty Rose works perfectly. On the flip side, this is easily a man's rose for those who dare. Prisoners will not be taken in either case.

The final fragrance I tested was a preliminary version of a pending launch intended for men only, and it's easy to see why – Kairos is devoid of any softness or sweetness, yet it is elegantly constructed, not rough or coarse. It is a vetiver-heavy scent with an earthy muscularity which is still restrained enough for polite company. I don't know what the final product will be like but I think it's safe to say that it will require men with strong personalities to carry it off, and I eagerly await its debut.

Image credit: Red rose wallpaper via Pink roses on branch wallpaper from
Disclaimer: I requested and received a sample set from PK perfumes for testing purposes.

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Blogger queen_cupcake said...

Dirty Rose? Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has an excellent perfume by that name. He couldn't come up with something else?

6:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Paul Kiler said...

Hi Queen, I can't remember when Dawn and I picked our names. My choice was not intentional to copy hers, *if* hers was first... Which I don't even know...? My name was chosen for me by my client who commissioned me to make a 'dirty rose' for him, and to which was added Oud and Musks, which is now the PK Perfumes Dirty Rose Oud Extreme. (mimicing his commission) Dirty Rose is the part of the fragrance without the Oud and the deep animalic Musks. Dawn and I have spoken about the names, and she isn't bothered, nor am I. :-) Thanks SO MUCH again, Donna for a great review!

2:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

You are most welcome Paul, it was truly a pleasure trying your fragrances!

1:36 AM EDT  

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