Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Benefactor from Parfums d'Armando Martinez: fragrance review

There is an underappreciated quality when judging perfume, especially among people who love it. That quality is wearability.
It might sound like a dirty word when every other fragrance release from the major companies is akin to putting on a mass-marketed piece of clothing that is being produced in Bangladesh, bearing the insignia of a well-known commercial designer no less. But I assure you that wearability is much more than what meets the eye. It is precisely this quality, often elusive in the niche arena of scents, that accounts for the success of Armando Martinez's perfumes.

From his first foray into Perfume Shrine with the powdery rose and violet honeyed tones of Maquillage, to his masterpiece aldehydic, pearly white floral Pillow of Flowers, Armando has been playing with good quality natural ingredients and aromachemicals that are blended in an ultimate caress of softness and plushness that would never alienate the lover of pleasant aromas. His creations do not lack uniqueness and to wit one could very well mention the mould-breaking herbal Satyr which is certainly different and stranger than most similar attempts on the market. Yet even then, there is a base element that ties loose ends with a pacifying tone like a familiar lullaby one has been carrying in one's mind since childhood.

And it is in this context that Armando's latest fragrance, a shared scent that can be worn by both sexes, Benefactor, is entering the scene; a glimpse of Salome's veils for the delectation of oriental lovers everywhere.
"Benefactor, a scent that envelopes the wearer in a cloak of roses, vanilla and agarwood. A modern take on the age old arabic perfume. An oriental that is unisex.
Benefactor's notes include: bergamot, camphor, turkish rose, saffron, vetiver, atlas cedarwood, vanilla, and agarwood".
(quote from Armando Martinez site).

Although a camphoric opening might predispose one for The Agony and the Ecstasy of none other than the perverse beauty of Tubereuse Criminelle by Lutens or even his equally strange yet lovely Borneo, in Benefactor the effect is subdued and short-lived enough to not jolt you into shock, yet challenge the nostrils with its peculiar aroma paired with a little culinary saffron, that spice that colours Middle Eastern dishes with its rich golden hues. As the camphoric note dissipates, a sweet and powdery rosiness like that in loukhoums emerges swan-down like from the mélange of notes with a little vanillic underscoring. At this stage the cosiness and softness is eminently beautiful without ever becoming insipid, with agarwood/oudh, that weird wood also appearing in the comparable Black Aoudh by Montale, so prized in arabian perfumery, playing the role of basso continuo all the while; providing the austere backdrop that veers the whole into the unisex universe of scents.
A simple composition that never loses its charm, it has the benefit of making one feel at once warm, cuddly and familiar with just the right touch of opulence, daydreaming of a harem in the Arabian Nights.

If interested in purchasing a 2 ounce spray bottle or requesting samples, Mando is charging $65.00 a bottle for each of his creations, directly from his site: Click here.
They are currently for sale also in Europe on First in Fragrance/Aus liebe zum Duft website. Click here for details.

Painting of Harem comes from travelinstyle.com

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