Monday, March 14, 2011

Puredistance I & Puredistance M, master perfumes: fragrance reviews

The ultra-exclusive (and ultra-expensive) Puredistance perfumes prove that not all such claims are bogus: Here are fragrances worth the trouble of going to lengths to sample them at the very least: They're rich, smooth, very luxurious-feeling indeed and even if the campaign is positioned to extol the exclusivity factor, the jus does deliver each and every time. The current collection includes Puredistance I, Puredistance M and Antonia, the latter of which I intend to come back to in the near future.

Puredistance the brand was founded by Jan Ewoud Vos in Vienna, Austria. If you have ever been to Vienna, you can't have failed to notice how it's probably the most civilized place on planet earth: a place where music flows forth endlessly from every street corner, people smile to each other in the streets in greeting (I'm talking perfect strangers here) and the elegant center of art attracts artists and free thinkers from all over the world in peaceful co-existence of different idiosyncrasies. The world famous Wiener Werkstätte (a production community of visual artists founded in 1903 by the artists Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser) is characterized by pure lines and minimal decoration and it is this which provided the inspiration for Puredistance lean lines in Swarovski crystal for their bottles.
Jan Ewoud Vos says: "Since several decades, people have conceived a very distinct image of what a perfume is about. And that image does not fit Puredistance. This will make it harder for us to be noticed. Puredistance is not made to last for a few years, like most new perfumes do, it’s made to last forever. Therein also lies strength. We don’t need to rush things. It will take time, but it will happen. For as I’m concerned: also this is predestinated. Real beauty will never go unnoticed.".

Before you start rolling your eyes like I was before actually testing them out, let me state this once again: These are quality fragrances that last especially long, come in parfum concentration that is delightfully smooth-smelling and provide that can't-knock-it feeling like a million bucks mood. Now let's get down and start salivating over the details.

Puredistance I is the first creation of the Puredistance company; a floral oriental, which was created by Annie Buzantian from Firmenich, NY, on a formula she had been working for years. Byzantian considers it her favorite perfume and her personal Masterpiece, which should be a foregone conclusion as it began as a quest for creating her own personal scent. Puredistance I feels like Chanel No.5, Guerlain's Cruel Gardénia and Narciso Musk for Her (the precious oil parfum) fused into one crystal clear and delightfully "clean", lightly soapy-lightly powdery melody on skin. It's practically purring with delight on my arms, its cool and warm facets competing for center stage all the while. That element which makes No.5 so compelling, the muskiness that exalts the idea of freshly scrubbed bodies which exude their own natural scent, is reprised here in a composition that infuses a little powderiness into the fresh almost ozone top notes that surprises and enchants. Annie Byzantian eschewed the traditional "luxe" techniques (raw materials that scream "I'm expensive", heavy character to denote richness etc) and instead provided a streamlines, seamless formula that feels timeless. You don't have to stink to high heavens to prove your mettle as a perfume aficionado: Here is proof that a subtle, elegant, "fluted" approach is just as memorable.
The composition is a sophisticated floriental with fresh opening (magnolia and an ozone-watery lily of the valley accord) and an overall floral and soft character which shimmers delicately like rose gold set with tiny diamonds on lily-like fingers. The more you leave it on skin the more it gains in soapy-powdery feel, quite delicate and feminine to the core, like exploring a woman's intimate secrets revealed only in the quiet of the night. The white musk and sandalwood are what remains poised when the sing of the birds at dawn has echoed through the night chambers and the sweet embraces are over.

Notes for Puredistance I include tangerine blossom, cassis, neroli bigarade, magnolia, rose wardia, jasmine, parmenthia, natural mimosa, amber, vetiver and white musk.
The perfume extract contains 32 % perfume oil which makes for a very long-lasting experience; you will wake up to the beautiful scent still lingering on your pillow.
The limited edition Crystal Masterpiece is available as:
A Crystal & 24 carat Gold version - 2048 pieces (2750 Euro retail)
A Crystal & high-grade Steel version - 4824 pieces (1750 Euro retail)
The separately available refill, a 17.5 ml. perfume spray (165 Euro)

Thankfully Puredistance DO sell the refills without you having to fork out so much cash for the crystal flacons, beautiful as they are, so if you're just after the juice, here's the option: just ask them for details & stockists (site info on the bottom)

Puredistance M is a wonderful leather fragrance that is perfectly unisex (M can stand for male, but it could also be thought of as upside down, aka W, aka, for women!). Conceived as giving the luxurious sensation of sitting snugly inside the new leather interior of a grey Aston Martin, preferably on Her Majesty's Secret Service, it feels exactly like that: warm, comfortable, expensive, very satisfied with itself. Puredistance M Perfume was made in London by Roja Dove, famous for his own bespoke and semi-bespoke line at Harrods where he directs the Haute Parfumerie, as well as his position at Guerlain for years. Puredistance M is made from a high concentration of perfume oil (25%) and available as a 17.5 ml. perfume spray in a metal grey giftbox or a leather case for the purse (or that glove compartment of that grey Aston Martin!) besides the more expensive crystal presentations.

To me Puredistance M feels like a clove-y leather fragrance reminiscent of retro fragrances that hard-core aficionados appreciate, such as En Avion by Caron; it's delightfully sensuous and uncompromising with a smoother underside than the Caron forebearer, all tactile satisfaction caressing the plush. In the first moments the spicy cinnamon-clove tinge embracing a discernible rose, is prominent, creating a vintage ambience with the slightly bitter nuances of leather in the mix, while the more it stays on skin the more it softens and becomes a skin scent with a faint whiff of ambery-musky sweetness that is delectable.
I know these are not Austrian images I'm going to conjure, but it's like the best things about 1960s Sean Connery and Michael Kaine in Alfie rolled into one and they produced an imaginary super-child that would smell of Puredistance M. I'm totally smitten!

Notes for Puredistance M include bergamot, Amalfi lemon, jasmine, rose, carnation, cinnamon, cloves, vetiver, patchouli, French cistus labdanum, oakmoss, musk, woods, and leather.

The Puredistance perfumes are available on the official Puredistance site, Harrods at London, Lianne Tio's boutique in Rotherdam (the one famous for her Goutal fragrances), at The Scent Bar in Los Angeles and other boutiques around the world (Find a complete list of retailers here).

Pics of Catherine Deneuve and Michael Kaine via Life magazine.
Disclosure: I was sent tiny samples of the perfumes from the manufacturer.


  1. Anonymous10:50

    I couldn't agree more with everything you said, from the initial eyerolling scepticism to the eventual impressed awe towards these perfumes. By now I own all three and they are the pride of my collection.

  2. Yes, I do believe these will last as they already smell timeless. I just got a sample of M the other day but haven't tried it yet as a cold is preventing my nose to smell much of anything.
    I'm jealous of Olfactoria having all 3, I only have Puredistance I (and not much is left) and I definitely want a bottle of Antonia.

  3. Fiordiligi14:57

    How funny, my dearest E, as I have been reading up about these perfumes over the weekend! Somehow they have so far passed by my radar, but I have just corrected that and ordered some samples. Thank you so much.

  4. B,

    thanks for confirming I'm not totally bonkers! Yeah at first I was all "can you be any more butt clenching" and then whoah! testing them out proved such a delight! They're definitely very smooth, very wearable in a contemporary sort of manner and at the same time they have a timeless quality.
    I am green with envy on your having them all three! They seemed like such a splurge when I already have more than 300 bottles at home...(I realise they ARE a splurge even if I didn't have many many bottles)

  5. Ines,

    do try to smell M when you get a chance and your nose gets better (bless you, still suffering? hope you get better very very soon).
    It's a great clove-y rose-y leather, very Caron-like, very unique, very plush. Love it!

    They do feel timeless: I guess when your prototypes are No.5, Caron etc, your footsteps can't but follow a path that is strewn with elegance, restraint, good taste and technical prowress.

  6. Dearest D,

    (thanks for the email btw! lovely!)

    they are quite lovely indeed and wish they were paying me in fragrant juice to say so, but alas they do not. I didn't quite believe it when I first heard about them (many many months ago), but when I smelled them I did realise the wrong of my ways.
    I believe you'd like all three, with probably Antonia speaking to your Chamade/Guerlain-loving heart. Roja's entry (M) is stellar as well.

  7. BARBARA O18:22

    What is your favorite perfume if you only could pick one?

  8. Barbara,

    At gunpoint you mean? :-)

    Hmm, probably M because I just want to feel like Michael Kaine, gazing at potential "love catches" through the flame of the lighter...

  9. I have not smelled M yet, but I have smelled Antonia and the first fragrance. I don't have the gift, as you do, to describe fragrances in the manner that you do, but here are my reviews:

    I look forward to M because I do like leather.

  10. Hello there dear K!

    Oh, popping over to see! Thanks!

    Yup, M is a very good specimen in the leather category: you can feel the leather, but it's also supremely wearable. It's luxurious, not harsh.

  11. Anonymous22:30

    Too obvious.

  12. Anon,

    what is?
    If you mean it's an obvious ploy to make us spend through "luxe" aspirations, they've succeeded. As you can see, several of us have already contemplated investing in big decants at least.

  13. I smelt Puredistance I and M, and with M was love.
    I searched for a leather parfume and I smelt a lot of fragrances but the work of Roja Dove about me is a truemasterpiece.
    It's a perfect expression of roughness of leather and causes a tactile sensation of luxury when I smelt it.
    I think it could be my favourite leather

  14. Giovanni,

    glad we agree. I think M is my favourite as well. It's very good.

  15. Anonymous05:05

    To my nose, M is wonderful, but is very reminiscent of Hermes Bel Ami. It's almost like a refined "clone."


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