Today's post is about three fragrances: Creed Aventus by Oliver and Erwin Creed, Hedonist by Viktoria Minya, and Ararat for Parfumerie Naturelle by Raphael Haury. Two of these, Hedonist and Ararat, are not mass-marketed fragrances but perfumes created by independent perfumers for their own small businesses. In contrast, Creed Aventus is one of the most famous and popular "manly" colognes. Since its introduction in 2010, Aventus has maintained a huge following of both men and women, many of whom go so far as to test every new batch, reviewing the merits and shortfalls of each production run. This fragrance may be classified as "niche" in some circles, but its influence and presence feel like mass market.
Aventus Notes: Top - black currant, bergamot, apple, pineapple.
Middle - Rose, dry birch, jasmine, patchouli. Base - Oakmoss, musk, ambergris, vanilla.
Creed Aventus begins with a fizz of crisp apple, tart berry and sparkling citrus. After only twenty minutes the fragrance loses projection, retreating to a generic, woody floral colored with smoke and vanilla. Aventus makes it way through oakmoss and synthetic pineapple and finishes in two hours with fresh, fruity musk.
Viktoria Minya's 2013 Hedonist, on the other hand, lasts forever.
Notes: Top - Rum CO2, bergamot, peach. Middle - Jasmine absolute, orange flower absolute, osmanthus absolute, tobacco. Base - Vetyver, cedarwood, vanilla.
I love Hedonist's initial boozy rum, peach and osmanthus and am impressed by the high quality orange flower. Hedonist smells rich and luscious, becoming stronger and sweeter as it develops. Sometimes (but not always) it reaches levels of cloying persistence (the tobacco?) that, despite the fine quality of the ingredients, send me rushing for the nearest source of fresh running water. Thankfully this doesn't happen often.
Ararat, created by Raphael Haury in 2010 for his indie house Parfumerie Naturelle, has had little, if any, marketing and is barely visible on the perfume radar screen. I stumbled onto this fragrance in my usual serendipitous fashion when I mistakenly clicked the wrong name on Parfums Raffy's list of available brands. I was intrigued by the single review I found, likening Ararat to the considerably more expensive Aventus. I purchased some samples and was pleasantly surprised.
Notes: Top - Lemon, apple, cardamom. Middle - Pineapple, cedar, geranium. Base - Amber, patchouli, oakmoss, tonka bean.
Ararat opens with a fresh, fruity zest, similar to Aventus but rounder and riper. At about twenty minutes Ararat, like its Creed cousin, loses projection. At this point the two fragrances part ways. While Aventus continues on its woodsy/fruity journey to musk, Ararat does a u-turn, morphing into an uncanny likeness of Hedonist. The apple turns to peach and osmanthus, the pineapple to apricot supported by cedar and vanilla. Ararat never has time to reach the occasional cloying overdose of Hedonist but, like Aventus, quickly fades. Ararat ends abruptly after two hours with amber and oakmoss, leaving me wanting more.
When I wear Ararat I feel like I'm getting both Aventus and Hedonist, two quite expensive perfumes, for less than the price one of them. And Ararat is more than an amalgam of the two. It has its own lovely voice, rounder and riper than Aventus, more transparent and evanescent than Hedonist.
Ararat is available at Parfums Raffy for less than $50 for 100 ml.
[Perfume bottle images from Fragrantica; Garden of the Hesperides paintings by Albert Herter and Ricciardo Meacci, 19th century].