Category Archives: Vero.Profumo

Vero Profumo ‘Rozy’

Anna

I’ve been reading about Anna Magnani a lot recently. I wanted to be prepared for Vero Kern’s long awaited perfume Rozy, dedicated to the Italian actress and taking it’s name from the film ‘The Rose Tattoo’ that won her all manner of awards for best actress in the 1950’s. She is described as a woman of great vitality; her performances boiling with raw emotion and her personal life just as tempestuous and fiery.

I can see why Vero has made Magnani her muse for her latest creation. The actress, with her soul shining painfully bright through eyes that sparkle with mirth one moment and sorrow the next. She had such a sense of stark reality about her, something that one doesn’t often see in the polished aloofness of golden Hollywood stars. Her face was angular and atypical of beauty at that time, it’s lines carved by an intensity of emotion and understanding that seems to radiate through the screen, even now.

Vero herself has that same vitality. Although I was not one of the ones lucky enough to meet her at Bloom Perfumery earlier this month, I can sense through the warmth of her messages to me that she is a woman carved and made beautiful by her experience. She is of that rare breed of person who never forgets to say thank you, to ask after your family, even when life is hectic and there are hundreds of other things clamoring for attention. This innate understanding of how important it is to be personally involved in a project comes across in every single one of her perfumes. They all share the same vitality, the notion that one is smelling a person wearing a perfume rather than just the perfume itself. From the bottle escapes all the warmth, all the secret thoughts and movements of a human body. Vero’s fragrances inhabit you, sink into your skin and change you with the emotions suspended between molecules.

Onda, Rubj, Kiki and Mito are jewels with many different facets. Rosy is no different. It seems that Vero feels she cannot portray everything she wants to in just one version of a scent. Each perfume is like a complex being of light and shade, capable of expressing a vast array of emotion; therefor it must have a number of different incarnations. To my mind, all of Vero’s scents are women. I don’t mean that they are feminine fragrances, I mean that in my imagination they become characterised as strong female figures. Each concentration is like a sibling; the brightness and the wickedness.

The Eau de Parfums feel most like a full characterisation. Their attributes are all to be found within the dark glass of the beautiful bottles. For example; Onda is overly sexual, warmed by sun and sea spray; Kiki is frivolous and fun, a flapper girl at a party; Rubj is fully loaded with night blossoms and spice, seductive in the candle light; Mito is a sparkling green fountain, a walk through a beautiful garden.

The Extraits tend to exaggerate the perfumes deeper, darker side. The wicked sibling. Onda’s sexiness turns to smoke and bondage in the night; Kiki’s sweet powder grows languorous with caramel; Rubj’s white petals become dangerously intoxicating; Mito slips from her marble font into patent heels and knocks back the tequila with lime and road dust.

The Voile d’Extraits are the elemental qualities of the perfume, plucked out and suspended. The Voiles contain the most light and shade, transparent yet brightly coloured. The soul sibling. One might think that the Voiles are the most gentle incarnation but I have not found that to be the case at all. They sing from the skin in vivid soprano, somehow both sheer and dense, light and intensely pigmented. I don’t know how Vero has achieved this but the resulting fragrances are quite  exceptional. It is a mark of true dedication and understanding that a fragrance can have multiple facets and reflect in every one the passion and emotion of it’s maker, never losing any integrity or drama.

rozy

 

So. To Rozy. I have been waiting and waiting for Vero’s rose. There was never any doubt that it would be special, as everything she produces is. There has been a lot of anticipation and buzz surrounding the launch and already many rave reviews are appearing. I’m sure that there have been people wondering when the first bad review will appear, there being a need for balance in all things. I think anyone who reads this blog will know that I don’t tend to write critically. I try to be truthful, but always with a poetic bent. Onda was not an easy perfume for me, neither was Rubj in it’s EdP and VdE forms. I do, however, own a bottle of Rubj Extrait which enchants me over and over again, such is the power of Vero’s fragrances and their contrasting characters. With Rozy I have been utterly charmed, darkly intrigued and slightly repulsed. Like sisters from a twisted fairy tale, Rozy has led me by the hand into the dark recesses of a bloody chamber, then run with me like dawn breaking across the sky. Light and dark, skin and sin, blood and beauty.

Let’s start with the Voile d’Extrait. It opens with an almighty blast of powerful rose and tuberose with an almost medicinal steeliness to it. The fragrance is cold in my nostrils and although I recognise all the elements that I’m smelling, I somehow struggle to reconcile them with my preconceptions. I have never smelled a rose in quite this way before. It is seductive and suggestive of hidden dangers. There is an undercurrent of vivid anger, the tuberose is slashed flesh beneath the roses thorns. A fruitiness develops with sharp cassis, turned more lethal with spices. Beneath this runs the powdered honey that is so synonymous with Vero’s perfumes. In this wicked form the honey soothes nothing, instead acting as a lubricant for the rose’s velveteen seduction, a steely blade tucked into a garter around her thigh. The fragrance rolls forth from the skin with intense power and ferocity. When the sandalwood appears it takes on the suggestion of incense, intoxicating and dark at the edges. Rozy grows more leathered and resinous as it develops, the rose losing all it’s early purity and instead becoming dark, almost sticky sweet with honey and hot, torn flesh. Something slightly fetid lurks in the very depths of the perfume. It is not as prominent as it is in Onda, but nonetheless it appears, sending a shiver through the scent.

The overwhelming impression from Rozy Voile d’Extrait is of seduction, anger and wild passion, of destruction. A rose is such a powerful symbol and a scent which has been expressed over and over throughout history. Here the Rose is slowly sensual yet furious; viciously sexy, she makes no pretence at being refined or controlled. Dark hair flying and nails sharp as thorns, she rages at you with eyes like deepest dungeons, would rip you to shreds as she kisses you brutally with blood velvet lips. The scent of her skin is present in the honey and spices, urgent, hot and intense. Yet her anger is also cold as a razor, the medicinal tang present in the beginning does fade, but leaves behind an almost seared edge, like a frozen dagger into a swollen heart.

There is an undeniable beauty in Rozy Voile d’Extrait. For all the contradictions within the scent it is never discordant. It has a sharpness that chimes above the boudoir petals, a dangerous tone filled with unspoken vitriol. This is a rose as only Vero could do it. Filled with raw emotion and vitality. It is a scorned woman filled with dark intent and predatory want, a dagger in her hand. I found it to be almost too potent, although I have heard a number of other people mark it out as their favourite. The Eau de Parfum is the one that has a firm hold over my heart, and although it is also built around the same rose, it couldn’t be more different.

Rozy Eau de Parfum opens with a luxurious puff of powdered honey and nectar filled blossoms. It has a wonderfully vintage, golden feel to it straight away, lightly dusted, tanned skin beneath a silk gown. As the scent warms a glow of fruitiness appears, peachy and delicious, ripe with passionfruit. It’s at this point that a very beautiful counterbalance between moist juice and pollen filled floral occurs, staying put for the whole of the perfume’s development.

The rose doesn’t make an appearance straight away in Rozy EdP, rather she waits behind a screen of lilacs, peaches and honey dust until the opening scene had been played out. When she takes a step forward she is radiant, in full bloom and warm from the sun. I don’t find the rose to be the most prominent part of the fragrance, rather she is the structure upon which the other components dance, tumbling amid her petals, yet if she wasn’t there the whole scent would blow away in the breeze.

Rozy has a most pleasing sensation of a deep layer of powder upon a polished surface, super fine and so soft that when one lightly presses a fingertip into it, the only proof that it’s been touched is the fingerprint left behind. There is certainly a kind of powder-compact, lipstick quality that I usually would flinch at, yet here somehow it’s not offensive to me at all. I think that superb balance between fruitiness and floral together with the golden honey, keeps the powder from sticking in my throat.

Rozy Eau de Parfum is the golden sibling, with all the charm and charisma of a true star. While her Voile sister rages in the shadows, this rose blossoms in the growing light of morning, crowned with lilacs and smiling her beautiful smile. Whilst Vero’s trademark warm skin note is detectable here too, it smells like polished, clean skin rather than the sexual pungency present in the Voile. The passionfruit is ripe but not turning, the honey is sweet and abundant without becoming fetid.

It is a superbly classy fragrance, classy in the best kind of way. Rozy EdP is naturally charming and beautiful, vivacious and splendid, without having to try. She is entirely herself and everyone loves her for it.

I know that a lot of people will be drawn to the Voile d’Extrait because it has punch, a fuller, more dangerous character with that unmistakable Vero Profumo twist of honey, passionfruit and sex. I know that my friend The Silver Fox will wear the Voile with unashamed abandon, shrouding himself in it’s shadowed purple haze like a cloak of sensuality. I need a little restraint in my fragrances. I need to feel as if I am still myself within the perfumed cloud. Vero has an uncanny ability to make scents that seem to possess me and whilst that is intriguing for the purposes of creative writing, it makes them somewhat difficult for me to wear on a regular basis. Rozy EdP is perfect because whilst it has all the qualities that I adore about Vero’s scent-making, it is also extremely wearable. It makes me feel grown up and classy, which for someone who is often mistaken for a teenager is very important.

Rozy is a perfume full of golden light, yet holds enough weight to last for hours on the skin and stay true until the very end. I imagine that for evening, layering a little of the Voile over the EdP would produce a deeper, slightly more full bodied scent, without letting Rozy’s dark side become too prominent. Unless that’s what you’d prefer of course. Whichever incarnation you think would suit you most, I defy you not to become spellbound by this profoundly real and vital perfume. Just as the maker and her muse possess the power to express emotion in the most human of ways, so do these wonderful fragrances.

 

 

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Vero.Profumo ‘Rubj’

Rubj

To introduce Vero.Profumo ‘Rubj’ Extrait I’d like to tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin…

Once upon a time there was a poor weaver who fell hopelessly in love with a rich silk merchant’s daughter. She was indeed a beautiful woman, her dark hair and flawless complexion was much admired throughout the land. So much so that she was said to rival the queen in both her beauty and her exquisite dress. The merchant was a proud man and always provided his daughter with sumptuous gowns woven from the finest silks and brocades.

The weaver knew that the only way to win the daughter’s love was to create for her a length of cloth that could be made into the most beautiful dress she had ever owned, so he set about weaving a cloth of such rich and vibrant beauty that she would not be able to refuse him. He worked tirelessly through days and nights until he was surrounded by drifts of the finest silk in purples and blues and gold. Silk fit for a princess. He packed it carefully into a sandalwood box filled with scented leaves and travelled across the land to the merchant’s manor house.

The weaver waited outside the gates for three days and three nights, carefully protecting his silken cloth from the haughty eyes of all the other rich suitors who lined up to win the daughter’s heart, believe me when I tell you that there were many, many men. When his turn finally came to be presented to the beautiful woman, he laid the box reverently at her golden slippered feet and pledged his undying love.

Now although the daughter was beautiful, she had a cruel heart and laughed at the poor, ragged man kneeling before her. She believed herself to be every bit as lovely as everyone told her she was and she was vain because of it. She could not see that beneath his poverty the man was handsome and strong as a prince. Raising her hand to turn him away, he begged her to at least look at the cloth he had lovingly woven for her, to touch it’s silken folds and imagine the fabric shifting against her skin. She had her servant open the box, and as the silk spilled out onto the floor she was captured by the vibrant colours and bent down to rub it between her fingers. The cloth was like nothing she had ever seen before and she looked again at the poor weaver, a wicked smile forming on her lips. If this man loved her enough to create something this beautiful, surely he would go even further to prove his love to her.

The daughter had long since heard tales of an enchantress, living deep in the forest, who was said to weave silk from her hair. Any woman who wore a gown made from this cloth would be granted eternal youth. The daughter was afraid of growing old and had begged her father to seek out a piece of this cloth so that she might forever be young and beautiful. However, the tales also warned that any man who gazed into the eyes of the enchantress would be ensnared by her sorcery and could never return to his loved one. The merchant, a cowardly man, was afraid to venture into the forest himself, as were all the wealthy suitors that had previously sworn that they would do anything for his daughter’s hand. Increasingly desparate to own the magical gown, the daughter now emplored the poor weaver to seek it out for her, with much flattery and false adoration, promising that on his return they would be married.

The weaver, his lonely heart bursting with love, grasped her hands and swore to return from the forest unharmed, carrying in his arms a cloth to make her forever lovely. As she watched him go  the cruel woman smiled again to herself, thinking that if he did not return, she might send some other fool in his place. She cared not one jot for this brave and desparate man, seeing only a way to have what she had always wanted. If he was successful, she would simply instruct her father to have him killed on their wedding night.

The weaver set off immediately into the forest, following the path deeper and deeper between the trees. So filled with love was he that nothing could divert him from his mission. He did not fear the enchantress, and as he drew closer to her shaded bower he felt only the glowing of his heart.

Stepping under the hanging branches, the weaver saw before him a beautiful tent, draped with glorious silks of red and russet and gold. So fine was the quality of the weaving that he could not help but be momentarily distracted. Inside the tent was all aglow with hundreds of candles, waxen pools forming on every gilded surface. White blooms filled the sultry air with their indolic breath, spilling from vases and hung in garlands from the ceiling. In the centre of the tent stood an ornate loom, intricately carved and strung with silken threads the colour of brightest copper. Beside the loom, folded with petals, lay a length of the most stunning cloth the weaver had ever dreamt about, shimmering in the candlelight. The weaver glanced about him, and seeing no one, made to step into the tent. Just as he did so he heard a muffled cry from the branches above. Looking upwards he saw, suspended in the trees, the bodies of men, trapped as if in spiders webs. He looked closer and saw that each body was woven tightly with bright copper threads from head to toe and hung between the branches in a tangle of red ropes. Alarmed, he started back toward the tent, thinking that he must quickly grab the enchanted cloth and be gone before the enchantress returned, lest this also become his fate.

She was waiting for him beside the loom, a more perfect vision you could not imagine. Naked except for the white blooms entwined in her long, copper hair, the weaver had looked into her eyes before he even realised he was doing it. Fathomless, those eyes, black as midnight with a single star burning in each. Yet as he stared at her, so blinded was he by false love that he did not fall, only stood with his head held high and asked for the cloth to be handed over. The enchantress could not understand why he did not crumble before her as every other man did. She had no use for them once they fell, still breathing but intoxicated and stupified. She was so lonely, made a sport of stringing them up, like the trophies of hollow victory. This man, this poor, handsome man with a liar’s promise blinding him, stood before her intact and unharmed and she fell in love that very moment.

But she had no choice. He was uneffected by her magic, the cursed magic that kept her alone and isolated from the world, with only her weaving to amuse her. She had no choice but to do as he asked. She feared that sending him away would break her heart, so she plucked a strand of her beautiful hair and wove it with her fingers into a bracelet, bestowing it upon him as a good luck charm. As she placed the shimmering length of cloth into his arms, she whispered a spell into it’s folds. She wept as he turned away.

The weaver, unscathed and his poor, foolish heart bursting with pride, returned to the merchant’s house with the enchanted cloth held safely in his arms. As he kneeled before the daughter, her greed and elation knew no bounds. She grabbed the shimmering cloth and hugged it to her chest, dancing about with glee, her seamstresses waiting with needle and thread. “We shall be married this very evening!” She announced, before sending the servants and the weaver away to prepare.

The house was sent into a commotion, guests arriving from every corner of the land to see the man who had escaped the enchantress’s clutches. The weaver was dressed in the finest bridal clothes, he was bathed and groomed until every woman wanted him and every man was filled with envy. So handsome was he that whispers reached the daughter, preening herself in her boudoir, while the seamstresses snipped and stitched the enchanted cloth into a wedding gown. If this man really was  as handsome as people were saying, maybe she might not have to do away with him so quickly, she thought. A dashing husband would only make her seem all the more attractive. So deep and cruel was her vanity that she still cared not one jot for his bravery.

Finally the gown was ready. The guests were assembled and the priest stood ready. The weaver waited at the alter, eager to see his long awaited bride. As she walked down the isle on her father’s arm, gasps and whispers shivered through the congregation. How unbelievably beautiful she was, her wedding gown falling in drifts of copper light behind her. No one could recall ever seeing a dress so stunning as this. Reaching the alter, the weaver turned to gaze at his beloved. As their eyes met, the air around suddenly grew thick with the breath of white blooms. The daughter gasped and stiffened, clutching at her chest with clawed hands. Eyes wide and terrified, she began to wither before the weaver, becoming old and haggered, coughing and retching. Her hair turning white, her teeth falling one by one from her once beautiful mouth, until she was nothing but a trembling old hag at his feet.

The weaver watched, stunned, as this cruel woman disintegrated before him, the blindfold falling from his eyes as he saw her for what she truly was. As he stepped away, horrified, the woven bracelet on his wrist fell away and began to unravel in a shimmering copper spiral, until the enchantress stood before him in all her carnal glory. He saw now how truly glorious she was, how beautiful and lonely, how she loved him. He looked into her eyes once more and instead of falling to the ground, he took her in his arms, kissed her ruby lips, inhaling her scent, twining his fingers into her hair. Then he lifted her up and carried her back into the forest forever.

The End…..

Red hair

The moment that I touched ‘Rubj’ Extrait to my wrists I was pulled into a dark, fairy tale world. I have my whole childhood and adult life with my nose buried between the pages of a story book, beginning with the brothers Grimm and moving on to Angela Carter in my teens. If a page from ‘The Bloody Chamber’ had a scent, it would smell of ‘Rubj’, in one of her many incarnations.

I imagine that this perfume smells different on every skin it touches. The Eau de Parfum contains cumin, which gives ‘Rubj’ a far more animalic, raunchy character. The enchantress in the EdP version of the story would be a demon, making love to her captives then ravaging their hearts as they watched. The addition of passionfruit combined with the cumin is reminiscent of the post-coital reek of cooling skin. I have found this to be the way with all but one of Vero’s Eau de Parfums. ‘Onda‘, ‘Mito‘ and ‘Rubj’ EdP’s are the more gregarious, lusty siblings of their brooding Extrait sisters. ‘Kiki‘ is the only one who’s character does not alter dramatically. Vero Kern is the master of complexity, her emotional understanding of scent and her unapologetic use of reek and skank are both unsettling and exhilarating. Her perfume is exceptional, her talent undeniable and everyone who wants to experience intelligent, emotional scent making should seek out these perfumes.

I think that most of you will know by now that I am a little shy of the raunchier side of Vero’s fragrances, and this does not change with ‘Rubj’ EdP. The cumin is simply too much for my delicate sensibilities. The passionfruit at the end of the development is something really rather beautiful, juicy and sticky and mouthwatering, but I cannot deal with the cumin onslaught that comes before it. The Extrait however, has wrapped itself firmly around my senses and threatens to topple dear, fun loving ‘Kiki’ from her throne.

The opening is of the most lush and creamy petals, orange blossom that shimmers slightly with citrus and a heady gush of jasmine that hints at the tuberose hiding at it’s heart. I am overjoyed at the orange blossom in ‘Rubj’, it is a scent that I love in its pure form but usually when it touches my skin it becomes fusty and stifled. Here is keeps that remarkable lightness, whilst all the creaminess and fleshliness of the other white florals hold it gently and allow it to shimmer.

The sensation of waxen petals is something that even my husband noticed. He told me I smelled ‘like expensive candles’. When I explained about indoles having a waxy quality he was fascinated and sniffed at my wrist over and over. ‘Rubj’ is totally intoxicating, the perfume builds and swells and tumbles forth over and over. I love that it never becomes overwhelming though, this is a perfume that I would happily wear at any time of the day or night.

‘Rubj’ has a darkness in her heart. A musky, whispered secret that becomes more noticeable as the perfume warms on the skin. Although the initial visual impression is one of tumbling white petals and a light citrus shimmer, the musky civet deepens the perfume into russet and blood red and gold, ornamented with white blooms. The civet also gives ‘Rubj’ a warmth and coziness that I wasn’t expecting. This is a delightful development, to feel comforted by a perfume. Like a much loved story to be read over and over, you know the plot but it never fails to thrill you. I want to wrap myself up in ‘Rubj’ scented blankets and while away the afternoon in front of the fire. How strange that this perfume can be both humidly tropical and comforting as a warm cashmere blanket at the same time. ‘Rubj’ is indeed an enchantress, luring you into her embrace by giving you whatever you heart desires. Vero Kern is a magician. ‘Rubj’ has an effect that twists your expectations and makes you fall in love, whether it be in a wistful, shadow filled fairy tale, or in the lustful embrace of a demon.

‘Rubj’ is the one for you if you adore orange blossom and musk. The EdP will rock your world if you are a raunchy cumin lover, looking to smell of intertwined bodies beneath bloom laden branches. She will seduce you completely. If, like me, you are looking for a floral fragrance that delivers more than just a pleasant bouquet, then the Extrait will not disappoint you. I cannot tell you how bewitching this perfume is. I approached it with extreme caution, expecting to dislike it because of the cumin. Although I would not choose to wear the EdP, the Extrait has everything one could want from an indolic floral fragrance, and more. It is stunning. I need to own it. You need to try it.

Vero.Profumo ‘Mito’

Mito

I’ve been stalling my review of ‘Mito’, wondering if, with repeated spritzing, I might come up with a different story to tell. Sometimes though, a scent provokes such a vivid olfactory memory that no matter how much you try to associate it with something else, it will always, always take you back in time.

Vero.Profumo ‘Mito’ was the first fragrance sample I ever ordered from Bloom Perfumery. I chose it after reading an awesome review all about Vero Kern and her inspiring work, written by my perfumed mentor The Silver Fox. I should have ordered samples of the whole range but I was just dipping my toe into the world of niche perfume, I didn’t want to seem greedy ordering loads of samples so I just went for ‘Mito’ Eau de Parfum. I spent the whole afternoon after it arrived with my nose glued to my wrist, understanding what I was smelling properly for the first time. I wasn’t expecting to be sent hurtling back through my memories though, to a time before this perfume even existed. ‘Mito’ picked me up by my ankles and planted me firmly in a snapshot that was taken eight years ago, when I first arrived in Devon….

I had just graduated from university, I hadn’t done as well as I should have and I was feeling just a little bit lost about what I was going to do next. Most people in this situation would have gone home, I would have been welcomed by my parents, but I felt like I had something to prove, that I could support myself whether I had a first class degree or not. I was also in love. It seemed like my best option, so I came straight from Cardiff to Exeter and moved in with my boyfriend in his student house.

We had about five weeks to find somewhere else to live, I had no job, no spare money. It was a steep learning curve I can tell you. I managed to get two part time jobs, one of them at Lush. (I can hear some of you thinking “oh god! Here she goes again about that bloody place!” It’s true that I do talk about Lush a lot, but it’s where my interest in perfume started really. And this memory is from when I had just started there, before I left, then came back as a manager and got very burnt out by it all. This is a good memory.)

My lush job was a relief from all the pressure we were under with finding a house at such short notice. I knew that for the length of my four hour shift I could escape into a world of products that I loved and people who were all friendly. I didn’t know anyone in Exeter really so it felt like I’d been accepted into a ready made friendship group. It was also a distraction from the fact that I was supposed to be thinking about a career. My confidence was particularly delicate at that point, I was  just grateful to be working somewhere interesting while I tried to figure out what the hell I was doing.

That summer there were some massive thunderstorms with rain that was so heavy it was almost like a monsoon. When it wasn’t raining the air was thick and sweaty. The house we were living in was damp and at night dozens of slugs would somehow get into the kitchen and slime their way across the floor and up the cabinet doors. I also came across a moth as big as a saucer in that kitchen. There was no shower so in the mornings before work I would sit in the bath, listening to the thunder roll around in the sky outside. I was obsessed with a lemongrass and lime scented bath ballistic which I would pop into the water and inhale deeply to try and clear the fog of worry from my mind. Then off I would go to work in the heavy air, skin scented with green citrus.

There is one particular day I remember vividly, my shift was from two until six and there had been a storm brewing all day. In the morning we went to view some flats, then I went off to work while my boyfriend viewed more in the afternoon. I was panicky because we only had five days left before we would be kicked out of the house we were living in and we hadn’t found anything that we could afford. At work I was set the task of replenishing all the bath ballistics, which was a dusty job. The boxes of product all had drifts of fragrant powder at the bottom and I remember making a huge, colourful mess on the stockroom floor. My phone had run out of battery so I had no idea if we’d managed to find a flat that afternoon. As I rushed home in the evening the storm that had been threatening all day finally split the sky open and I was caught in the most torrential rain I have ever experienced. My black ballet pumps were soaked through in seconds and filled with all the dust and soap from the shop they began to foam as I walked. As the rain started saturating my clothes I realised that I was emanating the most fragrant fog, leaving a bright streak in the wet air and a soapy trail behind me.

It was powder from a box of the lemongrass ballistics that I had accidentally covered myself with. In the sultry, muggy evening the smell was incredible, mixed with the heat from my skin as I rushed  on home in the downpour, hoping for good news…..

This is where ‘Mito’ transports me every time I wear it. There is such a dazzlingly green and sharp opening that the sensation is fizzy. As with all of Vero’s perfumes, it is difficult to separate and analyse specific notes, ‘Mito’ sparkles and splashes in bright bursts that are at once visual and mouth watering. Although there is no mention of lemongrass in the note listing, the combination of maybe the bergamot, cypress and fleshy magnolia combine to create an effect that is very similar. Combined with that wonderful effervescence the perfume becomes a bright green explosion on the skin.

I find that the lemongrass turns more towards lime as the perfume warms, the fizziness becoming more like sherbet. Another interesting development is Vero’s signature impression of warm skin, slightly salty and lightly powdered. In ‘Onda’ this skin scent is very sexual and fleshy, with a slightly over ripe fruitiness. In ‘Mito’ it is reportedly more subtle. But then I have found ‘Mito’ to be totally different on me to the way that other reviews have described it. I’ve noticed also that it smells almost like another perfume entirely on my friend, who loves it too. On her it is somehow much more controlled and cool. I notice the white florals and the sparkling of champagne bubbles. It is a dappled green stroll through manicured gardens, exactly the image that Vero Kern intended for it. ‘Mito’ is elegant and flowing when my friend wears it and she says it makes her feel extremely sophisticated.

On me ‘Mito’ is sticky lime juice on heated skin, crushed with sherbet and salt in the humid air. It is the first raindrops steaming on hot pavements and the electric hum of a storm filled moment. It has a fluorescent luminosity that feels as if I am wearing a neon sign. ‘Mito’ loses all her class and sophistication on my skin and pulls on her patent heels and lycra for a night on the town. She wears her hair big and her skirt short. She drinks tequila with lime and salt and keeps a lollipop in her purse for the taxi ride home. It also reminds me so vividly of that evening eight years ago in the torrential rain, of that time in my life that was both exciting and terrifying, of being so in love that it acted like a buffer for what could potentially have been a pretty disastrous situation.

I adore ‘Mito’ for all those reasons, and I think that I would have worn it with no fear a few years ago, when I did go out on the town in lycra and heels. I do not feel as if it would suit who I am now. I cannot think of many occasions to wear it because it has some serious sillage and longevity. I am really looking forward to trying the extrait and the Voiles d’Extrait when they are released because I love ‘Mito’s’ character, she just talks a little too loudly for me. Maybe she’ll have a softer voice in her new incarnation, I’ll wait and see. I long to feel comfortable in this perfume.

If you were wondering, that evening I got home, sopping wet, to discover that my boyfriend had found us a little flat, which we went on to live in for three years. The boyfriend is now my husband, proving there really is such a thing as true love.

Vero.Profumo ‘Kiki’

Kiki Eau Kiki Extrait

I’ve been really spoiled when it comes to Vero.Profumo fragrances as I’ve been lucky enough to try the Eau de Parfums and the Extraits side by side. This has been a wonderful excerise in learning more about Vero Kern’s development of the perfumes and how she has subtly altered and lightened the Eaux, without changing their essential characters.

‘Onda’ I found to be two very different facets of the same sexually suggestive jewel. The Eau de Parfum was light, sun drenched, lazy sex in the afternoon, the extrait was more about the animal attraction between two people late at night. A difficult and fascinating perfume, I knew when I reviewed it that although it intrigued me and educated me, it would not be a scent that I would put on my skin very often. ‘Mito’ is another that I found to be quite an experience, so green with zest that it almost fizzes, with a salt tang and a heady presence that was just a little too loud for me to wear comfortably. ‘Rubj’ I am saving for a day when I feel resilient because I have a suspicion that it too will give me a run for my money. But ‘Kiki’? Well, let me tell you about it….

Named after the vivacious and iconic woman that began her life as Alice Prin, then later reinvented herself as Kiki, the queen of Montparnasse. She was an artist’s model, singer, and painter who has become synonymous with the liberated social scene of 1920’s Paris. If you have ever seen a photograph of her your will see instantly why she was so much loved and emulated. She had such a face! Not beautiful by today’s airbrushed western standards, but so striking and with the dramatic hairstyle and makeup of the era it is easy to understand why everyone either wanted to paint her, photograph her, or quite simply be her. She spent most of the 1920’s as a dear companion of the artist Man Ray, as well as being a successful artist in her own right. She was known for being continually optimistic and free-spirited and is regarded as one of the first truly independent women.

Kiki de Montparnasse

Just to look at Kiki de Montparnasse, you can see the confidence twinkling in her eyes and a smile continually twitching at her lips. She just looks like she always had fun, unadulterated, uninhibited fun. Have you ever had a friend like that? I have, and she has never failed to pull me out of whatever bad mood I may be lurking in. It is also clear from reading about her that Kiki was an intelligent, creative woman who was successful and pioneering in her day.

Funny, exuberant, creative, intelligent and darn gorgeous to boot. Wouldn’t we all like to be a little more like that? Well when I wear ‘Kiki’ I feel capable of being anyone I want to be…

As with all Vero.Profumo fragrances, the combination of notes are bizarre yet wonderful. They are perfumes which are also quite difficult to deconstruct as the notes all swell together and swirl about in a superbly seamless way. In ‘Kiki EdP’ the first impression is of a puff of sweet floral, which quickly forms itself into a Pom Pom of lavender, fluffy, light and slightly dry. The lavender does a lovely little dance through dry, fresh, sweet and soapy before being swept into a wave of juicy passion fruit, a delightful confection of tiny purple flower heads and black gooey seeds floating in sticky sweet nectar. In ‘Onda EdP’ I found the passionfruit to be slightly too bodily, but here it is fruity and sweet and sits so perfectly next to the lavender that I marvel at Vero Kern’s ingenious mind.

I really love lavender, but too much of it, especially in perfume, is an immediate turn off for me. I find it to be quite a medicinal scent, I use it in a medicinal way, so in perfumery it tends not to push any of the right buttons. In Kiki, however, the lavender is dressed in such a way as to make all it’s other qualities really shine. ‘Kiki’s caramel note is quite pronounced on my skin and I adore it because it balances everything out perfectly. The lavender isn’t allowed to become too dry and sharp, instead staying in that wonderful, fluffy, floral, slightly green form that it has when it’s just bloomed. The passionfruit keeps on the right side of sweet and juicy, never slipping into that overripe fetidness that I disliked in ‘Onda’. The caramel is smooth and golden and mouthwateringly good, just totally delicious.

Once the caramel has fully developed the fruity juices subside a little and the perfume starts to take on a slightly drier quality, although I find it to be more of a sweet powdery dryness rather than the sharp dryness of lavender. I am reminded of toffee Bon Bons, rolled in lavender sugar and served in a finely patterned china bowl. ‘Kiki EdP’ again causes me to contradict myself as I never normally enjoy overly powdered scents, but I truly love this. It is delicate yet bold, flirty yet passionate, intentionally frivolous and wickedly fun. My only sadness is that the EdP doesn’t last on my skin. 3 hours and it’s gone, leaving behind only the faded scraps of it’s beautiful party dress. Thank god for the Extrait…..

Unlike ‘Onda’, I didn’t find ‘Kiki Extrait’ to be a darker face of it’s EdP sister. It is essentially the same, except that I found the fruitiness replaced far sooner with the luxurious caramel. I wonder if maybe the Extrait doesn’t have passionfruit at all and the fruitiness this time comes more from bergamot and geranium. The lavender still has that wonderful light sweetness that I find so special and all is smothered in delicious caramel. The development of ‘Kiki’ is much more languid and rich in the extrait and it has an impressive longevity, lasting all day and into the evening, albeit a close skin scent by the time the sun set. I spritzed some on a scarf too, now that the weather is turning, and that scarf is still humming ‘Kiki’s song, days later.

I don’t think I have found a perfume thus far that has quite as much fun as ‘Kiki’ seems to have, whilst also retaining it’s elegance and poise. I do like a sweet gourmand but often find them to be a bit silly and young. I live in a university city and it seems that every female student is wearing Prada ‘Candy’ at the moment. I am bored to tears with it. ‘Kiki’ is like the infinitely more worldly wise and sophisticated older sister, who is capable of having way more fun and not having to be dragged from the floor of the club when it closes. ‘Kiki’ arrives in style, charms everyone in the room with her wit and her wicked smile, sets the dance floor alight then retreats to the balcony to talk art and culture, while the young ones stumble drunkenly into eachother in the sickly sweet gloom.

‘Kiki’ is a queen. She will whisk you up into happiness and set you down again wrapped in caramel kisses and dusted with lavender confetti. I wish I had known this perfume when I got married. I would have worn it. It is pure happiness in a bottle for me. ‘Kiki’ je t’aime.

Vero.Profumo ‘Onda’

onda eau onda extrait

With all the praise currently being rained down on Vero Kern for her exceptional collection of perfumes, it would be very silly of me not to jump on the band wagon and try them for myself. I had the pleasure of sampling ‘Mito’ a few months ago, but that is a review for another day. Today it is the turn of ‘Onda’.

Vero Kern has produced some truly astonishing scents, most notable for their ‘hot skin’ qualities. Kern talks about her values on the Vero.Profumo website, saying

 “I go my own way hundred percent and do not follow any trends. I’m looking for originality, opulence and eroticism in scents. They have to surprise and to touch me. I’m not interested in ‘clean’ scents; I need characterful scents both in my creations but also as wearer. Beside this, I love everything that reminds of the smell of skin.”

I have tried both the extrait and eau de parfum and I had such a contrasting experience that I feel I need to talk about both equally. Let us start with the eau de parfum….

A garden, overgrown bows drooping with blooms, sits on a clifftop, the sea far below crashing onto the rocks. Salt drifts on the breeze to this haven, tucked away from the strong wind by tall trees. The sun is warm, a myriad of insects buzz all around. In the garden there is a couple, bare skin tanned light golden and hair tangled from salt spray. They eat fresh bread dripping with honey and lick it from each other’s fingers. A thousand years could pass and these two would not notice, intertwined as they are in this paradise. A perfect moment that stretches on and on forever….

It is difficult to write about a perfume that has been very extensively reviewed without hearing other  people’s descriptions in your head. The above paragraph is a mash up of lots of people’s thoughts on ‘Onda eau de parfum’, including my own. It is a fragrance that is so evocative of hot skin and honey and sea salt that it would be foolish to describe it any differently. However, I noticed a very marked different between the extrait and the eau, in both texture and depth, that the description above is really only a loose guideline. It think it must really depend on your personal skin chemistry.

‘Onda eau de parfum’ opens with a complexity that I have not before experienced on my scented journey so far. There is a wonderful, full bodied plume of floral notes and through them twists an unmistakable tang of salt. All is whirling and undefinable as the fragrance builds, sweetening in a  puff of pollen and fleshy petals. Underlying are woody green bows, springy and young, but not in the least bit sappy or resinous. It reminds me of snapping a twig in two and pulling at the stringy bark. This is only one fleeting thought before ‘Onda’ floats into another form, this time more animalic and musky, dusted with ground ginger.

After about fifteen minutes ‘Onda’ starts to ooze honey all over my wrist, sweet and slightly fetid as if I had dunked a ripe fig in golden nectar and squeezed it onto my skin. I swear I can catch lilac as well now, although it is not included in the note listing, maybe the combination of Ylang Ylang and honey create something akin to this powdered bee paradise. It is a powerfully visual aspect of the perfume at this point, I am sitting under the lilac trees, eating bread and honey while the bees dust their furry little bodies with purple pollen. That green, twiggy sensation has given way to a drier pile of fresh wood shavings and there is also a kind of slick… something, that I can’t put my finger on.

I can completely understand that incredible ‘hot skin’ thing that everyone finds in this perfume. It is the juicy, over-ripe passion fruit combined with the honey that creates it I’m sure. On my skin the powdery pollen is quite prevalent, as is always the case when an iris note is involved, and I am a little sad that I don’t get more of the juice. I have turned ‘Onda’ into warm talcum, rather than the flush of lust that I was hoping for. This being said, it is still sexy. It reminds me of the moment when you are just about to leave for an evening out with a new man, you are dressed to kill and smoothed, buffed and buttered to perfection (or as close as you can get anyway!) There is a real sense of anticipation in ‘Onda’, a shiver of delight and desires not yet met.

There was only one feature of the fragrance that I wasn’t sure I enjoyed and that was the animalic sweetness of the honey and passion fruit combined with the powdery iris. I’m gutted that this is how my skin reacted to this element, I can imagine others would find it ripe and delicious and sensual. Alas, it just did not do it for me. The extrait on the other hand… but we will get to that shortly.

The eau de parfum has enormous longevity. The closing moments were a dreamy, musky drift of petals, hours and hours after I first applied it. For all it’s long lasting qualities, it is a close scent, intimate as silk underwear. I was fascinated by the experience, but I am so glad that I had the extrait to try as well…

‘Onda extrait de parfum’ is dark, smooth leather, tanned with salt marsh whiskey, saturated in honey and hung over the fire to cure. Take that leather and fashion it into a corset, lace it tight with plum velvet ribbons, pin a lustrous white bloom in your hair and smooth yourself all over with organic cocoa butter. Then stalk out into the humid night like a predator, pin your prey to the ground and love him until he dies.

This is everything that the eau suggests and more besides. If the eau is sun kissed skin and honeyed fruit, then the extrait is hot night and smouldering embers. The elements of the perfumes are similar but in extrait form they are intensified and pure. There is also sandalwood in place of passion fruit and for me this makes all the difference. There is not a hint of fetid over-ripeness in ‘Onda extrait de parfum’, only leather and wood and dark honey, ornamented with night flowering blooms. Gone too is the powdery puff of iris, or at least I don’t detect it in the same way.

I have a surprising love of leather in fragrance and I didn’t get it at all in the eau de parfum. However the extrait opens with a rich, textural leather which is infused with smokey woods and dark flowers. The development of the scent is much slower and more languid, like dragging your hand through a vat of deepest amber honey. It is completely glorious. This remains at the heart of the extrait for the many hours that it lasts. If it were your lover there would be tantra involved. Occasionally there is a lighter waft of ylang and also rose, although I don’t know if that is just my interpretation of the floral accord. The honey also lightens towards the end, becoming more reminiscent of the pollen sweetness in the eau de parfum.

The is the one that smells of sex and skin for me. Not that pungent, post coital reek, but the moment when bodies fuse together in mutual lust, hot breath and clinging hands. It is the peak of an evening spent in anticipation. It is so preditory and single minded that it makes the eau de parfum look flirty and coy in comparison.

Now, I am not an overtly sexual person, so you would think that of the two I would choose the eau de parfum over the extrait. But the eau de parfum reminds me of all the things that are uncomfortable about the closeness of bodies, the man who is standing right up behind you at the bar after a long day in the sun. Or afternoons at a festival when the salty tang of hot skin starts to pervade the air, bare feet crushing discarded flower garlands and mushy fruit into the earth. The extrait is that pure, almost primal lust for closeness when all other thoughts have disappeared. It is smooth and rich and dark as midnight. Oiled skin and moist lips, breath sweet with honeyed mead. When you lose your inhibitions and crush yourselves together with a moan you are unaware you have uttered.

I am delighted by this contradiction. I tried the eau de parfum first and had begun to chastise myself for not being able to enjoy that animalic accord that so many others had raved about. I really wanted to love it and I was feeling a bit disappointed in myself. Thank god I had the extrait to try as well. It transformed my opinion of ‘Onda’ and I shall be bowing at the scented shrine of Vero Kern for ever more.

‘Onda’ is by no means an easy perfume to wear in either form, but it is one of those scents that will hook people in without their conscious knowledge. My husband didn’t know what to make of it when I thrust my wrist under his nose. He loved it and yet he didn’t. He said it smelt sexy but he couldn’t really say why. It is such an unusual combination of notes that unless you are a seasoned perfumista, or just brave, it may be a little too challenging. In some ways this increases it’s beauty. If you choose to wear ‘Onda’ you can rest assured that you will be in a minority, unless of course you are attending a niche perfume convention or some such, then everyone will be wearing it. If you touch a little to your throat you will be irresistible to anyone who stands very close to you, if you douse yourself in it you may end up recreating the ending of ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind.

‘Onda’ is a must try, whether you think you will like it or not, because it is so educational. If it turns to pure sex on your skin then all the better.