Olfactomania Addictive: New perfumes to obsess over

The olfactory experience directly accesses the subconscious, awakening both memory and desire. Hence, it is laden with the potential to reveal our fundamentally compulsive nature. This year’s new perfume offerings cater to an array of obsessions.

Text by Karena Akhavein

Pharmacomania / For the perfume geek on the lookout for obscure, synthetic ingredients, perfumer Geza Schoen’s Escentric 02 is the ultimate discovery. This new scent, by cult brand Escentric Molecules, uses high concentrations of ambroxan, the chemical present in ambergris, to impart substance and sweetness. When combined with other esoteric ingredients such as orris, muscone and hedione, the result is a paradoxically mineral, effervescent, yet warm scent that is also maddeningly subtle.

Hedonomania / Sensualists will embrace Dans Tes Bras, due to be released in November. This latest offering from Frederic Malle, by perfumer Maurice Roucel (who also created infamous “dirty” scents Carnal Flower and Musc Ravageur), attempts to evoke warm, salty skin. The fragrance is seductive and tactile, containing clove, violet, heliotrope and cashmeran, a chemical ingredient that imparts a flowery, velvety musk aroma.
narcomania / China White by Nasomatto is an exploration of the concept of overdosing on a scent. With a unique headiness ideal for the addictive personality, it is named after a popular ’80s heroin variety. Nasomatto keeps the ingredients in its creations secret, but in the case of China White, we think we detect powdery rose tempered by wood and leather, the olfactory equivalent of hanging out in a decadent nightclub surrounded by models.

Auromania / 888 Eau de Parfum by Comme des Garçons endeavors to translate the smell of gold into perfume. The novel scent leans heavily on safraline, a molecule derived from expensive “golden” saffron. 888 also exploits the warmth of amber, the spice of coriander, the piquancy of pepperwood and the cool standoffishness of geranium to express the dual nature of gold: warm and luxurious, yet dazzling, hard and elusive. Warning: 888 may also induce octomania: obsession with the number eight.

Megalomania / Tom Ford, he of über-sexy clothes and shocking advertisements, is not one for subtlety. His new scent, Extreme, is the embodiment of his to-the-max attitude. Priceless ingredients such as Japanese shoyeido incense and barrel-aged patchouli vieux are married to succulent edibles such as fig, truffle, Thai basil and cinnamon, for a scent that exudes richness, sensuality and masculinity. The limited edition jus is housed in a fluted amber bottle that also reeks of luxury.

Cinemania / Lost Highway fans will enjoy deconstructing Gucci by Gucci’s new advertisement, directed by David Lynch and infused with his trademark imagery. Veteran Gucci models Freja Beha, Natasha Poly and Raquel Zimmerman sway to Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” in full-on femme fatale mode. The perfume itself is pure Gucci luxury, a chypre floral that opens startlingly strong and a bit conventional, with fruit and citrus top notes and woodsy base notes, and surprises in the end with modernly exotic guava, pear and Tahitian tiare for a suede-like finish.

Iconomania / When now-iconic Chanel Nº 5 was launched in 1921, its original composition, (heavy on the aldehydes and blatantly synthetic), was considered iconoclastic. Today, however, it has taken on an old lady aura. Enter Eau Première, which riffs on Chanel Nº 5’s ingredients, namely neroli, vetiver, ylang ylang, rose, sandalwood and aldehydes, but with different concentrations for a lighter, more youthful scent. The taller, slimmer bottle retains the same, reassuringly familiar rectangular glass stopper and black-banded white label as its chic ancestor.

Hydromania / Bulgari’s new riff on its popular Aqua Pour Homme, Aqua Pour Homme Marine, retains the aquatic posidonia note present in the original and adds neroli, grapefruit, rosemary flower and white cedar for a lighter, fresher, more radiant product that could easily be unisex. The packaging captures the essence of the sea with its unique aqua color and smooth, pebble-like shape.

Egomania / Dolce & Gabbana’s L’Eau The One contains the same lush plum notes as its precursor, The One. But while The One’s seductive warmth and brash glamour are fit for a diva, L’Eau The One is for the discreet narcissist, exuding a quiet yet confident sensuality. Sweetened and lightened with lily-of-the-valley and jasmine; freshened with moss and mandarin; and rounded out with amber and vanilla, this delicate scent is for the woman who is not wasting her time searching for “the one” because she knows she is it.