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Friday, January 30, 2015

Richard Luscher Britos 38 N 16 E - Calabria or 38N16E Review

Richard Luscher Britos is a house that focuses of terroir perfumes, which are scents that paint an olfactory landscape of a geographical location (hence the coordinates in the names of the creations).  Each scent uses a single plant native to the area.  Through emphasizing the selected ingredient, they attempt to capture the society, feel, and environment of that location.  I find this very appealing.   In my wanderings I've always tied a scent to a region, and though many are represented over and over again some are forgotten.   I'm looking forward to this line expanding to include future locations and how these areas can be sculpted from regional notes.

I purchased the sample set from Luckyscent and it is adorable!  There are 5 folded squares with the title of each scent, and as you unfold each square you are treated to further description and collage-style art illustrating the notes and feel of the scent.  The backside of the square is like a collage bandana once it's completely unfolded.  I am a sucker for nice packaging and it's very original.

38 N 16 E (and I'm sorry, I was too lazy to dig around on my keyboard combinations to find how to type in degree markings) is the location of Calabria, Italy.  This region is known for bergamot production.  Bergamot has always been a favorite of mine.  I started drinking Earl Grey tea from a young age and the citrus steam cloud that used to waft out of the cup with cause me to inhale deeply over and over again until the tea was lukewarm.  There was a brief period in the 90s when The Body Shop had a bergamot shower gel.  It was amazing, smelling exactly like my cups of childhood tea.  Granted, in perfumery bergamot is usually used as a top note to the same effect, keeping you interested until it allows the heart notes to come through, but I was very excited to try a bergamot centered scent.

On first spray, I get a citrus blast similar to Acqua Di Parma Colonia.  There's a sweet citrus powder effect that I attribute to that scent, and it's lovely and summery.  The bergamot, however, sets this apart from the ADP.  It's a bit more pronounced and smells almost candied, not it a cloying manner but in a hazy heat way.  At first it distracts a bit from the bergamot, making you wonder if it's really bergamot that you're smelling or some other fruits that are combined to give the mere impression.  However, the scent has other plans for you......the bergamot's green exterior rounds out and becomes ripe and heavy on the branch.  A bit of juice and peel establish a permanent hold in the experience and it does remind me of a grove of citrus trees in dry morning sunlight.  The scent and effect of bright puckered fruit intensifies rather than recedes, and becomes slightly powdery again.  A light touch of pure white orange blossom is here,  and this sweetness with the pungency of rind is pleasant and welcoming.  The sugar in the opening has mellowed to honey, capturing the warmth of the region in a single golden drop.  Its addition is very appropriate.  This scent is not necessarily reminiscent of
a cup of tea, but just as in a cup of tea, the honey manages to enhance the flavor of the main note.  Suddenly, the juxtaposition of sweet vs sour allows the citrus tang to be more evident.   

Impressively, the citrus lingers for quite awhile.  My past experiences with bergamot in fragrances is that it can be relatively fleeting, but here, it continues to stand tall in the composition.  The pungency does tone down a bit but it's still very recognizable and makes the orange blossom seem more orange than blossom.  It's a great balance, allowing neither element to dominate in the mid stages.

The presence of sandalwood adds the barest hint of twig and formality and a very light spiced (but not spicey) incense arrives just when your mind starts becoming overly accustomed to the scent and captures your attention yet again.  The sandalwood feels a bit buttoned-up, the citizens are not heading out in shorts and tee shirts....they take the time to find a pressed shirt, which is put on after a cooling shower.  We are now headed to the center of town and through the whirl of activity, the breeze still carries the scent of citrus trees, never letting you forget where you really are.  The steady presence of bergamot remains and the mild zip of sandalwood keeps you energized without crossing the into distraction.  After the heat slowly fades with the sun,  the cooling evening air descends and scent of an airy incense retains the memory of warmth from the day.    

This fragrance took me a bit by surprise.  When I initially read that it was centered around bergamot I figured it would be like any number of short lived summer colognes,  but it's a bit more concentrated than that.   It has a longer life than the majority of these types of scents, and though it has all the right traditional element it also holds a twist of modern life existing in a long-held standard.  It's unisex and I can't think of anyone who couldn't wear it beautifully.

I love that this scent did indeed transport me mentally to an infinitely more pleasant climate in the middle of winter.  It's an elegant casual fragrance that had me yearning for wine on a patio overlooking a warm and dry landscape, and that always appeals. 

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