7 marzo 2013

nu_be new line of scents

Today I'm writing about a new Italian brand: nu_be. Sit back, because this post is long, and in the meantime start this video (Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene 2, 1977: I have listened to this while writing this review).
nu_be is a collaboration between a group of an enterprising group of young people and Fluidounce, a new manufacturer of fragrances which has required the work of talented composers from Takasago.
"nu_be speaks of the origins of the universe, of that primordial magma that gave birth to stars, a material still in fusion harking back to Chaos, a state preceding finished Form. (...). An adventurous trek that begins far, far away to end up as life on Earth: from a cloud in sidereal space, the celestial dust itself becomes a "new being", alive and transformed. (…) Something spiritual and cosmic recalling the uncontaminated matter boiling in the Earth's bowels" they say on their website.
I liked their definition a lot, and I write it here because their fragrances are quite consistent with this "mystical/geological" view. Yet, they aren't so strange that they can't be worn, indeed. You smell the research for new accords giving birth to unexpected sensations, but this research never gets into the “un-wearable” side so they stay, in their strangeness, pleasant to use (sure, they take a minimum of openness and curiosity about the wonders that molecules, properly used, can offer to our nose).

Hydrogen (by Antoine Lie, his are some of the most beautiful scents in the Etat Libre d'Orange and Comme des Garcons lines): melon and tangerine, basil, cold spices and oak moss, white musk and aldehydes, calone and dihydromyrcenol offer an intensely clean feeling of bitter coldness.  This icy-cold feeling, marking the  "New Freshness" family (starting with Cool Water), here is taken to its extreme, and suggests a perfectly white, blinding neon light.  Hydrogen is also as dry as an ice awl, or as a vodka on the rocks. This thrilling impression eventually dissolves into a rough, aromatic, stimulating woody note (Cashmeran and juniper?).

Helium (Sylvie Fischer) iris and damask rose, clary sage, cinnamon, benzoin, styrax, patchouli, guaiac wood, tobacco and vetiver make a velvety and warm scent, of soft, poudrèe elegance. A delicate suede (sage) and "apricot jam" note complement each other with rose, creating a gently enveloping feel. One of the most interesting fragrances in the line.

Carbon (Francoise Caron: hers are the legendary Ombre Rose by Brosseau and Eau d'Orange Verte d'Hermes, Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma and CdG's Palisander, as well as many others) is woody, deep and mystic; it brought me back to mind the dark forest and dangerous feelings in Shiseido's Feminite du Bois: here cedarwood is central, joined by cold spices such as cardamom and ginger, black pepper, iris and sandalwood. Over time, the fragrance offers a rare and masterfully composed harmony between an almost fruity sweetness and a spicy, dry and dusty feel. The more complex and meditative scent of the line and, in my opinion, and the most exciting.

Lithium (Nicolas Bonneville, enfant prodige just graduated at Isipca and apprentice of Francis Kurkdjian, "Maladie d'Amour" in the Histoires d'Eaux line is by him) is a challenging and interesting scent played on opposite impressions: one is cold/mineral and the other is heat/flintstone. The start is quite smoky with iris and warm spices, then rose, woods and musk (I also smell IBQ and galbanum). The overall impression is fascinating, intense, mysterious, hot, dark, opaque and rubbery like one of those black paints that are all the rage on cars. Underneath the overall impression there's a frosted-tangerine note also present in Maladie d'Amour (I guess it's some speciality from Takasago) smiling without being noticed too much: its presence only serves to further strengthen the thick darkness of the fragrance.

Oxygen (Antoine Lie) "Here it is, a fragrance that you can't grab or capture, but that is in the air all around you," says Antoine Lie. And in fact, given this assumption, Oxygen bears witness to the genius of its author, who was able to give substance to an extremely elusive olfactory impression. With pinches of saffron (which I haven't detected), frankincense and pepper, vetiver, white musk and an overdose of aldehydes, Lie was able to recreate a convincing smell of steam: clean, fresh, but also opaque, chalky, rough with something "gasoline" in it, which makes it less abstract and more real. It was deliberately kept delicate and not overly impactful; if that's your thing, you will be reminded of the brilliant "Cologne" by Morillas for T. Mugler, it shares its serene and discreet mood. It's a strange scent, difficult to label, but I know that  if I had to fly a spacecraft around the Earth, I couldn't wear anything more appropriate than this.

I must warn that this line is to be tested on skin, I was shocked to discover the huge difference between the tests on touche, where fragrances don't "sing" at all, and those on skin, where they "open up" much better revealing a thousand shades more. Some are rather multifaceted and soft-edged if not blurry, the often contradictory feelings overlap and melt one in another in a continuous movement that does not define a sharp form: I found this an intriguing feature. The scents don't radiate much from the skin, their impact being reserved to the wearer and the people who he/she chooses to invite closer, and their life is average long.

Have you already had chance to smell them?

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