The Scent of 2022?

At the end of the last year, I looked at the miserable list of new fragrances that I managed to try and realized that I couldn’t do even the Top 5 – let alone any more significant number of successes.

I think this made me susceptible to “undue influence”: when I got an email from Parfumes Quartana (I used to know that brand as Six Scents Parfums) describing how their new perfume, Ierofante, had been named in three “Top N” lists and offering a sample for $5 (including S&H), my “no-buy” resolution didn’t even raise its head, and the sample was on its way to me.

Before trying it for the first time, I haven’t read a single line about or note of Ierofante. And it was a shock: one just doesn’t expect a whiff of gasoline from their fine fragrance. But there it was.

The complete list of notes for Ierofante (as printed on the sample card; Fragrantica has a slightly different list) includes suede, gasoline accord, nutmeg, smoky leather, styrax pyrogene, golden amber, cashmeran and vetiver. The nose behind this perfume is Luca Maffei.

Even though I immediately knew I would not want to wear that as perfume and was questioning the decision to spend even $5 on this experiment, I decided to go through with the testing. I wanted to fully experience the fragrance that Steven Gavrielatos (Ca Fleure Bon), Lola (@lolascents) and Persolaise (eponymous blog) considered one of the best perfumes of 2022 (which, if to think about it, might not necessarily be a compliment or indicative of how good the perfume is).

As the gasoline accord was burning out, something strangely familiar started radiating through the remaining harsher smell. And suddenly, I realized what it reminded me of: if to substitute gasoline with burning rubber and instead of vetiver throw in the fire, so to speak, sandalwood, you would get… Bvlgari Black.

Bvlgari Black and Ierofante

Created by Annick Menardo in 1998, Black includes notes of smoky black tea (lapsang souchong), bergamot, rose, sandalwood, cedarwood, jasmine, leather, vanilla, amber, musk and oakmoss. It’s hard to believe, but I told my story From Zero to Forty (ml) in less than 15… years: Bvlgari Black almost ten years ago!

As you can see, Ierofante and Black do not have too many notes in common and are far from smelling identical. But that effect of a foreign-to-perfume industrial chemical start that mellows down to a softer ambery base makes them reminiscent of each other.

I like Black better: not only is its opening not as harsh as Ierofante’s, but it also is much smoother in development. Unfortunately, I can’t even recommend buying it instead if you haven’t tried it before: these days its price online is quite steep. Though, it’s still less than the price of Ierofante ($235/50 ml).

Bvlgari Black and Ierofante

One more perfume I tested with Black and Ierofante was Nappa Noire created for the Quartana’s parent company/predecessor, Six Scents Parfums, by Calice Becker. Nappa Noire also has something in common with Ierofante, but since this perfume is much less commonly known and is sold out on the brand’s site, I won’t spend more time on it (but if you want, read my story about it – Every White has its Noir).

I didn’t have a chance to try Ierofante in parallel with L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two, created in 2000 by Olivia Giacobetti, because I didn’t think about it until now. Still, I suspect that with the notes like tea, star anise, bergamot, cinnamon, spices, ginger, gingerbread, tobacco, honey, leather and vanilla, it is bound to have at least some similar development phases. And it is still in production. (And for those few who weren’t around seven years ago, I want to share my story about this perfume – Tu-ti-tu-rum-tu-tu or Musical Perfume. I promise it’s not a review.)

Since I already own three perfumes that remind me of Ierofante, and I prefer them to this new offering, I will pass the remaining sample to someone else before it evaporates. But after spending more time trying, analyzing and comparing it to all my favorites, I feel much more positive about it. And I think that, strangely, it represents the year 2022 well.

Rusty and Bvlgari Black and Ierofante

Images: my own


12 thoughts on “The Scent of 2022?

  1. I didn’t try much new in 2022; my interest in “new” has definitely waned as I gaze over my crowded double wide closet shelf of bottles, decants and samples. I have a favorite Quartana perfume – Hemlock, which includes a vinyl note that smells exactly like a LP being pulled from its sleeve. I won an IG contest for a sample of their Bloodflower. Did not enjoy the blood note in that one. Edgy and all, but there are some smells that just don’t appeal. I do love Black, and the rubber note. It was one of the first perfumes from the men’s section at Sephora that I dared try back when I was getting started. Now I sniff everything no matter where it sits on the shelf.

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  2. I haven’t tried anything much from ‘22, to the best of my knowledge, except for three new frags from Neela Vermeire – the jury is still out on those. But I have tried many things new to me from whenever, several are fbw but I’m going to resist.

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  3. All in all I tried a good number of samples in 2022, but apart from a few mainstream perfumes (cannot even remember which ones), they were not new, and very few left a lasting impression. I enjoyed your post, but I’m certain a perfume smelling of petrol is not for me! I’m not a big fan of smoke or birch tar either.

    I bought a decant of Shalimar edp in 2022, just to try it properly and see if I like it better than before. The seller very kindly included two generous samples of Shalimar flankers, one being Shalimar Cologne. And with all the citrus, that’s “my” Shalimar. But I understand it has been discontinued. Anyway, getting two interesting samples from someone I don’t know was a nice surprise in a gloomy year. Perfume people are mostly really generous, I have had that confirmed again and again. And I really enjoy the sense of community on this blog and a few others, even if I don’t always find the energy or time to comment.

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  4. I was also dabbling in Shalimar versions in 2022, but I am not sure I tried a single scent released that year?? I have been thinking about Black lately actually, because I had another request to compile a list of good budget scents for men. Well, I’d recommend Black to anyone, though maybe not if its price has shot up since I got my bottle a good ten years ago. Funny how detached I/many of us have become about the new launches – it is doubtless because we simply glaze over at the mediocre glut on offer…

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  5. I “sampled” a bunch in 2022 although maybe some were from years past. I’m hard-pressed to choose which one was the best as they each had their charms and quirks. Looking back at my IG posts, the ones that came to mind included: 4160 Tuesdays (these are the ones that may have come out pre-2022), Amouage “Attars”, Chanel No.1 L’Eau Rouge, Guerlain Imagine, Guerlain Shalimar Tonka, Imaginary Authors x Salt & Straw collabs, Lush Turmeric Latte, Papillon Hera, Providence Lapsang Lover, Zoologist Sacred Scarab (I am looking forward to the Extrait version).

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