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.
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).
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.
Images: my own