On a recent trip to Hong Kong, 06 Amanu was one of the scented souvenirs I brought home. Carrying the name of a Norse God, Odin is one of downtown Manhattan’s uber cool shopping destinations to clothe the New York male. The boutique has made its name by finding and supporting up and coming designers on the brink of discovery. Odin diversified with its own line of fragrances in 2009, joining a number of new independents moving into the perfume market. Last year I attended a trend-forecasting seminar that discussed the age of the Betapreneur, an age of do-it-yourselfers who are setting up small businesses with little capital and low investment risk. These small brands produce counterintuitive products that go against mass-market trends. Many of these new perfume lines, described as niche, function on small budgets with little or no advertising costs and their marketing relies on word of mouth and public appreciation for something different. Collectively, they have a big effect on perfume sales and some larger companies have begun mimicking the niche trend sparking the term masstige or faux-niche, used to describe small ranges parented by larger parent companies. Even though it is independent, Odin is no rags to riches story as the owners were already successful business owners on Manhattan’s retail landscape but the brand is one example of a small independent label that has taken on some of perfume’s bigger names and they are succeeding. When I found the brand in Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford department store, the range sat along side the likes of Hermes and Yves Saint Laurent. Each Odin fragrance explores a different travel reference from the Mediterranean to the Middle East to provincial Japan. The perfume’s packaging offers a tactile experience dressed in black. High gloss graphics feel cool under fingers and the black paper has a soft almost powdery texture. A grosgrain pull-tab opens the draw to reveal the amber glow of the glass bottle. 06 Amanu is the 5th scent in the collection, curiously 05 or No. 5 does not exist in the Odin collection. 06 Amanu was developed by perfumer Kevin Verspoor and evokes an airy freshness inspired by Mediterranean coastal lands. In February, the Fragrance Foundation awarded their 2012 Fifi Indie Fragrance Award to 06 Amanu.
My first impression of this fragrance was, “ah it’s fig”. I later learned there is no fig reference at all; the combination of cedar, galbanum and blood orange gives the fragrance a fruity Mediterranean feel. 06 Amanu has a top note of blood orange, a citrus note that feels like liquid sunshine. Galbanum, a bitter aromatic resin cools the composition, a theme that stretches all the way to the end of the fragrance. Galbanum’s popularity has risen in recent times with scents like 06 Amanu and Martin Margiela’s Untitled featuring large doses of the material. Odin takes the note further by blending galbanum with lentisque, an aromatic Mediterranean shrub. Jasmine and magnolia discretely warm up and round out what could otherwise be an austere, cold fragrance. Aged cedar, notes of amber, wood and moss lend the scent its masculinity. It’s sheer and clean with the right amount of vegetal dirtiness.
06 Amanu feels perfectly 2012. For today’s man, it is easy to wear and it’s versatile enough to go from the office to weekends and even into the evening. Perfume collectors or niche followers may find it too safe or lacking the originality their fickle hearts demand. But for most men looking for something that smells great, a fragrance that sets them apart from more common big brand scents; I highly recommend it. Inoffensive and beautifully packaged, it also makes a great gift idea if you are looking to gift perfume to a man in his early 20s to mid 30s.
Martin Margiela Untitled, L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuer, Carthusia Io, Acqua di Parma Fico di Amalfi, Diptyque L’Eau de Tarocco
Perfumer: Kevin Verspoor
Bottle designer: Foundry NYC Inc
Release date: 2011
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Green