It must be increasingly hard for perfume brands to make their products stand out in a rapidly expanding market. Even niche perfumery is now subject to a high and frequent number of new product launches every month. Fragrances of the World reported 307 new masculine perfumes were launched in 2012. This compares to just 130 in 2002 and 35 in 1992. So for the consumer, finding diamonds among the coal is the reality of perfume shopping in 2013.
The first time I smelled M by Puredistance, it stood out as something unique and I was immediately a fan. Whether it is the intensity with which this extrait de parfum vibrates on skin, the skill in which the fragrance is constructed, or the beautiful way M captures elements of the past whilst still presenting an olfactory idea that is so relevant for today, it is one of my favourite perfumes in this genre of dry woods.
Puredistance describe M as an oriental, leather chypre. The visionary behind M is Professeur de Parfums, Roja Dove. And like one of the author’s books, M is a textbook lesson in the history of perfume. Elements of M raise thoughts of the past, of works by the great masters of 20th century perfume, of Edmond Roudnitska and the house of Guerlain.
To help wearers gain a visual context, Puredistance liken M’s dry sensual tones to the leather interior of an Aston Martin DB4. Released in 1963, the DB4 became known as the James Bond car a year later, after it appeared in the movie Goldfinger. Like all Puredistance perfumes, M is now presented in three sizes and one concentration, extrait de parfum. The 17.5ml M extract is housed in a sleek titanium bullet, which could be read as a reference to the metallic details inside the car, Bond’s gun, or perhaps even a cigar. Whichever way you read it, M is elegance personified.
In my exchange with Mr Jan Ewoud Vos, the owner of Puredistance, I asked him to describe his brand in few words. His response was, modern elegance and true exclusivity. I add that if I had to pack a time capsule of fragrances to be discovered by perfume fans a century from now, I would include a bottle of M.
About Roja Dove’s involvement in the creation of M, Mr Vos commented:
From the first moment Puredistance entered the market with Puredistance I (2008), Roja Dove was a great admirer of our brand and started to sell Puredistance in London in his Haute Perfumerie on the 5th. floor of Harrods. I learnt that Roja is very good in creating fragrances, which use the best ingredients and reflect the quality of the golden years of perfume. So after I finished the concept of M, Roja was the first person I approached. I asked if he would be interested to create M. It didn’t take him long to say yes. And I am glad he did say yes, since M has gained quite a reputation in the short time after it has been launched.
M, like most extrait de parfum, unravels wonderfully on skin. The intensity of each note resounds with such clarity and is so generous, so robust. In its infancy, M presents a transparent veil of bergamot and lemon, which lifts to reveal the softness of flowers. Jasmine and rose form the bridge between this fleeting moment of citrus and the overture of spices, resins and woods, which melodically plays out. Here you have the real beauty of M; a hypnotising wave of spices that feel so dry a mere spark would set them ablaze. A fiery peppered cinnamon note is present right into the drydown. This leads to leather, woods and moss. Cistus labdanum gives the fragrance a dark resinous edge and is resolutely modern. Although the base contains vanilla and musk, the dryness and intensity of raw materials such as patchouli and vetiver prevent the resins and vanilla from pushing M into sweeter, more oriental territory. Faithful to an extrait de parfum formula, M has legs for miles. Whilst some perfumes are Olympic class sprinters, M is a marathon runner that will go the whole day and still smell intact on skin as the sun is setting.
Suggested wearing: If you know your preference is towards more diffusive, spicy leathers/woods; you owe it to yourself to smell M if you have not already. It is a perfume with a big personality so I enjoy it on days where I am feeling confident or I want to make an impression. Although many men prefer to wear lighter scents in summer, I enjoy wearing M in both warm and cold climates. In cold weather it feels like a shot of whiskey, which warms the soul, and in summer, I imagine men in white linen smoking cigars on a Havana bar.
Perfumer: Roja Dove/Argeville
Bottle Designer: Sinot Design
Release Date: 2010
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Dry Woods
* An overview of the Puredistance collection and a more in depth discussion with Puredistance owner, Mr Jan Ewoud Vos will be posted next.