Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Puredistance, the sketchbook

It's not often that I focus on an entire collection for my coloured reviews. The last time I did, the range - Oriza LeGrand- was nicely "ueberschaubar" as we say in German. So many perfume houses launch new bottles at frightening speed these days, making it difficult to keep track, and impossible to find the brand's fragrant identity. 4, 5, 6 - these are good numbers for a small niche brand, at least  in my view.
Another reason for my reluctance to do combined posts is that the designer pedant in me doesn't feel comfortable with creating a blog post with 4 or 5 images without a common theme or feel to them. That would just look higgledy-piggledy. Thankfully some brands do believe in less is more, and when I received a lovely and generous sample set from Puredistance last Christmas I knew I wanted to find a way to cover the entire range in one post. 

There are currently 6 fragrances in the range, all in high pure perfume concentration, a luxurious  indulgence with the price point to match. Created by different perfumers, they nonetheless share a radiant elegance. I'm not attempting to write in depth reviews for all of the scents, but to give a sketchbook-like impression. Stepping away from my usual digital approach and playing around with watercolours seemed like the right way to achieve that.

Once I was satisfied that I had found the right colours for each perfume I used the cropping tool of the past - 2 L-shaped pieces of cardboard- to find the best possible details before finalising the images with the help of various digital filters. 


My impressions of the perfumes in order of their release dates:


Puredistance I

A green and fresh floral with a backbone. There is lot going on here: citrus, mimosa, rose, magnolia, but  blended to abstraction. An idealised bouquet, created to enhance whoever is wearing it. A very elegant, slightly aloof scent, that's never overpowering but strong in attitude. It's advertised as for women, but I think its a great floral for a man. The right type of men. As for myself : yes, I would happily wear it, although it's a bit out of my comfort zone.


Puredistance M

Hmm...this is spicy, warm and edible. Opens classically with a splash of citrus, but a hint of spice and touch of rose are coming along already. Cinnamon, coriander and cumin (not too sweaty, no fear) give way to patchouli and turn into a warm worn out leather. Unsurprisingly, I like this a lot. For a spicy oriental leather it also stays remarkably cool. I wouldn't say understated - it's pretty rich - but its opulence comes without a hint of bling and is not overpowering or cloying. Lovely.


Puredistance Antonia

A lot of green. This, in combination with white flowers and rose, makes it a very difficult experience for me. I don't mind indolic scents, but need them to be on the warm, animalic side. Combined here with a metallic freshness from the greens it gives me an immediate headache. Sorry, Antonia, you are not made for me and I can't do you any justice, so let's move on to...


Puredistance Opardu

Powder floral with a punch. Now that I can understand better. Lilac or hyacinth paired with white flowers. While the jasmine and tuberose are not exactly dirty here (far from it), it's nonetheless a sensual fragrance, if you give it the time to get there. Opardu has undeniably a strong old fashioned vibe in a No sex before marriage sort of way and while I admire the quality of the perfume, I'm not loving it. I'm ultimately not prim and proper enough to wear it and would feel like a fraud if I did. 


Puredistance Black

I had covered Black in more depth here, but of course it will also play it's part in these colour sketches. An astonishing number of perfumes are called Black, or Black this-and-that, and more often then not they contain not even a whiff of darkness. Black by Puredistance definitely deserves its name, and like I described in my original post, the black serves as a layer of mystery to hide what's really underneath and within. I detect sour cherries and booze with a hint of bitter chocolate. A whiskey based cocktail of very adult fruitiness- indulgent and intoxicating. Love it.


Puredistance White

I remember when I got a sample of this about a year ago and thought:"Oh, no, a white. That's going to be either an ultra clean musk thing, or a tuberose bomb." Fortunately it is neither. What it is instead should still be, in theory, totally not up my street, and yet... it is. It seems I have found a clean rose floral that I can enjoy, certainly helped by accompanying notes of tonka bean, orris and sandalwood. Very radiant and sparkling, super feminine, white, red, gold and purple. If it was an outfit, it would be a casual silk blouse in creamy white over a pair of white Marlene Dietrich trousers. A timeless classic, whether you're barefoot, in trainers, or sporting your 10 inch stilettos. Beautiful.

So these were my sketch like impressions of the perfumes Puredistance currently has in its range. All the scents - even my dislike Antonia - are very sophisticated and of high end quality. Not necessarily pushing the boat out in terms of innovation, but if you make things that well, you can afford not to care much for the new and the trendy. My personal favourites are Black and M, with White on a surprise 3rd rank. The idea to use watercolour to illustrate the fragrances was initially based on my wish to create sketch-like first impressions, but the longer I worked on this post the more I realised that the art of watercolour and Puredistance's approach to perfumery have a few things in common: 

Lightness of touch and clarity