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Bogue MEM – In a word SPECTACULAR – Bottle #31 - January 24, 2018

Flor de lavanda - David Santaolalla, June 8, 2011

Wikimedia Commons

My wonderful Standard poodle was, as most dogs are, an obsessive sniffer. Perhaps because he grew up in a house filled with bottles of perfume and a garden filled with blooming plants, he especially liked fragrant vegetal scents, in addition to all the usual whiffy canine temptations.

One of his favourites was lavender. A house down the street on the corner has big French lavender plants which spill over the retaining wall when in bloom, and without fail he would stop for a good long sniff before allowing us to resume our walk. And because lavender is also one of my favourites, I would pull off a couple of purple blooms to roll between my fingers as we walked, its herbal magic wafting like catnip so that he would push his wet nose into my palm for a couple of quick sniffs and licks. The delicious herbal aroma would still be there, long after we walked back home.

The lavender note is used a lot in perfumes, both classic and new, either as the featured star, or as back up note. Guerlain Jicky from 1889 is a classic everyone should try. It has lavender at its core with citrus and vanilla and a layer of skank that took this traditional note in a whole new and slightly shocking direction at the time. Jicky is a non-gendered “dirty” fougere that has the same appeal today that it had over a century ago  - I’ve been under its spell for years and own both the parfum and the EdT, which I wear often. Our Decant Pack Note Series #13-LAVENDER includes four modern lavenders: Eau de Lavande by Parfums de Nicolai, Anat Fritz by Anat Fritz, Encens et Lavande by Serge Lutens, and Liquid Crystal by Arquiste,-  a collection of herbal, smoky, earthy, green, citrusy, spicy, vanillic, woody, refined, lavenders that can be worn be everyone.

Bogue MEM, by independent Italian perfumer Antonio Gardoni, is a new fragrance released in 2017 that does something to lavender that you could never imagine, until  you smell it. Take a startlingly fresh, pure, herbal, sun-warmed aromatic lavender blossom, rub it between your fingers which have your salty sweat scent, then add the smell of moist loamy roots just pulled from the earth. That’s Bogue MEM in the first moments. Inhale deeply because it’s going to change quickly, the earthiness giving way to the caramel-infused smoky boozy jammy honeyed sweetness of tobacco and lavender, which is so delicious I almost want to lick my hand.

Then wait. Just a bit. Because Bogue MEM enters an alternate universe, and its floral, but not traditional floral. This is a white or pale yellow universe, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, geranium, with hints of rubber and wax and mint over a fermented champagne fizziness in the heart, voluptuous notes that transform into an abstract multi-layered heart when bedded down with the lavender and tobacco accord. It’s richly deeply floral without being flowery, and the single word that comes to mind is “beautiful”.

And then the dry-down. Mr Gardoni has more to reveal. He says on his website that his scents are “rooms to discover with their mood, texture, light and color.” In the base the light dims, the landscape changes to dark woods. Rosewood, sandalwood, cedar, benzoin, smooth satiny woodnotes lift up the floral heart, deepening the accord, and then from shadows the animalic notes, ambergris, civet, musk, castoreum, reveal themselves. Bogue MEM becomes darker, more complex. The heart beats faster, the pulse races – there’s something happening here that’s real and exciting and far beyond the realm of ordinary fragrance. It’s spectacular.

The animalic notes concentrate Bogue MEM so that it vibrates with life, it shines from within. The long dry-down, still with the faint waft of pale purple herbal lavender, is warm, inviting, complex and compelling, satisfying, at times masculine, at times feminine, deeply sensual, and always and endlessly, fascinating. The notes blend seamlessly into a world of pleasure.

I thought Antonio Gardoni’s Bogue Maai was a game-changer, and still do. An ancient scent in a new context, vintage bones with a new soul, perfume as art. Bogue MEM is game-changer 2.0.


Bogue MEM is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml. I own bottle #31.