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Myrrhiad – Experiencing is believing…. - February 15, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Olfactorialist.com - Pierre Guillaume

Pierre Guillaume, is to my mind, one of most the talented noses out there. His Parfumerie Generale line - the name is a clever take on his initials –  contains some of my favourite frags: Cuir Venenum , Indochine, Papyrus de Ciane and Intrigant Patchouli.

But it’s Myrrhiad from his other line, Huitieme Art Parfums that has been making me my wrists hum lately.

Guillaume started Huitieme Art Parfums in 2010, eight years after the creation of his PG line. The concept for the new line came from perfume writer, critic and founder of the 1000 Fragrances website, Octavian Coifan’s idea that perfumery is the eighth art – an extension of the seven liberal arts. 

Here’s the thing. The liberal arts - grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music -  were devised in the ancient world and designed to citizens the skills they needed in order to participate in active civic life. They are based on reason and physicality.  The eight art, perfumery, is based on experience. This is what grabbed Guillaume.

In an interview with cafleurebon.com Guillaume says: “With HAP I didn’t use the pyramid system in which olfactory levels are superimposed and which is determined by evaporation rates, but focused instead on harmonising 2 or 3 olfactory spheres…the material responds to the “accord”….the “accord” highlights the material…. I want to simplify the analytical approach… these fragrances are created on the basis of two or three accords or original materials; they need to be experienced in their entirety. You can appreciate them better by distancing yourself from them to some extent, just as you need to stand back from a painting to observe it properly… I want the same approach for this line. I keep my technical subterfuges to myself, and the spectator experiences only the emotion aroused by them.

And what an experience it is. Myrrh is one of my favourite cold weather notes. Bitter and spicy, Myrrh has a long history and throughout time has been used for embalming, perfume and incense.

I’m not going to go through it note by note since Myrrhiad’s not built that way, but I am going to report my experience of it. Sharp and bitter, myrrh is right at the opening and stays throughout the development of the fragrance as different  facets of it are highlighted. Soon it’s sweetened with a note of amber. A note of warm, rich vanilla coaxes sweetness out of the myrhh while a note of unsweetened licorice, which is bitter and intense, gently underscores the bitterness of it and contrasts with the sweetness of the vanilla. Balsam, which like myrrh is an oleoresin, highlights its resinous aspect. Black tea absolue gives it a smoky dimension, like burning incense. And just at this point, there is an animalic note of leather that contrasts so beautifully with the sweetness that proceeds it – this, to me, is what makes Myrrhiad a work of art.

The dry down is rich, dark and potent with the myrrh emerging to keep the sweetness of the scent in check so it doesn’t ever become truly gourmand, but still remains mouth watering. This is a fragrance that was designed to be experienced, not analyzed, not explained, not explored, but felt. And, let me tell you, there is no other feeling like it.

And, it should be said that the juice itself is a deep, reddish purple colour that leaves a shadow on the skin. I don’t know if it stains clothing – why waste it on something that doesn’t have the heat to animate it?

The name Myrrhiad is a combination of the words ‘myriad’, meaning an infinite number, and myrrh. So the name refers to the countless ways the various aspects of myrrh are highlighted in the fragrance.

I like a man who enjoys clever word play, but I love a nose who makes fragrance art like Myrrhiad.

Today, we’re adding Myrrhiad to our decant offering. Decants are $4.00.