Launched in 2013, Flash Back is the fifth fragrance from perfume house Olfactive Studio and was inspired by a photograph of the same name by Laurent Segretier.
The photograph shows a woman’s face, the lower half wiped away, the rest of her image swiped and smeared. Of the photo, the Oflactive Studio web site says: “A flash back is a highly expressive and desirable material. We would like that face unaltered by digital smoothing to be ours; that face inhabited by serene thoughts, free of the stigma of digital cosmetics, enlivened by the joy of the pixels chosen by the artist. It freezes a suspended moment, a memory zone that profoundly imprints itself on the retina and brings back a distant memory, perhaps a déjà vu of a face, a body, or a feeling that becomes a presence.”
The fragrance is an olfactory interpretation of this concept.
It opens fresh and citrusy with orange and bitter grapefruit. Lovely, but familiar, until a note of rhubarb appears and blends with the orange and grapefruit, creating an unexpected tangy fruitiness that deepens as it blooms. Green apple at the heart bolsters the green of the opening and perfectly complements the rhubarb, while pink pepper gives it a fruity warmth. At the base, verdant vetiver and camphourous cedar give it a cool woodiness while amber warms it up and musk dirties it up just enough.
At the drydown, the tart fruitiness of the rhubarb plays off the woody vetiver so it never gets heavy or dark. This interpretation of vetiver takes it from familiar to intriguing and exciting.
Olivier Cresp, Flash Back’s perfumer, has created a fragrance you think you’ll know but really don’t – an experience that echoes the image of the woman in Segretier’s photo.
Refined, balanced and a pleasure to wear, Flash Back makes me smile whenever I wear it.
Notes: rhubarb, grapefruit, orange, Granny Smith green apple, pink pepper, vetiver, cedar, amber, musk.