<Google translated from German>:  The best concept - I do not have to think about it for a long time. Here, with an ellenlangem lead, Joseph Quartana wins with Les Potions Fatales. I have rarely experienced such a round, perfectly thought-out and perfect concept! Here everything is really true: the idea - poisonous flowers, aphrodisizing, narcotic or deadly. The dose makes the poison, old-known. Each individual fragrance has been composted with regard to its course, the packaging in color and design carefully selected - and ... the fragrances know to convince, also as perfumes, not only as a concept. For me the winner of the year, Chapeau, dear Joseph!

 

 

Les Potions Fatales (website here) is the name of a new line of fragrances inspired by plants such as datura, digitalis, mandrake, poppy, belladonna, hemlock... plants renowned for their healing, energizing, even aphrodisiac powers that, when used in excessive amounts, become lethal
For centuries they have been used to ignite passion, to enhance energy, to cure diseases, but also to take out "cleanly" politicians, priests, noblemen, husbands and wives...
In the end, the problem is always the amount you take, never the raw material itself, right?Even the sun kills you, if you get too much! 
These plants, with their life/death duality, might be here to teach us sobriety, or the use without abuse (a much-needed lesson, isn't?)

The idea of creating perfumes inspired by "lethal" plants is not completely new (think of "Datura Noir" by Serge Lutens, or Goutal's "Mandragore"), but it had never been used as inspiration for an entire line, and I liked it. 

Even if launching a line already equipped with nine scents may sound quite challenging, the founder of Les Potions Fatales is Joseph Quartana (former founder of Six Scents line) and I think he's got a clear vision of which direction he wants to go, and enough experience to know what it takes to go there.

However, fragrances in this line are nothing too complicated or intellectual: they are immediately interesting, lively, extremely wearable, with a contemporary feeling
 
I smelled all of them but I've been able to wear only two: Digitalis by David Apel and Mandrake by Carlos J Vinals.

Digitalis is a fresh, green and slightly ozonic scent featuring a sour, bitter, fruity note. I sprayed it on my arm and I envisioned a lawn at night, lit by 1000 fireflies that light up a dance of fairies. In my opinion a very good fragrance: interesting, original, hilarious, fizzling, good for opening the mind's horizons.
 
Mandrake is instead some kind of fruity oriental. It's dominated by a red, velvety note that reminded me of Snow White's apple on a modern woody, slightly smoked base. Mixed feelings of warmth/freshness, delicacy/rigor, light/shadow. It contains a mysterious accord named "Lethal addiction" that caused me a burst of laughter. I love it when brands shows a little irony.
With a cost of $ 160 (on average) for 50ml of perfume, these Potions Fatales do not leave much room for compulsive buying (and perhaps it is good, because otherwise I would've already bought three!). 
But here you can find a fantastic discovery set with all nine fragrances for $56 which I think it would be worth putting your nostrils on, in order to study all the offerings and chose your own Potion Fatale.

9. PARFUMS QUARTANA

Joseph Quartana, creator of Six Scents unveiled his second, intriguing project. Parfums Quartana’s Les Potions Fatales are build around poisonous flowers – and results are truly impressive.

 

We just wrapped up that Best of 2016, but it’s 2017 now and time for our Best Winter Perfumes.  Make sure to check out Grain de Musc, Bois de Jasmin, The Non-Blonde and Now Smell This for their take on Best Winter Perfumes 2017.

Musette sez:  This is a SUCKY Winter for me.  Winter sucks in general but this one is rough.  You’d think I would be wearing comfort scents but to be honest, I don’t have any!  I mean, the ones I consider ‘comfort’  read as OMG!  RUUNNNN! to a lot of others.  March stole Mitsouko for this post and y’all already know about my obsessive love for vintage No5 (and contemporary No5 body cream) – so I’mo shake it up a bit.  I’ve been testing a new perfume line, Quartana – and I am going to review it a bit down the road – but let me just say, I am madly in love with Digitalis.  How could I not, right?  Poisonous as hell – but beneficial, too!  I love that.  And galbanum-based, with a Scary Wet Leaf Accord, it smells viciously divine!

 

Well another year has come and gone. 2016 has certainly has been a roller coaster of a year!  Through all the ups and downs, perfume has kept me sane. I am happy to share my favorite releases of 2016. I wish I could say that I smelled every single release, but that wasn't the case, and of course would be very hard to do. Okay, lets go!  

The 9 Les Potions Fatales by Parfums Quartana based on poisonous flowers. Excellent concept and very well executed fragrances. My favorite was Wolfsbane. You can check out my review here.

 

Aerosyn Lex Mestrovic, the uber-talented art director behind Les Potions Fatales by PARFUMS QUARTANA, on his creative process for our packaging: "The paintings were inspired by the vibrant colors and patterns of poisonous animals and the scents abstracted into symbolic calligraphy for each...".

Based in NY and Tokyo, Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic has been exhibited at the MoMA, The White House, and Art Basel, and his work is a part of the Smithsonian Collection. He was awarded as Top 40 Alumni of Pratt Institute and the SCOPE Grand Prize.

Check out more of his work at www.houseofalms.com 

 

 

 

In 1977, Yves Saint Laurent released his Opium perfume for women, taking a risk by basing a perfume on a poisonous flower, not exactly an alluring concept. The gamble paid off and Opium became one of the most successful fragrances ever produced (Dior followed suit almost a decade later with Poison.). Jean-Louis Sieuzac was the nose behind Opium, and his apprentice was Emilie Copperman, who went on to become a nose for Symrise, one of the leading producers of flavors and fragrances in the world.

When Joseph Quartana, the former fashion director of the cult downtown boutique Seven New York, teamed up with the company to produce a perfume line based on poisonous flowers, Les Potions Fatales, Coppermann naturally became involved. When you smell Coppermann-executed Poppy Soma, one of the nine fragrances in the Parfums Quartana line, the relationship between it and Opium gains clarity. Her contemporary creation retains the graceful appeal of its predecessor.

Quartana is no stranger to the perfume business. He previously masterminded a highly successful but ill-fated Six Scents series, for which he connected promising young fashion designers such as Gareth Pugh and Damir Doma with the noses at Givaudan, the well-respected Swiss perfume powerhouse. In a booming industry where, an engaging story is often a prerequisite and contributor to perfume’s success, building scents inspired by poisonous flowers is not a novel concept. Even Lady Gaga has taken a stab at it. But that’s where all comparisons end, because we have not seen such deliberate planning, purposeful composition, and meticulous execution as we have seen with Les Potions Fatales. The nine eau de parfums tell separate, idiosyncratic stories that trace the etymology of each deadly flower, whether real or mythical, for which we would hate to see an antidote.

Perhaps counterintuitively, the perfume experience often begins with the packaging. Quartana’s fragrances are sheltered in a clean-looking bottle akin to the blue amethyst jars that housed the noxious concoctions of the ancient Greeks. The synesthetic feeling is awakened once you lay eyes upon the array of colors that adorn each box, the designs of which were constructed by Aerosyn Lex Mestrovic. Making associations between colors and smells is not something we can all do intrinsically, but Quartana’s potions give insight into our neurological wiring. While the bottles’ and boxes’ hyperpigmentation and psychedelic patterns grant them shelf visibility, their aposematism actually invites tactile and olfactory curiosity.

 

One of our favorites in the presentation department is Mandrake. Despite its deceptively zesty introduction, orange citrus is not formally listed as a note. We can attribute its effervescent quality to the note of bergamot. One might also think of mandarin after reading the name on the bottle. The coloration of the container, which aligns all too well with the traffic that occupies a synesthete’s cognitive pathways, however, begs to differ. Reputed with emitting a fatal, supersonic scream when exhumed from the earth, the flower inspiring the fragrance’s eponymous title is cleverly represented in a few different ways. Birch assumes the role of the earth from which mandrake is plucked, and bright, aromatic ingredients convey the shrillness of the scream.

While Mandrake can be classified as unisex, there are some fragrances within the line that have a tendency to lean a bit more feminine. On Quartana’s website, each fragrance has an accompanying meter that measures the gender for which each fragrance is best suited, in order to navigate you through the nine scents. We prefer to leave it up to you to decide what’s feminine or masculine, and thus Lily of the Valley may very well be your thing even though you are a guy. A closer look, or smell in this case, into the fragrance’s construction will reveal the presence of a few androgynous notes including vetiver bourbon, vanilla absolute, and leather gloves accord. The latter accord alone makes this fragrance worth sampling.

Another notable fragrance in the line, Wolfsbane, captures the ferocity of wolves and the virility of the warrior who hunts them. Wolfsbane, another name for aconite, was once used to poison the tips of arrows that decimated wolf populations in the Far East. Wolfsbane’s olfactory profile is colored by accords such as angelica root, fig leaf, absinthe, and deer tongue. The latter is merely a moniker for a relative of the tobacco plant; so don’t hold your nose. This fragrance, composed by Philippe Paparella-Paris, evokes a warm and masculine earthiness through the use of notes like patchouli, cedar wood, and vetiver. Wolfsbane is the perfect balance of raw history and refined modernity.

“The lolling weeds of Lether, green or wan,

Exhale their fatal languors on the light;

From out infernal grails of aconite

Poisons and dews are proffered to the dawn.”

– Clark Ashton Smith

Poppy Soma, the one executed by Emilie Copperman, reveals its meditative and ecclesiastical heart with its old church incense accord. This is likely the smell that occupied the laboratory setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s morally disposed narrative, The Birthmark, in which Aylmer administers his fatal elixir to his wife to rid her of her facial blemish. Other dense notes occupying the base of this composition include labdanum, styrax, and Tonquin musk. The former two are resins with a rich and sweet aroma. Their low rate of volatility contributes immensely to the fragrance’s potency. Expect this fragrance to last well over ten hours on skin.

Another one that excels in the longevity department is Hemlock. With notes ranging from Rum Martinique to cinnamon bark and suede leather, this perfume pays homage to the very substance that cemented Socrates’ mortality. Coumarin, an aroma molecule from tonka bean and cinnamon, provides sweetness to the fragrance’s architecture while jasmine and a white floral accord articulate tranquility. Hemlock is a pleasant dichotomy of mellow and murderous.

“Socrates gave a lot of advice, and he was given hemlock to drink.”

– Rose Kennedy

The haute-Goth theme in the fragrance Bloodflower illustrates the psychedelia of the collection in a more familiar manner. What starts as a strident, metallic fragrance ultimately subsides to an anisic/licorice-esque blend whose addictive nature can best be described by drawing a parallel with a vampire yearning his sanguine drink. Don’t wear this one if you are hemophobic. The rose note that dominates this composition is strongly evocative of the smell of blood. Bloodflower is foreboding yet enchanting. You have been warned of this fragrance’s high olfactory frequency.

“Look at my blood flowers,

because I write with a

serene sharp blade that

soothes as much as cuts

into the deepest parts

of my soul.”

                        – Basith

All in all, even the most timid insect with aposematic coloration has the ability to keep its prey at bay. Don’t let the bright, inviting colors of Quartana’s bottles fool you. Looks can be deceiving. In a calculated way, Quartana has shown us that there is delicacy in the deadly. There is closure in the chasm. There is poise in the poisonous.

We have highlighted some of our favorites of the collection. Below are the notes on the full lineup.

Bloodflower – developed by perfumer Alexandra Carlin. An aromatic woody boozy gourmand, with licorice, anise, blood accord, clover, orris, dark rose, amber and patchouli. $145, in Eau de Parfum.

Digitalis – developed by perfumer David Apel. A fresh oceanic spicy green, with galbanum, iris, cucumber, basil, pepper, ozone, coriander, florozone, violet, neroli, rose, jasmine, gentiane, incense, fern, wet moss and violet leaf. $145, in Eau de Parfum.

Hemlock – developed by perfumer Christelle Laprade. A green woody spicy synthetic oriental, with rum, pink pepper, bergamot, crushed leaves, glossy white floral, cinnamon, clove, jasmine, styrax, black vinyl accord, magnolia, cyclamen, salt, benzoin, vanilla, suede, sandalwood, patchouli, tonka bean, musk and masculine amber woods. $145, in Eau de Toilette.

Lily of the Valley – developed by perfumer Nathalie Benareau. A fresh white leather floral, with bergamot, neroli, dewy petals, cassis buds, muguet des bois, orange blossom, dark rose, jasmine, black leather glove accord, labdanum, vetiver, vanilla, and sandalwood. $165, in Eau de Parfum.

Mandrake – developed by perfumer Carlos J. Vinals. A fruity green woody leather, with apple, pomegranate, birch leaf, birch root, bergamot, mandrake flower accord, rhubarb, cardamom, suede leather, deadly addiction accord, patchouli, vanilla, sandalwood and tonka bean. $145, in Eau de Parfum.

Midnight Datura – developed by perfumer Lisa Fleischmann. A fresh creamy boozy fruity amber floral with powder, featuring green leaf, mandarin, bergamot, davana, rum, jasmine, tuberose, magnolia, muguet, rose, violet, lavender, heliotrope, datura, clove, nutmeg, pepper, balsam, patchouli, vanilla, sandalwood, cedar, amber and musk. $165, in Eau de Parfum.

Poppy Soma – developed by perfumer Emilie Coppermann. A smoky spicy floriental, with Sichuan pepper, curry leaf, red pepper, gardenia, jasmine, rose, old church incense, labdanum, tuberose, styrax and Tonkin musk. $185, in Eau de Parfum.

Venetian Belladonna – developed by perfumer Pierre-Constantin Gueros. A spicy woody fruity floral with cassis, violet water, plum, sultanene, cognac, styrax, ambrette, sampaquia, honey, iris, tuberose, patchouli, labdanum, suede, saffron, beeswax, sandalwood and vetiver. $165, in Eau de Parfum.

Wolfsbane – developed by perfumer Philippe Paparella-Paris. An animalic spicy woods, with angelica root, fig leaf, cumin, ginger, absinthe, patchouli, cedar, tuberose, tobacco flower, castoreum, benzoin, sandalwood, prunol, vetiver, deer tongue and black truffles. $185, in Eau de Parfum.

Parfums Quartana fragrances may be purchased at https://six-scents.com/ and in select boutiques worldwide.

 

This is my ninth and final review from the Parfums Quartana House until they release something new in the near future, It was a mind blowing, amazing experience to say the least!

Sometimes when you review a full line of fragrances from a house, and you read the notes off, you pretty much know what to expect, and always hope for the best.

Parfums Quartana as a whole is very unique, I have not smelled fragrances quite like this in years, maybe ever, in order for you to understand this house you have to sample them out for yourself.

I can only convey to my readers what I smell, but even that doesn't really do them justice, each one of these fragrances has a twist, turn and an edge, which I was not expecting at all.

Out of the nine fragrances, I felt that Mandrake and Digitalis where absolute masterpieces which I will eventually have in my collection, and Wolfsbane was wonderful also.

The other six, Hemlock, Lily of the Valley, Bloodflower, Venetian Belladonna, Poppy Soma and Midnight Datura ranged from good to average at best, and some were verging on unwearable.

I get a woody, soothing, with a touch of vanilla styrax, that hovers over a black, burning, puff of Sichuan pepper, and a powerful, fresh, green jasmine sambac.

Then a milky, billowy, airy, intoxicating, with a touch of vegetal smelling gardenia, brushes over a leather tinged, amber nuanced labdanum, and a smooth, pungent, aromatic musk.

I get the Styrax, Sichuan Pepper, Musk, Jasmine Sambac, Labdanum and Gardenia, it opens up with a thick, resinous styrax, and a hot, spiced Sichuan pepper, the styrax is strong, the Sichuan pepper is mild.

After ten minutes the Sichuan pepper dissipates, the styrax softens, in comes a sweet, narcotic jasmine sambac, and a creamy, fleshy gardenia, the jasmine sambac is strong, the gardenia is soft.

After five hours the styrax and gardenia dissipate, the jasmine softens, in comes a aromatic, plush labdanum and a ripe, grey musk, the labdanum is soft, the musk is mild.

Poppy Soma is a very strong, mature, vintage yet modern feel, deep white florals, amber nuances, spiced, unisex, it leans more feminine, Oriental Floral fragrance.

This would be excellent for the Fall and Winter, I get average projection and average longevity, this is a nice offering from Joseph Quartana of Parfums Quartana, 3/5 Stars.
If you would have asked me a few years ago to even entertain the thought of wearing a white floral fragrance I probably would have given you some sarcastic comment such as, not unless I'm working in a funeral parlor or did I change my name to Amanda?

In other words, I felt they were too feminine or resembled a funeral homes floral arrangements, at the time I wasn't really reviewing many female fragrances until I started sampling and falling in love with them.

The one fragrance that changed my thoughts completely and ignorance to a degree, was Robert Piguet's Gardenia, a heartbreakingly beautiful white floral masterpiece.

I get a light, soured, fresh, loving, with a touch of green neroli, that brightens up a green nuanced, sparkling, slightly sweet lily of the valley, and a somber, refreshing, dewy jasmine.

Then a milky, sweetened, very smooth, glossy, shimmering vanilla, and a blackened, brand new, aromatic, jacket leather, and a stubborn, delicate floral tinged sandalwood.

I get the Neroli, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine, Vanilla, Leather and Sandalwood. it open up with a bitter, citric neroli, and a clean, bright lily of the valley, the neroli is mild, the lily of the valley is strong.

After thirty minutes the neroli dissipates. the lily of the valley softens, in comes a fresh, slightly sweet jasmine, and a creamy, silky vanilla, the jasmine is mild, the vanilla is soft.

After four hours the neroli and vanilla dissipate, the jasmine softens, in comes a pungent, dark leather, and a milky, rich sandalwood, the leather and sandalwood are mild.

Lily of the Valley is a very soft, very appealing, pretty white floral, a touch of sweetness, citrusy, watery, woodiness, unisex. is leans more feminine Floral fragrance.

This would be lovely in the Fall and Winter, I get average projection and average longevity, this is a wonderful white floral fragrance from Joseph Parfums Quartana, 4/5 Stars.
"Parfums Quartana Hemlock is daring, bizarre, and pushes boundaries as to what niche fragrances could be, and brings it to a whole new level."

There are a few things I have always respected about the niche fragrance market, they dare to be different, are usually tasteful, and they create fragrances that the mass market will most likely never experience.

Hemlock is one of those fragrances, it's so odd, that I despise it, yet I'm finding myself drawn to it, I'm smelling myself every few minutes to see what note unfolds next.

Parfums Quartana as a house Is the niche houses of niche houses, they have a few masterpieces including Digitalis and Mandrake, some are subpar, but you cannot deny the creativity behind this house and fragrances.

I get a musical, cardboard, turpentine, plastic, heavy metal vinyl, that dampens a sweet, complex, with a tinge of molasses smelling rum, and a grassy, springtime, watery green leaves.

Then a sugary, slightly animalic, with a hue of white, and a touch of green jasmine sambac, grows beneath a milky, sea salted, ripe vanilla, and a resinous, balmy, vanilla tinged benzoin.

I get the Vinyl, Jamine Sambac, Green Leaves, Vanilla, Benzoin and Rum, it opens up with a boozy, woody rum, and a waxy, black vinyl, the rum is soft, the vinyl is mild.

After twenty minutes the rum and vinyl dissipate, In comes a vegetal, green, green leaves, and a sweet, fleshy jasmine sambac, the green leaves are strong, the jasmine sambac is mild.

After five hours the jasmine sambac dissipates, the green leaves soften, in comes a salty, creamy vanilla, and a nutty, thick benzoin, the vanilla and benzoin are mild.

Hemlock is a very unique, strange, white florals, slightly musky and earthy, spicy and leather nuances, a touch of woodiness, unisex, Woody Spicy fragrance.

This would be great for the Fall and Winter, I get average projection and average longevity, Hemlock is an interesting offering from Parfums Quartana, Joseph, 3/5 Stars.
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