July 19, 2016
This is not a new collection of horror stories, but a new collection of perfumes.
Joseph Quartana, founder and genius behind both the Fragrance Foundation Award Winning Six Scents and the fashionable Seven New York has come out with Les Potions Fatales – nine Eau deParfums that each have poisonous notes as their inspiration.
These parfums are like nothing I’ve ever sampled before – but for the sake of brevity, I will go into detail about Wolfsbane (composed Phillippe Paparella-Paris) by only for this review. Collaboration with Symrise perfumers, they are all worth investigating, and best if sampled as a group.
Now, for those who curious, wolfsbane is a lovely, purple mountainous flower that happens to contain a substance known as pseudaconitine, which if ingested, kills you slowly after a serious bout with all sorts of Exorcist-level stomach discomfort. It’s not exactly what one would expect for a source of perfumed inspiration, but thankfully Parfums Quartana version is safe enough to wear.
In fact, it’s amazing. One thing that immediately jumps out at the wearer with this line is how subtly the poisonous vibe is inserted as it dries on the skin. Each one of Les Potions Fatales has something distinctly off about it – but in the most mysterious and enthralling way.
Each blend is wrapped up in an interior strangeness that gives each offering its own unexpected vibe, and a little hit of fear. Les Potions Fatales is notably different from most releases in that these perfumes don’t adhere to any established family well – you’ll recognize the notes, but how they are all arranged is arresting and absorbing to the nose.
The opening for Wolfsbane in particular is a sharp, bone-dry and cutting combination of ginger and angelica root, with cumin and fig leaf adding high and low notes. The accords are all done extremely well, they marry together in an insinuating, vaguely psychotropic way that will delight fig fans especially.
The heart notes get into dusty absinthe and patchouli territory, with cedar and tuberose very evident also. Wolfsbane is earthy stuff – more than once while I wore this, I felt the card sample should have been suspended from the ceiling in some dodgy herbal apothecary, right next to the birdcage containing a loud crow. The dry down is a mix of sweet resins and woods married to vetiver, castoreum, and some black truffle to bring the nose right down to the soil level. The sillage is average and the longevity is quite good – a few sprays will last easily six hours or more.
The packaging for this line is also vividly presented. The interior of the discovery samples is awash in a whorl of hallucinogenic colors, while the covers spell out the name of the perfumes as if you were travelling through a time portal to use them. I loved all aspects of this launch, from its daring inspirational sources, to the way the accords came together in unusual and odd ways, to the trippy packaging. Joseph Quartana has done some of the most original work I’ve ever come across with Wolfsbane, and I highly recommend you seek out the others in this line as well. If this is poison, friend, pass me my wine and leave me to drink it all.