Sunday, February 5, 2012

Parfum d'Empire Azemour les Orangers

The New Vintage

As 2011 drew to a close, I was in a perfume funk. I had started to believe that there was nothing new in perfume that would interest me. Stunt perfumes, such as those supposed to smell like blood or semen or industrial factories, bore me. It takes more skill to make a perfume that is novel and smells great. Also on my pet peeve list are high concept perfumes like those that limit themselves to a small number of accords. Nothing is more annoying to me than art that comes with a manifesto.

I've also become disenchanted with vintage perfumes. While I love the boldness of some older perfumes, the oakmoss heavy chypres and dry green chypres, the leather and tobacco, most of the old beauties are gone forever. There were a couple of gems I found last year, like my bottles of Bandit and Vacances, but most vintage I tried isn't the same. I've come to know well the smell of perfume "gone off."

But when I smelled Azemour les Orangers, I realized there is a new category of perfume for me to love: the New Vintage. Azemour is a perfume that is perfectly modern; it has distinct, recognizable notes and sheer layers that feel as if light is shining through them. But it combines the modern style with the vintage feel of a really mossy base. It's the best of both worlds.

Azemour was created to recall the Morroco of the perfumer's childhood: the spices, the orange groves, the dry desert winds and grasses. It smells of bright young oranges and ancient places.

There is a lot going on in Azemour. Every time I sniff my wrist I smell a new facet of the perfume. Azemour has a juicy citrus burst, with spices in the opening. The bright orange and hay notes are like my favourite Bigarade Concentree. After that, the smell of green leaves is created with galbanum and blackcurrant, reminding me fleetingly of L'Ombre dand l'Eau. The heart notes are mostly neroli and orange blossom. But it's the base notes that make Azamour special. A huge amount of moss is present right from the beginning. It's almost musty, and I think that might put some people off, but if you love mossy chypres, you'll probably like Azemour.  The moss is grounded with cypress and a very detectable caraway note that I think makes this a more unisex perfume.

If you have ever grieved the loss of oakmoss-heavy vintage perfumes, give Azemour a try. There are still some perfumers out there making really mossy perfumes.

House: Parfum d'Empire
Nose: Marc-Antoine Corticchiato
Notes: orange, clementine, tangerine, grapefruit, coriander, cumin, black pepper, pink pepper, blackcurrant, galbanum, neroli, geranium, orange blossom, rose, hay, moss, henna and cypress


  1. I absolutely agree with your review of Azemour! IMO it is the best perfume released in 2011, but I'm a lover of "mossy" perfumes so what do I know : )

    I do know that I get compliments from strangers everytime I wear it!

  2. I caught up with Azemour the other day, and though I wasn't sure about the opening - very petitgrainy? or something - the drydown was spectacular: mossy and unexpectedly soapy and comforting. Wish I had got hold of a sample now, because as you say there seems to be so much of interest going on with it!


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