Amour Nocturne: Explosions d'Émotions

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Release Date: 2013
Perfumer: Bertrand Duchaufour
Description: The marketing material for L'Artisan Parfumeur's new Explosions d'Émotions would have us believe, among other things, that the house's three newest creations are faithful to the vision of the L'Artisan's esteemed founder Jean Laporte. Of course, this little nugget of information was bookended by an art school promo video for Skin On Skin and the usual dose of hyperbolic language, so I approached the fragrances with a healthy skepticism and while the jury is still out on whether or not these fragrances successfully "translate the extraordinary emotional power of fragrance" (whatever that may be), they are undoubtedly faithful to the vision of Jean Laporte. Indeed, all three of the new compositions push the boundaries of fine fragrance, taking risks with materials and concepts. The result? Three of the most inventive and interesting fragrances to come out of the house in over a decade.
Anyone with even a modicum of appreciation for cinematic and/or literary history will, upon reading Amour Nocturne's note breakdown, invariably think of the seminal classic A Clockwork Orange. In fact, with its prominently featured milk and gunpowder notes, it almost seems like an overt reference. Couple this with the dystopian pallor provided by a backdrop of orris root and you'd almost believe that this fragrance was made with the film/novella in mind.
That's all well and good, you say, but what does it smell like? To put it simply: unsettling. The fragrance hinges on a precarious balance of seemingly dissonant materials that come together to form a whole that seems as though at any minute it might come crashing down to the ground. The milk accord (more sweetened-condensed than creamy-lactonic) provides an interesting start that allows for a no frills transition to the caramel note (featured here without the usual candyfloss flourishes) underpinned by a warm cedar. The orris note bathes the composition in a soft focus and provides a hazy, bubbly warmth. The odd dissonance and pervasive uniqueness of this fragrance brings to mind Issey Miyake's phenomenal Le Feu d'Issey (sadly discontinued), which may be Amour Nocturne's closest relative.

Fragrance Family: Woods • Crisp
Notes: Milk, orris, cedar, gunpowder, caramel, orchid