Welcome to our fourth of five episodes of Guest Spotlight! This miniseries welcomes a group of exciting perfume reviewers + enthusiasts who are also on Instagram. This short series will run the length of the week of April 26-30, 2021 and each day we will feature two perspectives on two different fragrances from the same house – perfumers from five different countries! Today it is our pleasure to welcome, from down under, Troy Parfumerie – and together we are shedding our personal light on the house of Anka Kus (Australia) today. First up, Troy offers impressions on Los Vientos de Santa Ana (we had something to say about this one as well) and then we, Notetaking, will cover a sneak peek of Violet Cendré which is expected out very soon! Here we go:
Los Vientos de Santa Ana
by Troy Parfumerie
Similar to many of Erkekli’s scents, Los Vientos de Santa Ana has an appeal that I could only describe as aromatherapeutic (having a natural materials appeal), and in the same manner as Lush Perfumery (Simon Constantine); the scent is a reflection of ‘Breath of God’, albeit more surreal and less abstract. Of all the scents from Anka Kus, for me, this is one that stands above all the others. Los Vientos de Santa Ana takes inspiration from the geographic phenomena of nature, and it paints a dichotomy as old as religion, transcending the space of yin and yang – evoking a state of emptiness – Wuji.
Los Vientos de Santa Ana is a journey that begins with an innocent pulpy-citrus facade, but upon taking form, it mutates and quickly becomes the Hyde to Jekyll, and the materialisation of a temptingly dangerous territory awakens. It’s a solemn one-way path through the Autumn of a seaside cliff, decorated with howling winds that lambaste and demand atonement. There’s not a word that describes the emotion, but it’s one we all experience – the seeking of our childhood innocence, a rite of passage, a place to forget your sins, or a page out of the book of Revelations. It’s unforgiving and it is a harsh reminder of our mortality.
Created with an accord that on first impression I thought was Cade Oil, a material that rarely finds its uses in fine fragrances because not only is it abrasive, it requires purification for safe usage (carcinogenicity). Instead it is the calculative fusion of a saline ambergris accord that’s tempered by windswept breezes mixed with a mild birch tar (appropriately enough, as it’s acquired through destructive distillation) and coniferous plants that yield an endless and evergreen pursuit; finally morphing into a haze of viscous leather-like metallic vapor. It’s rotting driftwood, narcotic nausea and mechanical oil all peering into the refreshing horizons of the sea.
As obnoxious as all of it sounds, it’s the only way to describe the sentiment, and such sentimentalities are a sign of outstanding and provocative work. A scent like this takes time and experience, and a curiosity to look beyond the parameters of commercial perfumery. Such a scent isn’t meant to be pleasurably desired, but merely revered.
The violet is airy, smeary, a big elongated breath and exhale….. and the ash offers that almost slightly boozy balsamic with a floral flutter that can either be enduring to some and to others may seem like a fermented honey. For me, I am experiencing both sensations. There’s a steamy fog meandering from the center outward, and even if that makes no sense to you, think of it this way – its like something invisible that is just seeping up through the floorboards and into your nasal receptors. Plumes of purply smoke billow into the ether. If you weren’t aware, it’s a nod to the classic Gris Clair by Serge Lutens. In the spirits – the perfumer describes it as “Purple Ash”.
Ali Erkekli’s work, I might consider it conceptual at first, but its aromatic essence is quite romantic when you get right down to it. The floral notes here offer the equivalent of what oscillation does in the world of sonic sound art, it just has a low-fi throb that fits your skin like a glove. I also get a raisin-like accord, almost like drunken fruit that’s been steeping in a mason jar of tea and spirits for months on end. This inky scent also has a camphoric rhythm that reminds me of some distant cousin of say, wintergreen without the mint, and a bit o’ honey and a righteous dash of of vanilla bean for good measure. The drawn out floral cadences come from the dried violet leaf, which have the trace elements of the flower, but are far more ash-like. This feeling of of the last drops of chlorophyll just starting to bleed out like a cyanotype on fabric – just as this reaches the drydown stage. (84%)