Olfactive Studio Autoportrait: Self-portrait of a personal experience.
In my previous “Meet the Perfumer” series on Olfactive Studio, I introduced the house and how I finally arrived at my choice of a fragrance. That fragrance is Olfactive Studio Autoportrait, and the story is one I’ll entitle as “what’s in a name”.
In the case of Olfactive Studio Autoportrait, the name is the cap-stone to an experience that is personal in nature. As the title suggests, this is an experience that paints a picture of oneself, not an impression left for others although that might be an unintended outcome. While that’s terrific wording, when one identifies a scent as ‘personal’, it usually becomes associated with thoughts of ‘no projection’, ‘weak longevity’, or a set of less-than-positive adjectives. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider that definition of terms.
Fragrance Name: Olfactive Studio Autoportrait
- Release Date: 2011
- Perfumer: Nathalie Lorson
- Concentration: Eau de Parfum
- Notes: Bergamot, elemi, Benzoin from Siam, incense, musk, oakmoss, cedar, vetiver
- Availability: Olfactive Studio online.
This opens with a juxtaposition of freshness tempered with a resiny quality. It’s subtle yet not subdued and innocuous that it fades into vapor quickly. As it transforms, Autoportrait begins to really warm into a balmy, spicy and much more aromatic blending of notes that harmonize well. It remains very subtle by reminding you periodically of its presence rather than intruding. That feeling of nearness contributes to the very ‘personal’ nature of the fragrance. The transformation continues into a refined combination of a slightly green vetiver coupled with the uniqueness of cedar and a touch of mossiness courtesy of oak moss to continue that warmth.
The result is a quietly confident statement, unobtrusive yet with an air of assertion. Understanding Olfactive Studio Autoportrait is a study in balance as well as an experiment in imbuing otherwise balmy and resinous notes with new life and a slight sparkle. It would be too simple to combine the notes in a manner where they’d suffer close to the skin and feel personal yet lackluster. That doesn’t happen here, and amidst that sense of balmy warmth, a certain sparkling, fresh and spicy quality continues to change and evolve, transforming continuously on the skin such that each reminder is a little different.
To define ‘personal’ in the context of Olfactive Studio Autoportrait, let’s update our adjectives. Subtle. Nuanced. Unobtrusive. Those appear to do more justice to the personal experience that is Autoportrait. Longevity is very good in its eau de parfum concentration (20%). Projection is somewhat mild but noticeable. Range is within a fairly intimate zone, so you’re as likely to get compliments on the scent as you are to pass without much scrutiny — again, ‘personal’. While ‘balmy’ would adequately describe Autoportrait, the impression connoted by that suggests a much deeper, soothing experience. Sure, this is deep though not so deep that one would fear it becoming suffocating.
Olfactive Studio Autoportrait is best described as introspective. Saying that it’s an experience someone wears for themselves isn’t a breakthrough statement about any fragrance. After all, we don’t generally wear things we dislike. Autoportrait takes the earthiness, warmth, and slight sparkle amidst the depth to a much different direction, and it’s a surprisingly enjoyable one. It drew me inward and forced me to consider its facets and composition. That it’s enjoyable to anyone else is simply a fringe benefit.
Rating: 4.5/5. Highly recommended.
Bottom-Line: Combining Luc Lapotre’s photography and Nathalie Lorson’s creative vision, Celine Verleure’s Olfactive Studio Autoportrait renders a comforting and uniquely individual experience that is a refreshing take on balmy, woody comfort scents. This is a game changer in how we should interpret or define a ‘personal’ fragrance.