The opening of this Eau de Parfum is positively electrifying – demonstrating great olfactive vibration from initial spray. The fragility of masculine convention is maintained, then distorted enough to achieve interesting effects.
Initially and quickly, capture a wave of skin-soft musks, a plush, ephemerality of citruses that lift the scent, with powders like über soft kid leather gloves. It is reminiscent of typical orientals, for instance, the dramatic yet graduated shift from heady head notes to a more rounded heart, with a hidden element of floral notes pushed to the back and allowed to express their inner carnality. The warm camphoraceous thud of lavender, and the fleshy, milky aspects of jasmine and heliotrope. What Helmut Lang achieves in this EdP is a change in the archetype. Like the greats before it, this fragrance balances the sumptuousness and familiarity of musk notes with tantalising animalic accoutrements. Where it differs is simple: it does so with heightened clarity, and in turn allows these notes to flourish at their own pace.
An expert display of chiaroscuro; perhaps a more moody variation of such.
© 2015 Liam Sardea
The EdP presents an immediate call to comfort. Musk is garnished with lavender, orange flower and rosemary – an emblematic French-inspired accord with sudden elegance and intimacy. Helmut Lang EdP however demonstrates a much more put together quality than one would expect, an avant-garde industrial and methodical feel, with a deliberate sense of dullness and a hint of gloom – creating a moody EdP that delivers enough complexity with every wear. It is a dusky, minimally lit fragrance with plenty of variance between high-key and low-key lighting. Lily of the Valley plays an important factor in achieving this – although it is largely imperceptible.
It is safe to say that this fragrance is constructed excellently, as if one was plugged into Nozick’s Pleasure Machine and given constant sprays of this perfume. In short, it is safe to say that I’m besotted with this scent. It is truly excellent and possibly my favourite find all year.
The florals employed here reinforce the scent’s muskiness. Heliotrope like powdery almonds and softly scented talc, jasmine for a twang in the indolic direction, and rose and orange flower for romanticism. This augments the musk in a newfound direction of softness – clashing between balsamic unctuosity, gentle vanilla, and a light underpinning of baking spices, then resolving into a scent of nuance and splendid warmth. Sandalwood, cedarwood, amber, and patchouli (usual oriental must-haves) add deep reverberation within the scent. Smell closely and find the wavering between dirty animal musk and clean white musk. Contrasting pleasingly, together their oscillations form the imperative backbone of the scent. It is futuristic, yet at once nostalgic. Sophisticated floral patterning and ornament creates abstraction and illusion, to feign an idea of musk, musk, and more musk. Clean upfront, but dirty underneath. But all in all, it is simple – a touch more velvety and plush than other musk scents on the market, and undoubtably, one of my favourites. For instance, Musc Ravauger is rather upfront and narcissistic, Muscs Koublai Khan is naughty, and Le Labo’s Labdanum 18 is textural, and to me lacks a touch of substance. Helmut Lang EdP is just right.
Textured and substantial brilliance. Musk with superb balance and smoothness.
Subjective rating: 5/5
Objective rating: 4.5/5