Thursday, November 4, 2021

Puredistance No. 12 Completes the Magnificent XII Collection


Puredistance founder Jan Ewoud Vos has announced that with the introduction of Puredistance No. 12, the house's twelfth perfume, the brand's completed collection will be called the Magnificent XII and kept to only twelve fragrances. In the twenty years since the name Puredistance was trademarked, just these twelve perfumes have been introduced, very restrained when compared to other perfume houses with flankers and multiple releases per year. Jan Ewoud Vos works with a carefully selected group of fine perfumers who he trusts with his vision for the brand, and French Perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer was chosen for this latest introduction.

Ms. Feisthauer came to the attention of Jan Ewoud Vos through a friend and associate. Ms. Feisthauer was interested in creating a perfume for Puredistance so when contacted, she came to their office in Amsterdam with eleven scents to present to Ewoud Vos and team. A scent titled Gold Taffeta immediately captured his attention as having the Puredistance DNA. This was in 2018 and at the time a formula for Puredistance Gold was being sought. Jan Ewoud Vos made the decision that while this perfume did not feel like gold to him, he did want it for Puredistance.

Puredistance No. 12 completes the Magnificent XII Collection. In the future when new perfumes are introduced, one of the older perfumes will be taken out of the collection and put into a private collection. The scents in the private collection will no longer be marketed, but will be available to those who know and love the scents.

In the publicity copy that went out with Puredistance No. 12, the statement is made: "A grand perfume that wraps around you like a cashmere veil. A perfume like no other, in many ways timeless and hard to describe with words.

Truer words were never spoken! Puredistance fragrances are never easy to describe. I always find it difficult to condense the scents into a collection of descriptive adjectives. Because the perfumes are so well blended, they provide me with more of a mood conveyed, idea boards with images forming in my brain, rather than a clear way to explain the scents. But this is a review, so I will try.

Puredistance No. 12 is housed in a slim blue cylinder, at least the 17.5 ml size. Like all Puredistance perfumes, it is also available in 60 ml and 100 ml sizes. Jan Ewoud Vos nicknamed this perfume "Beauty in Blue", and he does seem to pick the perfect color to encapsulate each of his scents. The deep blue represents royalty, and blue can also represent calm. Puredistance No. 12 fits both of these criteria.

At first spray it goes on quietly, while still making a statement. The spray of perfume is like an exhale, releasing the worries and cares that have been weighing you down, and cloaking the wearer in a soft cerulean shield.

The spray leaves a sheen of scent on my wrist. Puredistance is known for their use of a high percentage of perfume oils, so applying them is always a bit of an experience to me. The spray shimmers like an annointment, and I gently rub the richness into my skin. It does not feel oily and quickly absorbs. The citrus opening is fittingly not bright or sharp, but rich and nuanced. Oils of mandarin, bergamot, coriander, cardomom, ylang ylang, along with narcissus absolute simmer with quiet elegance. 

Next comes a very slight powder scent composed of notes of heliotrope and earthy orris root, which gives the cashmere veil effect. It feels soft and plush, and makes me think of musky skin, powdered after a bath. (When I tried this originally, in warmer weather, the narcissus really sang and I thought it would be gorgeous for spring. Now that the weather is colder, the warmth of the spices appear, and it feels warmer and cozier.)

This stage lasts for some time but eventually other heart notes appear: jasmine, rose, geranium, lily of the valley, orange blossom, and osmanthus. Reading this list you would expect a lush, floral bomb of a scent but this is far from the case. Initially, I honestly can't pick out a single one of these floral notes individually. Instead, they are like a tightly woven tapestry, combining their various floral notes into one harmonious choir. The effect is polished and dare I say, sublime. It is understated elegance. Grace Kelly, not Marilyn Monroe. Audrey Hepburn, not Sophia Loren. All these ladies are elegant, but like Grace and Audrey, Puredistance No. 12 believes that less is more; that confident beauty can speak sotto voce.

The florals ebb and flow, but on my skin they are always on low simmer. This perfume feels personal when I wear it, as if it is to please me, first and foremost, and any others being able to appreciate it are secondary. After several hours the florals give way to soft base notes which smell slightly woody and musky. Official notes are vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss, tonka, ambrette, ambroxin, vanilla, and musk.

This perfume has a different feel from some of the recent Puredistance releases I have loved. Let's put it in musical terms. If Warszawa is one of Chopin's Mazurkas, or if Rubikona is a lively composition of Mozart's The Magic Flute or Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Russian Dance; then Puredistance No. 12 is a more tranquil composition such as Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata or Debussy's Clair de Lune. Graceful, refined, classic, elegant...these are all words that come to mind while wearing this perfume.

So at the ending I am back to the beginning, a feeling of slight frustration at being unable to find the right words to describe this subtle but beautiful perfume. Reading the notes will not describe this perfume to you. Reading my description will only give you a glimmer. This is a beautiful perfume that confounds easy description. And it is a quietly confident ending to complete the circle of twelve Puredistance perfumes, the Magnificent XII, at least for now!

Images are from Press Release material provided by Puredistance. I was given a perfume flacon to test by Puredistance perfumes. Opinions as always are my own.