Post by Azar
In mid July I received a fabulous surprise in my post box. Maggie Mahboubian, founder of FRAGments Artisan Perfume Collective, sent me a package filled with samples from the May 30th, 2015 FRAGments event in Los Angeles. An amazing selection of indie perfumes filled the little box, enough to keep me writing reviews for at least another year! I had no idea which one to try first. Searching for a new leather fragrance I found…Djinn by Marcus McCoy for the House of Orpheus.
Marcus McCoy is a Pacific Northwest independent perfumer whose background in psychology, ethno-botany, South American plant based shamanism and alchemy has inspired him to create a line of “talismanic” fragrances carefully crafted from wild sourced botanical materials. Marcus also runs a small distillery, Cascadia Terroir, an apothecary, Cascadia Botanical Apothecary and works with Catamara Rosarium formulating perfumes for Rosarium Blends.
Djinn by Marcus McCoy for House of Orpheus 2014
House of Orpheus gives these featured accords in one line:
Haitian vetiver, cade, oud, oakmoss and alchemical oil of mercury.
As usual I have a few of my own “obvious but not present” notes to add to the list. In addition to the cade/oud leather accord I experience the presence of vanilla and/or tonka bean, jasmine and styrax.
Djinn opens with a heavy, vegetal Haitian vetiver that quickly assumes the guise of leather. This is not saddle or tack leather. It is not “biker”, shoe or new coat leather but rather a dark, smoky vanillic glove leather, recalling the specialty accessory shops the have all but disappeared from the North American retail landscape. When I smell Djinn I am transported to the boutique where I purchased my very first pair of fine Italian leather dress gloves. I have not worn beautiful gloves like these for many years but this perfume not only recalls the smells of these rich materials but also the exquisitely sensuous feeling of soft leather forming around hands and fingers.
Photo Stolen House of Orpheus
I can’t speak to the last perfume note listed – “alchemical oil of mercury”. From what I understand after reading through Marcus’ websites and related links “oil of mercury” is a non-toxic spirit or essence of the “soul” of Mercury (the planet as well as the metal) somehow extracted or created in an alchemical distillation process. If you understand this or can describe it better please let me know.
Whatever it is, “oil of mercury” seems to add a creative, mercurial lift to the dark, vegetal leather.
Regarding sillage and longevity: At first this fragrance is quite bold but retreats quickly, fading to smoky jasmine and oakmoss before disappearing completely after four hours.
I have a few questions for my fellow APJers: Do you have a magical perfume, a fragrant djinn that you can count on to put a spell on everything and everyone around you? Have you tried perfumes from the House of Orpheus? Do you own (and wear) dress leather gloves in shoulder, elbow or wrist lengths?