What was the smell of the Big Bang? And the smell of the mythical Eve’s hair and skin? Would the forbidden fruit smell like the White Transparent variety or rather the Reinette one?
Genesis encourages you to search for the Beginning, on many different levels. It is also a reflection of my love for niche perfumes and what I felt when I first walked into a very stylish niche perfume shop full of extraordinary scents. I was captivated by new aromas I had never experienced before, with their incredible complexity and –sometimes– extravagance.
This fragrance evokes echoes of everything primal and authentic. Dangerous and real. It could be the smell of that moment when you stare at the abyss and it looks back at you.
You may either love or hate such fragrances. Or rather, love and hate them. As is life itself.
We Are Scentient
Genesis is a beautiful title for a perfume & especially one to launch with. Agnieszka Lewandowska the founder & creative director uses both of these perfumes to introduce us to her, a partial portrait via scent, slowly revealing her story & love of perfume, as a way to celebrate uniqueness. ‘Le Frag is dedicated to all those who feel different’ & Miguel Matos with his extensive perfume knowledge & avant-garde visions is the perfect perfumer to make these dreams a reality. This perfume isn’t for everyone, but life is boring if everyone smells the same.
How it smells: Bitter grass greens get aldehydic & airy as things get thicker & darken. The aldehydes sparkle darkly as flowers bloom for the green grassy grounds below. Green cassis leaves add hint of celeric sharpness almost that cat pee aroma, like territory has been marked under the bushes; but not as a soft almost sticky sweetness from strawberry balances it, rounding out the sharper greens making its fruity & fuller. It’s a lovely strawberry accord as most smell like that fake sweet kind, this has a subtle darkness.
Magnolia adds a lush slightly waxed floral airy aroma with hints of jasmine too. It’s like a clean slightly lemony fresh aura that’s formed as the greens slowly go & some sour skin like narcissus is revealed. The floral interplay is beautiful, making an abstract futuristic floral, that’s almost human, like your skin has become a flower. There’s still ghosts of strawberries quietly haunting, adding splashes of reds onto the greens, whites & yellows.
You start to get hints at the chypre structure as oakmoss pokes through, it’s been off playing with the narcissus, but wait there’s some tropical nuances making a move too, a soft subtle coconut adding more creaminess to the magnolia. Some Dadaesq Futurist fun is at play here. Genesis is the moment of beginning where the past, present & future are all happening together, time &’doves flowing backward & forwards, in the now, time is flattened. Strawberry & coconut teasing florals feels like the futures as the aldehydes, oakmoss & civet give a beautiful vintage twist. The civet here like in many of Miguel’s creations adds a velvety opulence & hint of dirtiness, the cassis it’s bringing some wild to the party too. I get a kind of fruity exotic amber liquor booziness too, with a smooth luxurious feel. It’s all sounds confusing but makes fun & sense on skin. Just let go & enjoy it.
There’s a wild tango of materials throughout Genesis, it’s plays with balance, tipping back & forth from darkness & light, a punk ballet of or movements, taking you to the edge only to swing you back as it spins. The Scottish dancer & choreographer Michael Clark comes to mind when smelling this. He famously used the music of The Fall rather than classical music to preform too, wild Leigh Bowery style costumes mixing contemporary moves with classical ballet ones. This created a beautiful new beast with wild results.
Agnieszka Lewandowska wanted to have that Genesis moment where she 1st walked into niche perfumery & was exposed to an explosion of scents, I think it’s beautifully captured here whilst retaining a unique chypre structure. I’ve got a box of vintage minis & opening it I understand the genesis of Genesis, that beautiful confusion of combined aromas making something complex, a little confusing, but super unique. This time bending green floral chypre with some dirty fruity fun is definitely a way to make an entrance. Where’s next on this wild adventure?!
It’s quite hard to follow that first review which is likely fit for print publishing… I am less talented so I hope my brief synopsis is helpful even though it will undoubtedly be less flowery (only in text, as the perfume is loaded with flowery indoles)! I am an expat living in Taiwan and waited a while for my bottle of Genesis to be delivered, and it arrived just last night. I wore it yesterday evening, out to dinner, showered and reapplied it to enjoy in the evening and went to bed with it and got the last whiffs of the drydown this morning. I am far too impatient to wait to re-experience it so… I decided to wear it to work today. I knew that would be risky as it is.. not what I would call mass-appealing, but there are only a small handful of people in my office and I wasn’t too concerned. I do have to say, the Principal (I work in an elementary school) was looking around the room and made a comment that he worried the garbage hadn’t been taken out the previous night. He said he smelled something “off” and checked the bin twice and even looked around for some trash on the floor. I am absolutely sure that what he was smelling was me. Now, please don’t misunderstand this admission: it doesn’t smell like trash whatever. However, there is a definite edge of civet / musky / indole in this scent… particularly in the opening. It’s challenging and, frankly, probably not for everyone. If you like this and want to wear this, you are confident and experienced. Experienced in what remains to be discussed– but you’re likely not too young, and not too shy. And you’ve been seeking out / enjoying / wearing some niche / vintage fragrances for awhile (you’d have to be to have even found this stuff as of this writing). And in case I haven’t made myself, clear, I LOVE THIS PERFUME. It is weird. There is no denying that it isn’t versatile, it isn’t a crowd-pleaser, I probably wouldn’t recommend it on a first date, job interview, or even to attend a wedding (or even a funeral). Only you can know the best time for it. It might need to dictate to you what it should be used for. I’m getting whiffs of it at my desk as I type this and the strawberry is so… real. Not like a strawberry “note”… more like… a strawberry that was overripe when you discovered it on the bush, and you picked it with several others but somehow.. this one avoided being eaten and sat in a lovely ceramic bowl overnight… maybe even over TWO nights and when you walked into the kitchen you immediately knew you’d forgotten this strawberry… you can smell the distinctiveness of it, but also… it has begun to decay… JUST SLIGHTLY… some of you might still eat it from the bowl if nobody was looking… but even the best of you would give it one last smell before quietly discarding it. It’s a chypre, but unlike any you’ve ever tried before. The indoles are sharp and green when you first put it on… within minutes they almost stink.. with a penetrating beauty only some of us can appreciate… There is a slightly medicinal quality to it, resembling a Chinese medicine clinic (remember I live in Taiwan) which, if any of you are familiar, is a distinctive yet pleasant scent. I am not sure what else to tell you other than this: If you are a true connoisseur of fragrance, you love animalic fragrances, you truly understand that Kouros can be worn by a woman and Arpege can be worn by a man, and you own fragrances that you love yet nobody else you know does… this is a required purchase. I am enthralled and surprised by how unique and beautiful this is. I haven’t been shocked and delighted by a fragrance in a very long time and this is the perfect holiday gift to yourself. Can’t wait to read more reviews.