L’Autre’s opening is to me, stunningly evocative of an old apothecary. My first thoughts every single time I smell it, tend to invariably be something along the lines of “Oh My Goodness!” as I am hit in the face by the strong medicinal, herbal, blend which is intensified by alcohol. Unfailingly surprised each time by the punch it delivers, I can’t help but find my senses alert, watchful and almost wary of what is to come. As the initial alcohol burst dissipates, a provocative mix of near-eastern spices begins to emerge. Sun-drenched spice markets come into view, their bulging woven baskets baking in the sun which serves to make the contents ever more fragrant. The hot air is dry and there is sand in my ears, mouth and nose – the dusty qualities of cardamom. The draft carries with it the unprecedented fullness of cumin and caraway and I follow their scent as if called by an invisible piper – or perhaps it is just the convincing calls of the merchants ringing in my ears. Provocative and realistic, the smells of the market have seduced me. My mind is filled with colors: Ochre, brick red, taupe and blue accented with gold...and suddenly....bright green? The market disappears abruptly, rather than fading from view. Cool breeze on my skin, it is springtime and I am at my paternal home, paradoxically a child again. The kitchen door is open and I pick a couple of lemon leaves from the tree in our garden. Curious, I stub my little nails in the leaf and the most beautiful aroma rises. I scratch the leaves more intently now, filling the air with the stimulating, fresh fragrance of the lemon oil. I almost don’t hear my mother calling to me, completely carried away by this fabulous lemony goodness. Back inside, I find mother cooking, juicing lemons and chopping coriander, which has filled the kitchen with its slightly astringent smell. How beautiful is springtime, I think to myself, surrounded by the energizing, zingy aromas. As soon as I complete this thought the picture disappears, the spell broken. I shake my head in surprise, emerging from my dreamworld as if by a rude interruption. Stillness, as I struggle to come to terms with the fact that L'Autre's previously unabashed trail seems to be all but faded when compared to its original strength. Giving my senses some time to adjust I begin to become aware once more of its lingering qualities. The moderate sillage is now all but gone and my travels were fleeting. But when I smell close, I find the softest, kindest patchouli. I am extremely surprised to find it, I have to admit. I would normally detect its heady scent instantly, but with L'Autre, it only makes an appearance at the final stages. I find it to be mixed with the shyest of pine and traces of spice. There is an undeniable animalic appeal to this drydown stage, something that makes my heart quicken. I cannot decide whether I’d wish for it to have more strength or if I am indeed content that it has become a skin-scent one can only detect during intimate encounters. All I know is that I like it – it moves me. Despite it being officially a unisex fragrance, I see this as being more suited to men. To me L’Autre smells deeply masculine and I believe it has more to offer to men than women. For a woman, L’Autre will be an experience, a mood-scent. For a man it positively becomes a weapon in his arsenal when it comes to seduction: Unquestionably, yet almost inexplicably sexy.
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