Esperys opens with not so much a note, but a setting. The fist days of fall, after a summer drought that seemed eternal. Storm clouds gather ominously – there’s static in the air. The deserted road has accumulated inches of dirt that is about to be washed away. As the first large raindrops lazily start to fall, the air fills with the scent of dust rising from the road. Soon, if the rain was allowed to becomes more and more urgent, this parched smell would give way to freshness, but Esperys remains focused on that first moment instead, the moment of the first raindrops on a hot dirt road. That first moment, with the dust rising like a cloud and threatening to choke the hapless pedestrians running to find cover in order to avoid the approaching storm is forever captured in Esperys, unchanging, with no relief of cleansing in sight. I am not complaining – merely describing, for uniqueness excites me in perfumery and I have never smelled this before. I’ve smelled rain, I’ve smelled storms, I’ve smelled wet earth. I've smelled dustiness before too. But never so much intense, wet dust: this is new. I am not exaggerating either when I speak of that choking feeling of rainy dust cloud rising to the nostrils. It feels like an implosion of dryness. I am seduced by the novelty and my excitement mounts as I smell the fizzy bitterness of beer that follows. Green, wild vegetation is growing on the sides of my imaginary road. They too are dusty of course and I can almost smell their relief at the promise of rain. They are perfect and I can’t wait for them to grow in intensity and shine through. But they never do. Instead, very suddenly, I find myself woefully wondering if the ‘red berry’ note in the press release alludes to pomegranate, because that is indeed exactly what I am smelling and I do not like it. Not one bit. It is all there, the fruity seeds, the unsugared juice and most of all, the skin. Admittedly, the bitter dryness of the skin matches the dry composition, but I hate it regardless. Esperys didn’t need fruit. It didn’t need the caramel either, which peculiarly floats to the top far sooner than I expected it to. It makes the composition just a tad sweeter, unable to outmaneuver the glorious, dry bitterness. Its presence is nevertheless distracting and slightly nauseating. I keep hoping both it and the pomegranate will at some point relent, but (as I later find out), it takes them more than two hours to dissipate. These two conspire to ruin the fragrance for me. Even the beautiful, (yes, once again ‘dusty’) dry nutmeg can’t seem to cheer me up. The rest of the composition is so intriguing – the dustiness, the dryness, the sheer unique strangeness of it make me want to wear it, take it out for a spin, raise a few eyebrows, bother a few noses. I know though I never will. I can’t possibly stomach neither the pomegranate, nor the caramel. There is a delay, during which my shocked nose does not detect any changes, then suddenly, the rose becomes apparent. It is heavy, rather masculine. It smells exactly like Greek rose resin regularly used to burn on charcoal. If I was disappointed before, I am even more so now. From the first moment I experienced that exceptional dustiness I wanted it to be intermingled with greens and white flowers. The freesias that never came through. Maybe some honeysuckle and a little jasmine, if I had a say in it. I wanted it to be ethereal as well as strange. I willed Esperys to break my heart with its beauty just like Esperinos, the hour of sunset always has. And now, now it is cloying on top of everything else. Disappointed I wait for the drydown. It is not completely unremarkable, due to the dryness which still persists. Behind it lurks the rather unexciting smell of an expensive body cream. My disappointment is acute and apparent due to the fact that this was something I really wanted to like. I hate to admit it, but I can’t wait to wash it off. Four hours has been torture enough.
Esperys bottle from www.parfumeursdefrance.com
Painting of dusty road from the National Hungarian Gallery, www.mng.hu
Greek rose resin, from Natural Flow Direct ebay webshop: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Natural-Flow-Direct