Monday, September 14, 2009

Phénomène by Solissima : Perfume Review & Draw

My trip to Istanbul offered one last perfumed discovery, the Solissima line of perfumes. During my stay there, I inquired about the possibility of finding a commercial line of Turkish perfumes and sure enough, I was soon directed to a perfume shop that carried the whole line of products. The main company, Soley Parfumeri, was founded in 1971 and has been satisfying the needs of the domestic market since then. In 2005, a division called Solissima Parfums was created with the purpose to expand the company into the foreign market. Solissima currently produces three different lines of perfumes, each currently offering five different scents: the Very Merry Collection and the Very Private Collection for women and the simply named Man Collection for men. The Very Merry Collection strikes me as the ‘younger’, trendier line, while the Very Private Collection seems to be the company’s prestige line. Both are well made, but the Very Private Collection is definitely superior. What I most appreciated about all three lines is that they offer something for every taste: a green, an oriental, a chypre, a floral, an aldehydic, a fruity floral, a fresh-hesperidic and so on. There is definitely something for every taste, even in the men’s line which has one more surprising advantage: In contradiction to most widely-available department store masculine fragrances, Solissima’s masculines feature rather daring notes, like vanilla, fruit, coconut and floral notes such as ylang ylang and hyacinth. Even though western department store masculine scents are also currently following the example set by the niche sector in offering compositions with more daring notes, these efforts can still be described as tentative and relatively rare. It is thus refreshing to see a line in which only one of the five scents offered is a typical, fresh hesperidic, while the other four play with notes that are still almost taboo where masculine scents are concerned.

My favorite of the Very Private Collection is Phénomène, described by the company as a “spicy, sweet oriental”. The description is accurate, but to make it even more specific, I would add that this is a gourmand oriental with a lovely, woody base. The opening is intense and smells surprisingly masculine: A mélange of citrus fruit adds sparkle to the top as a deep lavender note emerges. This in turn is already infused with the heavy, woody notes of the base. A fabulous roasted coffee bean note snakes its way through, imparting a beautiful caramelized bitterness to the otherwise sweet composition. Despite not smelling too similar, the bittersweet character of this stage in the development reminds me of Angel Men Pure Coffee, feeling in a way, as though its essence was distilled and then formed the base for a beautiful new feminine fragrance. Bitter cherry joins the lovely bittersweet chorus, underscored by pure chocolate. This is a perfume that showcases beautiful contrasts. Yes, the major theme is the struggle between bitterness and sweetness, but just as intriguing is the tumultuous coupling of sternness and softness: The vetiver employed is rather sharp and marries beautifully with the smoky cedar but the picture is only completed with the creamy softness provided by the vanilla and sandalwood. The struggle relents only hours later in the deep drydown, when finally the sweetness prevails, hugging the skin with a gentle, powdery veil of amber, warm musk and soft vanilla.

I’ve found myself very impressed with both the quality and complexity of Phénomène. It has a beautiful development and the changes it undergoes manage to hold my interest for hours. The company keeps the price-point modest by using the same bottle and cap for each scent of a line, so that is another plus point. Unfortunately, even though Solissima was created with the purpose of expanding the Turkish company into the foreign market, I have no idea where aside from Turkey these are being sold. Considering I haven’t seen them anywhere else yet, I would hazard the guess that the distribution is currently limited to countries of the Middle East. However, as always when reviewing a hard-to-find fragrance of which I have enough quantity to pass around, I am holding a draw. Simply post a comment if you wish to be included. The winner will receive a spray decant of Phénomène from me. Winner to be announced in a week’s time.

Images: Solissima bottles via www.solissima.com.tr, Coffee Beans via www.morguefile.com


9 comments:

rebella said...

I would love to try it. Please include me in the draw. :)

heatherGEE said...

I love reading your reviews! This sounds sooo good.

Amanda said...

I love your reviews also, please include me in the drawing. Thank you!

EileenS said...

That sounds like a fantastic find, Divina! You really got my attention with the comparison to Angel Men Pure Coffee - I wanted to like this but there was something just not right on me. Maybe Phénomène will hit the right spot. Please include me in the draw!

Deanna G. said...

It sounds wonderful, I'd love to try it :)

Karin said...

Sounds wonderful, Divina! Would love to be part of the draw. Love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences so we can live vicariously through you. :-)

Ines said...

So glad to hear you discovered another gem of line, even though it's not widely available.
Please, include me in the draw. :)

Anonymous said...

I would like to be entered in the drawing, thx. Alica - alica@cleis.net

Flora said...

Please enter me in the drawing, I adore coffee in perfume (or anywhere else) and this one is so intriguing! Pretty little bottles too.