With all the jewelers releasing fragrances these days — is there a jeweler left in Paris without a signature fragrance or two? — a bit of conceptual overlap is not surprising. Olivier Durbano, a young architect-turned-jeweler, has launched a line of scents inspired, like the Bvlgari Omnia flankers under consideration yesterday (Omnia Amethyste) and the day before (Omnia Crystalline), by precious jewels, and his first two releases, Rock Crystal (2005) and Amethyst (2006) mirror the Omnia flankers perfectly. Five more fragrances are said to be in the works (and I rather doubt we've heard the last from Bvlgari on the subject of Omnia, for that matter).
The notes for Amethyst include bergamot, pepper, grape, raspberry, incense, palisander wood, jasmine, orris, vegetable amber, sandalwood, musk and vanilla, and I have to say that the list did not warm my heart. Green apple still tops the list of notes I'd like to see banished from perfumery, but grape is surely not far behind. Grape blended with raspberry: no thanks. In the event, I needn't have worried: Amethyst is very much in the niche fragrance tradition, and the grape is neither candied nor strong, and what there is of it is layered over heavy incense almost from the start. A fruity floral, this is not.
As the fruity opening fades, there is a smidge of something vaguely sweaty and cuminish, but it is slight and doesn't last. After that, Amethyst is mostly woods and peppery incense, a bit fruity but more dry than not (although not so dry as the sauna-like Rock Crystal, which is also based on incense). It is not nearly as warm, ambery or vanillic as Juozas Statkevicius — this is an almost summery incense, rather quiet and soft, and its muted, relaxing presence reminds me of Comme des Garçons' Ouarzazate, although they don't smell much alike.
Nothing about it reminds me of amethysts, or even of the color purple, but then, Omnia Amethyste didn't call up any such association either. Still, Amethyst is a worthy rendition of incense, and if, like me, you can't have too many variations on the theme, do try it. I don't know a thing about the five projected fragrances to come, but I'll be thrilled if they're all based on incense. A deep-green incense for emerald, maybe? Count me in.
Olivier Durbano Amethyst is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum ($105). For buying information, see the listing for Olivier Durbano under Perfume Houses.