Over the past year I've enjoyed reading reviews of fragrances from Imaginary Authors (see Angela's thoughts on Cape Heartache and Kevin's on Bull's Blood) and visiting the company website, but I didn't have the chance to experience the fragrances myself until I saw the line at Twisted Lily in Brooklyn. A kind friend recently sent me a few samples, so now I'm ready to write a review of my own, focusing on two fragrances from the line: Falling into the Sea and Violet Disguise.
Falling into the Sea is inspired by the work of (imaginary) author Nica Galas, and includes notes of lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, lychee, tropical flowers and "warm sand" in a story of tragic summer love. I'm a person who typically avoids hot-and-sunny beaches, yet I have a long list of favorite beachy fragrances; Falling into the Sea is the latest addition to that list. The description is pretty spot-on: this fragrance opens with a very tart lemon note and a sweet but still mouth-puckering lychee, and the moves on to a soft-and-soapy white floral note and a salt-air accord. There's a weirdly appealing hot-cardboard note in the base that suggests driftwood, and the breeziness continues with just a lingering hint of citrus. This is definitely not a beachy floral (like Guerlain Terracotta) — despite the flowers in its heart, it really focuses on the Mediterranean sea, sand and wind. If you like Ava-Luxe Ava Luxe The Beach or i Profumi di Firenze Brezza di Mare, you'll most likely enjoy Falling into the Sea.
Violet Disguise pays homage to the (fictional) Lenora Blumberg and a tale set in Californian orchards and canyons. Its composition includes notes of plum, violet, dried fruits, balsam, amber, "evening air" and "the month of May." Don't judge this book by its cover — it wasn't quite what I expected, at least. I was anticipating a fresh violet with some subtle fruity notes, but the flowers are indeed "disguised" here. The predominant note is a dusky plum, and there still aren't many plum perfumes around, so this pleases me. The rest of the fragrance also feels dry, even "matte," if I can describe a scent that way. If this a May evening, the location must be somewhere somewhat arid — well, the description did mention the California landscape, after all! The dry down of the shadowy plum with the dusty amber and wood notes is androgynous and has good staying power. And a comparison has just occurred to me: you know how we often identify "children of Angel" in reviews? Violet Disguise feels like a distant (and much lighter) descendant of Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois and Bois de Violette, if you can picture that!
All in all, I've been enjoying my time with Imaginary Authors so far; the fragrances are slightly quirky and very distinct from one another (with none of the "which-one-was-that-again?" sensation that often occurs with new-ish niche lines), the price is reasonable, and the concept and packaging are certainly appealing to anyone with a literary bent.
Imaginary Authors Falling into the Sea and Violet Disguise are each available as 60 ml Eau de Parfum ($85). For purchasing information, see the listing for Imaginary Authors under Perfume Houses.