Perfume Pen Pals: Huitieme Art Naiviris and Fareb


I wore Huitième Art Naïviris yesterday and I wish I hadn't. It's supposedly a powdery iris and zebrawood. At first, it smells like Montale Red Aoud sweetened with a fat dose of Huitième Art Sucre D'Ebène. Later it just smells like Sucre D'Ebène.

I'm bored with this line and I can't quite decide why. The four perfumes I've worn so far are all fine: they're likable, they smell good, they each have potential to be someone's favorite, but they're surprisingly sweet and sentimental for art, frankly sentimental, just on the wrong side of the "Hello, It's Me"/"Mandy" line.

Also, I didn't know zebrawood was used in perfumery. It seems like a waste considering it's 1) endangered, and 2) desirable primarily because of its visual appeal. And I don't imagine anything comes away from a perfume extractor looking prettier than it did before. "Oh zebrawood, you came and you gave without taking...." There's no possible way this is still interesting to you because it stopped being interesting to me a couple perfumes ago, but today I wore Fareb, a fierce little spicy leather, and it's my favorite HA so far. Which isn't quite damning it with faint praise, but more like disregarding it with middling praise.
It was too strong at first -- I very nearly gagged upon taking my first sniff -- but it eventually turned into a solid, if strident, leather. Wearing it smelled similar to eating Indian take-out in Uncle Billy's old recliner. I suppose that qualifies as faint praise. Sorry Fareb. Sorry Uncle Billy. These perfumes all have significant presence, they have hips, but their hips don't move, there's no sway. They're just big-boned things sitting around the dance floor bumming everyone out. I think I'm ready to abandon phyto-perfumery and go back to my traditional perfume pyramids. Remember those tacky t-shirts in the '70s that said "F#@k art, let's dance"? For the first time, I think I adhere to that sentiment. Dan
Recliner via


  1. I'll go out on a limb here: There is no Zebrawood extraction for perfumery. Who knows if someone actually spent the time to get an airborne GCMS done, but most likely it's just a fantasy idea note, like the "pralined amber" of Cedar Sandaraque by Parfumerie Generale.

  2. I'm sure you're right, Paul, but these perfumes supposedly have only two or three notes. And it turns out at least one is a fantasy note? Plus, what's the advantage of listing something endangered? What's next? Fantasy polar-bear extract?

  3. I'll go for fantasy extract of Nubian Wild Ass, a subspecies of the African Wild Ass. A sort of dusty, hay-like scent with intense animalic undertones. Blends beautifully with simple green and grassy notes. And probably with Zebrawood too.

  4. Fantasy notes sub-topic, eh? I'm going to go with Idealized Cat Skin/Fur Scent. I loves me the smell of my cats fur, and would love to have that kicking around in the back of a nice winter scent.

    I implore you all to sample the fur on your cat. Seriously - it has to be one of the most comforting scents ever created by the Universe.

  5. I recently got to try this range (most unexpectedly), and the amber one and Fareb were complete scrubbers, while Naiviris (diaeresis not supplied) has a tick beside it, along with the mango one, Ciel D'Airain, Vohina and Aube Pashmina (it deserved a tick for the name alone). Beyond the tick, I have absolutely no clue why I liked Naiviris, as the smelling strip smells of zip now! You would think the zebrawood at least would have made more of an impression on me. A stripey one, even.

  6. Oh, I'll hop on the fantasy notes sub-topic train - why not? Stefush, Kitty Tummy is my choice too. I imagine I can smell it in Perfumerie Generale L'Ombre Fauve.

  7. It seems that Dan's too busy dancing to explore the rest of the Huitieme Art line, because I just received his sample set in the mail. Here are the results of my quick smell-through on blotters:

    Ambre Ceruleen: spicy amber/sandalwood.

    Ciel Dairain: pineapples wrapped in paper wadding.

    Aube Pashmina: sharp green sweet vegetables. Borderline shampoo.

    Farab: Dan's right - Uncle Billy has really got to stop eating take-out Indian curry in his leather recliner.

    Manguier Metisse: tropical/buttery fruity floral. It's the one that called out to me to wear in today's 90 degree heat. Boy, is it sweet!

    Vohina: a pretty, fresh springtime floral.

    Sucre d'Ebene – I like this. Cooked sugar on a wood cracker. A hint of Uncle Billy's Indian take-out,but not the whole delivery.

    Naiviris: a retro soapy floral, reminds me a bit of Balmain Ivoire.

  8. What really puzzles me (some might say it doesn't take a lot) are the odd ball names of these perfumes. I venture a new (fantasy) line: Cinquieme Mensonges DooWop and Captain Ahab. The first one would be a smokey and woody little number and the second a salty ambergris with a touch of rose for a romantic, melancholy far-far away from home feel.

  9. I like the sound of Captain Ahab, Junelady!

  10. Junelady, the names remind me of those almost-sensical Captcha words.

  11. OK, Stefush has me really curious about this fantasy note/ cat fur smell. My dog's natural scent is exactly like toast. Not cinnamon toast or French toast. Just plain warm white bread crispy and straight out of the toaster. No burnt notes. In fact, I know puppy needs a bath when friends come over and ask me if I just made toast. That's how "toast-y" she smells.

    How would you describe this cat fur smell?

  12. rkf, love hearing about your toast-y dog. Tilda Swinton had a baked goods smell incorporated in her Like This perfume, in tribute to her dog.

    I'd say this warm cat tummy smell is powdery, pale, pale musk scent.