Perfume Pen Pals: Humiecki & Graef Blask (Part Two)



Dan,

So, did your Humiecki & Graef Blask arrive yet? With its red wine, walnuts and bay leaf, does it smell like salad dressing or what?

Katie



Katie,

Blask is “a fragrance about trust”, KP! Salad dressing isn't about trust. The salad itself, maybe, but dressing is a cover-up, a disguise. I'm choosing to side with the phony marketing spiel over the phony list of notes.



I'm having a hard time saying anything about Blask, not because it's not interesting, but because it's so different than what I expected. It doesn't smell like walnuts and wine, though, again, I don't know exactly what walnuts and wine would smell like in a perfume context. And it doesn't smell like salad dressing either. Of its listed notes, I most recognize the bay leaf oil. It's a spicier Comme des Garçons Laurel, but with a kind of toasted sweetness. It's much bolder and better than Laurel, a painting to Laurel's sketch.

Most of all, Blask smells like a top-quality men's cologne: warm, rich, lively and somehow reminiscent of the 1970s, as opposed to the post-modern smells of several other Humiecki & Graefs. It's as if Sigur Rós had put out a really great Tom Petty record. It's surprising in that it's fundamentally so unsurprising.

Petty bundles up for an Iceland jam with Sigur Rós.


I owe you some decants and I'm going to send them right this moment. I definitely need to hear you chime in on Blask.

Dan



Dan,

Just sprayed on Blask, and right away it smells like powdered celery. Like celery prepared for astronaut consumption. I agree that it's reminiscent of the 1970s, in that it smells like plastic-coated cardboard. Not a scent typically destined to be worn on human skin. It just smells like an accidental combination: the inside of a plastic-coated cardboard box that used to contain an astronaut's powdered celery.


I'm also wearing the biehl parfumkunstwerke al03 you sent me, and it's annoying and sneezy. I don't like it. It smells like sneezy deodorant soap. It's clumsy and bad.

Katie



Katie,

If perfume-smelling were like a Rorschach test, I'm pretty sure I could declare you insane.

I smell none of those things (obviously), though now that you mention celery, I do smell celery, sort of, though I attributed it to the bay-leaf oil. So I can go along with celery. But astronauts? Plastic cardboard? Maybe the astronaut is plastic and not the cardboard, did you ever think of that? Maybe none of this is real and you just need a big hug and a long nap.

Big hug -- or just squeezing for flavor freshness?

I wore Blask for several days straight and I didn't hallucinate once, but then we're all affected differently. I once smoked pot and was convinced people were spying on me through a smoke detector.

Your reaction to al03 is even more puzzling because that one smells completely inoffensive to me and I like wearing it.

Did the Christmas cookies taste a little funny this time around? Were you present the entire time they were being made?

Dan



Dan,

I am grumpier than usual, but I'm not sure if that's affected my nose. Maybe it's just my mood, but Blask also presented a sour metallic aspect at one point.

Blask smells like the default smell of a collection of random things that happened to be stored together in the back of a closet. al03 has nothing to say.

There.

Katie


Read Blask Part One here.


Tom Petty by Richard E. Aaron

15 comments:

  1. Oh my, you *are* grumpier than usual, but still vastly entertaining: smells like "the inside of a plastic-coated cardboard box that used to contain an astronaut's powdered celery" is brilliant and should be chiseled on a tombstone. Or a monument. Or maybe a monumental tombstone?

    Whatever, it just needs to be chiseled! And quoted lovingly for generations to come.

    The squeezing for flavor freshness caption made me giggle.

    And I'd pay good money for a Sigur Rós Tom Petty album. Dan, please make it happen.

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    1. Hah - and you know the flavor-freshness squeeze goes one way only: from tiger to man. "Tastes just like pork!" exclaimed the big stripey kitty.

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  2. I am not at all surprised to learn that Blask "presented a sour metallic aspect at one point". It seems to be the trendy post-modern thing in perfumery to have Bjork-like names and a metallic note. Think of the Blood Concepts, several Andrea Maacks etc. I don't mind going on record and saying I don't care for metal in perfume and I don't care for fuzz. I don't much care for the two together either, for that way lie Brillo pads.

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    1. Too funny, Vanessa: "Brillo pads" as a perfume sub-genre.

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  3. "Most of all, Blask smells like a top-quality men's cologne: warm, rich, lively and somehow reminiscent of the 1970s,"

    That's funny, because when red wine, walnuts, and bay leaves were mentioned, I thought, "That sounds like a 70s cookbook."

    Glad to see you back, Dan. Yay!

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    1. Sounds like the 70s left its mark on both you and Dan. And me too: still listening to my Partridge Family albums.

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  4. My patience for these arthouse niche lines and their studiedly post-modern perfumes wears thin. At least Bjork and Comme des Garcons are brilliant in their weirdness; Le Labo and Bond No. 9 lay a hipster-quirky sheen over tremendously well-crafted fragrances. H&G just seems weird for the sake of "I dare you to wear this", loaded down with cavity-inducing ad copy and tragically un-ironic pomp.

    On a related(ish) note, the whole anti-perfume, virtual-reality "this smell shouldn't come out of a fragrance bottle and yet HERE IT IS, aren't you AMAZED?!" schtick seems awfully last decade. The Demeters are fun, but they're also inexpensive and fleeting. I don't want a $200 bottle of the smell of a dusty radiator and mud-caked leather boots that takes three showers to remove all for the sake of iconoclasm and "uniqueness". I mean, Gucci Rush smells like scotch tape and an overworked photocopier at first, but beneath the lab-accident weirdness is a lush, classically feminine fruity chypre construct. Perfumes can be offbeat and post-modern while not completely breaking the rules of wearability.

    (Apparently I'm grumpy, too.)

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    1. Brilliantly grumpy, Darryl! *applause*

      "Gucci Rush smells like scotch tape and an overworked photocopier at first, but beneath the lab-accident weirdness is a lush, classically feminine fruity chypre construct."

      That was real good.

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  5. I DEMAND A DECANT OF THIS CELERY ELIXIR! I want to smell like tired astronaut plastic vegetables! I want to try for walnuts and wine! But I will settle for the calorie-conscious virtual greens!

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  6. But Stefush, that is not sexy.

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  7. Tried BLASK and found it weirdly compelling,a strange proustian mishmash of obscure yet somehow familiar 1970's aromas.I think this one is quite unique.

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    1. Everyone seems to be in accord on the matter of BLASK's 70s-ness.

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  8. UPDATE: Finally got my hands on this here Blask, and I LOVE IT. It's incredibly masculine, and in a very daring manner. I can honestly say I've never smelled anything like it in any other category of scent, and I wish more houses had the huevos to throw something out like this.

    I definitely can pick up the walnuts and wine thing, especially the walnuts (it's the first note you pick out.) Then the rounded wine comes in (think heavy Italian Supertuscan red smothered in tannins), then the stalky green chalkiness of the celery note and the whole mess rides in on a monster resiny leather saddle.

    It's like Yatagan went to a salad bar or a sushi restaurant.

    Absolutely epic, not for the meek, and as absorbing as setting foot in the Smithsonian Museum for the first time. A MUST.

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    1. And there, ladies and gents, is Exhibit A demonstrating the shapeshifting wonder of a perfume's appeal. One woman's astronaut packaging is another man's Smithsonian Museum. Sounds like BLASK found a good home, Stefush.

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