• luca turin

Kolonya (Rasei Fort) ***** iris bergamot


A package from Australia came, with a sheaf of papers in a transparent pouch stuck on, currently required by international fragrance safety by-laws. Six pages of single-spaced warnings began with "#121-33-5 Vanillin Serious Eye Damage/Irritation 2A, H319" intended for those ingenious souls who make a habit of squirting neat fragrance oil directly in the eyes. I get less bad news in the lab when we order lethal toxins. Kolonya comes in a lovely green glass pharmacy stock bottle with a plain screwdown top and a wide mouth, which made me realise in retrospect how little I enjoy the implied miserliness of sprays and bottles you have to shake to get a few drops out. This thing says "go ahead, splash it on" from the start. I don't often go on about packaging, but Kolonya deserves it: the plain bottle is tightly encased in a rosewood container hollowed out of one piece, only slightly off-center, so that the top fits on the bottom exactly right only when the veins in the wood match. This thing makes you want to travel, just for the pleasure of casually chucking such a beautiful object in your suitcase as you pack. When I was done looking at it and the letters rf. fire-engraved in Garamond on the side, I dabbed some Kolonya on my wrist and felt the brightening of mood you experience when you take off in a plane on a dark, rainy day and, two minutes into the climb, pierce through to brilliant sunlight and blue sky. Rasei Fort is from a Turkish Cypriot background and claims that this Kolonya is an homage to the way his grandfather used to smell when spruced-up. If so, either his granddad was an epic dandy, or Cyprus an embassy of heaven on earth. The iris-citrus accord at the top of Kolonya—real iris, mind you, not the chemically aged rye-bread, beer-belch thing they're flogging as iris of late—is so beautiful, so redolent of idle, languid luxury that it might as well be made from some imaginary Red Letter Day Absolute. Behind it is a lovely dry wood note that reminds me of the smell of freshly laid coir carpet, and behind that a sweet oriental base that lets you know the pre-1922 Levant is still alive and well and bottled in Melbourne. When you smell Kolonya you realise that many modern masculines, situated roughly halfway between Kouros and Cool Water, strive for this sultry grandeur but simply do not have the skill and the cash to get there. LT

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