Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Cereus Cocktail

The recently launched Cereus pour Homme line of men’s fragrances sets its sights on the plus-35 crowd who crave Italian suiting and other of the finer things. I must say, then, that it was with much trepidation that I made the initial approach to Cereus No. 11, which billed itself as “pure luxury.” I had heard such claims before and, while I understood the urge to trade up, I was skeptical as to what they exactly meant. As an erstwhile connoisseur, I prefer “pure luxury” to remain inaccessible to the commonplace consumer. But in the case of No. 11 (as with certain of the Nasomatto perfumes, recently reviewed), I was elated to find a foil to the hollow marketing rhetoric: a pleasant, well-constructed riff on the gin gimlet (a gin cocktail consisting of dry gin, Rose’s lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of soda). Cereus, a brand development firm based in southern California, approached Fragrance Resources in 2005 with a brief that demanded juice which would evoke “modern masculinity,” as well as one that would strike a balance between sex appeal and crisp self-presentation. Smelling it for the first time, the image it conjured for me was that of a Canali suit worn with an open-collared shirt in some shade of seafoam or menta. While I don’t exactly get the effervescence or the sweat-beaded martini glass, I do get the nose-arresting coolness of fennel (seemingly a very conscious nod to the wild fennel note in Duchaufour’s Méchant Loup) but sans the stickiness. This is sprinkled with black peppercorn, and the lime plays second-fiddle to a sharp juniper berry note. (Clearly, this bartender sees gin as the star, not the lime juice.) Bourbon vetiver and light musk round out the bottom along with an assortment of woody notes. All in all, I find myself admiring the contrasts in No. 11 and look forward to testing its bedfellows, Nos. 4, 5 and 7.

Cereus No. 11 is currently sold at high-end specialty stores, including Luckyscent and Barneys New York.


Anonymous MarkDavid said...

Im eager to try the Cereus line. This one doesn't sound like my cup of tea, persay. Id rather drink my gin. But Im intrigued by the rest. I find the packaging very sexy-moderne.

Now Im thirsty...

I still wish they used the smell of Cereus somewhere in the line, though...

March 2, 2008 11:16 PM  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

This sounds delightful, to my nose !

BTW- Thanks for the kiss !
I loved meeting you-if ever so briefly- on Saturday !

March 3, 2008 5:59 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Mark David, I can only hope that an iced shaker full of martinis did not accompany you in the passenger seat on the way home!

Chaya dear, have you tried Miller Harris Eau de Vert? I'd add it to the Méchant Loup, No. 11 family. So lovely to finally meet you ... I thought I'd overdosed on one of the Chanel Les Exclusifs and was seeing an apparition of Nilsson. If I can be the poet of perfume, you can be the chanteuse.

March 3, 2008 8:27 AM  

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