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Odin New York 09 Posala – It doesn’t get better than this – November 16, 2012

Photo - Wikipedia - Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, NYC

I read an excellent article by Carol Keno in the New York Times yesterday: “Fragrances as Art, Displayed Squirt by Squirt, ‘The Art of Scent’ at the Museum of Arts and Design” - click here to read it.. It describes the concept and the construction of the Department of Olfactory Art at the New York Museum of Arts and Design, which is the brainchild of the former scent writer for the NYTimes, Chandler Burr, who also wrote the 2003 book “The Emperor of Scent”. He is now the curator of this unique, first-of-its-kind department, which is having its official opening November 20. Here's some quotes from the article:

“The fundamental goal of the department,” Mr. Burr said during a recent interview at his office, “is placing scent as an artistic medium alongside painting, sculpture and music.” For however “brilliant” or “extraordinary” the greatest scents may be, he added, “they’re not recognized as works of art, and the artists who create them are not recognized as artists.”

“I am completely opposed to this idiotic reductionism of works of olfactory art to their raw materials, which is as stupid as reducing a Frank Gehry building to the kind of metal, the kind of wood and the kind of glass that he used,” Mr. Burr proclaimed. “To a degree it’s a problem of language,” Mr. Burr said. “We have not had anything other than a marketing language applied to these works.”

This last quote is dead on. So much of what you read about a perfume is pure marketing BS, and has nothing to do with how it actually smells. But because smell is such a cerebral, personal thing, all bound up with memory and experience, which you can’t see or touch, there has to be a common frame of reference to describe perfumes. This is where the discussion of individual perfume notes helps. For example, if I say mint, you know exactly what I mean, but…how that mint note actually smells in a particular perfume, if you can detect it at all, is the “art part”, because like the metal, wood, and glass in a Frank Gehry building, the note becomes part of a finished work which is much greater and different than its components. Without that mint note, though, the scent wouldn’t be what it is, to your nose or anyone else’s - the "art part" again.

Which leads me to a perfume I just bought, called Odin 09 Posala. New York based men’s clothing retailer, Odin New York, founded by Eddy Chai and Paul Birardi in 2004, and self-described as “one of the first lifestyle stores dedicated to men”, launched their fragrance line in 2009. Targeted to “those with discerning taste in modern fragrance” the eight scents which have been launched to date - there is no 05, since that number is so identified with Chanel - are squarely in the citrus, herbal, woody, earthy , incense range, appealing to discerning men but also very wearable by discerning women. Except for the the most recent....formula 09 Posala, which is definitely a floral, from top to bottom, but it’s a floral with a difference.

The only marketing stuff I’ll pass on is the meaning of the name. I thought it was Italian but it is a Native American word meaning “farewell to spring flowers”. I understand this name now that I’ve worn 09 Posala for the past 24 hours, and experienced its transformation from a floral into a rich, warm, boozy, complex Oriental floral. Right from the juicy opening, an accord of pear and peach tarted up with a splash of orange, I knew I would love 09 Posala.

After the fruit in the opening, which has the sweetness of fresh-cut fruit, there’s a momentary burst of sharp white jasmine, and then the scent begins to warm and expand. Bourbon, with its distinct alcoholic caramel undertone, makes the floral heart rich and boozy, still with the fruit notes floating on top – it’s as if they’re starting to ferment, becoming a smooth liqueur.

When tobacco leaf and benzoin add their earthy smokiness in the dry-down, 09 Posala is intoxicating. Iris keeps the sweetness in check, but amber keeps it warm, real and alive, sexy, and oh so satisfying. I love smelling it on myself, and I will love smelling it on anyone else, anywhere, anytime.

Yes, Odin 09 Posala is a floral with a difference. It’s got the “art part”.

Odin 09 Posala is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.