Since I´ve relocated to the Washington DC area, I´ve met a number of interesting, smart and articulate people, and we all have something in common: a love of fragrance. Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending an event at Art with Flowers, the wonderful floral, home décor and fragrance shop in Tysons Galleria in McLean Virginia. The event was in honor of the launch of Apothia´s newest scent, Pearl. Ron Robinson, the founder of Apothia was on hand to introduce Pearl, the fragrance created to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of his stores within Fred Segal, the famous Los Angeles area shopping destination. Pearl is the fourth scent in his Apothia collection, joining IF, Velvet Rope and L. It was created by perfumer Stephen Nilsen of Givaudan, whose other creations include Tom Ford Private Blend Moss Breches, Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Union Square and With Love Hilary Duff. Pearl´s notes consist of shiso leaf, plum blossom, peony, orris and warm golden amber.
I´ve dispensed with the pertinent factoids of Pearl early on because the most fascinating aspect of my introduction to this scent was meeting and chatting with Ron Robinson. My typical fragrance shopping experiences rarely include speaking to the individual responsible for a scent´s inspiration, concept and development. Usually, I get steamrollered by someone spewing rehearsed marketing jargon, or completely ignored. Generally, I prefer to be left alone while perusing scents; nothing is a bigger turn-off than a pushy sales associate who could just as easily be hawking kielbasa at Costco, rather than the current gift-with-purchase that accompanies whatever fragrance, cosmetic or skin care item they´re attempting to entice me with. To quote Jack Nicholson, one of my favorite actors, from the movie “As Good As It Gets”: “Sell crazy someplace else; we´re all stocked up here.”
Mr. Robinson articulated his fragrance´s missive in plain language without any phantasmagorical scenarios or far-fetched descriptors of the notes. He simply stated that Pearl is a fragrance he considers to be a “modern classic”, one of “quality”, utilizing only “a handful of high-quality ingredients” and created with “lots of care and direction”. After forty years in the business, Robinson knows his customers, and what they want. Pearl is representative of “how beautiful it feels to wear something elegant and simple, yet edgy and groundbreaking; just as a beautiful string of pearls is easy to wear with either your favorite pair of jeans or your sexiest black dress. Pearl eau de parfum is understated yet powerful.”
What I think is so appealing about Pearl is that it really is a well constructed, unfussy scent. It takes you on a journey from its initial burst of bright, energizing citrusy notes, flowing into an earthy base of orris and amber, with a tinge of musk. The transition from bright light to warmer depths is seamless. There is no jolting, in-between stage that can develop in some scents that have too many competing elements. If I was pressed to describe Pearl in one word, I would call it effortless; you don´t even need an actual string of pearls to appreciate this one. But, if you admire elegance and simplicity, then Apothia Pearl is a slam-dunk.
I would be remiss if I didn´t mention bits of a subsequent conversation I had with Ron Robinson two days after the launch event. He was charming and effusive and loves to dish about fragrance and fashion. He´s always on the hunt for things that are unique and special, as is evident when you visit his newly revamped website, www.ronrobinson.com. In addition to fragrances, beauty, skin care and interior aromatics (scented candles and diffusers), there are many unique items for men, kids and home. When I asked him what he thought of the subjective concept of reviewing a fragrance as one would a movie or a restaurant, he said, “I don´t like to judge”. Instead, he´d rather opine on what he believes is “quality” and “well-constructed”. He´s not particularly interested in “what smells good on someone else”, rather in “how well we relate to fragrance.” Since Pearl is the fourth scent in the Apothia line, I also inquired as to his feelings about men and women having a signature scent. He said he considers himself a “modern man” who embraces “change” and is “open minded to trying new things.” He “enjoys variation” and believes that “being open to life is what we are all about.” I couldn´t agree more.
You can find Apothia Pearl at Fred Segal of course, and other locations listed on www.ronrobinson.com. 15 ml is $35.00 and 50 ml is $80.00. A sample vial is also available for $5.00. If you happen to be in the Washington DC area, stop in at Art with Flowers in Tysons Galleria in McLean Virginia. In addition to carrying the entire Apothia line of fragrances, candles and diffusers, the store is a whimsical treasure trove of home décor items, flowers, fragrances, teas, bath, body and skin care products. The owner, Bill Hervey, is gracious and accommodating, and will allow you browse to your heart´s content.
Image courtesy of www.apothiaaromatics.com.