The latest Memo fragrance – Luxor Oud
I’m a big fan of Memo fragrances. Their names, their density, their inspiration and their chic presentation – sold from a opened Memo monogrammed valise in chic dept stores such as Harvey Nichols, where I chanced upon this range. This is a niche label that manages to capture a spirit – the exotic with the sensual, the far-flung with a sense of comfort, like instantly transporting yourself to another place.
Memo has quite a distinctive approach and hand-writing. Named to evoke the memories that fragrance can instantly recall combined with travel as a source of inspiration, these are perfumes to be reckoned with. No over blousiness or overt girliness or big advertising promises of capturing romance, these are perfumes for the well-honed and the discerning who like the fragrances big on sophistication as well as intense. Intense, feminine and intelligent, just like the owner/founder Clara Malloy, Memo’s fragrances bring substance and take a destination, making it the point of departure for an epic sense-awakening.
Clara has been steeped in fragrance since she was a child and naturally sought out a career in the industry. After writing a book on fragrance ‘noses’, she encountered Aliénor Massenet the creator behind Jasmin by Armani Prive, Only the Brave by Diesel as well as Trésor in Love by Lancôme. A relationship was struck and Massenet’s distinctive and intelligent take on using sultry concentrated and fine ingredients to achieve a Memo character and personality was born.
Clara (pictured above) gives a general direction and inspiration for a fragrance and then Massenet then takes it from there, using her genius intuition and her natural creativity and sense of style. There’s no big marketing ploy behind this brand which in a way is a curse as well as a blessing as more people should really know about this label – like searching out a minor designer who then goes out to take the world by storm.
Massenet thinks (like a synaesthete) in terms of colour, shape and texture in her own creative olfactory language, taking geographical clues from Malloy and re-interpreting these for each new creation.
For me, Memo means sultry voyages of the mind with a sensuous backdrop, where character meets charisma. A convert of one of their earlier fragrances, Granada, a big white jasmine, vanilla and heliotrope piece of escapism with the largesse of orangeflower, I couldn’t wait to try the promise of Luxor Oud. Surely this would be vast?
From the start, Memo’s Luxor Oud seduces with its hints of ‘Death on the Nile’ style 1930s finesse against the backdrop of vast temples, dryness and blanched white, sun soaked stones than speak of age and wisdom. Luxor is a place where the soul realises it’s smallness in the vastness of reality and history. Pharaohs have risen and fallen with their devotees, honour and wealth. Merge this with the heavy weight of precious oils of rose, oud, patchouli and mandarin and mix with soft dry huskiness of Tonka bean and you can almost feel the weight of the heat and the torpor.
Weighty, yes, but not overpowering. This is a modern European Oud with its feet in the desert sand, a majestic ‘clever clogs’ oud, if you will. Its beauty shines like the light from a majestic sceptre with an Egyptian promise of regal scandal. Wearing it, one becomes Nefertiti like. Graceful, beautiful and a woman to be obeyed. The first blast is sweet, uncompromising and then the soft oud sings alongside the patchouli and oh so romantic rose. This is where it pays to cloy. Luxor Oud is breathtakingly sensual. This is queenly feminine wiles agogo, toying with her adoring serfs.
Yes, Luxor Oud may transport one to the greatness of the banks of the Nile with its billowing sweet rose and oud that dries down to a sun scorched intensity that lingers, but it is its ability to seduce wholeheartedly and capture the heart and soul that impresses. This is Goddess in a bottle. Wear it and rule.
Luxor Oud eau de parfum is available from Memo fragrances (from January 2013), Harvey Nichols priced at £120 (75ml).