Well this was a sweet and murky surprise. Feted skincare brand Aesop released Marrakech Intense last year but it had flown over my head in the midst of moving city, country, life. So, being chatted in-depth through the range at Aesop’s latest store in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, this was a revelation.
Devised in conjunction with perfumer Barnabe Fillion (who created Paul Smith Portrait for both men and women), Marrakech Intense is a dirty, dusky little devil that’s redolent of a 1970’s hemp fuelled trip to Marrakesh in the Talitha Getty phase. All languid rich Boho mixing Berber dresses with YSL and Ossie Clark.
The first burst is overpowering but dampens down a lot to a very wearable sweet and adorable, heady haze of jasmine and rose merged with sandalwood and cedarwood. It’s attractiveness lies in its ability to bring the appeal of a floral to a heavy woody base that becomes sweet and dry. Which is a surprise. As on first spray the over-riding feel is of a damp, wet, mossy green, fragrant wood, probably down to the large dose of clove, cardamom and bergamot in the top notes and the squashy, juicy petit grain.
The bottle is simplistic and unadorned and almost apothecary in feel, much like the remainder of Aesop’s skincare products, which is why an in-depth one-to-one consultation is suggested to get under the brand and to correctly identify your personal skincare’s needs. As for the perfume, Marrakech Intense (much like their new release, Tacit) is a Marmite divider of opinion with people who will either love or hate them equally whether male or female. That’s no bad thing. It shows this experimental brand dedicated to provide the best in natural skincare isn’t toeing the line and is prepared to forge its own path.
Marrakesh Intense is a no-brainer for today’s fashion hippie savants who are more inspired by Vita Kin, Temperley, Chloe and Matthew Williamson but still with an inkling for Marrakesh Express courtesy of Crosby Stills, Nash and Young. That would be me, then.
The bottle says substance over style but the contents are quite the showy individualist.
Aesop’s Marrakech Intense is available online and from all branches of Aesop including the new store in 6 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3, priced £53 (50ml EDT).
Photo of Talitha Getty taken in 1969 by Patrick Lichfield.