Orange and spices are one of the great traditional combinations of scents smelled during the Holidays in tea, pomander or cooking forms. If oranges are summery, they are also wintry (see L'Occitane Ruban d'Orange and Creed Orange Spice.) By mixing the juiciness of a summery fruit - with its natural solar accents - and the woody nuances of antique spices which usually help preserve the flesh and the memory of an orange pierced with cloves, you get a fragrance which is like a generous splash of outdoorsy sunshine in a wood-pannelled library lit by a roaring fire. Azemour Les Orangers by Parfum d'Empire is an hesperidic chypre perfume which does not feel out of place when worn on the other side of the Winter Solstice...
Perfumer-composer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato calls it a "landscape-fragrance" inspired by his childhood spent in Morocco. The perfume evokes the orange groves which belonged to his parents and his horseback riding in a region stretching from the oued Oum Er r'Bia to the Atlantic sea coast. The name pays homage to the ancient city of Azemmour, a place of both Muslim and Jewish pilgrimage. By changing the orthography slightly, it was made to look more like "Amour" or love. It's a nostalgic and personal perfume for the nose. It is also an atmospheric scent and a study of the complete scent of the orange tree, including leaves, peel and bark.
Notes: orange, clementine, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, coriander, cumin, black pepper, pink pepper, blackcurrant, galbanum, neroli, geranium, orange blossom, rose, hay, moss, henna and cypress.
Azemour Les Orangers offers a complex overture where the first sparkling accents of an Eau de Cologne with an overdose of orange peel supported by a soft nuance like angelica - I'm guessing hay and henna absolute, the latter which is said to smell like maté - is followed by more leathery, resinous, darker ambery tonalities. They are succeeded in their turn by a more characteristic accord of bitter orange in the lineage of "Hermès Eau d'Orange Verte", an orange which is a bit prickly and comes unedited on a green, leafy branch. After that, these three main threads come together, fusing, while the bitter accord continues to shape the personality of the scent.
As the composition evolves, it seems at first that this is going to be linear perfume, moderately evolutive. But soon, the scent sweetens and faint, subtle accents of spices remind you of exotic, faraway places. And then, Azemour takes on a fruitier, more ambery and also a heftier quality, all at the same time. Clovey, carnation-like accents translating into a faint powdery texture complicates your perception of the perfume. I start having visions of old-fashioned mahogany-pannelled bathrooms in tropical countries during the colonial period as it starts smelling of expensive soap.
This is a relatively interesting sensation as most fragrances today take shortcuts, and when they want to recreate soapy clean sensations they, for the most part, rely on the popular white-musk imprint.
But Azemour offers you a different soapy sensation. It is closer to the barber-shop one. It is much more expensive in feeling. In the corner of my mind, I am reminded of Russian Imperial Leather soap, but can't verify this impression on the spur of the moment. I am also connecting back to an Aramis perfume for men; to Equipage by Hermès. There is something of a light fougère personality to Azemour, one that can quickly be translated into a feminine fougère.
Azemour has something about it of the suave gentleman's cologne, but if worn by a woman, would orient your thoughts in the direction of a 1970s emancipated, pant-wearing Charlie woman. Somehow, I am made to think of Lauren Hutton, African safaris and Fabergé Babe fronted by Margaux Hemingway. Its charm for me lies in its understated old-fashioned, revivalist 70s vibe served with an overdose of brisk orange grove aromas caught between land and sea.