Fragrance Reviews Scented Snippets AND Perfumed Perspective: New Fragrant Collaboration from Seattle’s House of Matriarch/Private Label  ACHTUNG  High Perfumery/The ACHTUNG Project

Scented Snippets AND Perfumed Perspective: New Fragrant Collaboration from Seattle’s House of Matriarch/Private Label ACHTUNG High Perfumery/The ACHTUNG Project

08/05/13 18:17:23 (15 comments)

by: Ida Meister

I never tire of artistic cross-pollination; I find it heart-warming because it stubbornly refuses to feed the Poverty Mentality that feels rampant these days. [For those not yet familiar, Poverty Mentality revolves around the belief that there is just not enough love, approbation, air, etc., to go around.] Generosity of spirit, camaraderie, and cooperation must be a given in such endeavors if they are to succeed. 
 
 
On August 8th [8-8], Essenza [at 615 N. 35th Street] in Seattle will open its doors from 4-8pm, for the launch of a new private label fragrance line from House of Matriarch [the scented brain and soulchild of Christi Meshell] named ACHTUNG.  Fashion-forward Seattle apparel designer ARONHIX will be exhibiting his work  alongside the  brilliant sacred geometric pen and ink compositions of Rick Barchenger
 
 
Rick awakened from spinal surgery seven years ago, and began an ongoing obsession with mandala-form drawings which take on a life of their own. Many refer to his artistic genre as Geometric Mysticism. While the designs he draws purely from pen, ink, and straight edge appear quite vital and modern, this form of expression of divine force is as ancient as time itself. 
 
Original drawing by Rick Barchenger
 
I asked Christi myriad questions: about oud not being listed in the notes she sent me, what sort of oud, how she knew Rick, what their association was, etc. She was incredibly helpful and good-natured about it, so I’ve included parts of our correspondence here. I hope that, through her own words, you get a better feel for this adventure.
 
I had asked Christi: “Why ACHTUNG?  Wordplay regarding the number 8? The number 8 of course resembling infinity, healing, the snake/knowledge, etc., as well as the date and month?”
 
 
Christi not only explained, she extrapolated:
“8 (Achtung) brings resolution to 2 (Duality). The opposition of the 2nd house (Taurus) and the 8th house (Scorpio) of astrology illustrate this truth. It is the number of the double feminine, represented by drawing a line around a woman's breasts, each in turn, representing re-creation and magic. 2 manifests in the lower frequencies as duality with associations of indecision, purposelessness and vacillation. The higher frequencies of 2 are balance, poise and harmony.  
 
"Rick chose the name ACHTUNG for several reasons. (He wanted Sacred 8, but it was already taken.) You made some of the connections, plus your initiated eyes see the deeper symbolism most will not even be aware of. Rick is also German so the name is also an ode to his heritage.


"I met Rick 15 years ago through a mutual friend and we have been great friends ever since. I really connect with people born on 8/8.  For his birthday last year (8/8/12) I made him a bespoke fragrance and presented it to him in a vintage Lucky 8 Ball flacon.

"When he decided to brand himself and his art, fragrances and textiles were the first inspirations. We selected the 8 pieces that could best be vectorized for printing onto the bottles, the bolder designs. From there I created a fragrance inspired by each piece.

"The entire mystery of his brand, of his life, is the magic of the number 8, and the rabbit hole that one drops into in order to explore that Law of Polarity and Resolution of Duality the drawings embody. Oud was the magic key to that doorway (The 25th Path, Samek) and along with the art it worked its magic on me to bring forth the perfumes.  I've created perfumes from art before, but it has never been like this. Oud definitely has magical properties. Each perfume was named for the energies that came through when I was creating the perfume, and the ingredients came through as a way of bringing balance to the extremes in the art. I used high quality raw materials and 8% aroma molecules for the added drama these perfumes needed. I have created a special natural oud accord for ACHTUNG which uses five different varieties. It is the base for all 8 perfumes, in varying degrees.” 

 

The ARONHIX for Achtung Lined Tank
 
Next, I wanted to know more about ARONHIX—aka Aaron Hicks—the fashion designer, and how he came to be involved.
 
Here’s what Aaron had to say:
“When designing the pieces for the show my goal was to use Rick’s art as the main focus. I didn't want to use darts or too many design lines that would take away from his work. I didn't meet Rick until after I had been on the Achtung project for a while and  have only met him once. I love his art and it's great to see it being used as a textile. I met Christi within the last year. When Christi asked if I would design a couple of fashion pieces for Achtung is when I started getting to know her more on a friend level.”
 
The EIGHT PERFUMES! Finally. [You patient readers, you!]
 
Something I’ve discovered while wearing each of these perfumes for several days: they really morph and transform over time! You may first sniff from the vial and reflect: “O.K. Now what?” Then put them on flesh and say: “Mmmm. Potent! Wow! Oof!” The next phase: you wait awhile, do something else, and come back to them. An entirely different fragrant creature makes its presence known; it has shifted shape as if by sorcery. The astonishing thing is that a fragrance often alters so significantly from opening to drydown that it may travel from "not me, not interested" to "how exquisite!"
 
Midnight [Floriental]
 
Notes: coffee flower, corn flower, narcissus [also ambrette and MAJOR oud, per Christi]
 
Midnight commences with abundant floral opulence. The narcissus in it feels both intensely floral and a touch reminiscent of the barnyard. This is one of those which feels "over the top" initially, only to metamorphose into a deeply resonant, shadowy soft oriental.
Epiphany [Chypre]
 
Notes: Hidcote pink lavender, lily enfleurage,
Mysore sandalwood
 
Lord, how I love Epiphany! That lavender is to die for, and in combination with Christi’s Mysore sandalwood [my Golden standard] and the ouds, it is non pareil. Epiphany is brash and brilliantly triumphant at the get-go, only to linger more tenderly with the passage of time; the oud blend retains its fervor and plays darkly savory to the herbal/floral sweet, like a well-balanced recipe. There is plenty of mystery to be experienced here.
Sexmagic [Precious Woods]
 
Notes: pine wood, Buddhawood, Gandhi root
 
Ah. What IS Sexmagic, precisely?  If it is sacred, then we have the answer right before our willing nose. Unquestionably vivid and sonorous, these woods sing with the ancient voice of the didgeridoo. These aromatics harken back thousands of years and their smoky venerable tones play upon our collective unconscious. They feel distinctly Tantric in their power.
 
Password [Floral]
 
Notes: magnolia, mahogany flower, cassie
 
Floral: dear me, oh my, yes, indeed. The intoxication of nearly overripe blossoms assaults at first sniff—as plush and luscious as one could wish, and then some. I personally am not acquainted with the mahogany blossom, but magnolia and cassie are SWEET. Again, here is Example No. II of the Overwhelming: over the span of time, richer, more complex facets of these flowers reveal themselves and unfurl slowly. One may even sense a faintly powdery woodiness which underlies it all, previously unnoticeable. It is worth waiting for the marvelous drydown, utterly unlike its bold and riotous onset.
 
Gateways [Gourmand]
 
Notes: Texas chocolate, mitti attar, vintage patchouli
 
Oh, this is good. It’s earthy, creamy, succulent—and then, the not-quite-knifelike-edge of oud. Just to stir the pot a little. Gateways won’t leave you with cavities, but it may open the door to more gourmand-like fragrances for those who would normally eschew them. I know that there has to be some flower enfolded into this quirky, charming batter—but Christi doesn’t tell me, and I’m not asking.  ;-)  It’s enough to frolic in it.
 
Unveiled [Hesperidic]
 
Notes: cucumber, lime blossom, amber wood
 
My nose says: Oooooh. Summertime in my tiny vial gavottes before my nostrils, and I’m in its thrall. Cucumbers and linden! Coolly transparent fruit of the vine dallies with delectable blossom. The eventual outcome yields fraîcheur underscored with great delicacy, subtle woody resin tones. Simply lovely.
Immortal [Fougere]
 
Notes: Italian honeysuckle, forest floor, African sandarac
 
I was instantly smitten by Immortal, helpless to resist. The sunny nature of honeysuckle soon entangles herself in a sylvan embrace from which there is no escape. Add balsamic resins and oud, and the haunting ensues. I am sore pressed to choose one favorite of these eight by now; there are at least three vying for my affection.
Devotion [Incense]
 
Notes: Omani frankincense, ambergris, myrrh blend
 
To call Devotion an incense perfume is to immediately damn it with faint praise. [By now, I’m running out of skin "real estate" for my samples!] This perfume strikes me in such a primaeval place that I’m speechless. If Devotion were a personage, I would kneel. This is the one fragrance I keep coming back to like a homing pigeon—and I don’t consider myself an incense person. There are depths within depths, a whole universe encapsulated. I feel inexplicably linked with The Ancestors. I’ve begun to comprehend a bit more why Christi told me she had undergone personal change while working with these ouds.
 
“I hope you like them.  I underwent powerful healing during the creation of this line (magical aromatherapy!) and those energies are in the juice.” 
 
I couldn’t agree more, Christi.
 
Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with us.
 
Ida Meister (chayaruchama) has been an avid collector and sniffeuse for over 40 years. She adores consulting and collaborating with niche, budding and independent perfumers. Her hypervigilant nose has been of great help in her profession as a neuroscience/ oncology nurse, where she often smells fear, suffering, stress, and can identify most micro-organisms, medications, stages of disease, and has written about the amygdala. As a Senior and Natural Perfumery Editor, Ida has participated in many blog events with natural and mixed media perfumers and other writers. She has also been a teacher, translator, opera singer, dancer and caterer.

 



Previous Fragrance Reviews Next


ranchorita
ranchorita

I like the bottle design, and I like the idea of being able to distinguish which bottle you're grabbing without even having to read the name on the label. The accords sound intriguing. Must try.

Aug
09
2013
deadidol
deadidol

Been throwing a few reviews up on this line -- I'll do the rest here over the next day or two.

Aug
09
2013
Chickenboo
Chickenboo

Nice graphics, House of Matriarch, and thank you for the article, Ms. Meister! These bottles/scents are very enticing...

Aug
08
2013
ms. m
ms. m

Thanks to the lovely folks behind this collaboration. There are at least three I can't wait to try.

And extra double-plus thanks to Ida Meister for writing some of the truest words of our time:

"I never tire of artistic cross-pollination; I find it heart-warming because it stubbornly refuses to feed the Poverty Mentality that feels rampant these days. [For those not yet familiar, Poverty Mentality revolves around the belief that there is just not enough love, approbation, air, etc., to go around.] Generosity of spirit, camaraderie, and cooperation must be a given in such endeavors if they are to succeed."

Say it again - Amen!

Aug
07
2013
spankysparkle
spankysparkle

Have never tried this line but it sounds wonderful. Will be sampling.

Aug
07
2013
carmillajeddah
carmillajeddah

I'd love to sniff these, so badly! All of them sound like a must-try once, and the overall concept is wonderful.

Aug
06
2013
extrait21
extrait21

I am so excited to get to go to the launch Thursday! (I live in Seattle) To get to meet the perfumer, artist, and designer seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity. The fragrances I look forward to trying the most are:
Epiphany - I always love a good chypre.
Sexmagic - "They feel distincly Tantric in their power." Ummmm, YES PLEASE!
Devotion - "If Devotion were a personage, I would kneel" How could you not want to try that?
Thanks for the great reviews Ida and tipping me off to the launch party. Based on your descriptions I can't wait to try them all!

Aug
06
2013
Adiro
Adiro

Would love to try these, really compelling article! Thank you

Aug
06
2013
chayaruchama
chayaruchama

I agree heartily, John [and Marlen!] !!!
So very exciting.
I love the way they are interwoven, like warp and weft on a loom...

Aug
06
2013
johngreenink
johngreenink

It's not often you see someone really reaching out into different territory, and this really seems to be it. Really interesting approach to making perfumes, inspired by numerology and mysticism. The art work is equally compelling. There seems to be focus on chaotic-balance. Very well done.

Aug
06
2013
perfumecritic
perfumecritic

I too reacted similarly, especially to Devotion! this is such a beautiful and well-crafted line!

Aug
06
2013
Dittnergirl
Dittnergirl

Thank you for the intriguing and thoughtfully written article.

Aug
06
2013
lucaschiang8
lucaschiang8

wow~ this is fun~ i like it

Aug
05
2013
chayaruchama
chayaruchama

Me too, Jodi !
Maybe, she'll get to Elements soon !!!

Aug
05
2013
NebraskaLovesScent
NebraskaLovesScent

The ACHTUNG project looks like something that just HAD to happen. It has such cohesiveness of design and concept across all three media! Best wishes to all three artists for the success of this project. Wish I could be in Seattle on 8/8! :-)

Aug
05
2013

Add Your Review

Become a member of this online perfume community and you will be able to add your own reviews.

Popular brands and perfumes: