Every once in a while a perfume feels less like a mélange of scents than like a “thing”. Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut is an example. When Alamut has settled on my skin, I don’t think about flowers or fruit or wood — I think of a slice of warm brioche.
Alamut’s notes include osmanthus, aldehydes, rose, jasmine, powder, rosewood, narcissus, tuberose, ylang ylang, labdanum, amber, sandalwood, musk, patchouli, and leather, but they are so meltingly blended that teasing out any one note is difficult. I do smell a gentle powdery suede and maybe ylang ylang and rose, but this is not the sort of perfume that gives off occasional puffs of sandalwood or jasmine that separate from the total formula before blending in again. I want to call Alamut spicy, animalic, and oriental, but these descriptors give Alamut an edge that it doesn’t have. Alamut is spicy like snickerdoodles and animalic like the inside of an old Hermes bag. Despite its baroque collection of notes, to me Alamut reads as one smooth, deep presence, as soft and buttery as cashmere.
Alamut sparkles a little as you first put it on, but it quickly settles into slow-burning comfort. The Eau de Toilette lasts a long time and feels like it stays close to the skin, but a few times when I’ve worn it I’ve had other people comment on it, which makes me wonder if its sillage is deceptively potent. I find it gentle enough, though, to wear to bed.
Alamut didn’t win me over at first. I’ve had three samples of it over the past year, and the first few times I tried it I thought it was o.k. but nothing special. Supposedly, Lorenzo Villoresi spent six years working on Alamut before he released it last year. People were expecting a blockbuster — something as strange as Yerbamate, glamorous as Donna, calming as Teint de Neige, and edgy as Piper Nigrum. Instead they got buttered brioche. When the third sample of Alamut came in the mail it languished on my dresser for weeks. I had an unusual (for me) yearning for powder one day and tried it again, and this time I fell head over heels for it.
Alamut, a wood fire, and a dog on the couch next to me are my antidotes to cold and stress this year. (Serge Lutens Chêne and the occasional finger of Scotch will be helpful, too, I’m sure.) A 100 ml bottle of Alamut Eau de Toilette is $120 and a 50 ml bottle is $75. You can also buy a 50 ml bottle of Eau de Parfum for $85, but I’ve only seen it on Lafco’s website. Alamut comes in a ruby red bottle, and like all the Villoresi bottles has a better-than-usual quality atomizer.
For buying information, see the listing for Lorenzo Villoresi under Perfume Houses.