The new By Marc Buxton line from perfumer Mark Buxton debuted last year with seven fragrances. Seven strikes me as excessive given the glut of product on the market at the moment — why not two or three really wonderful scents, with more to follow later? Everyone in the industry seems to agree there are too many fragrances; nobody seems willing to release fewer fragrances. Ah well, at least it isn't twelve or fifteen, right?
The fragrances are meant to disclose "the personality through color code", and on the Mark Buxton website* you can find the fragrance that suits you best by looking at a series of color blocks, then clicking on the color that appeals to you most. I don't know that there is any fool-proof method of selecting suitable fragrances online, but I didn't find this system particularly helpful.
Of the seven fragrances, two of them (Black Angel, Sounds & Visions) left me entirely cold. One (Hot Leather) struck me as nice but nothing I needed, and three (English Breakfast, Nameless, Around Midnight) as interesting and worth further exploration, but not so interesting as to warrant further exploration right away — those went into the purgatory basket. That leaves Wood & Absinth, which I liked right away. It's a blend of vetiver and anise notes, so I'd be pretty much expected to like it, but even then, I can't say I'm wild about it. It's a thick vetiver, almost chewy and almost edible, with sweet (and long-lasting) citrus accents and a touch of herbal bitterness grounded by wood (the notes: citrus, orange, clary sage, anise, jasmine, rosewood, wood and vetiver). The anise notes are strongest in the early stages. It's soapy, and as with other soapy vetivers (Guerlain Vetiver, for instance), some days it seems overwhelmingly soapy to me, other days it doesn't. March at Perfume Posse** correctly notes that it has a "weirdly buttery drydown".
The whole set is worth a try, although fans of Buxton's brilliant work for Comme des Garçons might be disappointed. Vetiver & Absinth isn't on my "to buy list", but I'd wear it if I had it, and who knows, maybe one of the others will end up capturing my affections. I don't know if the line will be distributed in the US or not; it seems to be geared mostly towards the Russian market.
Mark Buxton Wood & Absinth is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum, 130€. For buying information, see the listing for By Mark Buxton under Perfume Houses.
* Assuming you can get the website to do anything at all. It does not seem to work properly in all browsers, and in general, the navigation is not intuitive. If you want to get descriptions of the individual fragrances, don't click on the fragrance names from the front page (that will load — sloooooowly — short videos for each scent). Instead, select "Color Code", pick any color, then click on "Back to Fragrances", where you'll find the fragrance descriptions.
**I should note that March didn't like Wood & Absinth, and liked some of the others in the line better than I did.