If I were looking at this post, I might be thinking, "What the heck is XerJoff? Another new, expensive niche brand? This is ridiculous! I don't have the time for this — I haven't even worked my way through all the old Rochas." And then I'd click over to Perfume Posse to see what March is up to or to The Selby or somewhere else. I understand. However, after sniffing my way all 12 of the XerJoff Shooting Stars collection, I think a lot of perfume lovers will want to know about XerJoff, even if they never end up smelling any of them.
At first, XerJoff is not promising. The XerJoff website is vague, and its English copy is wretchedly written, full of misspellings and nonsensical descriptions. I can't find much information about the company itself. The website is offered in Russian, English, and Italian, and judging from the state of the English, you'll soon guess the company is Russian or Italian (it is, in fact, Italian with a market in Russia.) The website tells us the Shooting Stars collection of fragrances is named after a meteorite that fell in Siberia in 1947. A piece of the meteorite is worked into the collar of each of the bottles. None of the names of the fragrances make any sense to an English speaker, except perhaps "Shingl," which sounds like a painful medical condition.
But most of the XerJoff Shooting Star Eau de Parfums, while not startlingly original, are marvels of gorgeous materials and careful craftsmanship. I've chosen two to review, Ibitira and Oesel, not so much because they're the fragrances I admire most of the collection, but because they're the fragrances I most see myself wearing.
According to XerJoff's website, Ibitira Eau de Parfum's notes are Bulgarian Rose, Florentine Iris, Cedar, Haitian vetiver, Bourbon vanilla, and musk. I also smell an abundance of top quality jasmine. In a nutshell, Ibitira smells like a cross between Jean Patou Joy and Chanel No. 5. Ibitira kicks off with what smells to me like the tang of neroli and bergamot. The buzzing of the bergamot transitions into vibrating jasmine supplemented by a big, watery, rich rose. This is where I'm reminded of the lushness of Joy. But instead of a dark, civet-inflected drydown, the almost skin-like combination of sandalwood, vetiver, and musk arises, calling up a spicy No. 5.
Ibitira is intensely feminine — of course, that doesn't mean it wouldn't smell arresting on a confident man. I see it as the signature scent of an elegant woman with buckets of cash. Although it's an Eau de Parfum, it is so concentrated that a spritz leaves a delicious, oily residue on my forearm. It lasts several hours and has moderate sillage.
I first pegged Oesel as a feminine fragrance and was surprised when I looked it up and found out XerJoff lists it among the masculines. Oesel's notes are orange flower, Paraguayan petitgrain, Bulgarian rose, jasmine sambac, acacia, white flowers, Indian patchouli, cedar, and tobacco flower. Oesel smells to me like a deep, enveloping mimosa with a hint of vanilla and powder. A pale counterpoint of clean musk balances the composition.
Oesel's mimosa is so thick and full of pollen that I want to sneeze, but instead I breathe in the scent of a night in August on the back porch of a friend's house after dinner while we're digesting paella made on the grill and maybe a little too much good wine. Someone is churning ice cream while someone else wanders through the vegetable garden inspecting the tomatoes. The cat is sprawled on the cobblestones. The mimosa tree radiates its fragrance through the yard. Oesel also lasts 5 to 6 hours and carries a few feet from my body.
While Ibitira and Oesel are the XerJoff fragrances I might wear the most, if you are faced with a run of Xerjoff testers, I encourage you to try the sexy, dirty-clean Dhofar; the fresh, cypress-laden Nio; Esquel, a feminine fougère that becomes an ambery oriental; and Uden, a fougère laced with coffee, rum, and wood.
Would I shell out for a bottle of one of XerJoff's fragrances? At $345 for 50 ml, they're simply not in my budget. For the same money I'd be more tempted to buy an Amouage and dinner out or maybe a vintage Schiaparelli bracelet. But if anyone at XerJoff is listening out there, I'd be happy to clean up the copy on your website for a bottle.
For more information on where to buy fragrances from XerJoff's Shooting Stars collection, see the listing for Xerjoff under Perfume Houses.