Day and night. Beachy sun and evening fog. Sunshine pop and a cello concerto. This is how I think of Imaginary Authors Sundrunk next to Masque Milano Luci ed Ombre. (Kevin reviewed Luci ed Ombre here, but I’ve recently discovered it, and I can’t resist bringing it to your attention again.) Both brands deliver stories with their fragrances, and, no surprise, they’re stark complements.
Josh Meyer composed Sundrunk, and its notes include neroli, rhubarb, honeysuckle, rose water, orange zest and — Imaginary Authors is known for adding a fanciful note — “first kiss.” Here’s the story that goes with it:
When Clementine Cope set foot in snow deeper than her knees, she knew it was for the last time. Leaving the rural Montana home she’d been raised in, with no plans other than to follow the setting sun, she’d wake up every morning and head towards the warmth; dreaming of Dennis Wilson, push pops in the sand, and convertibles. Her journey covers thousands of miles and delivers her first-ever view of the ocean. By the time summer hits, Clem is consumed by an incomprehensible joy. She finally stops traveling when she settles into a ramshackle surf camp with newfound friends from the hills of Topanga, California. Now realizing for the first time her journey is only beginning.
Sundrunk is fizzy with aldehydes and Tang. It’s sheer and citrusy, with a wash of rose and a whiff of innocent florals that only comes out when the neroli has had a few minutes to rein itself in. Sundrunk’s citrus is dominant enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to a man afraid of “feminine” fragrances.
In brief, Sundrunk is about laughing, not thinking. It’s simple and happy and easy to enjoy, and it goes down as easily as a tequila sunrise on a balcony overlooking the ocean. If you love it, buy the big bottle, because you’ll want to spray it on over and over.
Sundrunk doesn’t last a long time on skin, and I don’t think it’s meant to. For a neroli-drenched summer scent, I’d be tempted to spring for Parfum d’Empire Azemour les Orangers, but that’s me. At the beach, I’d be pulling down my vintage one-piece, coating my nose in zinc, and running away from the Sundrunk-scented surfboarders in favor of reading old detective novels under a wide beach umbrella.
Meo Fusciuni developed Luci ed Ombre. Its notes include ginger, tuberose, jasmine, moss, incense, cedar and patchouli. Here’s its story:
You are peaceful and untroubled. You feel like you were between a barley field and a thick wood, where no sunbeam can penetrate. There is a blinding light, everything seems calm and quiet. Out of a sudden a shiver runs down your back. You realize that such an enticing scene has a gloomy facet, intriguing and mysterious. It is the night meeting the day, the embrace between light and shadow. The breeze in your hair and the warm and humid breath of the wolf down your neck. You don’t know any longer neither where you are, nor where you long to be. The dark side is irresistibly fascinating, stronger than any fears and uneasiness it produces.
Quite a contrast, huh? If ever there was a perfume full of ghosts, this is it. Luci ed Ombre wears more like a shadow than a fragrance. It’s not pretty. If you’re looking for something immediately appealing and delicious, cast your line in another pool. But if you find beauty in winter morning walks through overgrown alleys, and you love oakmoss’s fustiness, and you need the objects around you to have a past, you might like Luci ed Ombre.
Below the aura of moss, the smoke of Japanese incense, and a sliver of ginger is a strand of “clean” that threads Luci ed Ombre's core, like freshly scrubbed skin hung with grandfather’s mohair coat, its long-dead gardenia corsage still attached. Kevin suggested turning Luci ed Ombre into a cocktail named the Veronica Lake (how can you not love a guy who thinks of this?), but I’d like to see it as a silent movie in sepia tones, hold the organ.
Luci ed Ombre is quiet on skin, but it lasts a solid five hours. It's the sort of perfume that could easily become a signature scent for someone with the confidence of her own presence.
Imaginary Authors Sundrunk “Eau de Parfume” — I’m not sure if this is a typo or part of Imaginary Authors’ branding — is $95 for 50 ml and $38 for a 14 ml travel spray. Masque Milano Luci ed Ombre Eau de Parfum is $215 for 100 ml and $150 for 35 ml. (As of this writing, Twisted Lily had one 100 ml bottle left for $185. I know, because I bought the next-to-last one.) For information on where to buy Sundrunk and Luci ed Ombre, see Imaginary Authors and Masque Milano under Perfume Houses.