A friend recently showed me her new scarf. “Look at it,” she said. “It cost a fortune.” The friend is no slouch in the style department, but she’s hardly rich, and, at first glance, the scarf seemed to be merely a big, soft red wrap. Nice, but nothing worth spending in the triple digits for.
Then I paid closer attention. The scarf was handwoven to produce a textured pattern in wool as fine as a spider’s web. Even the fabric’s selvedge edge was artfully finished. What looked at first to be a solid tomato red actually graduated barely perceptibly to cherry. The scarf, seemingly so simple, was a work of art.
Eris Parfums Mxxx. rewards similar attention. At first, it’s a rich, chocolatey sandalwood without much else going on. Keep sniffing, and the complexity shows itself from beneath the fragrance’s calm surface.
Perfumer Antoine Lie developed Mxxx. Extrait de Parfum. Its notes include Madagascan blue ginger, mace, saffron, Ethiopian olibanum, pink peppercorn, Trinidad cacao, Virginia cedarwood, sandalwood, Haitian vetiver, Indonesian patchouli, benzoin, castoreum, 7% natural ambergris, pierre d’Afrique and Madagascan green vanilla.
The aspects of the fragrance Eris’s website and press materials focus on are Mxxx.’s generous helping of real ambergris and cacao from Trinidad, including the cocoa butter. (They also make the point that all of the fragrance’s materials were harvested sustainably and ethically.)
The result is a dense, somewhat linear fragrance with a warm, woody, velvet-edged feel. At first, its wood has an almost mineral sheen, earthy, a little bit animalic, but not skanky. No body odor or draft from the porta-potty here.
Then Mxxx. picks up hints of nuts and sweetens, but it’s not not sharp-sweet, but sweet like sandalwood. Every once in a while I think I smell cinnamon or old fur coat, then it vanishes. The fragrance keeps a tight harmony of wood, amber, cocoa and a little bit of wet rock until it fades to nose-against-forearm level, about six hours later on my skin. It has moderate sillage.
To me, Mxxx. isn’t about flash and show. It’s not the cleverly cut Japanese dress with the reverse bustle. It’s the simple rectangle of a generous scarf intricately crafted from the best wool, woven by skilled hands. Its surprises and rewards are for you, not the crowd.
Eris Parfums Mxxx. Extrait is $225 for 50 ml and is a limited edition. See the Eris Parfums website to find where the line is carried.
Note: top image via Eris Parfums at Instagram.