As niche perfumery continues to flood the market with excellent, highly creative fragrances, finding something unique becomes increasingly difficult. However, each year usually sees the release of at least one perfume with a notoriously original scent profile. Marc-Antoine Barrois’ Ganymede is one such fragrance. With its spacey name and futuristic golden bottle, Ganymede earned its fame at least partially through smart marketing. No one is about to ‘smell’ outer space anytime soon, but Ganymede presents a handsome example of what an interstellar fragrance might look like.
Designer Marc-Antoine Barrois’s fragrances bear a number of green flags, so to speak. First of all, the house only offers four perfumes, giving an impression of quality over quantity. Secondly, each fragrance comes from perfumer Quentin Bisch, who has dabbled in each corner of the fragrance industry from small experimental houses to heavy-hitters like Carolina Ferrera and Paco Rabanne. At least from the outside, Marc-Antoine Barrois’ line looks focused and meticulous, the product of two artists with a shared conviction. The real question, of course, is whether those appearances translate to quality perfumes worthy of their reputations.
Mandarin, saffron, violet, osmanthus absolute, akigalawood, Immortelle absolute
Ganymede’s note pyramid certainly doesn’t look like some space-age experimental masterpiece. On the table are several floral notes with a lot of personality, a common citrus note, and ‘akigalawood,’ a Givaudan-trademarked ingredient that functions as patchouli with woody-spicy characteristics. The opening blast of Ganymede tells a different story. This perfume opens with a metallic blast infused with mandarin brightness. It’s almost like witnessing a space-age take on a traditional men’s perfume, except that the metallic aspect is so strong that this is no mere twist on a familiar formula.
As the perfume dries down, the mandarin citrus begins to lose its edge. The result is a metallic perfume that retains darker floral woody elements. This is alternative-universe Terre d’Hermes, a head-turner of a perfume with a strangely comforting familiarity. It’s exactly the sort of perfume that could become a new classic.
Is Ganymede for you? It truly depends on two factors: your feelings on metallic notes and unfilled niches in your perfume wardrobe. In regard to the latter, Ganymede is a very versatile perfume. The citrus edge grants it the airiness to survive in hot weather, while the metallic body gives it enough heft to succeed in cooler temperatures. Even so, this is a special perfume more suited to warm weather than cool weather. The association between metal and coldness, combined with the summer-friendly mandarin note, make Ganymede an excellent avant-garde choice for spring and summer. For those who already have a perfume that fills that niche, Ganymede could end up being a redundant, if interesting, addition to the collection.
Regardless if Ganymede ends up being a wardrobe staple, it showcases the incredible potential of the Marc-Antoine Barrios perfume line. This is a perfume clearly driven by ingenuity and conviction. In a crowded market, Ganymede still manages to transcend its competition. On this planet – or any, really – that’s enough to turn a fragrance into a star.
Sample or purchase Ganymede here.
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