Norwegian Wood is a fragrance named after a Haruki Murakami novel which is in turn named after a Beatles song. When you put it that way, it sounds a little ridiculous, but such a twisting heritage is the perfect subject for a Folie Á Plusiers perfume. Folie is a house we’ve covered often, and for good reason: they make pieces of art that combine meticulous artistry with an unwavering experimental bent. Each fragrance jumps from the shoulders of a familiar giant into celestial territory where new context turns a familiar idea into something awe-inspiring and radical. It’s no surprise, then, that the ‘wood’ referenced in Norwegian Wood is more akin to alien fauna than a patchouli fragrance in some sixties-era tent.
In the past, I’ve found it difficult to write about Folie’s perfumes because they tend to strike me as rigorously intellectual. Most are named after pieces of high art, or they’re modeled after abstract concepts. However, that’s not why they tend to baffle noses. There are so many familiar aspects of most Folie perfumes that make them seem almost mainstream, almost like something you could stumble upon showcased in a high-end perfume store. Yet Folie compositions consistently tend to include not only unexpected notes, but unexpected accords that make themselves known during the entire life of the perfume. And these aren’t unexpected accords that bear any obvious shock value, but rather familiar accords that make each Folie note pyramid confuse the mind’s eye (nose?) when one tries to imagine what something might smell like. Just look at the bizzarro ‘metallic rose’ among Norwegian Wood’s otherwise familiar boozy-woods construction:
Norwegian Wood notes
Whiskey, metallic rose, cashmere wood, amber, incense, sandalwood, oakwood, musk
Remove that standout note and what you have is a very familiar balsamic woods fragrance. You would think that such an inclusion wouldn’t completely transform a fragrance, but spray it and you’ll soon discover a work of genius sculpting. Instead of using the expected heavy dollops of amber to go along with the whiskey and incense, Mark Buxton plays up the pencil-dry aspect of sandalwood and the clean animalic musk to turn the rose into a modern rendition of a bright woody-floral perfume. The rest of the notes form a familiar foundation for this accord to sing over, playing dark against light and density against airiness. This might all sound a bit self-indulgent from a writing standpoint, but this is the miracle of a Mark Buxton construction. Norwegian Wood gets to have it all: two independent essences fit with puzzle-piece cohesion in the same drop of liquid.
We often celebrate perfumes that go beyond gender and genre here at The Fandomentals. Perfumes like Norwegian Wood go one step further. Smell this fragrance and you’ll forget that such boxes existed in the first place; your brain will be in uncharted territory where such narrow delineations no longer appear relevant. My first sniff reminded me of what non-binary musician yeule said in a recent interview re: their unconventional makeup style: “I just don’t like being perceived as conventionally pretty. I don’t want people to look at me and be like, ‘You’re so hot.’ I want them to be like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’” For those who want to turn themselves into a piece of art, Norwegian Wood is a perfect companion. Whether it’s sitting on skin or on a countertop, Norwegian Wood starts the sort of conversations that can turn an average day into a revelation.
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!
Be the first to leave a review.