Suzanne's Perfume Journal

October 1, 2010:

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Odin 04 Petrana: One Dark, Narcotic Bloom

It’s only October, but if I were to sit down now and compose my “Best of 2010” list, Odin 04 Petrana would easily be at the top of the list. Maybe not the tippy top, but darn close to it.

This latest fragrance from men’s clothing and lifestyle store, Odin New York, transports the wearer to the Jordanian desert when it is abloom with its national flower, the Black Iris. And just one whiff of its unusual, dark-sweet scent will have you cocking an eyebrow and asking, “What strange and wondrous flower, this?”

04 Petrana is the olfactory equivalent of a Kirsch and Cassis cocktail; the perfume equivalent of Venus conjunct Pluto. It occupies that odd territory where something comely and sweet strays into a brooding underworld—and the effect is hypnotic. The fragrance notes for Odin 04 Petrana include: Deep Purple Cassis, Pink Pepper, Herbaceous Coriander, Black Iris, Violet Leaf Absolute, Garden Heliotrope, Wild Orris Root, Earthy Vetiver, and White Musk. If in committing this list of notes to paper, the company felt it would help “sell” the scent to tack on such emphatic descriptors—i.e., not just Cassis, but ‘Deep Purple Cassis’; not just Coriander but ‘Herbaceous Coriander’—well, I can’t blame them. In the case of 04 Petrana, I find these descriptors fitting rather than mere hyperbole.

The most prominent note in 04 Petrana is Cassis, quite cordial-like, as in Crème de Cassis, but with a sweetness that is quickly met with a swirl of peppery and coolly-bitter herbal notes. In the first half hour of wear, 04 Petrana is a balance of boozy dark fruits: the dry, almost astringent smell of Black Cherries (unsweetened, as they appear in Kirsch) alongside the warm and fruity Black Currants of a Cassis liqueur. Coriander, violet leaf, and orris root all lend their cool sense of reserve to the mix, as well as a bit of wildness: they smell leathery and weed-like here, as if a patch of Wild Carrot has sprung up in the disturbed desert soil next to the exotically sweet Black Iris*. For most of its wear, this is what 04 Petrana smells like—a suave combination of dark and sweet notes, accented by pepper and leather, touched by a hint of booziness.

But out of this pitch-black sweetness a hint of powder eventually emerges, as if the Black Iris has opened its glossy petals to reveal a bit of its velvety interior. Heliotrope and (most probably) orris contribute to this nuanced amount of powder that appears late in the perfume’s development. It is a very quiet element, adding another layer of texture to 04 Petrana while by no means subtracting from the scent’s swarthy appeal. Speaking of which, 04 Petrana is characterized as being a unisex fragrance and has proven itself in that regard, if my own small household is any measure. My husband fell in love with it as instantly as I did, and we’re now sharing a bottle. (Not that we wear it together on the same day or anything, but you get my point.)

It might also be worth mentioning that 04 Petrana’s swarthiness reminds me of another fragrance in my collection: Pascal Morabito Or Black. While the two are different enough that I have every reason to own both (in other words, one is not a replacement for the other), they share a similar, handsome profile. Both have that dark, boozy, leathery edge to them that can pull at a person’s heart like an undertow; but whereas Or Black has a Gothic vibe and is heavier on the leather, Odin 04 Petrana is sweeter, smoother and much more elegant—making it a more accessible scent, perhaps, for the female gender. Considering that you don't have to scour the online auction sites or send away to Paris for a bottle, the way one has to do with the Morabito fragrance, Odin 04 Petrana is more accessible from that angle, too.

Odin 04 Petrana eau de toilette is available from Odin New York and Aedes de Venustas and can be ordered online from either store: 100 Ml./3.4 Fl. Oz. for $165.

*Note: I have no idea what Jordan’s native Black Iris actually smells like, but if Odin 04 Petrana is any indication, it must have at least some sweetness to its perfume.