This week I’ve been wearing a perfume that goes by the declarative name of Hedonist and smells like all of the drowsy and sensual things a hedonist would embrace. I’ll give you the actual perfume notes eventually, but for now imagine a fragrance that smells of spiced peaches and apricot nectar, sun-kissed skin and Italian suede leather, and that fermented beverage known as mead but which I prefer to call by its other name, “honey wine.” There isn’t a cruel note in this perfume—it’s rico suave to the max—and in terms of both its sun-warmed sensuality and its luxuriousness, this is very much my kind of fragrance. I am quite partial to the smell of osmanthus, which to my nose is the dominant note in this perfume, and whether osmanthus presents itself as tea-like (as it does in Xerjoff Mamluk, for instance) or whether it smells like a combination of apricots and fine leather, as it does here, it is a floral that conveys richness in the suavest way possible.

So when I tell you that the osmanthus in Hedonist is supported by notes that bend it in the direction of sexual lusciousness, you have to understand that this sexuality is achieved through innuendo and not via accords that smack of anything tawdry. There is nothing “ripe” about Hedonist apart from the spicy ripeness of its fruited notes, but that in and of itself is enough to make me imagine a luscious female form when I wear it. When I imagine her, she is in a sparkling and sunlit locale—at a beach or an orchard somewhere in the Mediterranean—because, while there are some dark and fermented tones to this fragrance that give it a lick of curvy sultriness, there is also a sweet, honeysuckled air of jasmine and orange blossom, lilting enough to put one in mind of clear-streaming skies.

Both these things—the illusion of the woman that Hedonist conjures for me, and the Mediterranean-like setting in which I see her standing—make me exceedingly happy. Not only do I appreciate beauty in both these forms, but I find it thrilling when a perfume lives up to its concept the way that this one does. When I think of a hedonist, I think of a person who is sensual and very comfortable in her body, and I imagine that person gravitating towards the warm and sunny places of the world that make a body feel good—places inclined towards languor, yet which are hip and upscale enough that they also shimmer with youthfulness. I smell Hedonist and envision the kind of woman who would catch George Clooney’s eye, were she to be strolling on an expensive piece of shoreline somewhere in the Italian Riviera.

So now, as promised, the actual fragrance notes that conspire to produce the image of this ripe, rich, and agile creature are these: rum, bergamot, peach, jasmine, orange blossom, osmanthus, vetiver, cedar, vanilla and tobacco. Hedonist is the first perfume to be launched from the Paris-based house of a young perfumer named Viktoria Minya—and because she is sending samples of her perfume to bloggers, I imagine the blogosphere will be lighting up with her name over the next couple months. Very sincerely I hope that it does; in my opinion, Hedonist is more beautiful, sensuous and luxurious than most perfumes being launched from niche houses these days. Minya, who is of Hungarian origin, studied perfume in Grasse—the area of the world that historically has produced the perfume industry’s most exquisite essences—and this influence shows up in Hedonist. I don’t know where Minya sourced the materials for her perfume, but Hedonist smells like it contains a generous amount of high-grade natural essences. It smells rich without smelling vulgar—and that’s a hard thing to explain with words, so let me take another stab at it: if ever a perfume could be said to smell of old-world charm and wealthy indulgences while having the air of the contemporary about it, then it could be said of this perfume.

I could elaborate on this fragrance further—and I suppose I will, to let you know that the rum note’s dark booziness provides body; that the peach and osmanthus conspire to produce the scent of warm skin and honeyed sweetness; and that a touch of tobacco also connects with the leather-like facet of osmanthus to enhance the feeling of sultry sensuality. (And, of course, I’ve already told you about the sunny disposition of the orange blossom and jasmine.)  Now that I’ve provided these particulars, though, I feel there is no need for me to say more. I was going to try to do all kinds of high-falutin’ things with this review—to relate it to the lovely 1922 novella, The Enchanted April, which was the book that most won me over to the concept of hedonism, but instead, I think I'll make like a hedonist and head outside. The sun is out and it’s a Saturday—that day when pleasure is the name of the game for most people. My taxes are done, and this is one of the first enchanting days we’ve had in April in my part of the world. So I’ll consider my work here finished, and I’ll be off to play.

April 6, 2013:

Hedonist by Viktoria Minya:

Surely the Most Luscious Case for Pleasure

Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Hedonist eau de parfum by Parfums Viktoria Minya can be purchased from the perfumer’s website, where a 45-ml bottle is currently priced at €145 (price is in euros), or in the US from, where it is $200.  My review is based on a sample sent to me by the perfumer, and I loved it so much, I ended up buying a bottle.

Luscious babe photo is from; bottle image is from the Parfums Viktoria Minya website.

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