Porthos Solid Cologne | Contains Prickly Pear Oil | A Classic Chypre!
"An incredibly refined and distinctive fragrance”~Roja Dove, Perfumer
Scent Profile: Dry Woods/Leathery/Classical/Masculine. A Chypre masterpiece.
Top notes: of Artemisia (wormwood), Aldehydes, Bergamot, Gardenia, Green Note, Cinnamon, Cumin. Middle notes: of Clary Sage, Patchouli, Orris, Vetiver, Sandal. Base notes: of Leather, Oakmoss, Castoreum, Amber, Musk.
Porthos is an homage to one of the most classic masculine scents of all time. Born out of the 1960's but timeless in depth and shape. I remember the first time I caught a whiff of this stuff. (do you?)
It was the mid 1980's and my family and I were staying in my uncle's cabin for a fall weekend. He met us up there to give us the key. Before he took off however, he had my brother and I help him bring some logs inside and stack the rest on the porch. Working next to him is when I "caught it", Aramis. It's unmistakable, infectious, mysterious and Iconic. I truly believe everyone remembers exactly where they where when they smelled this mystery for the first time! The whole experience burned the fragrance forever on to my brain. The scent notes seem to work or reinforce a "smell track" for that weekend; Crisp Fall Air, Fresh Cut Wood, Leather...Rugged and Classy all at the same time.
As a collector of vintage aftershaves I happened to stumble upon an old bottle of Clint by Avon, opened it up and BOOM, whipped back to the cabin with my uncle and brother...what the heck? I'm certain my uncle wore Aramis but this bottle of Clint, straight out of the 70's had me questioning my memory. This was before I knew that Avon had built an aftershave empire out of Duping other popular scents of the time!
Sure enough, Clint is almost a dead-ringer for Aramis! Now that my scent palate has matured and become more colorful and dare I say more sophisticated, I recognize just subtle differences in the two. Clint possess just a hint more leather but at the end of the day is much closer than even the modern version of Aramis! [So if you ever find a bottle of Clint in an antique shop, GRAB IT!]
Not sure when, my guess is early 2000's, they changed the formula. The new stuff just doesn't smell the same nor compare. There can be a number of reasons for this, and this seems to be "business as usual" for a lot of "classic frags"... I have learned to accept it, it's just a pity, the kids will never know what we've lost!
That said, I made it my personal mission to reboot the original scent. I'm taking us all back to the cabin in style, Buckle up!
As for the label, it represents the process of perfuming, which is truly a time machine of some sort or another. You need only to put together a lot of odds an ends when blending. Notes that your mind tells you never to combine, but the nose trumps the mind in this matter, a leap of faith! Once the "building" of this strange machine is complete, you should have a vehicle that will take you back to that time and place with just a quick sniff and you're there. [Note: This entire sales page was written under the influence of Porthos.]
I must confess, I was not a believer in Solid Colognes until recently! Many times when asked if I would ever consider doing one, my default answer was always:
"Solid Colognes are for hippies and little girls."
I really believed this. I mean, I vividly remember my little sister getting some that came with a doll of hers when she was 5! I also remember seeing the stuff on offer in many a new age store on the shelf next to the incense in intricately carved soapstone compacts, lol.
I assure you dear reader, my answer wasn't meant to be hurtful or mean spirited, and I admit I was simply wrong and uneducated in the ways of this magical stuff!
So what changed my mind you ask? Quite simply, it was the history. It turns out I actually owned a book on solid perfumes! I know, how is this possible? But it does happen.
Whenever I delve into anything I go full tilt and many years back, when I began working on honing my skills as a perfumer, I ordered every book out there! Some books were even in French! And one, as I mentioned, was on Solid Perfumes... totally didn't read the subtitle when ordering it, all I read was "Perfume". When it arrived, uninterested, I tossed it to the side, only to stumble upon it once more, years later, while transferring books to a new shelf.
And after the many requests from people over the years I did become more curious as to what all the hoopla was about in regards to the balm. So I put the tome on my bed and promised to take a quick gander at it before I fell asleep that night. That gander turned into a marathon session, a real page turner!
I am embarrassed to say I was way wrong, my previous exposure to the stuff was very limited, and I really had no right making up my mind to write it off so quickly. Solid Perfumes & Colognes were born out of a rich history and are totally different animals when it comes to scent carriers. I was looking at them completely wrong.
Fact is, a Solid Cologne is a much more personal, intimate, and tactile creation when compared to say, an Eau De Parfum, Cologne, or Aftershave. It is not meant for everyone in the room to smell but rather those closest to you, as well as yourself. It isn't meant to live on the shelf in your bathroom, but more as a travel companion tucked in your backpack, briefcase, gym bag or carry on!
This is part of the history! Back in the day, solid perfumes were kept close, often on the body, hidden in the secret compartment of a ring, or worn close to the heart in a locket or metal ball called a Pomander. It was always there for a quick whiff or application to the hot spots or facial hair.
Many men and women even carried scent boxes with them back in the day for inhaling while walking the fowl streets of medieval cities! Some of these boxes and compacts held multiple scents to be enjoyed one at a time or all at once or in different combinations. The sniffer could turn on or off the different scents of the accord...That's just AWESOME! Like playing your own composition on a musical instrument. Scent for scents sake!
Even plague doctors got in on the act and kept solid perfume on themselves as well. Many now know that doctors of that time wore curious bird like masks, the beak of which was stuffed with aromatic herbs. These herbs were thought to prevent the spread of the plague, and they were also used to eclipse the stench coming off the patients.
What you may not know is these doctors also came outfitted with a cane that hid a secret flip lid in the handle. This compartment held a blended, solid perfume that could be accessed in a pinch and smeared under the nose. Brilliant!
In Ancient Egypt, solid perfumes were a large part of the culture. An Egyptian woman often wore what was called an unguent, or scent cone, containing the perfume, on the top of her head. Unlike modern solid perfumes, which are mixed with wax and oils, these ancient fragrances were blended with animal fat, and during the course of the hot day it would melt and anoint the wearer...that's pretty epic!
I could go on, but instead, I encourage you to do your own research. I promise you it is fascinating and will give you a greater appreciation of Solid Cologne and Perfumes!
So, with the weight of history dancing in my head I went to work on creating my own Solid Cologne, and it came out wonderful! Rather than dissolving absolutes, resins, and balsams into alcohol as I typically would for an alcohol based perfume, I carefully heated them, and along with the scent oils, blended them into the Beeswax, Shea Oil, Jojoba oil, Prickly Pear Oil matrix.
I find that, as the perfumer, the scent stays truer longer to the original shape I was going for. Meaning, volatile top notes last longer and heart notes fade slower too! Base notes will last much, much longer as they mix and mingle more organically with your own body chemistry and natural oils seamlessly.
Solid Cologne is a total and complete departure from the chemical reaction one experiences with an alcohol based product. It is more like a harmonious alchemical marriage, than a quick burn and evaporate dry down effect. Very different energetics when compared, and don't misunderstand me, they are both wonderful, but again, unique from each other, and that's what I didn't understand before.
Even the mechanics of application are different. Apply it once or revisit it many times during the day as a pick me up, no one will even notice when you do. There's a very sensual element at play here, like a secret with yourself.
I really have to say, this whole process enriched me as a perfumer, I truly felt part of a greater work. Ok, it's getting a little woo woo, but I think you are picking up what I'm putting down, no?
It's true, I really misunderstood solid perfumes in the past and dismissed them way too soon in my arrogance. If you are like I was, I encourage you to become humble and check them out, otherwise you are doing yourself a great disservice.
Now...How DO I Use Solid Cologne?
Rub a finger across the top of the solid cologne and apply it to the pulse points & hot spots: wrists, neck, inside of elbow, behind the ears, and heart. You can also use in the beard, moustache or hair. Reapply through the day or whenever yo need a pick me up!
1.5 Oz Heavy Duty Glass Jar & Bakelite Cap
Beeswax, Shea Oil Jojoba oil, Prickly Pear Oil, Fragrance & Rosemary Extract
Handmade in Arizona, USA