Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Puredistance M

It has taken me a while to get round to writing about Puredistance M, partly because I wanted to wear it a number of times to get a better-balanced view and also due to some personal circumstances, for example a strained back, which, I am happy to report, is on the mend!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Puredistance and then sent a sample of M to try. This is the first time that such a thing has happened to me, so I am very pleased to write about this perfume. I was a little worried when I first received the package, as I thought "what if I don't like it? Do I just not write about it?" I think in all honesty that if I hadn't liked it, I would have still written a frank review of it, hopefully.

M was created by Roja Dove, who is based in London and is one of the world's most renowned perfume historians, nose and specialist. Ostensibly M is a leather chypre. The notes include bergamot, lemon, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, patchouli, moss, cistus, vetiver, vanilla, leather and musk.

On my skin M opens quite spicy, with a generous kick of bergamot. There are florals in the background, which to me smell a bit like lavender, although this isn't listed in the notes. The spices are earthy rather than like a culinary spice box. Once the top faded, I was surprised by the strength of a very smoky leather that emerged. It's well balanced though and at no time do I feel like the leather is going to overwhelm and become too rough. I wrote at the time that the leather smelled a bit like Mona di Orio's Cuir, but not as severe or dry. As M progresses, the leather softens to reveal a gradual emergence of amber, with a light woodiness which feels a little green around the edges, no doubt helped by the presence of vetiver. By the time M reaches the far dry down the leather has faded considerably to leave a slightly sweet balsamic amber and labdanum combination, a lot richer in feel than earlier on. 

I know the above description sounds a bit formulaic, but the progression here is very subtle and yet complex at the same time. I love how M moves from spice to leather to resins, starting quite dry and evolving to a sweeter oriental. I'm not an expert by any means, but I don't really get the feel of a chypre. Leather yes. Roja Dove has created a very good, refined perfume. It doesn't really have any jagged edges, save perhaps for the early heart when the leather first emerges shrouded in a smoky cloak. 

With each subsequent wearing my interpretation of the above still holds good. I kept on thinking to myself how the best thing about M is that transformation from spice to fierce leather, like a mist lifting, then the retreat of the leather to leave an amber dry down. I did start to notice more of a musk note with later wearings. 

If I have a criticism of M (and I'm struggling to find one, believe me) it might be that it is too smooth and suave. Except for that leather note I mentioned, the rest is quite restrained. However even as I write this I think I am wrong. It strikes me that this very restraint and subtlety could be the genius of this perfume. 

So finally, is M suitable for all of us? Well, while the top and heart notes are quite masculine, with the spices and leather, the base is essentially an amber/resin oriental, slightly sweet and with a hint of smoke, but definitely not cloying. I honestly do not see why a woman could not wear this quite comfortably. M comes highly recommended and honestly, my opinion is not biased as a result of having being sent a free sample of the perfume. I think Roja Dove has created an exceptionally good perfume.


  1. I certainly find it suitable for me. :) And I need to write about it too but I'm sort of lost in my life at the moment, so many things to do, so little time, so writing is the first thing to stop. :)
    Will try and remedy that soon.

  2. Great to get the male perspective on this fragrance, Michael. Really enjoyed your review!

    Unlike you, I don't get a "fierce leather" at all: to me it's a quiet leather, very easy to wear. Maybe because -- and here I quite agree with you -- this scent is so smooth, suave and refined, as you mentioned. :)

  3. Ines glad you enjoy it too. Hope you find some breathing space again and the time to do what you want to do, not just what you need to do!

  4. Suzanne thanks for the comment. Hmm, yes, fierce leather could be misleading perhaps, thinking about it. It's very brief for me, when there is this emergence of smoky leather that seems fierce, perhaps due to the contrast with what came before. I don't know!

  5. Hi Michael,

    I will be honest and say that this doesn't sound like my style at all, though I love the more girly Puredistance 1! The people at Puredistance chose well and I am happy for your gain (do people say the opposite of "sorry for your loss"?) They do now, in this corner anyway!

  6. Vanessa that's ok. Are you not a fan of leather, amber and that sort of thing in general?



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