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.
Image credit - http://www.puredistance.com/