True but subdued jasmine with some skin buzz and resinous smoke and saltiness. It's a beautifully arrayed composition the jasmine, though with its natural sweetness curiously dialed down, comes across as a flowering plant sharing the wearer's space, earthy and vegetal tones mingling with the floral song; behind it the shades of frankincense and myrrh, distant at first but coming ever closer, impart a somewhat dusty but also civilizing quality. And then there's the thought that this perfume is merging perfectly in and out of one's own skin scent. Everything seems to be in such balance that Alter has that sense of this could not happen in any other way'.
I find it hypnotic, captivating, and, yes, altering' of our expectations of white florals and jasmine scents. But it's an extrait in the old school sense and refuses to announce its presence. Call me a vulgarian but I wanted it to speak up just a bit more.
Although I really rate Bond-T and Vitrum, Alter is possibly my favorite from the Sammarco line-up. It presents an incredibly indolic, almost raw-feeling jasmine, and underlines its inherent funk with a sizeable amount of civet. But here's the thing none of this comes off as imbalanced or shrill. The potentially screechy combination of jasmine and civet is smoothed out by a rich, earthy myrrh, noted by perfumers for its use in compositions to lend a rich, deep smoothness, much like the use of butter in a cake. The smell of the myrrh is noticeable to my nose, with that earthy bitterness and fungal density you get in myrrh oil, and it acts as an effective grounding foil to the fluffy, almond-blossom-scented mimosa present in the topnotes.
The topnotes also have an almost gasoline or rubber twang to them, pointing to the massive amount of raw jasmine sambac used. For much of the time wearing Alter, I was convinced that the jasmine was actually tuberose, so prominent was the buttery rubber note. The civet in the base creates a oddly leather-like feel, and lends the composition a lived-in, masculine feel. This is one white floral that guys could wear with total confidence. All of Sammarco perfume samples lasted a long time on my skin, and Alter was no exception about 16 hours in and I could smell the leathery civet and the super-indolic jasmine.
Sammarco is all about the juice. No verbose backstories, no fancy packagings and, most of all, no hype and no cheap-poetry. A bunch of extremely high-quality ingredients effortlessly blended into little masterpieces that are way more complex than an initial look might suggest. A great example of a lost kind of perfumery that relies on the main player: perfume.
Alter is basically a massive indolic jasmine of rare beauty enriched by a subtle and yet quite remarkable civet note and something bitter and kind of almondy (mimosa or maybe heliotrope). The opening is extremely vivid and portraits the main ingredient in all its natural raw quality. Indolic, unprettified with a sort of freshly-cut mushroom facet and obviously very floral. The pairing with civet is perfect and instead of enhancing the potential challenging aspect of the combo, it provides a warm and carnal vein while other smooth yellow florals serve as refinements. It's a striking fragrance that doesn't need to rely on volume to make its statement. Instead it's calm, close to the skin and yet somehow, dangerous and daring.
If you're up for a *pretty* jasmine, you should probably look somewhere else. Instead, if a true to life, high-end quality white floral is what you're after, Alter will most definitely fit your bill. A fragrance that's fascinating, visceral and educational at the same time. Think about some of the best JAR minus the pretentiousness and you're there.
Sammarco doesn't need to promise, it just delivers.
"Alter" is a gorgeous Jasmine (and Rose) perfume. Being all-natural the floral notes are not tamed but radiate with all their glory and an almost palpable quality, no aspect of the flowers is covered up, but its still a very elegant perfume. After applying the Rose and Jasmine are on par, about half an hour later the Rose comes more to the center stage, leading then to a nice, slightly animalic drydown. There are other notes as well in "Alter", but I don't pick them up consciously, they are just rounding out the fragrance. Longevity on my skin is not good (which is normal for all-natural perfumes), after about two hours the perfume turns into a skin scent for a few hours more. Performance on fabric is better. "Alter" is not a dark perfume but the Rose is of the darker kind and gives the perfume a mysterious sunset-vibe! Because of that it's also easily suitable for men - no need to be afraid of florals! The quality of the ingredients is top-notch! For me personally the Rose is a bit too much emphasised. I am not the biggest fan of Rose in a leading role, that's why it doesn't surpass my favourite Jasmine-perfume "Tawaf" where the Rose is much more subdued. Nevertheless this is a great perfume for all Jasmine and Rose lovers who want to smell them in full bloom!