The stage is set and here's the trick the perfume magician performs: out of the purple hat, he pulls a creation that is deep and dark bitter, mouldy woods and dark chocolate (definitely more than a dab of patchouli lurking within) but which is also lit up with a herbal glow lavender that is bright and airy, carrying hints of menthol and clove about it. And this dark, yet glowing thing is also smooth as a silken glove. Bojnokopff caresses; it feels light despite the richness of some of the notes; and it feels herbal-fresh and boozy at the same time as well.
When it settles it is becomes somewhat more traditional the brighter aspects vanish and the overriding theme is of a sweet cured tobacco inflected with vanilla and chocolate. For some reason and I am possibly being horribly unfair I kept thinking that a politer relative of A-Men had alighted on my skin. This association may well be falsely triggered as I haven't worn A-Men in years now so my memory of it isn't sharp, but perhaps it is indicative of the feel of this perfume.
My final sample to try from the present seven-sample pack of Fort & Manle, Mr. Bojnokopff's Purple Hat undoubtedly has the best name, but it's also perhaps the most interesting blend of the lot.
Composed of vanilla, chocolate, lavender, oud, cedar, guaiac, and vetiver, this is a great take on the "sweet meets dirty" concept, but admittedly not that dirty, as the oud and vetiver don't nearly match the sweetness of the vanilla and chocolate (and to some extent, guaiac) but rather play off of those key notes.
The main players here are the vanilla, chocolate, lavender, and oud, the woody notes adding some grounded evenness in the background, mainly.
It's overall a sweet experience with a fresh, floral edge from the lavender and dark, earthy undertones from the oud, anchored by the vetiver, cedar, and guaiac.
How fascinating a blend this is, appealing to both gourmand lovers like myself and perhaps oud lovers, and woody-note lovers.
It's strong, performance-wise, perhaps not quite as strong as Amber Absolutely but comparable, and so it's roughly the second strongest offering from the house.
Bojnokopff scratches a similar itch to what Kerosene Blackmail does, similarly pairing oud with a whole lot of sweetness, but surely the lavender throws off the balance from being essentially the same as Blackmail.
It's certainly geared more toward cold weather wearing but it's nice enough that I must just darn well wear it anytime. And I can see these being pretty unisex, too, without any real leaning as far as masculine vs. feminine. Very impressive overall, and it concludes a sample of a very nice up-and-coming house with an already-strong catalog.
***EDIT - it's really on par with Amber Absolutely as my favorite of the house, and it's certainly more innovative than AA, though AA is also executed to near-perfection. Definitely worth checking out, and in my case, full-bottle-worthy.
Quite unique and mysterious to me, so it seems to have met its brief. I initially mainly get oud and a very natural lavender here, just like i would smell if i was holding a fresh cut bouquet.
After this, the gaiac wood introduces a mild smoky accord which also evokes a slightly skanky leather. Hours later just when you thought chocolate and vanilla didn't get the invite, there they appearin the waft of still lingering smoke, like an illusion.
Definitely a very impressive scent that will probably reveal more character with subsequent wearings, so definitely a must to sample first.