Clandestine Laboratories

naylor

Basenotes Institution
Oct 24, 2011
Saw this thread bump up, and it reminded me that I wanted to post the link to Mark’s recent excellent blog post:

On Contemporary Perfumery

I agree with just about everything he expresses here. I received my delightful sample pack a few weeks ago, and I am working through them in my usual slow ruminative fashion.
Wow, that was an enjoyable read, and I also agree with many of those sentiments. Thanks for sharing!
 
Jul 1, 2015
I have been trying additional samples: Ashes, Film Noir and Silver. Really like all 3 of them and it is super hard to decide which one to get first, as all of them are FB worthy for me. While I am not a big fun of florals, there is something about Ashes that keeps pulling me back. Silver is very unique and while I was scared of mintiness, I am truly enjoying. Still testing Film Noir, but first 30 mins have been highly enjoyable
 

Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 12, 2019
Mark has put Madrid up on the shop:


And Assam:



I sampled a pre-release batch of Madrid and found it lovely, though it's my understanding the formulation Mark has put up for sale is balanced a little differently due to changes in the availability of certain materials.

Assam is very nice, too! An Earl Grey opening with bergamot and tea gives way to a cozy, soft, pleasant, well-rounded oud/woods blend.
 

Rinx7

Basenotes Member
Mar 14, 2021
I got the full set of samples minus Novochok (not a fan of cocoa scents). I'm extremely impressed with this house. Believe the hype. There was nothing I outright disliked and quite a few that I really really liked (Madrid, Assam, Film Noire, Silver, Master, and the unreleased Enigma). This is an "amateur" house akin to Fazzolari, Papillon, Kerosene, etc. that has the polish, poise, and creativity of the best pro niche houses like Parfum d'Empire and Malle.
 

ionone

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 20, 2020
it's actutally 6x2 ml samples for $40 now
thanks for the discovery
only ships to US though ?
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
I have been trying additional samples: Ashes, Film Noir and Silver. Really like all 3 of them and it is super hard to decide which one to get first, as all of them are FB worthy for me. While I am not a big fun of florals, there is something about Ashes that keeps pulling me back. Silver is very unique and while I was scared of mintiness, I am truly enjoying. Still testing Film Noir, but first 30 mins have been highly enjoyable
Film Noir all the way
 
Jul 1, 2015
I have finished testing Ashes, Film Noir, and Dharan. All are outstanding.
While my nose is not as sophisticated as some of the people on this thread, and I am not an eloquent writer when it comes to fragrances, I have strong opinions on what I like and do not like. Something that has words like ‘clean austere and fresh’ I description would send me running for woods. Mark managed to change that with Dharan - there is something amazingly addictive that I cannot stop sniffing and is well deserving of a FB. Film Noir and Ashes are all on my FB list, I honestly have to pace myself. At this point I am scared of asking for samples - and Mark is super generous with those, because I end up liking each and every one of them. Some I like better on the second or third wearing, some result in my family wrinkling their noses at me (AMATURES!!!) but all are superb stand outs. I highly recommend trying this house.
 

Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 12, 2019
I am testing Novochok - an amazing dark chocolate that is slightly gourmandish and very sophisticated. This is my Hokusai grail of chocolate scent - I have not been able to find anything that is not too diabetics coma inducing before. Totally FB worthy for me.
The way it brings out the mineral facets in dark chocolate is unique (and in keeping with the broader Clandestine Laboratories aesthetic).
 
Jul 1, 2015
I had just gotten my hands on a sample of Assam and honestly I wish I did not. It is a bit more masculine than I would have liked but it is very impressive: while I think I missed the tea in the opening - sprayed it right before cooking Aglio e Olio so could not smell anything post cutting the garlic, the cedar is amazing. I would have sprung for a smaller bottle and this is a great masculine!!
 
Mar 26, 2022
Wow and hello to everyone!

I've seriously debated whether or not to join in here, because I want people to feel free to speak their minds without me as your audience. However, at this point I think I've corresponded directly with most of you and tbh I've been lurking here with growing amazement at the positive responses. Possibly amazement isn't the right word, since I've always believed in my work - but it's incredible to finally have an audience and to be "meeting" people like yourselves who appreciate what I'm doing. TBH, after years of only doing this for myself and people I know, it's also addictive. I'm trying not to let it go to my head.

I mostly want to make a not-so-urgent request: please review my fragrances. Whether you love them or not, if you want to support my work please review it honestly so that other people can discover it. The intentional obscurity thing (see website for details) was true for a long time but no longer really makes sense if I'm going to make a serious go of this. It's good branding but it doesn't need to be 100% true any more; world domination is the next goal.

Thank you all.
 

thrilledchilled

All Is Beautiful
Basenotes Plus
Nov 17, 2018
Wow and hello to everyone!

I've seriously debated whether or not to join in here, because I want people to feel free to speak their minds without me as your audience. However, at this point I think I've corresponded directly with most of you and tbh I've been lurking here with growing amazement at the positive responses. Possibly amazement isn't the right word, since I've always believed in my work - but it's incredible to finally have an audience and to be "meeting" people like yourselves who appreciate what I'm doing. TBH, after years of only doing this for myself and people I know, it's also addictive. I'm trying not to let it go to my head.

I mostly want to make a not-so-urgent request: please review my fragrances. Whether you love them or not, if you want to support my work please review it honestly so that other people can discover it. The intentional obscurity thing (see website for details) was true for a long time but no longer really makes sense if I'm going to make a serious go of this. It's good branding but it doesn't need to be 100% true any more; world domination is the next goal.

Thank you all.
Glad you are here!
 

naylor

Basenotes Institution
Oct 24, 2011
Wow and hello to everyone!

I've seriously debated whether or not to join in here, because I want people to feel free to speak their minds without me as your audience. However, at this point I think I've corresponded directly with most of you and tbh I've been lurking here with growing amazement at the positive responses. Possibly amazement isn't the right word, since I've always believed in my work - but it's incredible to finally have an audience and to be "meeting" people like yourselves who appreciate what I'm doing. TBH, after years of only doing this for myself and people I know, it's also addictive. I'm trying not to let it go to my head.

I mostly want to make a not-so-urgent request: please review my fragrances. Whether you love them or not, if you want to support my work please review it honestly so that other people can discover it. The intentional obscurity thing (see website for details) was true for a long time but no longer really makes sense if I'm going to make a serious go of this. It's good branding but it doesn't need to be 100% true any more; world domination is the next goal.

Thank you all.
Welcome to the forum!
 
Jul 1, 2015
Welcome to the forum!!
I have had a chance to try a couple of newish fragrances. Sea otter and Astoria. Both are beautiful. Sea otter is somewhat of aquatic floral, in the sense that you can smell the ocean while walking along the flower field. I cannot confidently put my finger on what flowers, as everything is blended v. smoothly.
Now Astoria is something - I cannot even figure out the notes. I get mint and bergamot in the opening, it is is very sparkly and addictive. And I cannot put my finger in what the rest of notes are!!
 

thrilledchilled

All Is Beautiful
Basenotes Plus
Nov 17, 2018
Welcome to the forum!!
I have had a chance to try a couple of newish fragrances. Sea otter and Astoria. Both are beautiful. Sea otter is somewhat of aquatic floral, in the sense that you can smell the ocean while walking along the flower field. I cannot confidently put my finger on what flowers, as everything is blended v. smoothly.
Now Astoria is something - I cannot even figure out the notes. I get mint and bergamot in the opening, it is is very sparkly and addictive. And I cannot put my finger in what the rest of notes are!!

Those both sound like they’ll be great!
 

adr95

New member
Jan 10, 2021
Finally got my hands on Assam. Had to ship it to my forwarder in the US and then to Singapore but definitely well worth the wait. Mark is also extremely kind in responding to my enquiries and very generous with his samples. Great experience all around.

First impressions of Assam -
First and foremost, the sprayer is wonderful lol. With regards to the scent, this was a blind buy and I've had 2 wearing of this. I think it's quite beautiful. It opens up bright, peppery, spicy, slightly mentholated, with a very slight nuanced backdrop of oud. The opening doesn't remind me of much else, with the closest probably being Memo's Shams Oud, but Assam is still quite different and I find Assam to be infinitely better. What I really adored was the dry down, where the true, authentic oud comes to the foreground, with the scent becoming much denser and woodier.

While it doesn't have the same caliber of materials such as Ensar/AA/ALD/ASO etc, I do find Assam to be more refined and balanced, and it offers an interesting take on oud that I've yet to experience from artisanal houses. It's not your typical rose/musk/jasmine/chypre/leather/coffee-oud sort of composition so it's definitely worth trying if you're a fan of oud.

IMG_9174.jpg
 
Jul 1, 2015
Finally got my hands on Assam. Had to ship it to my forwarder in the US and then to Singapore but definitely well worth the wait. Mark is also extremely kind in responding to my enquiries and very generous with his samples. Great experience all around.

First impressions of Assam -
First and foremost, the sprayer is wonderful lol. With regards to the scent, this was a blind buy and I've had 2 wearing of this. I think it's quite beautiful. It opens up bright, peppery, spicy, slightly mentholated, with a very slight nuanced backdrop of oud. The opening doesn't remind me of much else, with the closest probably being Memo's Shams Oud, but Assam is still quite different and I find Assam to be infinitely better. What I really adored was the dry down, where the true, authentic oud comes to the foreground, with the scent becoming much denser and woodier.

While it doesn't have the same caliber of materials such as Ensar/AA/ALD/ASO etc, I do find Assam to be more refined and balanced, and it offers an interesting take on oud that I've yet to experience from artisanal houses. It's not your typical rose/musk/jasmine/chypre/leather/coffee-oud sort of composition so it's definitely worth trying if you're a fan of oud.

View attachment 197551
Your description of Assam is spot on and mirrors mine - I am not that good with words. I am looking forward to getting a bottle once it is available.
 

Paddington

Marmalade Sandwich Eater
Basenotes Plus
Jun 17, 2021
For those that are purchasing a FB in the near future, I highly recommend trying Astoria (I keep confusing it with Hiram Green's Arcadia release). It has a delicious, non-sweet mojito like top note (minuteness?bergamot?). It has not been released yet, but I was able to purchase a bottle and is quite smitten with it
Sounds really good for the upcoming weather
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
Wow and hello to everyone!

I've seriously debated whether or not to join in here, because I want people to feel free to speak their minds without me as your audience. However, at this point I think I've corresponded directly with most of you and tbh I've been lurking here with growing amazement at the positive responses. Possibly amazement isn't the right word, since I've always believed in my work - but it's incredible to finally have an audience and to be "meeting" people like yourselves who appreciate what I'm doing. TBH, after years of only doing this for myself and people I know, it's also addictive. I'm trying not to let it go to my head.

I mostly want to make a not-so-urgent request: please review my fragrances. Whether you love them or not, if you want to support my work please review it honestly so that other people can discover it. The intentional obscurity thing (see website for details) was true for a long time but no longer really makes sense if I'm going to make a serious go of this. It's good branding but it doesn't need to be 100% true any more; world domination is the next goal.

Thank you all.
Welcome to City 17

It's safer here.
 
Mar 26, 2022
My next release will be Astoria, looks like. I've been trying to come up with a release schedule but things keep changing because of some difficulties in sourcing materials, plus I've been swamped trying to figure out how to account for my crazy inventory of raw materials for taxes. However, Astoria is one of my GF's favorites and she's been bugging me to release it this spring because it's a spring fragrance.

What brought me here, however, was ADR95 telling me he'd left a review of Assam, which I think it pretty accurate - thank you. My fragrances are really not about the quality of materials so much as about the qualities of the materials. In this case, the oud oil definitely isn't of the highest quality or the most expensive (thankfully) but the specific qualities of the oil are essential to the character of the fragrance. Good news: I've been assessing the oils I've acquired recently with the intention of creating a new batch of Assam (possibly with a new name to reflect the fact that it's not exactly the same fragrance) and I've finally found one that is very similar to the original.

What this means is I'll be releasing more of the original batch soon and after that the new version should be available by the end of this year. Also, the new version will be the same price; I don't believe in high-priced "limited editions" or creating artificial scarcity but even the not-super-high-end oud oils are expensive and finding this one has taken significant investment.

Once again, thank you all - and please, if you enjoy my fragrances, please please review them on the Basenotes fragrance listings so that others can see a diversity of opinions when they search for them. I'm still very much unknown to most people and would love to be able to devote myself to this full-time.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
…if you enjoy my fragrances, please please review them on the Basenotes fragrance listings so that others can see a diversity of opinions when they search for them. I'm still very much unknown to most people and would love to be able to devote myself to this full-time.

Is there a way to order a single, complete sample set? I'm on a mission to wear a sample a day and review everything I wear, and these all sound promising-to-amazing, but the way the discovery sets are configured now (with Assam counting as two), I'd come up short one by ordering two different sets—never mind the unreleased stuff.
 
Mar 26, 2022
Is there a way to order a single, complete sample set? I'm on a mission to wear a sample a day and review everything I wear, and these all sound promising-to-amazing, but the way the discovery sets are configured now (with Assam counting as two), I'd come up short one by ordering two different sets—never mind the unreleased stuff.
Yes, just order two sets and ignore the instructions re Assam counting as two. I'd love it if you reviewed them all!
 

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