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The Smell Test: Aedes de Venustas Palissandre d’Or

This scent received high marks for sex appeal and a smoky complexity — like incense burning in an ancient cathedral.

This scent received high marks for sex appeal and a smoky complexity — like incense burning in an ancient cathedral. Though its strong cedar base is right on trend for niche perfumery, some reviewers considered this a negative. Here are anonymous comments by the judges with their individual scores.


“Excellent, startling biscuity- patchouli top note accord — clever and unusually fresh, spicy heart.”
Score: 8

“Bold statement, with a woody signature that’s complex and slightly smoky.”
Score: 8

“Sexy, but at the drydown [it’s] very much like a home fragrance.”
Score: 6

“The never-ending litany of [oudlike] things is so far past played out…too late to the party, please do something else.”
Score: 2

“Falls down quickly, lacks body and volume.”
Score: 4

“Earthy, dark [and] damp, hints of geranium and rose. Definitely on trend for niche perfumery.”
Score: 7

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“The only small qualm is a polished but not overly exciting finale.”
Score: 8

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“A wonderfully smoky, spicy [and] seamless swath of aroma, mysterious…a ‘churchy’ fragrance [that] takes me to another place and creates an ambiance to carry me through my day.”
Score: 9

“Genderless, addictive, intense and provocateur. Not for everyday but super elegant.”
Score: 7


ABOUT THE TEST AND JUDGES: This is a blind test, panelists are given vials of unidentified scent to judge impartially. Each of them gives a score ranging from 1 (forgettable) to 10 (unforgettable) and the numbers are computed into a final grade. The judges, led by chairman Michael Edwards, also make critiques, which are unattributed to encourage candor. The most promising scents are picked for judging in an effort to find and showcase excellence. WWD buys the products at retail, like any other consumer. The esteemed judges are: Michael Edwards, author of “Fragrances of the World” and “Perfume Legends”; Paul Austin, chief executive officer of sensory storytelling agency Austin Advisory Group; Jean-Claude Delville, senior perfumer at Drom; Karen Dubin, founder and ceo of Sniffapalooza; Victoria Frolova, fragrance industry analyst and Bois de Jasmin editor; Christophe Laudamiel, master perfumer at DreamAir; Nathalie Pichard, owner of training and evaluation agency Topnotes; Chantal Roos, cocreator of Roos & Roos Co.; Luca Turin, biophysicist and perfume critic for, and Kevin Verspoor, founder of PerfumeKev LLC.