mardi 20 mai 2008

Filling the Musk Gap (III): Indult C16

I wish I could say more about C16, Francis Kurkdjian’s tribute to Tonkin musk – the most precious of the natural musk tinctures. But my encounter with Indult’s fourth fragrance, exclusively sold at the Parisian concept store Colette (there are only 213 bottles, 213 rue St-Honoré being the address of the store) was unfortunately rather brief.

The young male S.A. started out by saying that “on paper, it doesn’t smell”. He then condescended to spray my arm with a couple of measly spritzes, explaining that I had to wait five minutes for the scent to appear.

With not much to go on, I can simply say that I detected ambrette in the top notes, which makes sense: C16 is built around Ambretone, a molecule patented by Takasago, Francis Kurkdjian’s new employer – “C16” stands for the 16 carbon atom chain of C16H28O.

After about 15 minutes, the eau de parfum develops a slightly metallic facet, which happens with some of the synthetic musks. This vaguely iron-y note, with an almost bloody aftertaste, lingers discreetly throughout the drydown. But this may be an effect of selective anosmia to specific musk compounds: the friend who was with me told me that she couldn’t detect it.

C16 stays well away from any Orientalist reference. It subtly explores the various facets of musk – from “white” to animalic with the floral accents of ambrette – in a minimalist style.
For what little I smelled of it – I didn’t dare ask to make my own sample – it seemed quite lovely and rather diffusive. But does it deserve to be so rare?

Indult’s stance on exclusivity has always bugged me a bit. There were only 999 bottles produced of each of the three first fragrances – or so they say. Yet they are still on sale in some Sephora stores, over a year after launching. Which means that they either don’t sell very well, or that more bottles have been produced… My reaction is the same as for their beautiful vanilla, Tihota: 150 euros for 50 ml is a bit expensive for a “soliflore”.

Image: An image of the musk-deer, presented in the materia medica section of the Tibetan medical paintings commissioned by Sangye Gyatso (1653-1705), courtesy of

7 commentaires:

  1. Hello D!
    Beautiful blog and I enjoyed reading all your posts.
    I would like to try Indult C16 elsewhere too.
    How I detest that zoo!
    Bises, N

  2. Thank you N.! Yes, I wish C16 were available elsewhere. Colette has become such a tourist mecca it's hard to even think straight in it, especially with the noise -- er, music. It's just an upscale Sephora, really.

  3. The Indults do not sell much. Same with some other lines which are also very exclusive ;-)

    Ambrette is the new iris, it seems. Which is both foreboding and suspect.

    I realize I am winking a lot these days. Must be a conky eye or something ;-)


  4. The poor sales of the Indults doesn't surprise me: their stand doesn't scream luxury, their boxes are so-so and Sephora is not a place for exclusive perfumery. It's a shame for Francis Kurkdjian whose gifts are worth showcasing in a better way.

  5. In all my trips to Paris I've yet to set foot inside Colette. Something about that places just turns me off. They're so aggressively... hippest-kid-in-high-school, if that makes any sense. I don't mind exclusivity per se, but marketed exclusivity seems a bit oxymoronic.

  6. Well, you're not that hip anymore when you've become a tourist hotspot. That said, the early Colette was a great place to go to discover new, directional designers: to be shown there was a sacrament! I just really wish the perfume corner were more amenable to sniffing...