sanders76 10/22/20 06:19
CRA-YON: The White T-Shirt Of Perfumery
New Swedish scent brand CRA-YON was launched in April of this year by the same founders of Agonist – a house known for challenging, awkward, and love-them-or-hate-them compositions. Clear from marketing message, aesthetic, and olfactory profiles alike, CRA-YON is the starkest opposite of Agonist – pleasant, easy-going perfumes for which there should in theory be very few haters, accessible to everyone in both notes and price point, designed as an “empowering wardrobe, made of the best quality ingredients.” They make a point to highlight gender-neutral, sustainable, and vegan angles.
None of the three debuts are ground-breaking curiosities nor best-in-class archetypes. If you were hoping for Agonist-level creativity, CRA-YON is not where you’ll find it. If I’m being honest, the first few hours with the new compositions presented very little I could even describe as interesting. But I’m aware that from the perspective of a writer who is looking out for the unexpected and the visionary, I run the risk of unfairly and inappropriately marking novelties against a hierarchy of craftsmanship, creativity, and artistry for which they were never intended; just as a food critic has no place comparing midnight New York pizza against Michelin-starred stalwarts, but can enjoy the slice of pizza with as much enthusiasm and vigour as Heston Blumenthal’s latest mind-playing concoction.
With all of that in mind, I understand the viability of Vanilla CEO, Sand Service, and Passport Amour within CRA-YON’s concept. Would you wear a loud, stripey shirt every day into work or the gym, or choose a plain white t-shirt to get the job done? CRA-YON’s wardrobe is simple and pleasing and nothing less nor more. If you like vanilla, Vanilla CEO will undoubtedly satisfy you. It is sweet and simple, light and floral, showcasing a cool vanilla bean tracked alongside a background orange blossom, with a tropical atmosphere and a salty finish comparable to Juliette Has A Gun’s Vanilla Vibes, Atelier Cologne’s Vanille Incensée, or Diptyque’s Eau Duelle. I think the latter two are far more complex renditions of vanilla, but that’s not saying I didn’t enjoy wearing Vanilla CEO for the day.
Following similar genealogy, Sand Service takes its cues entirely from pre-existing templates; for me, it conjured Le Labo’s Santal 33 most strongly, with hints of Tom Daxon’s Vachetta. As a green-edged leather, it fulfills the job of a dry suede chypre with papery papyrus and drops of violet here and there. I think they missed a trick here, overcomplicating the narrative with the pandering prompt that “Sand Service takes you traveling without moving. Now isn’t that sustainable? A composition of ingredients sourced from all over the world makes this the ultimate feelgood express.” It’s a decent leather that carries well and has considerable longevity — and the best of the bunch — and you can kind of leave it at that.
Passport Amour borrows from the rose-oud trope we’re very used to: Think Louis Vuitton’s Les Sables Roses, Burberry’s Tudor Rose, or Etat Libre d’Orange’s 500 Years. Solid perfumery work, no doubt — the rose is full, the oud is rich, and the patchouli is smooth. It’s very hard to gild the lily further without being disingenuous, as you can probably find better elsewhere (depending on how you define “better”) but, again, this doesn’t stop Passport Amour from smelling satisfying and getting you compliments with a generic, well-done rose oud.
All three scents would work very well as easy-going day wears that you don’t have to think much about, and they all have their virtues. Most people don’t want to sport a blue velvet smoking jacket or ripped, neon orange jeans every day, so in that respect these staple perfumery pieces do parallel comfortable casualwear very well indeed. If you’re intrigued, the sample kit is 10 euros.
Have you tried CRA-YON yet?
Eddie Bulliqi Columnist
Eddie Bulliqi is a writer and speaker who analyses what people want from their senses, specialised in the interpretation of tastes and smells, with a background in musicology and history of art. He has worked with Coty, the Estée Lauder Companies, Esxence, the Institute for Art and Olfaction, and the World Perfumery Congress. For Fragrantica, he produces trend reports, interviews, raw material studies and reviews.
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