Sunday, October 19, 2014

Perfume Review: Ao by MikMoi

How does one describe such a transportive perfume as MikMoi's Ao? I think first I need to establish what it conjures in my mind. Ao is a tropical scent that has taken all the cliches out, this is not suntan lotion, or a pikake lei. It is not bright and sunny. Ao is a scent that explores the meeting of the in between areas: dusk, ocean and land, those ephemeral zones that have mystic connotations. So how does the perfumer Mik do this?

Ao creates a fine balance of tropical mysticism by ignoring the sweet aspects of tuberose and coconut. There is no doubt they play a role but the coconut is fresh and green and the tuberose is applied as though you are smelling it in a garden afar; it is noticeable but your face is not pressed into it.  He then layers smoky cade, a very green ginger, and woods around these notes. He finalizes this wonderful layering of notes with an airy mentholated note which fades but provides a luminous quality to the scent.

An interesting thing happens as this fragrance progresses to the dry down I get hints of green peach/apricot. The perfumer was actually there when I tried this scent on and he even noted that my skin had heightened this aspect in the scent, he surmised that I accentuating this quality from the tuberose. This little fruit tart note really ends up accentuating the smokiness of the cade and makes the scent even more enchanting.

Another additional quality I enjoy in Ao is the salty note that brings images of the ocean to the mind but thankfully does not make you think aquatic.

I never thought I would meet a perfume that was an introverted tropical. Yet, that is what Ao is, quiet and contemplative but full of tropical notes. It is not jovial and bright and talking about laying out in the sun with an umbrella bedecked drink. This scent is dusk, smoke, and water lapping against boats.

Ao is utterly unique and worth sniffing just to smell how someone can redo the idea of a tropical/aquatic scent. I really can't wait to explore more of MikMoi's scents and smell the new interpretations he comes up with.

Try if you like Serge Luten's Datura Noir, Diptyque Tam Dao, or L'Artisan Timbuktu.

image Mark Cross

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