Rock Crystal is quite an extraordinary fragrance although not groundbreaking. It is an enchanting woody resinous incense composition of high quality ingredients. While it is not a rich or thick fragrance it manages to linger for hours and hours. I find RC dry and as it progresses it becomes woodier. Cedar and/or pine friends tell me they smell on me after 3-4 hours of wearing RC. RC reminds me of a superior version of Jaisalmer. Sillage is excellent for 3-4 hours, and longevity too for +8 hours and on cloths more than a day. I must say that the initial accord of RC smells a bit acrid to me so I am more fond of the mellower stages that it enters 30 minutes after its opening. The perfumes by Olivier Durbano are not exactly rare but they are hard to find. RC is unisex.
Genre: Woody Oriental
If I didn’t already know Dzongkha and Avignon, or what Olivier Durbano did with incense in Black Tourmaline, I might be more excited about Rock Crystal. A few years ago, when incense was uncommon in personal fragrances, Rock Crystal might have made more of an impression, but in a niche market flooded with outstanding incense fragrances, it comes off as a bit commonplace.
Rock Crystal has an especially tart, brisk lemon top note, followed by an austere, dry accord of incense and vetiver. The name is apt, because the fragrance is extraordinarily transparent, hard-edged, and at the same time, substantial. The foundation is a clean leather that is also devoid of any sweetness, and which contributes to the mineralic texture.
Rock Crystal bears a stylistic resemblance to some of Bertrand Duchaufour’s incense and leather scents, including Timbuktu and Dzongkha, but it lacks the exoticism that makes Duchaoufour’s work so unique and challenging. I can’t help but think of it as say, Dzongkha in miniature. There’s just a bit less of everything: less frankincense, less smoke, even less of the two scents’ shared “stony” character. On my skin Rock Crystal also lacks the projection and tenacity that distinguish scents like Avignon and Timbuktu. I suppose if you’re attracted to the idea of a dry, austere incense scent, but are feeling too timid for those in the L’Artisan Parfumeur and Comme des Garcons lines, Rock Crystal may be just the thing. To my way of thinking, though, it’s just a little bit too ordinary.
Rock Crystal by Olivier Durbano - One is treated initially to the lovely, citric sweetness of orange blossom floating on a cloud of spices, forged from lively and somewhat woody pepper, earthy and nutty coriander, sweet cardamom as well as cumin with its anise and hidrotic facets. Segueing to the alluring middle, a rapturous, somewhat muted frankincense, reminiscent of a emptied church following the celebration of a High Mass, and the vanillic smokiness of benzoin create an ethereal accord. Cistus with its leathery and menthol aspects as well as the mustiness of myrrh temper the mystical blend. Transitioning to the robust base, the green earthiness of vetiver, slightly bitter immortelle, dry cedar, boggy patchouli, warm musk, milky sandalwood and foresty oakmoss, all combine to conjure a cavernous illusion. A comforting drydown ensues. This sublime, masculine composition has average projection and longevity.
A masterpiece. Absolutely beautiful scent. Very evocative of a small countryside church. Dry, mineral, herbaceous, incensy. You can almost feel the sun on your face, smell the wood the church is made of, see stones and herbs growing on a cemetery around. And down there at the bottom of the hill the church is on is a village where, like in some H.P. Lovecraft's story, something evil lurks. ;-)
Among the Avignon rip-offs the Durbano is probably the most original (which is an euphemism to say that is slightly less literal). The typical church-y cedarwood/incense accord is joined by some spices and other woody notes and it's paired to the usual balmy, sort of synthetic Durbano's signature. Nice but forgettable.
06th March, 2011 (last edited: 16th January, 2012)