So ephemeral it's tough to get a good fix on De Bachmakov. Which is probably why the reviews seem to be all over the place with this one. I detected a faintly figgy note hiding behind a faintly aromatic greenery, before transitioning into talc-like freesia for most of its rather brief lifespan. It's so soft and restrained, you might be better off smelling freshly-shampooed hair or laundered clothes. In other words, INFURIATING.
After an invigorating and realistic bergamot top note, De Bachmakov settles into a transparent, understated arrangement of crisp herbs (especially the shiso in the pyramid) , cedar, citrus and nutmeg that wears very close to the skin. I agree strongly with rickbr’s observation that De Bachmakov smells much like the work of nose Celine Éllena’s celebrated father, Jean-Claude. As common with many of Éllena Père’s compositions, De Bachmakov’s overall contours read like a gloss on his magnificent Déclaration (itself closely allied with Edmond Roudnitska’s Eau d’Hermès).
De Bachmakov’s cedar/citrus axis owes much to Déclaration, but De Bachmakov disposes with Déclaration’s leather and animalic cumin, relying on nutmeg for its spice component and on a clean musk for warmth. The result is very sheer and luminous but without any of the quietly ambiguous animal pungency that enlivens Déclaration and the more successful of its offspring. De Bachmakov winds up feeling comparatively cold and sterile, especially as the citrus and shiso fall away.
The drydown accord of cedar and white musk that remains isn’t just vanishingly faint, but also disappointingly hollow – more like a trace of shampoo or body wash than the late stages of a fully realized fragrance. De Bachmakov’s opening is persuasive, but the composition would have to last much longer and wind up someplace more interesting to make me want to wear it often.
This is a scent in three very distinct phases.
1. Green leaves and a toasted-nut chord. Green fig is fairly prominent. Like the leaf, not sure about the toasted nut.
2. Prolific use of spice. Nutmeg is listed but it smells much more like cinnamon. Not a favorite note in the spice repertoire.
3. A lovely, delicate floral-wood chord. So beautiful, but very restrained and fleeting.
In my opinion only #3 is good, and it is so ephemeral that I can't muster enthusiasm for the scent overall.
De Bachmakov is really something special. It begins with shizo. Shizo and bergamot. In the air, it feels so crisp, cool, light and airy, but there's a warm, sweet layer of amber and nutmeg that sits closer to the skin. It's almost as if the shizo obscures them.
I only have two concerns about De Bachmakov. #1: Is it too polite? Too nice, perhaps? De Bachmakov sure is friendly, maybe even charming, but I wish it were just a bit more flirty. And my second concern is the price. This is a spendy little devil... except that there's nothing devilish in here. There's just a gently overwhelming niceness.
Bottom line: De Bachmakov is gorgeous.
De Bachmakov opens with a fresh near bitter green sharp aromatic fig and bergamot combo. As the composition enters the early heart phase the green fig somewhat settles down to allow the bergamot to dominate as slowly a woody vetiver-like undertone permeates the sharp citrus. During the late dry-down the bergamot and bitter-green fig never completely disappear, instead they now support the soft woody accord that takes on the mantle of star through the finish. Projection is average to slightly above average, as is longevity at 7-9 hours on skin.
De Bachmakov is a composition that while relatively bare-bones is quite skillfully executed by Ms. Ellena. On the one hand its piercingly sharp green nature can come off as cold and clinical, but once you get used to it the overall fragrance profile is actually quite captivating. The composition is quite linear, but as the aromatic green fig softens during the dry-down the composition has an opening to let its subtle woody facets shine through. The bottom line is the $230 per 90ml bottle De Bachmakov is quite the hard sell at its relatively expensive cost per milliliter, but while the composition can be quite clinical, linear and spare it does smell good earning a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 and is indeed recommended.