Just received my order or Puredistance M and the sample set. M is a very masculine frag that provides real bang for the buck. Massive sillage (12+ hours) and projection (2-3 feet). Two sprays is more than enough. M opens up with animalic leather, dry spices (cumin), and a blast of lime. The lime subsides after 10-15 minutes leaving cumin/leather with peppery vanilla. Maybe a little musk.
I've also tried Black which is somewhat similar to M. It shares the same leather and spice base, but more of a boozy citrus/floral projection. Black would do well in warmer temps. I would think that (carefully) layering M and Black would produce something amazing.
I should give kudos to Nele over at Puredistance for her super responsive customer service. She went above and beyond to make sure that I received my order without delay. Thanks Nele!
Is Roja Dove the Kanye West of perfumers, repeating that he's the best until people actually believe him? His pedigree and his perfume writing are great, but he's essentially created a whole new echelon of expensiveness to house his creations, slowly building up an entire new pricing structure of $700-$1200 perfumes based almost entirely on his name. In my opinion, if you're going to create a whole new gradient of price, you need to match that with a whole new level of quality, and that's where things get questionable.
Based on hype alone, the general consensus seems to be that M is Roja Dove's finest work, and arguably one of the greatest perfumes ever. I personally think there's quite a bit of the Kanye effect mixing with a healthy dose of "if it's THAT expensive it must be great" that's leading to the worship of M. I'm not saying it's bad, it's just nowhere near that mindboggling.
So what does it smell like? Amber, with a mix of frankincense and vanilla. There's a realistic ash smell which lends a leathery facet to the topnotes before switching into campfire mode. As the ash dies down, the frankincense, which has always been quite forward, becomes the real star of the scent, sharp and cedar-tinged instead of liturgical. The vanilla smells kind of cheap, but is largely masked - if you have a huge problem with marshmallowy sweet scents, this may be the one to finally win you over, though you may just end up hating it.
All in all, I greatly prefer Ambre 114 for my smoky amber fix, though M goes much deeper into the ashy aspects. Thumbs up, but I'd never buy this. We live in a wonderful world where great amber perfumes are a dime a dozen, and M feels more like a marketing trick than anything close to the finest example of perfumery that people set it up to be.
Notes: bergamot, lemon, rose, jasmin, cinnamon, patchouli, moss, cistus, vetiver, vanilla, leather, musk
Whilst setting out to create the first masculine release for Dutch luxury niche house Puredistance, Roja Dove and his “team” decided to pay homage to a classic, one which has in recent times fallen pray to the evils of dreaded reformulation and that is the heralded Bel-Ami.
Holding the fragrance in such high esteem by choosing to use more than just a subtle passing nod to the Hermès classic, Roja Dove has almost seemingly “borrowed” (or resurrected?) the vintage leather prominent formulation as the inspiration/foundation for M; In conjunction with a creative brief put forth by PD owner Mr. Jan Ewoud Vos, the order of the day was to evoke the image of “luxury, the charismatic, the debonaire, the interior/exterior of an Aston Martin” in short personified by a certain Mr. Bond. James Bond.
This eventually led to a luxurious and modern reinterpretation of the classic leather-chypre which opens in a typical extrait de parfum manner, which I find for lack of a better word turbid and complex (yet immensely satisfying). The rich oak moss and leather let their presence as THE key players be known immediately and they’re joined by a wonderfully fresh and bright bergamot/lemon top note combo giving the opening some much needed and refreshing piercing light.
At this point the subtle and clever use of M’s spices are yet to make their introduction, but lurking behind the clouds is a charming and stunningly crisp semi-sweet jasmine note, making its way to the forefront to join the main cast in the spot light; through the opening of the dark turbulence of the base and the effervescence of the top notes. Continuing on with its progression, once the enigmatic jasmine decides to finally fully emerge, it does not arrive fashionably late, rather punctually on time and joined almost seamlessly with its intertwined guests of subtle rose and cinnamon.
The floral accords are simply beautiful, well conceived and a well paid homage to classical French perfumery, walking that fine line of elegance and femininity, stopping M short of becoming an all out bruiser (or dandified for that matter). I’ll add at this point, that this opening/mid unfold will be quite polarizing to many, due to the use of a prominent oak moss accord, which is often mistaken for cumin and which is giving many the impression of “curried spices”.
Personally, I find M decisively delicious and luckily I get far more leather, rich-smooth earthiness (vetiver/patchouli) and subtle sweetness (vanilla/jasmine), than I do the “curried spice” effect, which I find is more of a feint under cast, than a dominating factor on my skin. Never the less, after the deep opening and the subtly evolving mid salvo, I find M to take a turn towards the linear (which is fine by me) as it settles down to a rich, smooth and subtly sweet leather, conjuring up its indented image of the interior of Bond’s Aston-Martin perfectly.
M is meticulously blended to become more than just the simple sum of it’s parts. Each note is bold, yet is set to a specific “volume” to play its part in this concerto, making the composition appear smooth and seamless, but not to the point of blunting/overly rounding off key notes and rendering them unrecognizable. Dove has left just enough breathing room for the majority of the supporting cast to shine, without disrupting the balance of harmony in the base.
The final result has a decisively masculine feel, although this would work splendidly on the right woman, hence the reason for naming the fragrance “M“, a letter which can be inverted to form a “W” for woman. In closing I’d classify M as a clever and classically elegant tried and true formula, of rich and regal masculine proportions, complemented with a hint to the “naughty” (musk/leather/cistus) to keep it somewhat challenging and to keep an inquisitive nose coming back for more.
One caveat is that due to its high oil concentration level, it’s advisable to go easy on the trigger there slick. Over application can lead to what can be best described as the “muddy” effect, which is the build up of the very rich, dense and potentially overwhelming base notes.
Unlike its predecessor M boasts the wonderful sillage and longevity you’d expect from an extrait de parfum, which in my opinion justifies the hefty price tag. Bravo, a winner.
Occasion: Formal, Playing cards at Casino Royale
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This stuff is strong. Every time I put a bit on from my sample, I think I haven’t applied enough so I add just a bit more, and this is always a mistake. Puredistance M seems to only gather in strength and radiance as it goes on, and just a little dab is enough to fill a room with its butch, all-guns-firing presence. It is basically a cocksure piston of a fragrance built around a central accord of rich black leather and a heavy hand of spices – woody cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, clove – all brutal, all dry as hell, all hot and heavy. Then, you begin to notice the sneaky, sweaty cumin note in the mix, jostling its way to the front, and casting a skanky feel over the whole thing. It huffs away in that spicy, hot leather lane for a long time before folding into a dry but creamy vanilla that feels like the thousand-count Egyptian cotton sheets that Donald Trump must collapse onto every night.
Having mentioned Mr. Trump, I must bring up the fact that there is a faint sleaziness to M that kind of feels like your boss breathing hotly down your neck while you are typing out his expense reports. In fact, the slight businessman-sweating-through-a-thousand-dollar-suit feel to this would make it a perfect choice for anyone who needs to project an image of male awfulness in a corporate setting. Personally, I find the slight sleaziness to be oddly sexy. I’m weird like that.
M is super-refined, luxurious and rich beyond belief. If you can believe this, it gets more beautiful and even richer as time goes on, as if layers of notes are being pasted on thickly, like oil paints onto a canvas. The phenomenal richness is undercut by a bitterness that I believe comes from the moss. It gets faintly more dry and bitter towards the end, but the sumptuous density never fades. It is here, towards the end, that you realize the sheer quality of the materials that must have been used.
And yet, and yet…..there is something rather soulless about Puredistance M. It is impressive and beautiful, yes, but when something is priced for the wallets of oligarchs only, it begins to lose some of its (imagined or real) soul. I really enjoy the hell out of wearing Puredistance M, but once my tiny (but ludicrously expensive) sample is finished, I won’t be rushing out to purchase a bigger size. There is a price threshold beyond which I simply refuse to go, and Puredistance anything, along with Roja Dove anything, are firmly on the other side of that threshold. And since Roja Dove is the ‘perfumer’ behind Puredistance M, then that is a double whammy of “My wallet and my brain say no thanks” right there. (Now, if only my nose was as resolute, we’d be ok about leaving this behind without a second glance. But my nose is kind of refusing to tow the party line.)
People often cite vintage Bel Ami and Moschino Pour Homme as substitutes – they’re kidding themselves. While M might be Roja Dove’s tribute to these great masculine classics, I have tried both the vintage and the current Bel Ami, and neither begin to approach the phenomenal richness of M. The vintage Bel Ami is great, though – bitter, spicy, ultra-masculine leather, and unfortunately a little bit too 70’s in feel (the current is more delicious and less leathery, but of course, less ‘authentic’, if that matters to you). A friend of mine calls Bel Ami a “chest toupee in a bottle”, and I think that about sums it up. The opening of Puredistance M and Bel Ami are very different, but then converge on a vaguely similar accord later on, in their heart (albeit with more transparency and simplicity in the Bel Ami). Apparently, Roja Dove’s own Fetish Pour Homme is his attempt to take M and spin it off into his own line – I wouldn't know, because, you know, it’s Roja Dove, and I refuse to go there.
I believe I hit the jackpot! if you want something serious and manly this one worth at least trying!
The opening of this fragrance is a bitter spicy scent mixed with leather note.
The spices are heavy and they do have a very dry and wild feeling. lots of cumin, lots of nutmeg, lots of clove that they all together creating brutal spicy and kind of peppery scent.
The leather note does not smell smoky. it's like the smell of a piece of leather in the middle of the desert in a hot summery day! very dry and slightly animalic.
In the mid I'm getting again heavy dry spices and a little stronger leather (still not smoky but it's animalic) notes but now there is some sweetness and some carnation flower beside it that gives the scent an elegant and slightly powdery feeling.
In the base those heavy spices and the leather note all settle down and the scent gets slightly sweeter. the base is a creamy sweet vanilla and musk plus soft spices specially cinnamon and some leather mostly in the background.
Performance of this fragrance is awesome. projection is strong and longevity is around 10-12 hours on my skin. there is nothing girly here. masculine all the way through.
Extremely potent, high quality, masculine, a little goes a long way. When I apply this, I'm careful not to overspray it. One to two sprays max unless I need to go the distance (16 hour day) and then I spray it 3 times. To my nose the scent is reminiscent of smoldering cedarwood laced with a dab of cinnamon and the finest leather man can make. I own Fetish Pour Homme by Roja Dove and I will say the two are alike in the opening yet significantly different in the dry down. The price is soaring high but 17.5ml (is all you really need) and that amount should last you a long, long time.
The opening is marvelous, clear, sharp, amazingly elegant and cozy. I detect patchouli, aromatic woods, cedar, vetiver, a floral accord, sweet resinous spices, cinnamon, a gorgeous leather note (soft like suede, initially) with a bold talcum-soft feel. All is aerial and dimensional, almost geometrical, at the same time plushy, silky and mellow. A lot of suggestions and images come to mind, there's an oriental vein blended with a totally contemporary Western personality. Quite complex and textured, really compact, just smelling beautiful and great like Fetish pour Homme, and also quite on the same "concept" too: basically, a renovated, modern "masculine classic", with some nostalgic fougère/chypre accords blended with a new and more modern sensibility. A tight and harmonic scent full of nuances you feel better in the sillage than on skin. What I like the most is an irresistible accord of leather, flowers (jasmine?), delicate woods (cashmeran, cedar?) and spices blended with a talcum-balsamic accord, something that just captivates me I don't know why precisely... like those scents you link to people you love, or loved. So distinguished and majestic, without being "opulent". As minutes pass a talcum cloud emerges and "explodes" in all its dreamy and narcotic dustiness, and again, a symphony of nuances, mellow woods, flowers, leather. Then it all starts to dry and the bone-structure emerges more clearly, which I said, it's quite a classic fougère/chypre texture, incredibly sophisticated, soft, mossy and velvety. As many other reviewers already noticed, a couple of scents come to mind at this point, two legendary scents to which this one almost sounds like a "tribute": Moschino pour Homme and Bel Ami. The leather accord with a talcum/floral "gentleness" is one of the best I've ever smelled, it smells really perfectly. The drydown is great as well, more bitter and dry, but well balanced, and doesn't reveal the sadly-too-usual safraleine cheapness (burnt rubber). Utter elegance. The quality is uncompromising and really high, of both materials and composition. Still, the price is completely insane and megalomaniac, and not in a way that I'd say "... but it's worth it". It's not, it's great and stuff, but it's not worth that cost. Just grab a sample and try it, then enjoy the hundreds of equally good (or better) fragrances around.
Imagine James Bond or Gianni Agnelli. All dressed completely bespoke, exemplary in their elegance that is absolutely masculine and charming. M is their scent. M is an absolute masterpiece that gave us to make the classic elegance can still triumph. The cost is high but two- three spray than enough to spread an area of unquestionable charm and masculinity throughout the day. Perfect, combines the greatest leather fragrances of the past - from Bel Ami to Cuir de Russie - and summarizes them to the best of their ability. Irreplaceable. Inevitable.
Cinnamon, vetiver, vanilla, lemon, leather, and musk. Even a novice nose like me can detect each and every note in this heavenly concoction. The smell is certainly divine. The thing that makes this fragrance amazing is the fact that no one note overpowers the other!! It is like a symphony with no solos in that each note independently, is great but when played in unison it puts you in another state of mind. Just the right amount of projection and excellent longevity. Simply amazing...
M opens with a balanced blend of astringent and warm wood. Cedar and balsam, I think. This is an odd yet welcome top to me. Hours later I get some cinnamon and vanilla starting to creep in. Hours still incense settles into the mix and you are surrounded by this forever. Puredistance, indeed. I sprayed this on 18 hours ago and have not experienced olfactory fatigue. It seems to be projecting still as well, as a coworker at greater than arms length complimented me on it. As a side note, I have received four compliments throughout the day, and I don't fish. I normally will only receive 1 or 2 a month.
I've owned some decent scents like Musc Ravageur, Amouage Jubilation XXV, Chergui, lot of Montales and even Roja Dove Aoud. But this has to be the most addictive scent I've come across. If it wasn't for affordability Id keep buying it. Running out fast. Classic, dark, perfect for winter.
The James Bond stuff (the name, the gadget-like bottle) is fatuous, but the scent is supremely tasteful. M is a classic-smelling leather with a moss-to-amber trajectory. There are floral notes of rose and jasmine and a hearty sprinkling of cumin and cinnamon. The drydown is surprisingly, enchantingly bright, as if the lemon topnotes had been reignited, or like that moment on the cusp of night when the sun unexpectedly gilds everything before melting completely.
The stuff is eye-wateringly expensive, but just glancing at the Sauternes-coloured extrait is sufficient to fragrance you for the day.
Puredistance M's extrait of perfume is a stunning lecherous spicy-leathery-oriental with an arabesque kind of vibe. Boozy and luxuriant this yummy elixir starts with a blast of sheer animalic oakmoss, decadent bergamot, kind of smoky pepper (tobacco yet?) and huge cinnamon before a sort of royal rose-jasmine combo stsrts flaunting its floral subtleness in the air of cozy ambiences (where you could dare to wear this olfactory beast). The jasmine is starring together with a wonderful regal cinnamon working hard throughout the journey side by side with an authoritarian and dark patchouli. Probably some aromatic spices like kurcuma or cumin are effectively combined with the other elements in the blend cause the prickly-smoky cinnamon smells "airy-aromatic" further than yummy because of the coming up balsams from the base. In the meanwhile a sort of vanillic suede rises up from the background enveloping the elements is an exotic spicy-boozy-leathery embrace that is finally velvety and smooth. I catch for sure the yummy kind of civilized quality vetiver in the background and its combination with oakmoss, leather, smoky spices and vanilla reminds me vaguely the Black Afgano N.'s vetiver implementation. Minarets, sultans and tents of desert come to mind with this fragrance reminding me a bit the Arabie, Pure Oud Kilian and Ambre Sultan's exoticism. There are other fragrances coming to mind while i inhale M (for different reasons as the peppery-boozines, the animalic and aromatic spicy temperament, the usage of cinnamon etc) as Coze PG, Absolu Pour Le Soir K. and Idole de Lubin. Expensive but utterly worthy viscous alchemy for the lovers of the sumptuous olfactory high quality. Just Masculine in my opinion and really long lasting.
08th September, 2012 (last edited: 07th January, 2015)
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M opens with bergamot, with ginger and cinnamon spice and a hint of jasmine. The ginger all but fades relatively quickly, but the cinnamon remains well into the heart notes, combining with cumin that continues M's spicy nature while not overdoing it by smelling like BO as many other cumin compositions do. Patchouli, clove and even just a faint whiff of carnation permeate the heart notes, as a sublime subtle leather, oakmoss and vetiver accord emerges from the base notes to complete the profile. Projection is average to above average and longevity is excellent.
M is a stunningly beautiful composition and while certainly leathery, the spicy notes really are equally as important to its success with the whole thing coming off without a hitch execution-wise. The aspect of M that took me a while to really recognize is just how deftly the vetiver is utilized in the base notes to ground the leather and spice. I certainly find M an easy recommendation for the scent smell and materials quality, but it is quite the expensive one on a per ml basis so budgetary constraints may play a role for many when considering a purchase. At the very least, this amazingly good 4 to 4.5 star out of 5 scent is a "must sniff" to all leather lovers.
14th July, 2012 (last edited: 21st August, 2012)
Best masculine release since Patou pour Homme in 1980.
This is the strongest and finest oriental I know! I do get all the advertised notes but they are so brilliantly blended and balanced that the fragrance became much more then the sum of its parts. Espescially the pairing of dirty/raunchy elements with classy elegance is a stroke of genius, in my opinion! It's not an everyday fragrance and while it's seductive in a "fancy-dress ball" sense, it probably won't work well as a "panty-dropper" for the youngsters. It demands and evokes a certain type of matureness, I think.
For a vetiver lover like myself M tis a blessing. It's beauty lies in it's dark strength and it's leanness: a minimalist straight forward fragrance without bells or whistles, without missteps. The dry smoky opening settles down quickly into a very masculine accord of slightly sweet smoked tobacco and stays right there. M is really a take on the classic men's vetiver fragrances of the past, the major improvement being that the distracting notes, the annoying barbershop florals and fruit and the overpowering leather works have been minimized to let the heart and base notes, the vetiver and patchouli and moss express themselves more fully and for a longer time. I don't know how many times I've tested a men's vetiver and thought, "I wish the smoke had hung around longer", or "Keep the smoke, ditch the sausagey leather." M does those things. It is stripped down, strong and clean. It's linear and I say thank God. It doesn't morph over time from the excellent fragrance it starts out being (and should remain) into some lifeless generic drydown. Projection is on the light side but I count that as a plus. I can see M being criticised for not engendering an overabundance of passion. OK. Maybe. It has the strong solid central accord: it's like some giant planet with great gravitational pull but free of any moon zipping wildly around it. M is a modern interpretation of a classic style. What it does it does almost perfectly.
Update March 30 2013
Revisted M recently after a whole year. I still think it's a very fine fragrance but I think now that the reason I never really warmed up to it completely is the cinnamon.
25th March, 2012 (last edited: 31st March, 2013)
This is one intense and gorgeous fragrance. I can not describe it so I wont try. But I will say, it makes me feel sexy and powerful when I wear it.
M opens with a leathery spicy oakmoss with a touch of cummin. Then five minutes later this gorgeous stunning jasmine floral note kicks in like a ray of sunshine peeking out of the clouds. The oakmoss note recedes though I do detect some leather still underpinning it and the beautiful florals start to dominant.
As time moves forward I can detect vanille and the cinnamon weaving in and out of the composition.
As this is a perfume extract it only took a dab to my wrist to get a strong projection though not in a heavy way more light and strong.
The strange thing with this fragrance is different aspect's of it seem to be more prominent depending on the application. I noticed if the scent was dabbed onto my skin the spicy oakmoss leather came to the forefront while the stunning florals and vanille & cinnamon held itself in the background. And visa versa with spraying it onto your skin.
I have too say this fragrance is stunning in the quality of ingredients used especially how the jasmine note is used. Every so often this scent just seems too come together in a perfect harmony of oakmossy spicy leather and the floral vanille cinnamon. When it does and it does not happen on every wearing the effect to your olfactory senses is one of pure magic.