fragrance, Personal

Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow EDP Perfume Review

Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow

Rose Week 2016

Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow is a perfume inspired by street art. I enjoyed following the perfume’s development through the brand’s Instagram which showcases various street art, mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was a bit surreal to see some of the posts and then later see this art in person, like some sort of street art scavenger hunt. We moved to the East Coast rather abruptly, so when I was “liking” images, I never imagined that a month later, I’d be walking by that “image” daily.

I’ve always been told that going from West Coast to East Coast is never easy. I consider myself rather adaptable so I shrugged at that unsolicited advice from friends and coworkers. But, they’re right. It’s not easy. Difficult doesn’t necessarily equate to “bad”. I just underestimated the adjustment period. Things are different, and not just because of geography or routine. I underestimated the cultural differences. And once again, this isn’t “bad” at all. For every con, there is a pro. I’ve been more inspired than I’ve been in years. This city which is filled with art, entertainment and the highest concentration of talent that I’ve ever experienced, gives me energy. Creatively, I feel like I’ve been set free.

People ask me what I dislike, I try to keep my complaints to a minimum. It’s rude, you know. Plus, my complaints are sort of odd, dare I say, silly. But, my biggest one is that the place is dirty, especially in comparison to Seattle which really is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. I’m not naive, I know that this city is grimy. I once again, underestimated. I didn’t realize how sensitive I am to “beauty” and how that improves my mood. I had no idea that litter would rub a blister on my soul! But, it does.

When the rain comes down, it comes down like a much needed ritual purification. The rain cleanses the city of its human generated impurities. Litter gathers in gutters while the excreta of drunken 20-somethings washes over it. All the “what is that”s smashed into sidewalks magically macerates and vanishes. I don’t know where any of it goes and I don’t care – the mantra of here, “Not my problem”, is one to remember during ritual purification. Precipitation takes care of it. My favorite time to be out, is after the rain (even if the risk of being splashed with muck is even higher than usual). I love the smell. I love that it looks like all the grime has been concentrated into a few standing puddles here and there instead of the usual “all over the streets smudge”. This ritual energizes me. I start to see beauty in things that only a few days ago, I found vile. And yes, I even love those rainbow swirls of oil slicks.

The opening of Asphalt Rainbow really does bring to mind an urban environment after a heavy rain, which as I’ve described in much detail, inspires me. Asphalt Rainbow is like a scrubbed down patchouli, motor oil, wrought iron and a crisp, green ozone. There’s a milkiness in Asphalt Rainbow and this is one of the things that draws me to this fragrance. It’s like milky magnolias with the effervescence of lemon zest. Rose is a prominent note; it’s a green rose. The heart takes this delicate rose and mixes it with tar, a perfect pillowy musk and a heady lily of the valley. It dries down to a leather jacket on an early spring day in the city. Seriously. It’s like a leather jacket and cool, dewy ozone mixed with general “industrialness”. It reminds me of what it was like to move here a year ago when I once again underestimated, and poorly packed. I walked around the city wondering what the heck have I done, wearing a leather jacket on top of another leather jacket when the air was filled with both snow and cherry blossoms. And that’s what the base of this perfume smells like.

Asphalt Rainbow was one of my favorite perfumes launched in 2015. And it’s one of my favorite florals. It’s unusual without being “weird”. It’s more like wearing a feeling than a perfume. There’s something about it, that really engages me. Unlike most perfumes, especially floral perfumes, Asphalt Rainbow becomes a part of me, like recognizing my current mood or being lost in a deep thought. Many times I forget I’m wearing it at all. This isn’t criticism, this is contentedness. I feel very comfortable in Asphalt Rainbow. And after the year that I’ve had, feeling comfortable is a priority. Asphalt Rainbow, is an olfactory representation of finding beauty in the most unlikely places. You can find inspiration anywhere.

Grace Jones

Notes listed include rose, galbanum, lily of the valley, litchi, ylang ylang, saffron, magnolia, leather, labdanum, patchouli, woody notes, asphalt and amber. Launched in 2015. PERFUMER – Cecile Hua

Give Asphalt Rainbow a try if you like floral/leather scents or if you’re looking for a different take on traditional florals. Or if you like perfumes like Tom Ford White Patchouli, Nasomatto China White, Comme de Garcons Odeur 71, Andrea Maack Coal and/or The Different Company Sublime Balkiss. If you enjoy the aesthetic of Comme de Garcons or Humiecki & Graef, this one should be on your to-try list.

Projection and longevity are above average. The perfume also comes wrapped in gray leather, that’s so soft and smells great, with a sachet of dried rose buds.

The 1 oz bottle retails for $100 at Charenton Macerations. Samples are also available for purchase.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONThe edgiest rose and lily of the valley fragrance you’re ever going to wear. I love it. This and Christopher Street, even though they’re very different, both remind me very much of life in NYC.

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*Product provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own. Pics are mine. First one is the product with Ed Piksor’s Hip Hop Family Tree: Volume 1. The second photo is a mural of Grace Jones by Madsteez on Bowery in NYC Summer 2015. When I took that picture I had no idea that a few month’s later I would be buying  a table from that restaurant equipment store  and renting a studio in a basement a few blocks away off of Bowery. Oh, life.


10 thoughts on “Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow EDP Perfume Review

  1. You make me wish that I still had my sample of Asphalt Rainbow! I tried it, kind of found it interesting and then I dismissed it as not my thing and sent it on to a more rose loving fragrant friend. It would have been nice to have it here so that I could put it on and read your review again while smelling it. I found the concept to be really interesting but the birch tar, the fresh ozone, the “industrialness”… and the galbanum, and the lily of the valley…AND the rose. It was just way too crisp, cool and sharp for me. It does have a similar aesthetic to Comme de Garcons, and I was also reminded of the Blood Concept line, and even of Secretions Magnifique a bit… Definitely an interesting one! I might have liked it more if it had brought back some scent memories for me, but I’ve never lived the big city life.

    1. I tend to like sharp florals, cool florals. This is why I love aldehydes and many Chanels. I couldn’t do the Blood Concept line at all because it a toilet bowl cleaner crispness HOWEVER I actually really, really like SM.

      Maybe a sample of it will come around again. If not, you shared the love and that’s good 🙂

  2. This review comes at an interesting time for me. My son got accepted to a college in Portland and a school in New York City. He has two weeks to decide where to go. Living in Texas is like completely different country sometimes but then certain smells here remind me of both coasts. New York city smells and feels like the State Fair of Texas in a 100 degrees Farenheit during the Texas/Oklahoma University weekend. It’s smelly, dirty and exciting. There’s a lot to see and do, but I’m exhausted after two days. The east coast reminds me of Big Bend in the winter after a weeks worth of good rain. It’s very fresh, green and clean. I love it, but after a couple of days I miss the sunshine and heat. Add Galveston (the coast at night) and you have the west coast to my mind. This perfume takes me to the state fair with big Texas homecoming football game. I love how perfume can transport you to a different time or place.

    1. Congratulations to your son! Either place is a great place to be, especially if you’re young.

      NYC has many smells. I really need to start my Smell Diary again since moving. The smells here, like everything else are extreme. And summer really brings those lurking aromas up to the surface.

      I love how perfume does this 🙂

  3. Victoria, this sounds divine. You are such a splendid perfume reviewer, and your blog introduced me to so many great scents and sincerely increased my own passion for this subject matter. And you do a MAGNIFICENT (!) job of appropriating images and graphics to the essence of the fragrance, giving the reviews a whole new level of creative and polished presentation. Both Asphalt Rainbow and Christopher Street look just terrific, and I will have to try them. Thanks again, dear.

    1. Thank you so much! You’ve made my day.

      I highly recommend trying both of them. They’re different from each other but both are so thoughtful and really a joy to wear.

  4. I love your description and it’s so apt. I had a difficult time with this, but like you, I found myself drawn to it although I know it’s a perfume that I would never wear. Great review and thanks for the link love.

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