Sulékó Florida Vibrations

 

Sulékó Florida Vibrations courtesy of the brand

During the recent Esxence 2024 exhibition I unexpectedly encountered an old friend – one whom I hadn’t seen in 11 years or so – Anastasia Sokolow, the creative director (and perfumer) for her brand Sulékó. We had met in New York City years ago when she first launched her fragrance line, which is Paris-based and inspired by French haute parfumerie. Anastasia is of Russian origin, and her first four fragrances provided exquisite homage to this heritage – each of them unique and representing a particular season. Anastasia was attentive to every detail: she chose Cècile Zarokian as the nose, and her flacons themselves were enrobed in ceramic (faïence, Limoges) sculpture created by Joëlle Fèvre and Alain Fichot. I think that it’s reasonable to say that Sulékó was among the first contemporary houses to create elegant, artistic flacon presentations; ornate bottles and baroque displays were present at this time, but none matched Sulékó’s originality and impeccable taste.  I purchased her summer-themed perfume in 2013, Djélem (it means gypsy) – a spicy warm citrus/hay/carnation inflected délice. Anastasia informed me that her upcoming release was a distinct departure from her previous themes; in fact, it was a love paean to the wilds of Florida.

Florida vegetation

Florida vegetation via the brand

Now, Florida is a far cry from Russia or Paris, any way you view it – and I was curious, of course. Anastasia has spent a considerable amount of time in its subtropical clime over the past 30 years, and has come to cherish far more than the beaches with which most people associate it: mangrove forests, the fecund life of its swamps, lush vegetation, and the unforeseen presence of pine and cedar are encompassed within this southernmost state’s native terrain. As creative director, her goal was to recreate this remarkable environment and provide the wearer with a completely different way of viewing it altogether. If I were pressed into categorizing Florida Vibrations, I might classify it as “vegetal/woody marine” – which speaks to its unusual nature. And yes – two for two, as it so happens – distinctive and extraordinary marine-inspired fragrances in a row. That must be a first for me…

Suleko Florida Vibrations at Esxence Milano 2024

Sulékó Florida Vibrations via Instagram and Anna Sokolow with Ida at Esxence Milano 2024

Sulékó Florida Vibrations gives the initial impression of fertile abundance: the tart olfactory ‘mouthfeel’ of humid limpidity is heralded by tangy citrus tones (lemon, grapefruit, petitgrain) and the moist verdancy of galbanum essential oil, further amplified by whichever materials constitute  Marie Duchene fresh vegetal accord (? geosmin). Its jungly beauty echoes M. Bertrand Duchaufour’s now-discontinued Fleur de Liane (2008) – a fragrance which was very likely misunderstood at the time of its release. Today we are more than ready to accept the subtropical idyll which Florida Vibrations offers us – and we welcome it with open arms.

neroli

neroli via brand

Sulékó Florida Vibrations utilizes heart notes which are emblematic to native environs; we are all aware of the prevalence of its renowned orange cultivation. Orange blossom and neroli commingle with a fruity magnolia which enhances their natural warmth – with an additional benefit: in several magnolia species, the presence of magnolol and honokiol neolignans are known to enhance a relaxed state much like the benzodiazepine classification of drugs (Valium, Ativan, etc.). These comprise the only florals listed, and in such proportion, they blend seamlessly into the perfume as a harmonious whole without drawing attention to themselves. That which ensues sings of sea and sand, driftwood and evergreen forests – some of which lie submerged in swampy regions, while others thrive in sandier soil. Pine, cedar, and lentisque (mastic) impart their balsamic, resinous qualities accompanied by the earthiness of vetiver, patchouli and moss. Lentisque and galbanum resinoid serve to help anchor Florida Vibrations with their savory and somewhat bitter presence; they are excellent fixatives as well as odorants.

Anastasia and ceramicist Maxime Defer

Anastasia Sokolow and ceramicist Maxime Defer via brand

Sulékó Florida Vibrations is a delight to wear, and I particularly love the very first spritz, with its ample tonicity and brilliance. While the fragrance develops gracefully, it is that initial introduction which ensnares you; I wish that it would last forever.

It is helpful to acknowledge that Anastasia conceived this concept during the pandemic, when it became apparent to her just how deeply she missed this soothing, healing habitat (and how easy it is for us to take such gifts for granted). In keeping with her established aesthetic, Anastasia has collaborated with ceramicist Maxime Defer – utilizing the ancient technique of Terra Sigillata (sealed earth), which implements a very fine coating of ultra refined slip applied to the finest clay that becomes glossy. This practice dates back to Roman times. In summation: Florida Vibrations is an extraordinary fragrance presented as a durable work of art which stands apart from the herd

Notes: galbanum essential oil, lemon essential oil, grapefruit essential oil, petitgrain essential oil, “fresh and humid vegetal notes”, magnolia essential oil, orange blossom absolute, neroli essential oil, galbanum resinoid, salty sea water accord, hot sand accord, driftwood, pine needle absolute, cedar essential oil, mastic (lentisque) absolute, vetiver essential oil, patchouli essential oil, moss.

Sample provided by Anastasia Sokolow – many thanks! My nose is my own…

~ Ida Meister, Deputy and Natural Perfumery Editor

Suleko Florida Vibrations

Sulékó Florida Vibrations  and materials for Masterclass

 Thanks to the largesse of Anastasia Sokolow, we have a draw for a sample of Sulékó Florida Vibrations for one registered ÇaFleureBon reader in the EU or USA. YOU MUST REGISTER and leave a comment on this site, sharing what appeals to you about Ida’s review. Draw close 4/6/2024

Editor’s Note Join Sulékó’s new Perfume Masterclass – a scented journey across wild Florida. The 1:30 class will be presented in English by Anastasia on Zoom from Sulékó’s showroom in Paris on Saturday April 20, 2024 at 1PM EST. Sign-up before April 5, 2024. The material for the class will be mailed to you. For more information and to sign-up here

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