Nomaterra Washington D.C.

14 Mar

The trees are bare in early Spring, except for the tiniest of buds on the branches, but there is occasionally a hint of something aromatic and earthy floating from the direction of the park.

Washington D.C. is briskly walking to lunch at a bustling urban roundabout, right at the base of a large park in the city center. It is watching the horses and carriages with their owners, who in turn watch the tourists in hopes of selling a ride. It is cold outside and there is commotion everywhere, but the horses are motionless, only occasionally rippling an isolated group of muscles, or shaking their heads from side to side.

Weaving in and out of the crowd of professionally dressed people who are also trying to get to lunch, you pick up random hints of their perfumes and colognes: This one is a little flowery, that one is a serious aquatic (and very close!), while another is SPICY, …leathery, and so on…

It is a unique olfactory trip, weaving through the crowd in the bright grey light of early afternoon in Spring. It’s an oddly juxtaposed noisy scene, and the snippets of things you find yourself staring at take you by surprise.
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I was fortunate to receive a sample of Washington D.C. from Nomaterra, because it is not quite like anything I have experienced before.

Washington D.C. opens with a fragrant, almost flowery cherry note which is half way between a realistic dark red cherry, and a chewy candied maraschino cherry. Then, almost immediately, something very strange happens.

There is a strong aromatic earthiness to the opening of Washington D.C… It smells a little like fresh horse sh*t, but less sweet. Maybe it’s the combination of bay leaf and black pepper? There is something heavy and humid and dank in this fragrance. The sweetness of the cherry opening is still hanging around in the background, though it is more faint as it develops on my skin.

As it warms up, the nutmeg really starts to HOLLER at me, along with a suddenly potent and cheap-smelling aquatic musk that grows and grows in force until it is practically eye-watering.

The dry down continues with the familiar “freshness” (not really so fresh) of aquatic musk. The nutmeg lingers faintly in the background along with the black pepper, and the cherries and flowers have long since disappeared.

Washington D.C. projects considerably, especially the black pepper and aquatic musk, which from a distance reminds me of petroleum jelly. The dry down comes quickly, though the longevity of this aquatic musk stage is insane. At the very end of its life, I can detect the faintest trace of a sweet artificial vanilla.

There is something disconcertingly 2-D about Washington D.C. It has the compositional flatness of a cheap designer fragrance, but the odd note variety and development, of something more experimental in nature, something that leaves me struggling to get through it.

The composition is haphazard and unbalanced to my nose, but gets points for originality.

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