For the most part, I make scents that I want to wear. Maybe it’s a riff off of an accord that I enjoy or a real-life scent that I want to incorporate, and sometimes I’m inspired to create something that I want to smell but never have. With Admiral, I found myself going down none of those paths. I am not really a fan of aquatic scents or many of the modern scents that are super popular. However, inspired by the Admiral, an art deco designed steamboat that modernized a St. Louis tradition, I decided to set sail on a course I’ve never explored…but with my own unique twist.
Admiral has aquatic notes, unsurprisingly considering that it’s named after a boat, but I wouldn’t consider it to be an aquatic scent. It’s a summer in St. Louis scent. Something that brings back nostalgia for the glee of visiting Laclede’s Landing and the riverfront, where the history went back hundreds of years, and the joyous sense of discovery on an iconic riverboat in the bright sunshine.
The notes include lemongrass, verbena, bergamot, aquatic notes, sage, black currant bud, riverboat smoke, tonka bean, musk
For the sunshine brightness, I wanted to make an accord that felt bright but not overly citrus-y. Something kind of green without smelling grassy or earthy. The accord begins with a rectified Italian bergamot, which is not a sharp citrus, but one reminiscent of tea due to its inclusion in Earl Grey tea. Along with that, a Nepalese lemongrass essential oil, Moroccan verbena essential oil and orange flower ether add to the citrus with just the subtlest hint of a green.
Then to give it a bit more depth, a tart black currant bud absolute is evened out by a touch of raspberry ketone, which is below the level of perception but adds a jammy-ness to the currant. Underneath it all is a big slug of galaxolide, a fresh musk, in accordance with exaltolide, a note that I find really brings out the juiciness of a fruity accord (it is also found in the EdT version of Yuzu/Rose/Patchouli). Finally, a sage accord composed of clary sage along with clarycet to bring out the frutiness of the note, and a few other micro-doses of fruity notes round out the sunshine portion of the scent.
While many aquatic notes rely heavily on dihydro myrcenol, a note found prominently in many of the most famous aquatic fragrances, Admiral makes very sparing use of this. The primary notes are ambroxan (one of the most popular notes in modern men’s fragrances, this adds an amber anchor to the accord), calone (a watery, melon type of scent), helional (shimmery and sparkling), iso e super (another note essential to modern fragrance), seaweed absolute and bourgenol (a watery floral note) compose the rest of this sweet and subtle aquatic accord. It was designed to be less deep and easier to navigate than many aquatic accords, more of a river than an ocean.
The Riverboat Smoke
This accord uses just a touch of rectified cade oil, meant to replicate the rich smoke. It is complemented by a large dose of vanilla, ebanol (deep, thick and sticky, often used in sandalwood accords), and strawberry furfural, a caramel, phenolic note with only the slightest hint of strawberry. Finally, just the slightest hint of a sweet, slightly leather accord finish off this portion of the scent.
The Base Notes
In order to give a sturdy base to the accord, a tonka bean note, used sparingly, helps emphasize the softer side of the smoke. Pink pepper has a sharper edge, and is fairly decently dosed but manages to slide into the periphery in how it melds with the smoke notes, but it is important to the feeling of modernity found in this scent. Finally, cashmeran simultaneously gives the impression of wood, steel and musk to add to the fresh-yet-deep feeling found in the base.
It may not be something I ever intended to create, but it was exciting to step out of myself to bring a new approach to the art of fragrance. It did help me gain a new appreciation for a whole new world of techniques that I had never experienced and allowed me to find a new way to put my unique voice into a whole new genre.