Petrana (Odin New York)

Like an olfactory Patrick Nagel print, Petrana is a postmodern fragrance arranged in crisply demarcated fields of grey, fuchsia, burgundy, and black. Starting with an extremely tart hot-pink berry note, it quickly transitions to a sumptuously textured iris. Then -- like one of Nagel's enigmatic beauties -- it leans back with a Mona Lisa smile and defies you to explain how neon and suede could possibly be related. While you sweat and mumble to yourself over the math, it sneaks in a woodsy, almost masculine vetiver-and-pepper accord to further throw you off balance.

But just as tension is half the joy of sex, Petrana makes it fun to be frustrated.  There's an air of wry conundrum about this fragrance that defies easy summary even after hours spent in its presence. It is not especially radiant, but elusiveness is key to its allure. Cipherlike, yet friendly and willing to play, Petrana frisks around the periphery of my awareness like a well-meaning poltergeist whose mischief is all aromatic. All day, I keep turning my head to hear its disembodied whisper or to see it dart out of sight.

The greatest shock to my system is Petrana's modernity. Lately I've spending a lot of time (happily, mind you) in a retro-haze brought on by vintage fragrance overdosage. A quick read-through of Petrana's ad copy suggests an ode to an ancient culture (in this case Jordan, where grow the black irises from which perfumer Jean-Claude Delville derived inspiration). Yet for all the poetics of its promotional campaign, Odin New York has switched the traces and presented us with something utterly, unexpectedly futuristic. Petrana's transitions from top to base are lightning-fast and super-intelligent in a manner reminiscent of Serge Lutens' La Myrrhe.  It's as if this fragrance is running on the world's fastest processor while all others are lumbering along on the strength of old operating systems.  I wouldn't doubt that it could beat me at chess.

Petrana is the Great Sphinx modeled on classical proportions, but cast in hi-tech brushed titanium. Her riddles remain arcane, but the answers are given in hacker's code rather than in hieroglyphics or celestial tongues.  Upgrade your browsers: this is a goddess for the millenial interface.

Scent Elements: Cassis, pink pepper, coriander, black iris flower (Iris petrana), violet leaf, heliotrope, iris, vetiver, musk