Close up by Olfactive Studio

If this perfume were a person, it would be tall, dark, handsome and brooding.

This deep and seductive blend combines lots of rich and multifaceted notes to produce a real dark brown bear of a scent. Not for the timid or faint hearted, Close Up is one for the sophisticated gourmandy types.

Listed notes

Green coffee, fresh spices, cherry, white tobacco, patchouli, cedar, centifolia rose, amber, musk and tonka bean.

The brand

Olfactive Studio are one of those brands that have the most incomprehensible marketing blurbs surrounding their scents. It’s all smoke and mirrors really though because they do produce some great stuff, they just obscure that fact by surrounding it with perfume land marketing guff.

The concept of Olfactive Studio is the pairing of photographers with perfumers, the scents being the crazy love child that ensues. They’ve been around since 2011, and are responsible for Still Life in Rio, which remains a favourite of The Sniff, and is a truly gorgeous zesty scent.

Top notes

One of the things we really like about Olfactive Studio is that when they go for something they really go for it. Where Still Life in Rio just fizzes with zest, Close Up is intensely dark and brooding; it’s fair to say that this line of scents has real personality.

The first thing that bursts through in Close Up is a rich, dark coffee. This scent is so brown it’s almost black, and it’s as dense as a bear’s belly fur, so dense that you do feel that you could almost sink your fingers into it.

As the top surrounds you in this halo of rich coffee,  you begin to notice that this is spiked through with an interesting spiciness. The spice has a coolness to it that provides that really interesting hot/cold thing that slightly numbing spices do. We wouldn’t necessarily have said that the spice was anise, it felt more like something along the lines of Sichuan pepper to us, but it gives the top some real depth and intrigue.

Close Up is almost boozy at first as well, but the sort of booze that is brewed by monks to some long preserved recipe – you know, those herbal, brown liquors that claim to cure gout and lasciviousness. There is a woody coolness that permeates the top notes, and a more intense animalistic quality to the scent as well. These aren’t facets that are necessarily challenging to wear, but they are strong enough that you will definitely form an opinion about the scent. This isn’t the type of scent that will appeal to everyone, and somehow it’s easier to like it for that fact.

Heart notes

As the heart of the scent develops, more vanilla, creamy notes creep in. Someone has just added cream to the strong and bitter coffee we started out with. The patchouli also shows itself in the form of rich chocolatey notes and the cherry is discernible as a sticky sweetness in the background. In essence, Close Up is a bit like a really sophisticated perfume equivalent of tiramisu. In saying that though, it never becomes too food like, or too twee, it manages to have all these gourmand composite parts but take only the essence of them and remain very much a real perfume. It’s opulent, it’s rich, it’s interesting, but it manages to never quite become the scent of dessert.

On some skins the cherry seems to come out a lot stronger and higher in the mix than we found it to be. For us it was there, but in order to add a rich sweetness in the background, rather than as a strong note in itself.

Base notes

There’s a strange upside-down ness to this perfume, and in acknowledging that it is possible to see where they were going with the idea of a ‘close up’. Whilst many perfumes start off with the fresher, more energetic notes in the top and then slow down to the more intense, deeper notes in the base, this perfume does the opposite. It starts off heavy, intense, brooding and speeds up to something that is lighter, fresher, more energetic. It’s a really interesting effect that they have achieved here, and one that will keep you sniffing your wrist all day.

In the base the wood note grows in strength, along with the sticky chocolate feel, but there is a freshness here too that one wouldn’t go so far as to call ‘green’ but it is more greeny brown in tone than the top and heart were.

The amber combined with the musk in the base continue that really animalistic vibe and add a more edgy feel to the scent, that could have been a bit too puddingy without it.

The other stuff

The longevity of this scent and the projection were both really good. We got whiffs of it all day even though we only wore a little each time. It also seemed to last well into the evening without disappearing.

Close Up would be best suited to Autumn or Winter wear when it’s unctuous nature would give you a cosy, wrapped up warm feel.

As for classifying the gender of this one, it’s difficult, as we could see it working well on both men and women. It does feel like it would be a little more suited towards the male end of the market, however, but don’t let that stop you if you like it.

Buy it

Close Up is available from Bloom Perfumery London, who kindly provided us with a sample of this fragrance. It is priced at £124 for 100ml EdP and we feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck with this one as a little goes a long way and lasts as it goes!


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