A really fascinating but wearable scent by a brand who like to push boundaries, Saint Julep is a salty, boozy, intoxicating cocktail.
Sweet mint, tangerine, southern magnolia, bourbon, grisalva (which is a molecule with the character of ambergris), sugar cube and crushed ice.
Imaginary Authors are a brand who really like to push the envelope. They do this not by producing something that squares up to the perfume industry and screams “try wearing this, suckers”, but instead by nudging wearable fragrances towards the avant garde, with delicious results.
Despite admiring their accomplishments, it has to be said that they have one of the most guff-filled websites ever. The brand’s concept is based around imaginary authors writing imaginary books that then provide the inspiration for scents which are simulacra of imaginary moments in time. Too much? Quite possibly. Still, we can have fun with it along the way.
Despite the pretentious website, Saint Julep is a riot to wear. There is just so much packed into this scent and that’s apparent from the first moment you put it on.
The initial hit of fragrance that rises from the skin is almost childish. It reminded us of those cola cube sweets one could purchase as a child (these things being frowned upon as sophisticated adults). It’s sweet and slightly synthetic smelling and in a really pleasant way, slightly nostalgic. This is definitely a fragrance with energy, however. It positively zings with a real sense of power, despite the cola cube start. Throughout there is this alternating carousel of sweet, salty, sour, smokey, leathery which makes the scent seem really vibrant and almost restless as it wears.
There is mint in the mix too, but the scent itself isn’t minty as such. Instead, the mint notes bring a coolness and freshness to the perfume, rather than just playing as mint itself. Imagine opening the door to your holiday cottage first thing on a warm Autumn morning and stepping out with bare feet onto dew soaked grass. That’s the sort of clarity and freshness we are talking about here.
Once the scent has settled gorgeous boozy notes start to flit around. When testing the fragrance we noted ‘whisky’ but upon reflection it is whisky’s sweeter cousin bourbon that is at play here most definitely. The cola cubes have matured and instead we have a scent which is shaping up to be very grown up indeed. There are hints of leather and a faint smokiness here too to complete the more grown-up picture.
Pings of citrus also make themselves known once the perfume has properly warmed and settled. Combined with the whisky the scent becomes reminiscent of the Old Fashioned cocktail which, quite frankly, you are always going to feel a little bit cooler for drinking. This scent is very much like that: very cool, very suave, very stylish.
To our minds the base of this scent is where the real triumph lies. If the rest of the scent is good, the base is excellent. The middle of the fragrance, amongst the booze, has a woody, leathery, flirtatious type of quality, but in the base, the notes become even more vigorous, it reminded us very much of spruce, or pine, wet and steaming after a summer rain shower. It’s very green and woody, very energetic, resinous, powerful and utterly delicious. There’s a bit of an ozone note in here too that enhances the outdoorsy feel of the fragrance.
There’s something about this wild and untamed quality to the base that is very compelling. From a nostalgic, almost childish start, Saint Julep is transformed into something unfettered and powerful. It has a little of the sexy castaway about it somehow, salty, Persian green in tone. Like pirate Jack Sparrow must have smelled after a night on the rum, castaway on an island (watch a YouTube clip here from Pirates of the Caribbean).
If you are at all inclined towards sexy castaways then you’re really going to like this scent.
The other stuff
The longevity of the scent is really good, Saint Julep just lasts forever and is the sort of scent that lingers on your clothes in a very pleasant way.
We also found the projection, or sillage, of Saint Julep to be really good as well. It’s significant without being overbearing, confident without being attention seeking and because it has a freshness about it, we felt that it was unlikely to bother other people in the way that more heavy fragrances can.
Saint Julep would wear well in Summer, bringing a hint of a cool evening to a warm day. We can also imagine it wearing really well as a fragrance for a night out where it would lend anyone an air of wild abandon and sexiness.
This fragrance is marketed as unisex, however, we felt that it sat slightly more towards the masculine edge of the spectrum. It’s definitely one we could see women wearing too though, particularly women who aren’t into florals. This would be a good, strong alternative to floral fragrances for anyone.
Saint Julep is available from Bloom Perfumery London, and also from the Imaginary Authors website directly. From Bloom it is priced at £95 for 50ml EdP, so it is towards the pricier end, however, this is potent stuff that lasts so you are unlikely to waste any by having to respray throughout the day.