Brand Guide: Nikkos Oskol

Russia is one of the most enigmatic and storied of countries, from churches built where emperors have fallen to world-renowned literature this vast and beautiful country and its stalwart people have contributed an inordinate amount to the cultural richness of the world. It makes sense then that they should also have some exceptional perfume houses and in the niche and artisan line Nikkos Oskol surely has to be one of those.

The vibe

When you think Nikkos Oskol, you need to be thinking along the lines of understated class and quality. Their scents are packaged in a way which isn’t fussy or overblown. Minimalist but attractive cardboard boxes protect beautiful, smoothly curving bottles and there’s something about the way that the scents are packaged which talks to the brand ethos of capturing something really beautiful inside a rather plain exterior. We really enjoy that; showing off is so 1999.

The scents

Nikkos Oskol carry a huge line of fragrances, many of which are oil rather than alcohol based, so great for those whose skin is angered by the application of alcohol. We’ve previously reviewed some of these gems including the gourmand delights of Fragrance No 10, the heady spiciness of Fragrance No 03, the menthol clarity of Fragrance No 21, the wilderness vibe of Fragrance No 07 and the gorgeous honeysuckle florals of Fragrance No 13.  These are all scents which are worthy of investigation depending on your own particular preferences.

The oil based fragrances

The oil based fragrances in the Nikkos-Oskol stable have been around since the company started releasing scents in 2011. The base of these scents is a hypoallergenic emollient which means they are very gentle to wear. This base also allows the fragrances to open up in a way which is very different to an alcohol based scent. The fragrances move much slower, so the top notes last for many minutes, the heart and base notes for hours. This has the resulting effect of making the perfume feel like it is wearing in slow motion, and is particularly enjoyable for those scents which contain flighty top notes, Nikkos Oskol captures them and makes them move more slowly as they try and escape.

The scents in this range tend to be at extrait concentration in 35ml bottles, priced in the region of £100. There’s also the option to have the scents presented in a beautiful steel case which bumps the price up to around the £160 mark, but is great for those of you who are hungry for the extra special presentation.

The range is available to explore at Bloom Perfumery London.

Kar.ribe

The clever forces behind Nikkos Oskol also released a second range, Kar.Ribe. This line up includes four scents which are designed to be evening fragrances and feature many of the notes seen most often in fragrances designed to attract, seduce and entice, as such is the work of an evening.

Kar.ribe 01

Notes: lemon, blackcurrant, marigold, jasmine, violet root, rose, vanilla and white musk

Fragrance 01 is a lovely, floral number. Creamy jasmine forms the main body of the scent and it is beautifully light and sits gorgeously on skin. White musk rounds the scent out and gives it a clean, fresh edge. If seduction is the goal then this is a sure fire way to go about it. This perfume sits more towards the feminine end of the spectrum.

Kar.ribe 02

Notes: bergamot, redcurrant, black currant, rose, jasmine, vetiver, agar wood, cedar wood, musk and saffron.

The most typically masculine scent in the line, this is gorgeously rich and multifaceted. The agar wood is not overdone, adding a beautiful hum in the background. It’s spicy, leathery, woody and oh so sexy, oozing opulence and sophistication. Sweet enough to be inviting, but heavy enough to carry it off, it’s a really great example of an evening scent done well.

Kar.ribe 03

Notes: peach, red apple, black currant, lavender, chamomile, orange blossom, patchouli, cedar, caramel.

This fragrance is one which you could wear at any time of year and any time of day. The fruitiness of peach and apple comes through beautifully, especially when the scent has had chance to settle and open on the skin. There’s a zesty vibrancy from the black currant, which keeps the scent smelling clean and fresh but without being too sharp.  The caramel adds a touch of sweetness and depth. There’s nothing fruit-salad like about this scent, it smells expensive and classy all the way through.

Kar.ribe 04

Notes: neroli, peach, black currant, orange blossom, rose, sage, patchouli, vanilla, sandalwood.

The first thing we noticed about this scent is the astringency of the neroli and black currant working together to give a sharp, hard edge. It really gives this fragrance a modern and unisex feel from the off. The fruity elements smell a bit like pear, with that high frequency buzz, and the sage adds a really savoury and herbal touch. Vanilla and patchouli are delicately handled and give the base a warm sweetness which never gets out of kilter or becomes overblown. A fab scent for those who like things sharp, dry and interesting.

Fragrance words

An exciting new development in the world of Nikkos Oskol fragrances is the advent of their fragrance words. This is a wonderful, elegant system where you, the customer, can use any word composed of Cyrillic or Latin alphabet characters to make a fragrance. Each letter represents a fragrance which is then mixed with a generic base formula and thus a new and unique perfume is born. So you can make a fragrance called ‘Love’ or ‘Passion’ but you can also make a fragrance called ‘Unicorn’ or ‘Dick Van Dyke’. It’s a fantastic idea and one which leads to endless possibilities of scent.

Nikkos Oskol very kindly sent us a scent made of the letters ‘The Sniff’ and we can testify to what an interesting and unique scent it is. The base is warm and gentle, providing a lovely backdrop to the more expressive perfumed elements which sit on top. The Sniff fragrance is woody, light, intriguing and like nothing else we’ve ever smelled.

The verdict

Nikkos Oskol are really pushing the envelope as far as fragrance construction is concerned. Their oil based scents are so rich and classy and wearing them is an experience like nothing else, scents captured in slow motion. The Kar.ribe line of fragrances are seductive and perfectly suited to evening wear, they offer a great selection of different angles on ‘going out’ scents. Finally, the fragrant words constructions are a really novel take on how scents are constructed, and it puts you in charge of the elements that build your perfume. Plus it’s a really cool and clever idea.

Buy it

The original, oil based fragrances are available from Bloom Perfumery London. You can buy Kar.ribe from their own website. The fragrance words are available from the Nikkos Oskol website.

We received samples of the original oil fragrances from Bloom Perfumery London, samples of Kar.ribe from Nikkos Oskol as well as full bottles of Kar.ribe 04 and the fragrant words “The Sniff”. All bottles and samples were given with no strings attached and we are very grateful for the support from both Nikkos Oskol and Bloom Perfumery.

 

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