Artistic American brand January Scent Project return with a bold yet nuanced addition to their line. Like all their fragrances, this is a wild ride, so buckle up and get ready to be immersed in the weirdly beautiful world of this ambitious fragrance house.
If you’d like to read more about the January Scent Project range, please read our round up of their line.
Marigold, sage, heliotrope, incense.
Like many of the January Scent Project fragrances, Serin comes at you at 100mph as soon as you spray it. The opening few minutes have this really dry, astringent quality which is quite medicinal and antiseptic in tone, but all the more compelling for being so. It immediately evokes the feeling of being administered to, of being a child when Grandma would go to her cupboard and open the section where the first aid supplies were kept. The smell of the cupboard full of bandages and creams would reach you before she even had chance to pull out a plaster to cover a grazed knee or a cut finger.
The start of Serin made us feel like the half hour after you’d fallen over, the point at which the pain and shock had subsided, the point at which you were being cared for and you knew things were about to get better. Dry, bitter, with an underseam of something green and leathery, Serin has this promise of comfort about it somehow.
Sometimes Serin smells like the bitter hearts of marigolds, sometimes it has a hint of warm rubber about it – the two scents aren’t too far apart. Either way though, it is clear that Serin has the January Scent Project DNA right from the start. Bold, challenging, and different to anything else you will have smelled.
The start of Serin feels like it is sharp and hard, but once you get beyond that the fragrance seems to melt into a comforting puddle of softness. You can feel the fragrance relaxing as it opens up and you can practically see the marigold bud ripening and bursting open. There’s an orangey zestiness that buzzes around in the background of the scent but it is restrained and balanced by a milky, languid tone and the two opposing facets hold each other in an interesting dance. Some days when wearing Serin the bitter, pithy vibe wins, other days it is the milky smoothness. The fact that it is so changeable adds to the interest.
There is a definite smokiness at play here too. This facet of the composition feels like it is purifying – perhaps due to the sage – and the whole thing then takes on a slightly ritualistic vibe. One can imagine a bundle of sage twigs smoking in the background of a dimly lit ceremony, perfuming the space with a dreamy, gentle smoke which in itself feels healing, like it will enter the body through the lungs and chase away evil spirits somehow.
In the base of the scent the fragrance relaxes and opens further and a hazy, milky smoke is overlaid with a leathery greenery that feels like thick, glaucous leaves rubbed between fingers.
The perfume of January Scent Project always feels like creator’s emotions milked of their very essences and bottled and there is something in the tone of Serin, in the scent-memories that it conjures up, that made us think that this is a scent about comfort following trauma. It’s not a scent which is cosy for the sake of it, it reminds you of the sting before it gives you the salve. In the base of the fragrance it’s time for the salve.
The other stuff
The longevity of Serin is excellent, a good 8-10 hours from an early morning application. We found it projected slightly less voraciously than that – to handshake distance or so, but this is by no means an obnoxiously projecting scent. It’s bold, but not too bold.
Serin could be worn by anyone of any gender, but it leans perhaps more towards the more masculine side of the spectrum due to the smoky notes. Wear it regardless though if you enjoy it, whatever and whoever you are!
This fragrance feels to us as if it would wear best at the end of summer or the start of autumn. There is something beautifully reflective about it that would suit the period when the Dog Days of Summer have faded and the nights are just starting to draw in.
January Scent Project springs from the creative mind of John Biebel, an American artist working in a variety of media and UX designer. The January Scent Project fragrances are unfettered and so have a freedom of spirit and expression about them which isn’t always found in conventional perfumery.
We’ve previously reviewed the whole line from the brand and you can read our brand guide to them should you so desire.
We were very kindly gifted a no-strings attached sample of Serin by John Biebel, and we thank him for his kindness.