Is it the age of the silver screen, or the quality of being “cinematic” which is captured by this fragrance? Are we venturing into the past or the future? Fortunately, Cinematic by Der Duft – with its cast of charismatic starring players – leaves enough room for us to insert our own meanings and associations, but is bold enough to stir an emotional response and go a little deeper than the standard Hollywood blockbuster.
Petitgrain, ginger, lemon, cardamom, jasmine, rose, carnation, ylang ylang, vanilla, coumarin, musk, cashmeran, civet, moss, amber.
If there were just one word to describe the opening sequence of Cinematic by Der Duft then it would be “sparky”. Rather than being slow and silvered, the start of the scent is vibrant and energetic. An explosion of flecks and motes and sparkles. The ginger and lemon collide and expand whilst tinges of the petitgrain provide a backdrop through which the pinpricks of light can shine. For a moment you could be forgiven for thinking that you might be sniffing a concoction designed to ward off the symptoms of a cold with the invigoration of lemon with the warmth of ginger combining. A beat later though and the scent twists towards something slightly chlorinated in an interesting olfactory mirage which speaks half to the scent feeling “clean” and half to something strange that happens when the opening ingredients are mixed. The greener tones sitting behind the lemon, but warmed by the ginger, give this fresh, clean, swimming pool vibe – just a touch. It isn’t unpleasant, but feels a little contradictory to the rest of the fragrance.
Before you know it, cardamom is humming along next to the ginger. The two pair beautifully so that at first you don’t notice the scent has leant over towards this newer, emerging spice, but as soon as you do notice it it becomes impossible to miss. Piquant, dry prickly yet warm, the cardamom smells like spicy-sawdust in company of the other ingredients. It prickles and pops and again we are reminded of the energy with which the whole scent opened.
Throughout the opening frames of Cinematic there is a real sense of lift and energy – the fragrance leaps off skin and dances around you. It’s the sort of start you need on a morning, or in the winter when the days are dark and dull and a bit of vavavoom is needed to get you going.
Once the initial burst of energy has worn off and the fragrance has opened fully, the scent settles into an easy rhythm and finds its groove. There’s a dance still going on here, but it is lower energy, and well practiced, so in some respects the perfume feels as if it is moving through a set piece which is easy and distinctly un-forced. That sense of ease can be quite difficult to achieve whilst retaining interest, but it is done well here.
Carnation peeps through, but adds its own piquancy to the mix and a bright and shiny amber starts to swell in the background. The floral elements show aspects of celery and pepper so they don’t go too far towards the floral side of things, they just add depth and a more nuanced sense of lusciousness. A slight sense of wetness, or perhaps juiciness, peeps through and a powdery tone is noticeable which, once it has arrived, accompanies us right through to the end of the scent.
The base of Cinematic is given over to three main components. The oakmossy and mossy underpinning, the bright and shiny amber, and the vein of musky sweetness which ties it all together.
The scent retains a little of that dampness we noted in the heart and it feels very much like dew on moss, around that though are clouds of gentle sweetness which stop the fragrance being very “countryside-like”. The sweeter elements are delightfully handled, understated although definitely detectable. The vanilla is perfectly woody and sweet – hitting that spot where the exciting facets of this element shine – whilst the coumarin imparts a hay-like sweetness to enrich the whole picture. The sweeter side of things soothes any remnants of the citrus which are hanging around, and cossets and comforts the wearer.
Civet can be a little scary to some folks when included in a composition, but here it adds a warmth to the scent. It isn’t skanky or dirty, but just adds that sense of closeness and cosiness. The most significant impression of the base is drying, powdery warmth with shiny amber highlights.
Cinematic is, overall, bold and bright with a sense of energy mellowing into a more snuggly base. It’s a puppy tearing around the garden and then collapsing into a heap, or maybe the excitement of your first cinema trip post lockdown before you hunker down in a big red-velvet chair with a handful of sweets at the ready.
The other stuff
The perfumer for Cinematic was Miguel Matos.
Whilst Cinematic might not sound groundbreaking or particularly unusual, it’s a really nice example of a fragrance of this type; a strong example which performs well and which doesn’t disappoint at any stage of its evolution. It’s also the sort of fragrance which can be incredibly hard working in a collection, taking you from day to evening with its strong longevity and sense of easiness.
The longevity of this fragrance is really solid, it lasts all day and on some days even into the next morning. The projection of the scent is bold but not obnoxious. It goes to handshake distance or further quite easily but isn’t aggressive in the way that it does that. Cinematic is one that your friends and colleagues will notice but which they are unlikely to feel oppressed by – even if they aren’t fans – given the citrus, which takes up a decent part of the composition and which tends to not cloy as much as more floral perfumes can do.
Cinematic is the sort of scent which anyone with an interest could wear, but it seems well suited to long days in the office in either hot or cold weather. In hot weather it will keep you fresh and sweet smelling all day, whilst in cooler weather the sweetness will shine more but the citrus will give energy and brightness to your day.
Der Duft are a sleek, modern brand, devoid of frippery and fancy. They allow the scents to speak for themselves without clustering stories, memories, associations or heavy-duty marketing around them – hence the name: Der Duft (the scent). This aesthetic is carried throughout the brand, chic in its monochrome website, simple bottles and clean labels.
Der Duft operate through a series of collaborations with guest perfumers: Miguel Matos, Alexandre Illan, Prin Lomros, and Anne-Sophie Behaghel so far. The brand is based in Germany, and was established by Anselm Skogstad who is perfumer for two of their creations.
The vibe of Der Duft is very much clean, urban and high quality, aiming to catch the eye of those who enjoy simplicity in presentation but who are discerning enough to hunt out high quality and unusual compositions.
Cinematic by Der Duft is available from Bloom Perfumery in London where it is priced at £110 for 50ml EdP. Bloom very kindly gifted us a sample of this fragrance with no-strings-attached.
You can also purchase Cinematic from the Der Duft web boutique.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Pexels.