Monday 5 November 2018


The fashion for having a “fragrance wardrobe” shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon and, indeed, you almost feel out of place if you have one perfume that you always fall back on. The idea of having a signature scent that you become known for has been replaced with the expectation of owning all of the latest niche and mainstream fragrances. This was the realisation that John Evans came to when he suddenly found that he had fallen into the trap of ping ponging between the current perfume trends. So, he decided to create his own personal signature scent and The Modernist is the result.

When John Evans entered the world of fragrance he was at the top of his then profession. However, he suddenly found himself starting from the bottom in the world of perfume but was determined to achieve the goal of producing his signature scent. A long journey lay ahead of him as he wrestled with essential oils, the building blocks of every fragrance, and discovered which ingredients resonated with him. An emotional attachment was always important to John but would his creation also be commercial enough to attract the interest of the perfume fans?

When it comes to the creation of The Modernist he is very careful how he describes his input. There is no doubt that he smelled, measured, and blended the various ingredients that made up his first fragrance, but John is also very honest about the help that he received afterwards. His finished creation was handed over to a perfumer who tweaked the nuts and bolts so that it conformed to IFRA regulations and also suggested some edits that would help the overall stability of the scent. The fragrance stayed true to John’s original blend but the edges were gently smoothed.

As the fragrance came together it became apparent that it was moving in a decidedly woody direction. John recalled at the time, “My dad installed and restored wooden floors; I have early memories of fresh cut pine and newly sanded mahogany. Somewhere along the way these merge with the smells of church, incense especially, when I was an altar boy.” Whilst the inspiration for the scent is firmly rooted in John’s memories, the finished perfume is definitely open to everyone. The Modernist is planned as the first of three fragrances that will form a trilogy of scents but, for now, let’s look at number one.

To say that The Modernist opens brightly would be an understatement. A huge Shalimar-like rush of bergamot races towards you accompanied by touches of lavender and geranium but, right from the outset, a hefty dose of wonderfully resinous labdanum is almost pulling the fragrance in two. Sandwiched in the middle you get traces of mandarin and rose but the appearance of a combination of frankincense and school-waxed cedarwood truly makes this fragrance live. On the skin The Modernist is wonderfully warm but, on fabric, it retains its piercingly crisp aromatic quality for longer. So, for the full effect, do a little of both.

The Modernist is available from the company's website at and is priced at £125 for 50ml or £5 for a 2ml sample. [Sample provided by The Modernist]

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