Monday 28 September 2020

SPITE by Chronotope

Launching a perfume brand is a delicate balance of luck and judgement. You’re at the mercy of an audience that is constantly being bombarded by the newest, the biggest, and the brightest fragrance releases. Trying to capture a small part of this market has been attempted many times, and so it was a huge gamble when Carter Weeks Maddox decided to launch his delayed Chronotope brand right in the middle of a global pandemic. He needn’t have worried though because his blend of originality and transparency has taken the niche sector by storm, and Spite will definitely be clawing its way into your collection.

Carter Weeks Maddox is a self-taught perfumer based in Florida and, he’ll tell you this himself, is finding the success of Chronotope a little hard to take in. He’d originally had just one hope, and that was simply to sell all of the stock that he had made for his three perfumes. On the launch date of August 1st the orders started to come in, and they haven’t stopped since. His combination of transparency and obvious talent has captured the imagination of customers around the world, and now we all know a lot more about Carter Weeks Maddox than we did before.

He used experiences from his life as the inspiration for the three perfumes, along with some playful embelishments, but admits that if he’d known the interest that Chronotope would attract he may not have shared quite so much. “It would have been different if it had just been bought by ten people and my mom, but it’s gone way beyond that.” It’s exactly this level of openness that has attracted people’s attention, and it’s not the first time that he’s inadvertently caused a stir. “I remember thinking as a kid that I could steal Grandma’s Aromatics Elixir at Thanksgiving, wear it, and no-one would notice. The beast filled up the room!”

Carter’s debut collection consists of Playalinda, Buen Camino, and Spite. They are very hard to categorise but lean towards fruity chypre, aromatic amber, and floral leather. An interesting touch to the Chronotope range is that each has an enamelled colour on the edge of the samples, or the front of the bottles, which is a nod to the old 'perfume nips'. These were the first type of perfume samples and were thin glass vials with a coloured enamel dot on the end to signify the fragrance type, as shown in the picture. All three of Carter's fragrances are expertly created and show a natural talent but, for me, the star has got to be Spite.

Spite opens with a very smooth violet but is quickly joined by a green note that adds an edge to the scent, which stops it going down the candy route. The arrival of a metallic neroli gives a chrome like aspect, and it’s this that pushes the central rose ingredient into a much spikier direction rather than the usual lush floral. A powdery iris kind of sidles alongside with a touch of apricot but, on this occasion, even their smoothing qualities can’t soften this rose’s tetchiness. This edge continues into the declared leather and frankincense blend meaning, in conjunction with the chrome quality, it really conjures up images of early nineties clubs where the leather may have been faux, but the behaviour was often loaded with real spite.

Spite is available as an Eau de Toilette from the Chronotope website at priced at $10 for 1.75ml, $70 for 15ml, or $145 for 50ml. You can also click on the image below to read my "Stephan's Six" interview with Carter Weeks Maddox. [Sample provided by Chronotope]

[Perfume Nips kindly gifted by Nita Thomson]

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