Monday 19 July 2021


The idea of reconnecting with the past is something that has been at the forefront of many people’s minds over the past twelve months. That feeling of travelling back to simpler times, even experiencing the thoughts and feelings of forgotten generations, anything but the uncertainty of modern life. Perfume companies have tried to tap into this concept many times, with everything from the Pharaohs to World Wars, but one of the most ingenious has to be Neandertal. With a nod to the past both visually and sensorially, but celebrating the world around us, the company have created the sensational Neandertal Light.

Fragrances can take on a different meaning as time passes, and also as the wearer’s life experiences change. When Kentaro Yamada launched Neandertal back in 2018 he said that it was “a way to explore the analogies between the lingering echoes of our past.” What has gone before shapes the people that we become, but all too often the history is forgotten as we forge ahead with the latest life changing enhancements. This is why Kentaro decided to reference Neanderthal Man who, in more recent years, has been shown to be far more than the primitive that he was original thought to be.

His idea was to create a dual release that represented the past and also reference modern times. Neandertal Dark was chose as the name for the former and the latter was christened Neandertal Light. The bottles were cleverly crafted to resemble those famous flint heads but, ignoring the fantastic design for a moment, they also allowed the bottles to be kept on display without the ravages of light affecting the fragrance within. There is something so grounding about holding one of the bottles, it really does feel like a link the past, and definitely makes you think about those that have gone before.

The task of creating Neandertal Light fell to Chris Maurice (aka Christian Carbonnel). This highly successful perfumer was asked to concentrate on the idea of “the present” but reference us having a past that ties us to another time. This was in contrast to Neandertal Dark, realised by Euan McCall, which was firmly rooted in more of a primal DNA. Hugely successful at the time of its launch, the events of the past twelve months made me revisit Neandertal Light because the idea of drawing inspiration and guidance from the past, but putting them in a modern context, resonated on a completely different level.

Neandertal Light opens with an incredibly bright aromatic aroma, imagine sunlight hitting foliage, and it’s thanks to a beautiful blend of coriander, piercing galbanum, and hinoki. This last ingredient gives a lemony and woody quality, and links expertly to a peppered flint accord that remains throughout. As the fragrance develops you get a smooth leather and incense rose note coming through, sitting comfortably alongside a gorgeous powdery iris and tempered patchouli, before a final wash of voluminous dry musk completes this stunning perfume. With references to the past and a positive outlook on the future, Neandertal Light is the perfect fragrance for 2021.

Neandertal Light is available from the Neandertal website at priced at £100 for 30ml, £210 for 90ml, or as part of the sample set for £24.50. [Samples provided by the brand and photography bottle provided by Brooke Belldon]

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