Monday 9 August 2021

GREEN VELVET by Ilya Parfums

The fact that many truly niche perfume companies are actually a one or two-person operation is exactly the reason why they’ve managed to survive the difficulties of recent times. The ability to quickly pivot, and either focus their energies on a temporary line or pause production altogether, has meant that the final easing of restrictions has allowed them to re-emerge and take up where they left off. Ilyas Kakis, the founder of Ilya Parfums, has been refreshingly open about how the past year gave him time to reassess the brand. With the collection now numbering three, it’s time to discover the magic of Green Velvet.

When Ilya Parfums launched in 2019 it came out of a desire by the founder to shake off the shackles of his scientific background and dive into the wonderfully abstract world of perfume. His previous career in research had given him a grounding in the concept of hard work, and so he set himself the task of learning about how ingredients blended to create scented experiences. Ilyas told me, “Fragrance is personal and perfume is subjective. Every one of my memories and emotions is independent from each other, which is the same for my formulas.”

Ilyas launched the brand with the fragrances Green Velvet and Blue Valley, but he admits that 2020’s lockdown cemented his desire to see the company thrive. “It gave me the time that I needed to rest my feet, to focus more on myself and what I wanted from life. It also made me realise that I would never be a self-made man if I worked for someone else; I needed to run, and work, for myself. So I definitely think that, if we allowed it to, lockdown unlocked space for us all to reconsider life and choices. It was the last push that I needed to really go for it.”

Blue Valley
took the aquatic fragrance style to an exciting breaking point, creating a dank quality that is incredibly challenging, but Green Velvet couldn’t be more different. Ilyas described it to me as, “pure elegance and dynamism in a liquid form that is more about who you want to be rather than how you want to feel.” It takes a central fougère theme, mixes in an arresting green note, and treats us to an added gourmand-amber quality. Now, using fabric as an inspiration for a scent is a welcome change in the current landscape of fragrances, but does Green Velvet deliver on its decadent promise?

The fragrance feels as if it opens from the base, in that it begins with a smooth amber accord and is quickly joined by a beautiful dose of jasmine. However, neither of these are overpowering, in fact they’re given space thanks to the blend of lavender and bergamot that adds an aromatic greenness to the scent. Subtle notes of violet and syrupy immortelle are present in the background but the earthy pairing of vetiver and oakmoss brings us firmly back to the idea that this is designed as a fougère fragrance. With a final touch of tonka bean and resinous incense, alongside a whisper of coriander, Green Velvet perfectly encapsulates the decadent fabric and even hints at some delicate fibres that are starting to break free.

Green Velvet is available from the Ilya Parfums website at priced at £190 for 100ml, £120 for 50ml, and £7 for 2ml. You can also click on the image below to read my "Stephan's Six" interview with perfumer Ilyas Kakis. [Sample and photography bottle provided by the company]

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