Monday 25 October 2021


One of the aspects of perfumery that many people struggle to come to terms with is the worry that their observations of a scent might not match other people’s. The ingredient lists and fragrance stories all try to guide you to a particular scented impression, but it doesn’t mean that you’re actually going to get there. We all interpret scent differently, have different memories, and recognise different ingredients, so it makes sense that we’ll all pick up different aspects. This is the principle behind the newly launched Oddity fragrance brand and, with their full encouragement to trust your own instincts, it's time to discover Naked Dance.

When we think about fragrance companies our thoughts immediately turn to France, with the next options usually being the United Kingdom and America. It’s unlikely that Hong Kong would feature highly on your list. However, that is where Oddity is based, and where a new approach to fragrance is being championed. The company is an offshoot of the design company that shares its name, and which is made up of graphic designers, photographers, digital developers and copywriters. So you can understand why they say the fragrance side was the result of “creative expression driven by offbeat experiments”.

As I said at the beginning, Oddity wanted to celebrate individuality by focusing on how different people will get different reactions from the same scent. “Smell is nebulous, it is never perceived the same way by different noses. There is no right or wrong. You might feel it is warm, someone would say it is dry, but it can be woody and powdery at the same time.” A big challenge to offer complete freedom of discovery, the fragrance is described as “an olfactory impression of our lives at home, where we jazz through space filled with our attachments, memories and comforts with the liberty to be ourselves”.

To create Naked Dance, the company enlisted the help of perfumer Mark Buxton. Now, to say that they aimed high would be an understatement. Mark has worked with the likes of Comme des Garçons, Le Labo, Givenchy and Van Cleef & Arpels, and so he came with a distinguished pedigree. Originally born in London, he studied in Paris at Haarmann & Reimer before making his mark on the world of niche perfumery. Creating a scent that revelled in encouraging people to draw their own conclusions on its fragrance was an obvious departure from the regular perfume briefs, but it's one that Mark Buxton absolutely achieved.

Naked Dance opens with a blend of expansive bergamot and orange flower but, alongside this, the first hint of the promised powdery iris gives a brioche-like quality to the scent. With a jasmine tea aroma sitting quietly to the side, a touch of spiced rose appears and instantly pulls up the incense from the base to conjure a religious aspect to the scent. There's also a whisper of lavender and pine here, which adds an aromatic and resinous edge to the fragrance. As the perfume develops you get a deliciously soapy sandalwood and earthy vetiver, reminiscent of traditional shaving creams, before a woody Iso E Super and tonka bean add an evocative blend that is added to by the airy aroma of peppered musk. Naked Dance is a beautiful realisation of intimate, memory-laden lives and definitely offers some much-needed comfort.

Naked Dance is available as an extrait from the Oddity website at priced at €43 for 10ml, €140 for 30ml or €164 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Oddity]

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