Christopher DiCas 69 L'Extrait: Beyond Sex in a Bottle, Actually
For people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they could not escape scent. For scent was a brother of breath. Together with breath it entered human beings, who could not defend themselves against it, not if they wanted to live. And scent entered into their very core, went directly to their hearts, and decided for good and all between affection and contempt, disgust and lust, love and hate. He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men.
(Patrick Süskind, Perfume)
How many times have we thought about this axiom, that whoever rules smell, rules the hearts of men? This is where the notion of attractive scents come in. And the endless search for the perfect one...
Christopher DiCas, born in Piraeus, is a Greek actor and model interested and passionate about all the arts, who, since 2011, has started getting involved in fragrances that bear his name. After the collaboration with the German group N.W.A., which produced his eponymous perfume, in 2018 DiCas opened his own company with which he produces high perfumery products. At this moment, he is entering the the American and Arabian markets, and paradoxically, this is how 69 L'Extrait came to my attention.
Multi-versed, with his finger in many pies — acting, psychology, music, and modeling — DiCas is the kind of person to creatively immerse himself in various media that have to do with the senses.
With roots in Southern Chios, Eastern Romulia, and the Peloponnese, he began to travel and get to know the rest of the world from an early age, both with his family and with the collaborations he made either as an actor, as a performer, or as a model, and he began to collect perfumes, ever since he realized their power. He knew instinctively that perfume is like a magic potion, and therefore valuable, mysterious, and unique.
The story of how this particular fragrance came to be is one which one would be hard-pressed to fabricate, if it weren't true for so many families where I come from. Grandparents feeding their grandchildren, cajoling them into consuming that which is prized by weaving stories and recounting fairy tales...
Christopher's grandfather used to feed him and his brother, all the while narrating tales from Greek mythology and the more innocent parts of the Arabian Nights. Maybe that's why the fragrance 69 L'Extrait came out so rich and sensuous, so wonderfully multi-layered. Food and fantasy. Tales and mystery. Fragrance on the wings of memory, but also of fanciful reverie.
Christopher's parents worked in different capacities in the cosmetics industry, so an introduction to the industry came from the cradle, but it was probably the Septimus Piesse music system which he credits with being a major influence on understanding how things "breathe," and how essential oils and essences fuse one another into accords.
His new Extraits line consists of two perfumes: this one and Christopher DiCas L'Extrait/Le Parfum. It targets the most demanding lovers of modern luxury, since it contains the highest content of essential oils of any other product (25% concentration of essential oils in alcohol of 95 degrees), with no concessions on quality whatsoever. The alcohol comes from beetroot, ensuring the proper spotlight on the properties of the cold-expressed essential oils used.
Due to the unexpected and unbridled eroticism of the fragrance itself, it was provocatively named 69, the name inspired by the well-known sex position, in which both sexes become erotically equated, its purpose being to stimulate the relationship and communication of couples for a deeper connection against a modern society which imposes superficiality in all areas.
The scent of 69 L'Extrait "begins on the tantalizing whiff of citruses (velvet tangerine, crisp bergamot) combined with sensual amber rose, vanilla, cinnamon and sunflower, alongside white lily-of-the-valley, waking fiery passions. The seductive jasmine mixes in the heart with an exotic musk, black suede leather, the resinous elemi, sandalwood, clove, cardamom, bay leaves, and tonka beans. At the base of the formula, the majestic patchouli adds a feeling of seduction. Exotic wood essential oils and spices, such as cedar, oak moss, cashmere wood, and ginger complete the composition. Then the essential oil of wild quince gives the final touch."
Testing 69 L'Extrait I was impressed by the smoothness of the blend above all. It's seamless and silky, the way some of the most wearable oriental fragrances of the past used to be, and not meant to shock or jolt you out of your comfort zone, but instead meant to create what the French call troubler. This verb cannot be accurately translated into "troubling" in English, as it bears the hint of intrigue and mystery instead of hassle. One would call things like Narcisse Noir troublant because it's so much more than what it is at first sniff, making the person smelling it search for the source of this mysterious scent, creating a fantasy in their head before zooming in on the right target.
This impression engulfed me too when wearing this boozy, spicy, smooth and sweetish oriental scent on my skin. Without much change throughout the wearing — apart from the mingling of the spices with the resins — the more time progressed, it never ceased to create this tension that the loveliest of orientals create: "What is that beguiling scent?" Only to derive that it was...me.
There are two basic directions that 69 L'Extrait goes, and they do not diverge; they meet eventually, and both are potent and lovely. On the one hand, there are the spicy top notes of YSL Nu, the dry impression of them that removes them from the Christmas compote, a certain desired clarity. On the other hand, there is the vanillic smokiness of Tobacco Vanille, merging the depth of resins and woods to creaminess.
69 L'Extrait is very becoming, velvety, and never too sweet, keeping a balance that can only make you question your own ability to pinpoint exactly what it is you're smelling. The boozy silkiness is just short of peaty, never verging into the unpleasantness of harsh combos. Instead, just like its namesake position, it gives equal measure to sweet and bitter elements to come to the fore, and perform as they know best — langorously, seductively, plushly...
Whether the scent might make you into an erotically seductive person is, ultimately, up to you. It surely can't hurt, that's for sure!
The two fragrances come in a luxurious and classic version of an ancient perfume jar that was called lekythos (λήκυθος) in classical antiquity. The rounded bottle bears characteristic gold print with a sketch of the perfumer — a throwback to lekythoi's depiction of heroes from Greek mythology. A childhood friend of Christopher DiCas, designer George Iliadis — knowing his first love for Greek mythology as well as for classical style — created the design of the bottle as a gift.
The boxes of the bottles come in black and matte purple respectively, with gold edges and a logo in gold at the top along with the word άρωμα in Hellenistic Koine, and the word parfum since the compositions are made in Grasse, France. Inside the package, the bottle is accompanied by a double spray system, i.e. the traditional spray that you can use anywhere, as well as the romantic pear puff with the embroidered pump and tassel for lovers of the unsurpassed style that refers to the baroque era.
Elena Vosnaki Editor, Writer & Translator
Elena Vosnaki is a historian, archaeologist and fragrance author. She has written for Fragrantica since 2009. Vosnaki has worked as the Perfume History Curator for the Milan EXPO 2015, and as a guest lecturer at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She is the founder & editor of Perfume Shrine, one of the most respected independent online publications on scent. Her writing has been twice shortlisted in FIFI Editorial Excellence Awards and is extensively quoted by authors. Interviews regarding Vosnaki's unique status as perfume historian & writer appear in VOGUE Hellas, ICON Magazine and Queen.gr.
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