MEM opens up on a dark lavender note that smells less like fresh herbs and more like clay and cepes. Sunshine soon arrives in the form of hops, toasted malt, and the pale ale fizz of aldehydes, lifting the scent out of its humus-rich opening.
The scorched-sugar of ethyl maltol caramelizes the lavender, creating a phantom accord of fruit like the dark, almost calcified contents of a forgotten jar of peach marmalade. But as soon as the mind adjusts to this accord, MEM shifts again, this time into a rich floral heart of jasmine, rose, and ylang ylang that sacrifices prettiness for the more interesting facets of wax, gasoline, and rubber. Indian sandalwood with its wheaten milkiness and Himalayan cedarwood with its lingering note of woodsmoke work in tandem to ease the florals and aromatics into the base. The drydown, which is sturdy and beautiful, weaves the sweet dust of unlit incense into the musky, salty, animalic base of a barbershop fougere. MEM is not a perfume that lends itself to easy interpretation, it will reward your patience a hundred times over. In terms of who can wear it, MEM is something of a chimera: sometimes it seems masculine, at others, feminine. Beautiful, quixotic, and memorable, we think this is artisanal perfumery at its most daring.