Daniel Barros’ Perfumes

Daniel Barros Perfumes
Daniel Barros’ Cuir Mojito, Yuzucello, Sex on the Peach and Gincenso (9ml, 2016) © Victor Wong

After all those years, I can vividly remember two things that happened in my sister’s econo-lite wedding – she served raw cauliflower florets on a platter with some ranch sauce on a buffet table. Who eats cauliflowers in a wedding party? Might as well serve just one head of cauliflower; there might come someone who really wants to eat it and says, “excuse me, I hope you don’t mind, I really like cauliflowers” and takes the whole thing and starts chomping it away in a corner.

The second thing was that my sister asked me to be a bartender at the wedding party. She casually said, “Just mix vodka and orange juice together, I think it’s called a screwdriver.” I was really glad that none of her guests went blind after drinking my concoctions, for I had mixed them big plastic cups full of orange juice with a few drops of vodka, and vodka with a few drops of orange juice as the night started to drag. I really had no clue what I was doing, for I don’t drink beer or any cocktails at all.

So I guess my total ignorance and disinterest in alcohol is useful when I test my friend Daniel Barros’ brand new line of cocktail/drinks inspired perfumes – I don’t have any perceived idea whether the perfume is a successful reinterpretation of the cocktail that it is supposed to represent.

Currently his line consists of 12 scents, and he has sent me four.

After testing them, I have come up with this silly conclusion: his perfumes are like South Park episodes – super outrageous, creative, crazy, but all somehow end with a moral redemption, in a form of traditional, proper perfume dry down, for he knows what he is doing, but somehow the theme of the perfumes that he has chosen confines what the perfume should smell like.

Yuzucello – probably my favourite. The opening is like you have won the Superbowl and your teammates dumps a barrel of Limoncello over your head. Crazy strong lemon candy opening, surprisingly non-sticky, if you let the opening subsides a bit, you are rewarded with a very addictive great sandalwood/tonka/lily of the valley dry down.

Gincenso – A gin fragrance that’s actually more like an incense fragrance but somehow smells like a latex fragrance to me? This incense fragrance is masculine, respectful, and sparsely aromatic. Actually it is not at all a comedy fragrance, it’s a proper and properly made fragrance, but if it is a real drink, it is garnished with one blue plastic flip flop on a toothpick. I have said it many times, a lot of leather perfumes smell like plastic flip flops to me. I remember it was a group favourite.

Cuir Mojito – It’s refreshing like mint but rustic like brown leather hide; it’s clean like lime but damp like oakmoss and vetiver; Cuir Mojito is full of contradictions, the movie Cowboys vs Aliens, despite a bit confusing, it’s entertaining.

Sex on the Peach – there is a salty note in this fragrance that reminds me of the beach, and the peach accord is supposed to represent peach schnapps. So far so good, but I must confess I wish the cumin and black pepper isn’t that strong in this fragrance for it gives me a bit of seasickness.

Lubin’s Gin Fizz (1955, reformulated 2009)

Lubin's Gin Fizz © Victor Wong
Lubin’s Gin Fizz © Victor Wong

I don’t enjoy drinking any alcohol beverages, and never have a craving for any, yet I have a vivid memory of me having a good time drinking gin mixed with 7 Up with my elder brother when I was a kid in the early 80s. My elder youngest brother, the “bad son” in the family (yet most beloved by my father) who never liked to study but bring explosive troublesome news to my parents, found out from a party that it was super cool to mix 7 Up with some Gordon’s London Gin and canned DeMonte fruit cocktail together and called it a “punch”. He smuggled a small bottle home and skipped the fruit cocktail part and let me have a glass. The gin portion was little and I didn’t get drunk at all, but I remember it tasted strange, somehow fragrant and bitter, and my brother had a handsome smirk on his face, which ultimately got a girl and her parents to come visit our home a few years later, for a matter my mom told me, “none of your business”.

Fast forward 30-or-so years, I was at a department store testing some Atkinson perfumes, and the British sales lady told me that the perfume 24 Bond Street had juniper berries in it, and the British absolutely loved it because juniper berries are used to make gin, and gin is the favorite spirit of the British. I carried this little piece of information with me and suddenly I understood why Penhaligons’ gin perfume was called Juniper Sling.

Later I became a bit obsessed with Lubin perfumes, I came across a few bottles on eBay called Gin Fizz (1955). According to Wikipedia, “a fizz is a mixed cocktail drink with some acidic juice (such as lemon or lime) and carbonated water. The fizz became widely popular in America between 1900 and the 1940s. Known as a hometown specialty of New Orleans, the gin fizz was so popular that bars would employ teams of bartenders that would take turns shaking the drinks. Demand for fizzes went international at least as early as 1950…” So here’s my wild guess: the “gin fizz” craze spread to France and Lubin created the hip and trendy Gin Fizz in 1955.

I thought it was fun to own a gin-themed perfume and I bought the modern reformulated version of Lubin’s Gin Fizz (2009). A spritz on the skin, I get a very refreshing gin note (juniper berries, lemon and lime), which I think it’s perfect for the summer (not sure if it is best for work), and quickly the gin gets shuffled to the bottom deck and the “perfume part” of the perfume kicks in, and it smells classy, floral, light, teasing with a little bit of warmth (jasmine, lily, iris, benzoin, oakmoss). While I definitely enjoy wearing it, it is most perfect if you are really at the bar scene wearing it; if you are a lady, I recommend walking in the room in an open back black dress and a good many sprays of Gin Fizz.