Boreal (Pineward)

Peppermint is tricky for perfumers to get right. Too much of it in isolation, and you have mouthwash. An overdose of menthol, and it's aftershave. Pair it with spice, especially cinnamon, and it's toothpaste. And accidentally convening all of these unfortunate outcomes results in something that smells like the spit in your morning sink. 

The top accord of Boreal is an unbalanced burst of peppermint, cinnamon, cedar, and pine, with the mint and cinnamon notes battling the woods to see which can smell more like Carly Simon's Converse Oat-Nut Organic Wholefoods Non-GMO toothpaste. This shaky takeoff settles into a turbelent mentholated pine needle heart, which smells okay and achieves its "Manly Man" ambitions, but not without a hint of sweaty curry-and-cumin funk in the background. This would be great if it were intentional, but it clearly isn't. 

Boreal's base is little more than the persistent sharpness of fading terpenes and menthol. It's a reminder that although many independent niche brands have made impressive inroads into the niche market, the noses driving many of them are amateurs, and this truth bomb explodes whenever perennial herbs enter the picture. I'm calling for a moratorium on all mint notes in indie perfumery until its people are given a formal training on how to use the stuff correctly.