Icefall (Pineward)

Nootkatone is a
grapefruit ketone, and one of the main components of the smell of grapefruit. It has an acidic, bug-sprayesque vibe, and not accidentally, it's an effective tick and mosquito repellant. One of the dangers for perfumers who work with it is winding up with something that smells more appropriate in a camping bag than in someone's fragrance wardrobe. Nicholas Nilsson manages to avoid this pitfall in Icefall by pairing an intense grapefruit note with a gentle smattering of pine. 

Icefall is Pineward's one and only "fresh" fragrance, and I think it's one of the brand's simplest as well. This all falls in its favor. Unlike others in the range, this one is direct, easy to wear, utterly unisex, and perfect for all seasons. The grapefruit note is crisp, juicy, and a little salty with the pine. The citrus gets woodier and duskier as it dries down, but never collapses into something tritely musky or fetid. The base emerges within four hours, and I think it's a bit bare. Then again, the wearer would likely experience it in warmer weather, and sweat reanimates nootkatone (hence its usefulness against bloodsuckers). 

I get the impression that Nilsson intends for Icefall to be a dumb-reach fragrance, and not a grand statement-maker, and in this respect he succeeds. There are moments in its evolution where it reminds me of vintage Old Spice Fresh, which had a dry grey-marine quality, and was appealing to wet-shavers. There are other moments where I'm reminded of Adam Levine for Men, which stands out in memory as being a great inexpensive grapefruit fragrance. But with its dusting of woody pine, Nilsson managed to inject a bit of soul into what might have otherwise been a soulless exercise. Very nice work, and probably better on a woman than on a guy.