Some perfumes succeed by conjoining the known essences of things in nature into new and unforgettable accords. Picture the gaunt lemon aldehyde and intense woody-mossy experience of Halston Z-14. Yes, the notes all jump forward at various stages to announce "I'm cinnamon," or "I'm pine," but the nose can only interpret them by assessing the novel entirety of Z-14. Then there are perfumes that are olfactory advertisements for the bountiful spoils of pulchritudinous lands that aren't found on any map. Their beauty is abstract but familiar, the paradoxical effect of taking known notes and composing them into a hauntingly alien tune.
Ponderosa is one such fragrance, a strikingly smooth and binate accord of cedar and burnt vanilla that smells expansive and salubrious, yet also feels warm and comfortable in its raw simplicity. Perfumer Nicholas Nilsson attempts to pontificate on its connection to actual ponderosa by claiming it contains the resin absolute, but I'd be more impressed if he said it was a reconstruction, which would at least align him with greatness. It smells like one to me, a robust but unassuming assemblage of woody and sugary notes that coalesce into the general impression of pinus ponderosa. Very good stuff, made all the better by a mystical wisp of fruitiness. A natural beauty that does not occur in nature.