Odinsleep by Xarmony (2020)

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Odinsleep by Xarmony (2020) is a fragrance loosely based on Viking lore, but the name is a bit misleading. This is because sleeping is pretty much the last thing you’ll be doing while wearing Odinsleep, due to it’s high quotient of peppermint in the composition, coming across like a mid-century masculine fragrance once advertised to wet-shavers on black and white televisions across the US. That said, this is a unisex fragrance, and there are nuances here which make it feel more appropriately so once you move past the mint (which is omnipresent but less a star later). Overall, the story of a viking coming home from battle and not recognizing anyone around is tenuous to the actual fragrance itself, but as with all Xarmony fragrances, adds an additional layer of intrigue or makes for a cool talking point to folks asking you what you’re wearing. The brand also prides itself for making all the fragrances to-order per-bottle, and not diluted from batches of concentrate, which is something you don’t see much outside of custom perfume shops in The Middle East.

The opening is a pretty powerful peppermint, with some very sheer green notes surrounding it, similar to cis3hexanol cut grass but not on the same level of power as something deliberately grassy like Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985). There is also something of a dry or dark chocolatey nuance here, not listed as a note, and possibly the interplay of coumarin and other materials present, but it gives a tiny bit of gourmand touch here. All in all, this coumarin also represents the tobacco note listed, but to me it reads a bit more woody than tobacco once the base settles in, with dry vanilla and a sliver of something mineralic. I also at times get a bit of a cherry effect but again, this is all likely the result of how coumarin interacts because it’s a more-complicated material than folks give it credit for, and can do all sorts of things in high concentrations. The effect overall is something that is a bit of a contrast between warm and cold, with an uncompromising sharpness which runs throughout. Performance is insane on this, and it is advised to spray very carefully upon first use. I almost gassed myself out on my first try of it.

This is not a scent for everyone as it has little sweetness or roundness, being very much like a Viking hammer blow to head of an unsuspecting villager about to have his home pillaged; but if strong and bracing fragrances are for you, and if you love a lot of mid-century stuff in this style which is no longer made, Odinsleep may be worth looking into. Being the very first fragrance from Xarmony and built on a more-limited palate of materials (including natural essential oils) than many of the brand’s newer work, Odinsleep can at times feel a bit on the basic side; but anyone who has worn or enjoyed similarly hand-composed fragrances from brands like Lush won’t be unfamiliar with this effect. My only concern is if you’re used to something more layered or multifaceted, you may not want to make this your first experience with the brand, and work your way backwards from newer releases instead. That said, this was a big wow for me, and I do love me some mint, so I’m down. Thumbs up

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