Chavalia Mwamba is the brand founder and perfumer for Pink MahogHany or PM Fragrances. Yes, there is an extra H in the word mahogany, as Chavalia intended! Like many perfume and beauty brands at the moment, I discovered PM fragrances through instagram.
Following-up on recommendations from social media can be a gamble. Some recommendations have fallen flat for me, but that’s just what happens with perfume and skin chemistry. Luckily, there is a PM Fragrances discovery set and individual samples. I initially ordered three samples to test: Tandem, French Cuffs, and Pas Encore Nommé. I ended up really enjoying all three.
I wanted to do a write-up about Le Minimaliste, which is a special release. Chavalia released two versions of Le Minimaliste in honor of Leo Season, which is her sun sign — and also mine! I was intrigued by the idea of two versions of the same composition. It’s like a comparative literature experiment for fragrance junkies.
Version I Notes: mixed berry, grapefruit, mandarin des fleurs, peony, rose damask, prunella, fig, champaca, neroli, ambroxan, vanilla bean accord, ambrettolide, and honey.
Version II notes: lemon, green mandarin, raspberry, neroli, honey, tinctured cypress, star anise, copaiba, cedar, modernized amber, ambroxan, cashmere, vetiver, and musk.
I initially had my eye on Version II. I figured it would be right up my alley, with the raspberry note in the opening and the cedar in the base. I smelled Version II as soon as it arrived and gave it a wear test. It gives great sillage right off the bat and it even lasted on my skin through yoga and a shower. Version II is definitely a scent for all the longevity lovers out there.
Version I has been a little more challenging for me. Grapefruit is a note that I don’t always love with my skin chemistry, and it’s right there in the opening. It’s quite sharp, but I think the composition blend works for me. I get a peppery peony note. I also sense a ripe fig note that is fruity to my nose, not a green fig leaf. Version I also wears more quietly on my skin, especially in the honeyed vanilla base. It’s not a projection monster, which is not always a bad thing.
At a certain point, I had to stop comparing and take each composition on its own terms. The grapefruit and fig of Version I gives me early morning vibes. The bright fruit really wakes you up without being too loud. Version I is nice on work-from-home mornings where I just don’t want to get out of bed. That’s most mornings in 2020!
Whereas the raspberry/honey accord in Version II is a late Fall afternoon scent to me. The raspberry is just jammy and sweet enough without going to saccharine territory. There’s a peppery smokiness in the base that reminds me of a hearty, smoky black tea. It puts me in the mood for a cup of tea and toast with jam. Both scents are lovely and they each have their specific moods and occasions.
Le Minimaliste is limited edition. It looks like it’s still available as of right now (September 2020) if you are interested. Unfortunately, because it’s limited, there are no samples. Both versions are available in a travel size, as you can see from the photo. I recommend trying some individual samples or the PM discovery set to get a feel for Chavalia’s work.
The photo was taken by me.
I ordered Le Minimaliste Version II from the PM Fragrances Etsy shop. Chavalia reached out to myself and other customers because of some packaging and shipping delays. She very generously included both versions of Le Minimaliste for everyone who had ordered at the time to make up for the delays.