Apex Parfum was launched shortly after the critically acclaimed Eau de Parfum version in the beginning of 2022. The Parfum one is said to be a fresher take on the original fruity Chypré, as Roja himself calls it, which kind of confuses me. Parfum flankers of fragrances are usually richer, deeper, and darker in style, and occasionally intensified, compared to their predecessors. Once I smelled Apex Parfum, I did get a more intense sensation compared to the Eau de Parfum but in a very different way.
What is APEX?
Apex lies somewhere between the past and the future. It has a lot of elements from the 80s masculine fragrances which are very green, aromatic with lots of diffusing and loud projecting quality thanks to the usage of high volume of Coumarin and raw materials extracted from piney trees such as Cypress and Juniper. This heady lies on a very nostalgic base of Chypré which is full of dry and natural elements from Oakmoss and Patchouli.
On the other hand, this fragrances looks ahead to the future with a fresh and fruity twist from the humid tropic and delicacy of feminine leaning florals in the heart, which are all wrapped up together in dense and warm elements from resins, balsams, Tobacco and Amber. That’s why I like to refer to this creation as “Future Nostalgia”
How does Apex Parfum smell like?
APEX Parfum unveils a mélange of futuristic, tropical tart fruitiness and a nostalgic Fougeré-Esque feel of green aromatic notes right in the beginning. The notes of Mandarin, Pineapple and Lemon give that mouth-watering effect. Along with deliciously juicy and dripping concoction, a green aromatic wind blows through a forest full of Juniper trees and aromatic Cypress trees giving off that nostalgic spirit of the glorious yesteryears.
After the bright sensation, a dry Cistus and Galbanum quickly rises and blooms like a Phoenix whose wings are decorated with a fresh and green type of Jasmine. An exquisite aroma of Fir Balsam embodies the restorative effects that can only be experienced when spending time within the realm of forests. It’s sweet, rich, warm, fruity and jam-like somehow with an intensely balsamic and coumarin-like undertone. This is what makes me think of classical masculine fragrances as I previously described. This part is truly reminiscent of a warm day in the French Riviera.
The “Future Nostalgia” lies on a bed of Chypré full of dry Oakmoss and almost fresh soily Patchouli. Softly breezing wind of dried, leafy Tobacco and rich silvery Frankincense blows through the forest sensation with underlying warming Amber accord. The use of Amber in this release retains the same spirit of roja’s other creations which is a harmonious blend of Labdanum, Vanilla, Benzoin and Ambergris. In this formula, I feel that the amount of Labdanum is a bit higher as it is complimented with a subtle Leather accord which becomes quite noticeable in the far drydown.
A fluffy Cashmere with creamy and almost milky Sandalwood wrap the whole composition up giving off a vibe similar to wearing an expensive cashmere scarf comfortably round your neck.
Roja Apex Parfum vs Eau de Parfum:
I would be out of my mind to claim that these two have nothing to do with one another because they’re very close to each other. I’d say it can be redundant to have both. The house also listed both with the same notes. There’s differences in how they come off, though. Like the headline suggests, the Parfum smells way more radiating and elevated compared to the EDP. The zesty, juicy fruits were pushed forward by increasing the concentration in the formula and rounded the edges with more Cashmir Wood and Sandalwood. The green piney nuances are toned down and make it a bit more brownish than waxy green smelling.
As far as the projection goes, Roja Apex Parfum is more consistent ans stable whereas Eau de Parfum starts off very loud with dynamic energy and dries down more moderate. The progress of the scent profile is also interestingly different. The Parfum remains much fresher the whole time, maintaining the juiciness of the fruits without falling into the dirt of the Chypré base. Indeed, the Oakmoss and Patchouli are both there the whole time but it feels drier and livelier, not as wet and soily as the dry down of Eau de Parfum.
I prefer Parfum over Eau de Parfum for several reasons. Parfum feels more refined and balanced with a longer duration of the scent’s lifetime. It’s less vintage-esque as the vibrant notes of juicy citruses are amped up and last for a while. It’s very hard to compose a citrusy fresh note to last until the dry down.
All in all, Parfum smells more elevated and complex, more modern even. I’m not saying EDP was bad but I like Parfum much more for its roundness and lifted spirit. Do we need both of them? Yes and No. No, because they are quite similar to one another with minor differences, and Yes, if you like your citrus notes to last longer and layer it with EDP to make it project more.
Roja Apex Parfum is available in 50ml, retails at 375£.