After allowing the range to remain fairly static for a while, the creative forces at Maison Margiela have taken an unexpected conceptual leap with their Replica scents: they've expanded it with what they're calling "reproductions of familiar fantasies". In other words, they've decided to abandon reality. The entire point of the Replicas was to capture real, specific moments in real, specific places, so it's difficult not to view this new quartet as a dilution of what was a pretty healthy collection. And sure enough, the old adage about truth being stranger than fiction applies well here - especially if we take 'stranger' to mean 'more interesting' - because none of these releases displays the intriguing subtleties of the best of the pre-existing Replicas.
Falling is a simplistic, citrus-over-musks cologne, very similar to Mugler's, but without its compelling weirdness. Contrary to its evocative name, Dancing On The Moon is a familiar, modern jasmine, devoid of the mineral facets cited on the packaging. And Soul Of The Forest moves from a promising, green-incense opening (like a church in the middle of a South American jungle) to the mossy, pine-y territory explored much more successfully by Lutens' Fille En Aiguilles.
Only Across Sands manages to grab some attention, which is quite an achievement for what I'm almost frightened to announce is yet another oud scent. By contrasting its main note with a date facet (sticky, woody, dry and fibrous in equal measure), as well as a mix of ginger, pepper, lime, juniper and buttery biscuits (à la Lubin's Idole), it succeeds in bringing a much-needed element of surprise to this collection. But it doesn't exactly inspire visions of endless Sahara-like expanses, real or fantastical. Still, nice try.
[Review based on samples of eau de parfum provided by Maison Margiela in 2016]