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Cierge de Lune by Aedes de Venustas

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If you were to define the late 1990’s, early 2000’s by a smell, you’d do worse than point to sultry floral vanillas such as Hypnotic Poison (milky almond), the original Dior Addict (boozy night flower vanilla), Organza Indecence (spiced eggnog), and Kenzo Amour (creamed rice). These perfumes all share a faintly sleazy, morning-after-the-night-before quality, like a woman who stumbles out of a bar at 6am, mascara smudged, and clothes reeking of cigarette smoke.

The Smell of Learning: Byredo Bibliothèque & Other Stories

in Lists/Thoughts by


Like most people, I love the smell of books. But my search for that book smell in perfume form has proved a problematic and often frustrating one.

Part of the challenge has been figuring out what it is that I want, exactly. Do I want to smell literally like a book? No, as it turns out, I don’t. Perfumes that smell literally like paper or ink are too on-the-nose for me. The best perfumes are those that bring you only 50% of the way, like those mood rings that require body heat for activation. A perfume that does all the heavy lifting for my imagination is no fun at all. KEEP ON READING

A Very British Oud: Leather Oud by Floris

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For those who are not familiar with the brand, I should tell you up front: Floris has a very particular aesthetic. Though it was started by a Spanish perfumer, over time its fragrances have become iconic in their representation of British style. Sheer, elegant, and never loud, Floris fragrances are a joy to wear for the fragrance traditionalist. Leather Oud is no exception. Yes, it contains the exotic note of oud, and yes leather can be loud, but this is still a Floris fragrance.

To an oud lover, from the first spray, it becomes clear that the Floris take on oud will be something familiar. Upon first whiff, it comes across like a typical rose and oud fragrance, but if you take the time to explore Leather Oud, you’ll find something much more interesting. Unlike Dior’s Leather Oud, which to me smells like a cow pie rotting in the sun quite dirty and unpleasant, the Floris take on the pairing is not only palatable, but also pleasant to the average person (sprayed in moderation, of course). KEEP ON READING

Zoologist Civet – an elegant walk on the wild side

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I don’t want to mislead you. “Civet” by Zoologist is by no means an aquatic perfume. But this sea and its white foam spluttering wild horses made me feel that bit more alive today, alongside “Civet“. I was watching from a sheltered spot, a suspended parapet near the train station close to where I work and the combination of cold, salty breeze and the narcotic white floral scent emanating from the depths of my blanket sized scarf was about as close to perfection as I could possibly hope for an otherwise dreary Monday.  KEEP ON READING

All that glisters

in Reviews by

This is an historic day: the 45th President of the United States of America is being sworn in. I shan’t open political debate, but I will say that this has been a controversial election unlike any other in modern memory, and it’s provoking a lot of reaction. Knowing that I would be reviewing today I considered my choice very carefully.

As Voltaire said: ‘I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health’. I’m going to rise above flippancy, fatalism or bragadoccio and consider what to wear on A Very Big Day. When I looked in my perfume cupboard (yes, a whole cupboard, I am obsessed) I could set aside whole categories of fragrance: eau de colognes, citruses, gourmands and greens can all stay home. For the truly grand occasion I break out the big guns: orientals and chypres. My choice for today is something that I think of as a classic oriental as it has the elegant chic of a classic chypre coupled with the rich spicy presence of an oriental: Amouage Gold pour Femme. KEEP ON READING

Sparkling Citrus: Dior Homme Cologne

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Nowadays, designer fragrances are a dime a dozen. If they aren’t monotone monotonous monstrosities of one form or another, they are inevitably sweet enough to cause cavities. It is a rare thing that I find to be a designer fragrance to be worthy of purchase, but when I do, I make sure to scream about it from the nearest mountaintop. So dear readers, please envision me screaming from the top of my local hill: The latest edition of Dior Homme Cologne is fantastic! And it smells niche quality, if you know what I mean. KEEP ON READING

Fireworks on snow: Chanel No.22

in Reviews by

For Party People, New Year’s Eve is the night to break out the bling, leopard print and high heels and souse yourself like a herring with the most delightful scents you own – and that’s just the gents. If you prefer to stay home and go into hygge-overload, which has a lot of merits too, I still think you should be fragranced to the hilt – what could be more cosy?

Recently I luxuriated in the utterly snuggly Dr Zhivago fur hat, vodka and tobacco of Parfum d’Empire’s Ambre Russe, which has left a warm deliciousness on my coat collar I’m still smelling a week later. This transference and longevity makes it a sneakily clever party fragrance as well as a hygge hero, because everyone you hug hello will smell of you for the next week. I had a huge bearhug from my fragrant Uncle M over the holidays that left my scarf trailing Eau Sauvage for a few days, and every time I caught a whiff I thought of my lovely uncle, who I don’t see often enough. KEEP ON READING

Tea with (smelly) friends

in Thoughts by

Two weekends ago I went to London with a good friend I’ve known since I was in my 20s – that’s her in the photo with me – Sam who writes the I Scent You A Day blog. We went to hang out and drink tea with a group of perhaps twenty people, many of whom we hadn’t physically met before. What did we have in common? Perfume. How did we know these people? The internet.

Now some people get upset when I refer to them as Smelly Friends, so I may need to use some other terminology, such as Fragonerds, Perfumistas and Perfumisters, or just fragrance afficionados, but it all boils down to the same thing. We are people who love perfume. You, dear reader, may very well be one too. KEEP ON READING

A Gardenia Omnibus Review

in Reviews by

It can be a lot of fun to apply a method to one’s madness. Over the summer, for reasons that I do not fully understand, I have been on a mission to understand gardenia perfumes. In the end, I think my love of vintage Miss Dior perfume gave birth to my fascination with gardenia.

Oh the Cologne!

in Reviews by

Part one – citrus classicism

Following NeoXerxes’ fascinating post on oranges in perfumery, I’m sticking to the citrus theme, but taking a different twist on it, looking at some of the simplest, most refreshing fragrances out there: Eaux de Cologne. While ‘Cologne’ has come to mean ‘perfume for men’, particularly in the USA, it actually is a very specific category of fragrance.

Just to start there with the name – ‘eau de’ means ‘water of’ and Cologne is a city in Germany, so when you have more than one, you multiply the water, rather than the city: hence Eaux de Cologne. While there was a perfumery industry across Europe in the 18th century it was Cologne where these refreshing light fragrances were made popular by Italian perfumer, Jean Marie Farina. But you can find more about the history of Eau de Cologne elsewhere on the interwebs. I will keep it simple and describe them as fragrances made at a lower strength (under 5% of scent ingredients) for more frequent application. KEEP ON READING

Spring has Sprung: Linden and Lilacs

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For many people who like heady, strong florals – rose, tuberose, violets – linden and lilacs can seem like the “other white meat”, in other words, second-string players to more forceful or more characterful stars. Ask any one to describe what a Bulgarian rose otto smells like, or tuberose absolute, and words such as beefy, rich, and buttery come spilling out; strong words for strong scents. Flowers like lilac, linden, and to a certain extent, freesia, and peony cannot be so clearly described – people tend to use vague terms such as fresh, green, watery, honeyed, or soapy. KEEP ON READING

Iris Quest: Denouement

in Reviews by

For the fourth and final installment of in my Iris Quest (see Parts I, II, and III here), I’m focusing on all the iris fragrances that I (a) either forgot to include the first time round, (b) features iris not as the main player but as one important element in a larger whole – iris as part of an incense, woody, or oriental composition, and/or (c) features iris in the role of cosmetic or lipstick-style scents.

Let’s begin with an absolute heart-breaker….the amazing and utterly unaffordable Irisss by Xerjoff. KEEP ON READING

Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Noire Épices : the cold oriental

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If you ask me how I ended up with a big bottle of Noir Épices in my perfume wardrobe, I couldn’t give you a straight answer. Of course, I haven’t lost my mind, I do know from the logistics’ point of view, HOW it happened, but I’m not entire sure WHY it happened. Because you see, Noir Épices it’s so removed in style and feeling from what I naturally gravitate towards, that it may be well possible that my mind is not in its usual place anymore. This perfume wasn’t on my radar at all for a very long time, but once it came into focus it stayed there. It grabbed me, not at a gut level, it was more of an intellectual fascination rather than the sensual-emotional connection I generally have with my fragrances. Noir Épices was different, and certainly very different from the image I had of it in my head, which was partially prompted by an old Frédéric Malle promotional photo, this one underneath: KEEP ON READING

James Heeley Chypre 21

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The term “chypre” seems to be a rather fluid one these days. Technically, in order to be classified as a chypre, a fragrance should contain bergamot, labdanum, and oakmoss. But you can drive yourself crazy trying to sort perfumes into chypre and non-chypre categories, checking off notes lists, and so on.

In general, the nose can recognize a chypre right away, because of its immediately recognizable Yin and Yang of sweet and bitter. In its entirety, a chypre should smell the way a perfectly balanced Chinese meal tastes, with the bitterness and saltiness of oakmoss contrasting the brightness of the citrus, and the ambery base softening and sweetening the final “taste”. KEEP ON READING

Aeon001 – groovy bottle but what has Liechtenstein done for me lately?

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There are so many new niche operation springing up around the stinkosphere these past few years, I’ve basically given up keeping track or even caring anymore. The law of diminishing returns applied to trends means that as the hype grows, the products that result from it is usually pretty crap. This is particularly true in the niche, or rather Nu-Niche™ perfumery hyper hype going around. So when I heard about aeon001  –  apparently from Liechtenstein of all places  –  I didn’t take note until a friend  “Nunzio”  showed a photo of the bottle that left him flabbergasted (and Nunzio is not easily flabbergasted! In fact in spite of his impeccable frag cachet, he’s been quite blasé lately….) He maintains that “There are two [most important] things for a fragrance: it has to smell good and it has to look good. Period.” Hmmm….although I keep most of my frag stash in drawers and rarely look at them, on this occasion the flashy,  singular look of the vessel had my curiosity piqued. And, according to Nunzio’s math, we were already halfway there. Result? A rather expensive blindbuy on which to blow some of my xmas salary bonus. KEEP ON READING

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