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Neela Vermeire Créations

Castaña by Cloon Keen Atelier

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Have you ever felt like you’ve missed the boat on a certain brand or a fragrance? I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling. Given the depressing frequency of botched reformulations and senseless axings, the life of a fragrance enthusiast is often fraught with the fear of missing out or, worse, the agony of knowing that you failed to strike while the iron was hot.

I’m no stranger to missed chances myself. I arrived too late on the perfume scene to scoop up two fragrances that would later become big loves of mine, namely Guerlain’s Vega and Attrape-Coeur. I dithered on Dior Privée Mitzah until it was gone – ditto Eau Noire. I had a bottle of Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’Une Fete, and stupidly sold it; by the time I’d realized my mistake, that too disappeared into the ether, along whatever raw material that made its production impossible. Other bottles carelessly sold or swapped away were Fendi Theorema, a bottle of pre-1950’s Chanel No. 5 extrait, and a large decant of Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit that I missed desperately the minute I’d mailed it off to its lucky recipient. I can almost feel you all wincing out there, so I won’t continue. I’m embarrassed. KEEP ON READING

By Kilian’s Moonlight in Heaven: Mainstream Mango

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Once in a while, when you have sampled enough fragrances, there comes along a scent that attracts your interest upon first spray. As the juice hits the skin, the opening is promising, and you inhale with eyes closed before letting out a contended sigh. Then, contrary to your expectations, you go about your day, ignoring the fragrance entirely because the fragrance turned out to be boring and forgettable. This was my experience with By Kilian’s Moonlight in Heaven.

The Good

My my, that is one magnificent bottle! Like all By Kilian fragrances, Moonlight in Heaven doesn’t skimp on the presentation. Everything from the packaging to the label and presentation clutch screams luxury and yet does not come across as gauche. The label is tinted blue, which along with the the scent, gives the impression of a humid Asian beach resort in the evening, moonlight glancing off of the tanned shoulders of seaside revelers, delectable fruits and sweet delights adorning silver trays. Moonlight in Heaven gets my highest marks for art direction, which is one area where the By Kilian line excels. KEEP ON READING

Tea Fragrances for Men and Women

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I love tea. Whether it is the artisanal blends, supermarket tea bags, or fancy Mariage-Frères sachets, I adore the delicate fragrances of tea and teahouses. Unfortunately, though lots of perfumes in the niche market are considered “tea” fragrances, only a few actually smell like tea or evoke any sort of associations with the drink. Here are my picks for the best of the tea (and tea-like) fragrances that can be worn by both men and women:

Tea fragrances:

By Kilian Imperial Tea: This is the most authentic of the tea fragrances. To me this smells like a high quality Chinese jasmine tea. It wears well, is extremely refreshing, and unisex when worn on the skin. Imperial? Not quite. But it’s certainly Tea. KEEP ON READING

Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur: the whisperer rose

in Reviews by

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I was in a bit a funk this past winter. My friend told me that long walks in the fresh air should help. My better half said yoga and vitamins. I took my vitamin D enriched cod liver oil and vitamin C. I’m having long walks regularly, in fact my work commute involves about 50 mins of that on a daily basis. I didn’t do yoga. I’m lazy and yoga bores me. I prefer to read. I’ve indulged in shopping therapy too: a brow chakra bracelet (I don’t do yoga but I like the symbolism, and I can’t be expected to resist a combination of gold and lapis lazuli at sale prices) and of course perfume. Quite a bit of it, but the only one that sort of helped with easing the fog in my brain was Mohur. If you ask me why, I haven’t a clue. It simply did. It helped me cope with this weird, black cloud hanging sadness thing. Beauty always consoles me, but this time it took Mohur‘s kind of beauty only. Everything else I was putting on grated me the wrong way: too strong, too slutty, too green, too smoky, too virginal, too happy, too sweet, you name it, nothing worked. Until I sprayed Mohur, that is. I could almost hear my heart and mind rustily clicking into place, shifting gears towards a calmer, brighter place. It is one of those rare fragrances which, in spite of it wearing like dandelion puffs on skin, it’s not spineless. The creamy, spiced rose whisp felt like a caress on my fried synapses and like lowering my trembling, cold body into a decadent milk bath, sumptuously scattered with velvety flower petals and my favorite, addictive Cardamom and Ambrette seeds, something fit for queen Cleopatra. I nearly cried with relief: “Thank you, Bertrand Duchaufour, this is so warm, so comforting, so kind, thank you, thank you, it’s exactly what I freaking needed it right now!” Mohur has the softness and tenderness of a mother’s touch, but also the poised elegance, the dignified composure of a high society lady. A character it reminds me a lot of is Ellen O’Hara, Scarlett’s mother in “Gone with the Wind”, the epithome of a true Southern gentlewoman, compassionate and caring almost to a fault, yet a stately presence, which imposed instantaneous respect wherever she went, even amongst rough, loose morals people. Scarlett always wanted to emulate her mother, but she never could, of course. Her stubborn, selfish, rebellious nature was impossible to contain within the self-effacing-for-the-sake-of others frame of her noble mother’s personality. Nevertheless, she needed her. Ellen’s perfect, oval face and Tara’s white, Greek style columns is what she kept seeing during the horrific road trip alongside defeated, retreating Confederate troops, they were what kept her pushing through the darkness in a rickety cart with only the help of a lame horse and a pistol hidden in the folds of her skirt. Ellen was her safety beacon, and Mohur was my safety beacon in the absence of my mother, the closest thing I had to her warm bosom, her rocking arms and her voice whispering in my ear: “There, there, child, stop fretting, everything is fine, there, there, my love, let me wipe your tears, shhhhhh, baby. Life is OK, my dearest, even when it’s sad, you’ll reach that shore, I promise. Just go with it, honey, just be, it’s all that’s needed”. It’s all I can tell you myself about Mohur. If you want to read about how it actually smells like head over to Claire’s review here or Alexandra’s review here. Both are perfect. KEEP ON READING

Roses Volume I

in Reviews by

Guys, I’ve made a sort of New Year’s promise to myself (not resolution – because I always break my resolutions): this is the year when I am going to plow through that large stack of samples I have lying around the house. The rose perfume stack is especially high, so I’m going to write a series of Rose Volumes until all the samples are gone and I have a better idea of which ones make my top ten wish list, and which do not.

Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle

Human
Lipstick Girls

A beautiful swirl of jammy violet ionones, rose, and iris whipped up into the classic scent of a high-end waxy lipstick – what’s not to like? It aims for a lighthearted cheerfulness and stays there, not changing or progressing much in its lifetime on the skin, save for a brief flash of sharp, soapy grapefruit that (mercifully) drops back once the topnotes have dissipated. KEEP ON READING

Intelligent Fruity Fragrances for Summer

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The Perfect Mango Cocktail: Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire

A charming summer fling that’s not as ditsy as it sounds.

Bombay Bling! opens up on a charming, fizzy note of effervescent mango, lime, and what feels to me to be stone fruit – either plums or peaches. The fruity top notes act together to form the impression of a dollop of jammy, intense fruit puree added to a glass of champagne. It is incredibly buoyant and cheerful. At this stage, I have to say that it is slightly too fruity and too sweet for my taste. What saves this perfume, for me, is the creamy sandalwood and cedar base, which rises up to support and soften the piquant, acidic red and orange fruits up top after a couple of hours. The effect is to mellow and soften the entire composition, making the dry down comfortable and luxurious. KEEP ON READING

My Best “Soft Oud” Perfumes

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As we all know in the last couple of years oudh/oud also known as agarwood has started to be almost ubiquitous in Perfumeland. Everybody, either designer, mainstream or niche brand, carry at least one oud note centered perfume in their lines. Agarwood is now everywhere and for all the pockets. Oud theme, orchestrated more or less with the synthetic stuff dominates the “Men’s World” mainly.Even names like Serge Lutens or Frederic Malle that previously took distance from this trend finally couldn’t resist and change their minds approaching oud. KEEP ON READING

If You Go Down to the Woods Today: A Round-Up of Good Woods

in Reviews by
It\'s 4:20 at the Teddy Bear Picnic Kristine Kristan / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Omer Pekji is one hell of a talented perfumer. I have been working my way through his pack of samples since March, and even though there are only five of them, they are the kind of perfumes you have to take your time with. Not because they are inaccessible – far from it – but because each of the perfumes is such a clear statement on each of the categories he has taken on (woods, incense, aquatic, leather, and oriental) that it forces you to think about everything the perfumer must have included and excluded on his way to finish the perfume. KEEP ON READING

Italian style-the Angela Ciampagna line of fragrances:an overview

in Reviews by

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Let’s talk numbers today: there are at least 360 niche perfume brands on the market presently, as opposed to about 100 less than 10 years ago, according to a press article published on the Reuters website in 2014.
The competition is getting hotter by the day and any newly launched brands would better have a very coherent and believable artistic statement behind and some damn good perfumes in order to establish a successful presence on the market. Brilliant customer service and an engaging online presence are playing an important part too.
Consumers are also getting more discerning thanks to the increasing amount of information available, especially the customers that are active buyers of niche perfumes, a term that I dislike for his pretentious connotations, but it’s sort of universally used and accepted so in lack of a better alternative it’ll have to do. KEEP ON READING

Neela Vermeire Créations Trayee-incense made happy

in Reviews by

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It was love at first inhale. Lasting love. The sort of thing that in a perfumista’s world only happens once or twice in a hear, if we’re lucky. Even rarer, as the more perfume we try, the more jaded we become. Or prone to over analyzing and thus canceling out the state of grace which falling in love implies.
But Trayee is a state of grace in itself, and it reminds me once again of the fact that sublime beauty is rarely borne out of chaos and hazard. It is most of the time the result of intelligence, thoughtfulness, precision, skill, craftsmanship. And because nature can be such a true manifestation of outstanding beauty, some philosophers, thinkers and even scientists consider this as proof for the existence of God. Perfection needs an artisan they say.
In the case of Trayee, the artisans are perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and creative director Neela Vermeire. And it was a blessed, fruitful intellectual union. Neela, a Calcutta native, wanting to write a perfumed love letter to her homeland, and Bertrand, a passionate traveler, with a soft spot for India, have joined their fragrant memories and created four beautifully luxurious perfumes: Trayee, an exotic oriental, Mohur, a milky rose with a gourmand touch, Bombay Bling a juicy fruity floral and Ashoka, a fig imbued leather. I think it would be safe to say Mr.Duchaufour felt very much at ease, maybe even content and happy within this collaborative effort. The collection is very well made, coherent and all perfumes are at the same level of exquisiteness. I’m sure Neela’s Indian smile, warm, genuine, friendly, worked wonders in smoothing over any kinks in the process.
I’ve smelled all, some more briefly than others, but I knew even before smelling them which one will be my favorite and I was right. Trayee is stunning from beginning until the blissful, relaxing drydown.
The inspiration for Trayee is the ancient history of India, the spiritual Vedic period, a time shrouded in obscurity, back to which Hinduism and the branches of Yoga and Ayurveda are tracing their roots. A time of various deities, sacrificial rituals, hierarchical organization of society and multiple forms of marriage.
I think in a way, Trayee is inspired by the core of what makes India such an exotic and fascinating land, from an Western point of view. I have about 10 books of Yoga in the house plus 3 or 4 of Ayurveda plus a better half that is doing his asanas everyday for at least two hours, and still all this is a bit of a foreign mystery to me.
The Indian spirituality is a very complex, colorful mélange of beliefs that vary from region to another, from one cast to the other and sometimes even between the members of the same social class. And I believe Trayee reflects that through its multi layered composition, that somehow blends seamlessly to form a singular unity.
Maybe it’s fair to say Trayee is all about the incense, I don’t know, I think it’s just as much about woods, spices and flowers. But indeed this is such an original treatment of incense that I had a hard time recognizing it, same feeling I had when smelling Timbuktu for the first time, another one of Bertrand Duchaufour’s creations. What I love about these two incense interpretations is how NOT church like they smell. Not that there’s something wrong with that alternative,nbut it is very interesting to see what else can be done with this beautiful raw material. And Bertrand Duchaufour has smashed the church’stained glass windows, broken down the walls and let the light in. He allowed the incense tendrils to waft freely over the hot, dry, dusty land of the African continent and in the case of Trayee to unfold simply and happily in a small, unfussy Indian temple near a spice and fruit market close to the banks of the Ganges river.
The incense in Trayee is nearly a gourmand one, it’s so incredibly scrumptious. It opens pulpy, fruity, spicy, after a short while it becomes milkier, creamier, more floral, I can smell the sensuous jasmine, slowly the smoke gets a tad stronger, the woods are more pronounced too, but it stays all the while very smooth, rounded and appetizing, the vanilla working its delicious magic. What I love most about Trayee is how it changes on the skin, how different facets are highlighted from one day to the other. I can never predict what my nose will pick up next.
A few days ago was the first time when I could see the illusion of a rose. I mean is not even listed as a component but I literally saw it, materializing out of thin air in front of my eyes, a deep pink one, soft like velvet, turning slowly, like a woman showing off a splendid couture gown. It only lasted for a couple of minutes, but I could nearly faint with delight. Then yesterday it was the cardamom’s turn. I adore this spice, to me it’s on the same irresistible scale level as good vanilla. And tonight the creaminess of jasmine and sandalwood. The quality of the raw materials in this fragrance is undeniable, it’s amazing how natural and intoxicating they smell like.
The mood of the fragrance is of calm happiness, is about savoring the present moment. Is about switching off the rat race of the mind and surrender  to peace and serenity. Basically Trayee is good Ayurvedic medicine for the soul. Every spiritual first aid kit should have it: smell some Trayee and all will be well in your world again. KEEP ON READING

Alternatives to Summer Colognes

in Thoughts by

Confession: I don’t like summer colognes.

I have a few problems with them. First, most summer colognes are a bit boring. I know that this won’t be a popular opinion, especially in Southern Europe, where 95% of us walk around smelling like lemons for three months of the year, but it’s true. Part of the problem is that the cologne genre doesn’t seem as ripe for innovation as other genres, following as they do a tried and true formula of citrus, herbs, and woods that has been around since 1704. It’s kind of like being five minutes into the latest Jennifer Anniston romantic comedy – it’s nice and all, but you can totally tell where it’s headed. KEEP ON READING

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