Niche Fragrance Magazine


Waters + Wild: Cedarwood & Cognac

One of the reasons that I enjoy my frequent travels to Ireland is the olfactory delights that greet me on the Emerald isle, particularly in the west of the country, where earth meets water meets sky on a daily basis. The lush green grasses, ferns and trees that can be found from its rich soil, the salty and ‘seaweedy’ air emanating from the rocky or sandy coastline, and the water that permeates absolutely everything (having once asked how frequently it rains in Ireland, I was told one can experience each of the four seasons every day in Ireland…although all of them involve rain).

Chypre but not tart

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Today Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumes released her latest creation, Dryad. She says that she’s been working on the formula for several years, including the when she shoved it in a drawer in frustration and left it there for a year or five.

I’ve known this green chypre was coming for about a year, as I follow Liz on Facebook and Instagram. Given my love for this genre and her other fragrances, particularly the voluptuous oriental Salome, I leapt at the chance to try it.

I am an unapologetic fan of what I call ‘proper’ chypres – ones that rely on oakmoss not patchouli married with bergamot to give them a brisk smack to start and a warm, skin-melding base. While fruits such as peaches (Mitsouko) or plums (Femme de Rochas) give a stained-glass warmth to some classic chypres, my preference is for the green or leathery variety. But these ladies are not what they once were; Cabochard with her purse-lipped leather smack is grumpier and more of a caricature now, my precious Miss Balmain with her ‘good leather handbag for church’ aura has been discontinued, and my Miss Dior (l’Originale) is now a shadow of her former eyebrow-arching, pearl-clutching self. While I can still enjoy my vintage bottles, before they give up the ghost and go off, there have been no genuine mossy green chypres to replace them. Until now. KEEP ON READING

Value Proposition: Mahogany Woods by Bath & Body Works

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Why is a creation by Bath & Body Works a value proposition? Well, at the time of writing this, Mahogany Woods retails for $29.99, but could be had for roughly $15 out-the-door. I may be going out on a limb, but for $15, this is the best fragrance on the market that could be purchased for under $20. There, I said it. Even at its normal retail price, it’s one of the best in that “cheapie” bargain bin, $20-$30 region, we all know that bin – the one in aisle 2 of your favorite pharmacy, the bin that’s loaded with oft-forgotten brands like Escada, Stetson, Adidas.. Well, Mahogany Woods is a hell of a bargain, but far from bargain bin/cheapie territory. In fact, I think it rivals fragrances that cost 3 times, or even 5 times more from the designer and niche realm of perfumery. As cliche as it may sound, repackage and re-brand Mahogany Woods, throw it in a pretty bottle with all the sparkles and whistles, and slap a $300 price tag on it. It would still compete with the best of them. Why would you discontinue this, B&BW? KEEP ON READING

A Green Thought in a Green Shade

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It’s early summer, and everything around me seems to be vibrating in intense shades of my favorite color. And while I know that some of us are suffering in parching heat, where I live we have been fortunate to have warm but not extreme temperatures, punctuated by brief inundations of summer rain, making all of the plants and trees--and me--very, very happy indeed. So this is the time to wear my favorite green perfumes, and luckily we are experiencing a resurgence of green notes in perfumery so there are some new ones to explore.

L’insomnuit by Robert Piguet.

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Finally, this mysterious, dark and bewitching perfume tailored in the anxieties brought upon us by nocturnal lore, legend and myth arrives on the shores of North America to alllow my input after an exclusive debut at Harrods of London. L’insomnuit was released at Harrod’s in July of 2016 so unless you were of the privileged few perfume cognoscenti that resided in London to hoard this fabulous fragrance-or shall I say gorgeous-the insomnia theme really hits home in a subtle but distinct way. While L’insomnuit really attempts to exude the ‘Witching Hour’ or the macabre with their marketing L’insomnuit results in a very romantic experience. It is a soothing and romantic late evening fragrance despite the two main-stern-notes of Iris and wood to produce a sort of self imposed antagonism. You can detect a reasonable amount of ‘dark’ and ‘red’ fruits and possibly a hint of citrus that brings about this wonderful fermented scent that is tempered with milk and honey and that is only just the beginning. Robert Piguet, known for assembling masterpieces with pristine ingredients and blistering detail conjures a special brew for all of our delight. KEEP ON READING

It all began in the blue hour.

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I always liked perfume, but I wasn’t fascinated by it. Until, that is, I went on holiday to France eleven years ago, taking with me a book called The Emperor of Scent, which I’d picked up in the SciFi section for casual reading. It turned out to be real science, not fiction: the story of a talented biophysicist called Luca Turin who was researching how we smell things. It was a fascinating read, but what really inspired my imagination was Luca Turin’s comments on perfumes and the perfume industry. KEEP ON READING

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