Niche Fragrance Magazine

Reviews

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).

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

A conversation between two women and one man about Heeley’s latest release. Bubblegum Chic.

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(From a conversation in three parts.)

Jim:

Originally my plan was to write about a beautiful trio of fragrances from Frederic Malle. Geranium Pour Monsieur, French Lover, Bigarade Concentree. A Ropion, Ellena, and Bourdon. Absolutely stunning, provocative and almost ephemeral fragrances. But something else in my bag of samples came up, and I just had to write about it.

My favorite smell in the world….

Ah yes.

The smell of a stripper.

The eponymous scent of Heeley’s Bubblegum Chic; sweet, jasmine, pink, candy trash. KEEP ON READING

A new kind of tuberose: Nacre Blanche by Antonio Alessandria

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Antonio-Alessandria-Parfums-Nacre-Blanche-EdP

With hand on my heart I confess I always had, have and will be in love with the distinct smell of the white queen of flowers – the tuberose, or the “harlot of perfumery”as Roja Dove right calls it. Give me the most challenging scent based on a huge tuberose bouquet and I`ll faint…of pleasure.

My most beloved found treasures are the bold Fracas (my first niche perfume) and it`s Petit sweet modern sister, the transparent La Chasse aux Papillons, the sultry Carnal Flower, the sexy Beyond Love by Kilian or the classic beauty Jardins de Bagatelle Guerlain, but there is always place for one more. Or two, or three…

So here I am sniffing the whole day my sample of Nacre Blache that I picked up because of the promising official presentation and trying to resume in words the mystery of this scent. KEEP ON READING

(Re) Discovering Chanel No. 5

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Chanel No. 5

I come at No. 5 unhindered by any associations with female family members or acquaintances wearing it – nobody I know is that classy. I had been testing the EDP for years now, just a random spritz here and there when I was in a perfume store, just to make sure it was as deeply repellent as I had remembered it. The EDP never disappointed, in that regard. 

But recently, I was on my way back home from a holiday and realized I had forgotten to pack my precious little decant of Bois des Iles for the plane ride home. I am an extremely anxious flyer and have found that the calming scent of sandalwood is practically the only thing standing between me sitting quietly in my seat with clenched buttocks, a silent moan of terror trapped in my throat, and running down the aisles butt naked screaming “We’re all going to f*^$#&ÎNG DIE!!!!”. It is safe to say that I was mildly disconcerted to find that I had no sandalwood on my person. As was my husband. Anyway, in desperation, I looked at the bottle of No. 5 EDT on the duty free shelf, figured there had to be some good sandalwood in the base, and so spritzed it on liberally. It worked. The EDT has a rather short performance trajectory, so I was well into a glorious sandalwood dry-down by the time I was boarding, maybe 90 minutes later. It is true that I may have bruised my husband’s forearm during take-off, but at least there was no screaming and naked antics from me, for which we are all truly grateful.

The slight similarity to Bois des Iles in the far dry-down had me intrigued. Was it possible, I wondered, that I could get my ruinously expensive sandalwood fix through plain old No. 5, which is, compared to BdI extremely easy to find and not as hard on the wallet? I conducted a little investigation. I bought a small bottle of 1940s/50s pure parfum from a Basenotes member, as well as a small purse spray of the EDT (current version). Here are my thoughts:

The Good: The vintage pure parfum is simply exquisite. It is a smooth, round thing of beauty. They say that Chanel has secured the harvest rights to all the best jasmine and roses in Grasse for generations, and you can tell. I would not be surprised if they have St. Peter under contract to collect the tears of angels in heaven for this too. The florals are deeply abstract, super-blended, and buttery in the way only Chanel can pull off. I can’t identify a single one of the flowers used here – it’s like they picked some flowers, dipped them into liquid gold, waited for them to dry, then broke them up into little pieces and put them back together all mismatched, like a sort of Picasso’s Desmoiselles d’Avignon, with the the bottom part of the jasmine welded to the top of a rose. It is all very fuzzy and abstract. Later on, I detect something pleasingly animalic in the dry down, as well as that soothing sandalwood.

The Bad: The extreme abstraction comes close to feeling synthetic at times, and there is this weird plasticky netting cast over the florals, as if the golden, fluid smoothness has been pushed to the brink. In the parfum, this plasticky feel manifests itself as a semi-pleasing sort of nuttiness, like unsweetened almond essence. It is an odd effect, like I said, half-pleasing but half-unsettling and synthetic, and I am not sure that it belongs. I perceive this plasticky, almond thing in the parfum to a small but noticeable extent in the pure parfum, but not at all in the EDT, leading me to think the effect is due to taking the abstract richness a step too far. 

The Ugly: The EDP takes this plasticky effect to the florals and pushes it to the limit of my tolerance. Actually, the EDP smells like burning plastic for much of its development on me, and it is quite unpleasant. It is joined by a synthetic note from the laundry or household detergents aisle in the supermarket. 

I enjoy the EDT a great deal, perhaps the best out of all the versions. But it is surprisingly light and last for only three hours on my skin. What I have taken to doing is dabbing the pure parfum on pulse points, and then spritzing the EDT all over my body, so that I get both concentration and volume. Then I am surrounded by a lovely fug of golden scent all day long. 

I have to add two important things, though. First of all, putting on No. 5 is a conscious act of melding with the madding crowd – there is nothing to tell you apart from the legions of women who put it on just because either their mothers did before them, or just to wear something famous. There is nothing about it that says “Hey! I am wearing No. 5 because I choose to, based on the notes!” You will just smell like everyone else (well, of a certain age). For those of us who like to express some aspect of their individuality through choice of perfume, putting on No. 5 feels like you are willing accepting to be an anonymous face in the crowd. It is so recognizable and such a cultural shorthand for luxury, class, and “poshness” that it has, I find, a depressing sort of flattening effect on your own individuality. And you can’t bend No, 5 to your own personality either – forget about it. You can try to wear it defiantly with shorts and flip-flops, but your smell will still say “I am a posh woman, slumming it today. I have my pearls and twin-set waiting for me at home”. 

Lastly, I discovered that although No.5 is an acceptable short term alternative to Bois des Iles for a plane ride home, it really cannot replace Bois des Iles in the long run. Note to self: Just buy Bois des Iles and be done with it. KEEP ON READING

Feeling the Explosion d`Émotions by L`Artisan Parfumeur

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Explosion de Emotions

The collection Explosions d`Émotions launched by the French perfume house L`Artisan Parfumeur encompasses six editions all created by Bertrand Douchaufur. Six daring perfumes that aim to represent different emotions and because nothing is more subjective as emotions, developing them required a lot of creativity and inovative approach. But in contrast with their abstract concepts, these scents are not at all difficult to wear, just…something else, something that maybe has not been made before. For start I chose to try three of them, but I will give atention also to the rest of line in the near future.

HAUTE VOLTIGE

HAUTE VOLTIGE KEEP ON READING

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