Every White has its Noir

I do not travel much for business. So when I was delegated from my office to attend a trade show in Denver to where I’ve never been before and with co-workers from other offices, none of whom I knew in person, it was a reason for anxiety on its own. But on top of that, as I checked the forecast, I was unpleasantly surprised.

Weather in Denver (end of April 2019)

First I thought it was a fluke, a software glitch, which would be fixed soon: look at the temperature change from Sunday to Monday (the day of my arrival). It was hard to accept because at the time I checked the weather there was similar to what we had – and where I live it felt already like late spring if not summer. The picture below was taken just 2 days before I left for Denver.

 

Blossom in CA Park (April 2019)

 

But as the trip was nearing, I accepted the unpleasant reality, packed my suitcase with warmer clothes and took out of the closet a leather jacket that I had previously hidden away. One positive side, a so-called silver lining in all that, was that it was another chance to wear “winter” perfumes.

On arrival, I acknowledged that it was cold and even put on a hat while waiting for a car at the airport, but it was a bright sunny day, so my thoughts about a mistake in the forecast ran through my mind again. But a car ride to the hotel, registration there and a quick drink with a group of co-workers later (about a couple of hours in total), when I looked out of the window, the view changed dramatically. I needed a winter perfume (and it was April 29th!).

 

Snow in Denver (April 2019)

 

Nappa Noir was created for SixScents Parfums by Calice Becker in 2012 as a part of their Series 4: Characters. Notes include: Ylang Extra Moheli, Violet Leaf Absolute, Violet Flower Accord, Tobacco, Coffee Co2 Extract, Indonesian Patchouli, Florentine Iris Resinoid, Speculoos Cookie Accord, Cistus Absolute, Styrax, Leather, Birch Tar, Saffron, Vanilla Beans Resinoid, Serenolide. It is characterized as a floriental gourmand leather perfume.

I tried Nappa Noir for the first time years ago. A perfumista friend bought a sample pack of the series, liked this perfume and shared a tiny dab sample with me. Not thinking that the same perfumer created both Nappa Noir and, six years earlier, Cuir de Lancôme, from memory I thought that they had a lot in common. But as I tested them in parallel, I confirmed that while having a lot of commonality, these two were quite different: Nappa Noir was much softer and somewhat sweeter, while Cuir de Lancôme’s leather wass more pronounced.

I liked Nappa Noir but it was time when I was trying many new scents, so when my small sample was gone, I moved onto other perfumes, finding new favorites and adding them to my collection. I kept coming back to that perfume but nobody carried the brand any longer, and the only format you could buy Nappa Noir was a 50 ml bottle, which I wasn’t prepared to do without additional testing, which I couldn’t do because nobody carried the line. And then it was sold out even on the brand’s site.

Same as Rusty, who after finding once a cabinet with treats opened keeps coming back to check, even though months after that we make sure to keep it closed, I kept running Internet searches hoping that maybe Nappa Noir would re-appear. I was almost positive that it was gone for good: when was the last time you heard about SixScents Parfums, a brand that at some point was popular in the perfume Blogosphere? I don’t remember, so I thought that they’ve probably disappeared for good. But just in case…

One day my search had returned a result from the brand’s updated (so, no dead!) site. I bought a sample of Nappa Noir, confirmed that I still liked it, and was glad that the site, while still listing a full bottle as “sold out” (and I don’t think it ever comes back), offered a “Lab Sample” bottle (15 ml). Since 15 ml is more than I need of any perfume these days, I went for it. And the bottle has arrived shortly before my trip – so it went to Denver with me.

With that weather outside and inviting fireplaces burning inside the hotel, Nappa Noir felt right in place, and I loved how it developed on my skin providing so necessary comfort and support. And I know that if it weren’t for that white snow, I probably wouldn’t have got a chance to wear Nappa Noir until autumn.

 

Rusty and Nappa Noir

If you like leather perfumes and are in the US, I recommend getting a sample: $5 for 2 ml, including S&H, is not bad price to test interesting perfume. And if you like it, it’s still available in that plain 15 ml bottle (Disclaimer: No affiliation, just a grateful customer).

 

Images: my own

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In the Search for the Perfect… By Kilian Perfume

Ever since I met Killian Hennessy and fell under his spell, I tried to find a perfume in his line that I’d like to add to my collection.

Thanks to the brand’s generosity to their FB fans, I got a chance to test the complete L’Oeuvre Noire collection without any pressure from SAs. I really wanted to love one of the perfumes: I liked Mr. Hennessy’s passion for his perfumes; I liked perfumes names and their packaging. After a thorough testing I found two perfumes I thought I wanted to wear – Prelude to Love and Love & Tears. I’ve got decants and after wearing both realized that I didn’t love any of them enough to go for a bottle.

Later I liked Bamboo Harmony and Water Calligraphy, which I also got from the brand’s FB fans club, but those light and cologne-like perfumes just didn’t feel substantial enough to warrant the price of the bottle.

With In the Garden of Good and Evil I came extremely close to splurging for a bottle but I had to stop myself when I realized that I was talking myself into buying it because of the serpent-adorned clutch while liking but not loving any of the perfumes in the line. And while I occasionally pay $200+ for perfume, I’m yet to pay that much for a clutch. I still haven’t tried Voulez-vous coucher avec Moi (and that clutch looks even more appealing!) but for now these two series stay on my “watch list”: I might eventually get a clutch partial bottle if I find one.

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Amber Oud wasn’t love at first sniff most likely because of the name: I’ve never been an agarwood fan so I was very cautious approaching this perfume. But on the second or third approach I fell in love with it.

Amber Oud isn’t about oud at all – and that’s probably why I like it so much. It’s soft and creamy and amber-y. I don’t get a harsh opening as some other wearers do. For me it goes from very pleasant to simply amazing. And whatever stays on my clothes after I wear this perfume makes me want to wear it again the next day, which doesn’t happen to me too often.

So, has it become a bottle in my collection? Well… First I went through a sample, then used up a decant generously gifted to me by Birgit (read her extremely sensuous review for Amber Oud). And finally last December I decided to reward myself for the hard year I had.

As I had previously confessed, I do care about perfume bottles and even bought a couple of perfumes mostly for the bottle and one actually for its bottle. Also, even though I can’t find it now, I remember Birgit’s comment to the effect that she regretted not getting a real bottle (I think) of this perfume and going for a more economical refill option.

Taking all that into the consideration, I browsed around for the best possible deal for Amber Oud until a combination of cash back and GWP brought me to saks.com. Everything seemed to be coming together perfectly… but I just couldn’t. So while my answer to the Portia’s question from her recent review for Amber Oud is “Yes, for me this amber is much better than many other ambers I tried, liked and use” (and its place on “Perfumes I love and don’t ever want to be without” list of My Perfume Portrait speaks to it), I still couldn’t justify paying extra $200 (!) for the real bottle and beautiful box. So the official refill bottle it was! It’s still expensive but a more reasonably priced then the “full presentation.” Plus, “the refill bottles of Kilian perfumes are not exactly ugly, they are better than many regular bottles of other lines” (©Olfactoria).

By Kilian Amber Oud

What are your relationships with this brand? Do you like any of their perfumes? Do you own any?