Know-How: Brands with Perfumista Size Bottles

For years I keep repeating that more brands should release their perfumes in perfumista size bottles – 10-15 ml. Of course, for somebody who has a signature scent or alternates 2-3 perfumes in their day-to-day life, 50 ml, 100 ml or even 200 ml bottles might make more sense both economically and logically. But for anybody who has been “into perfume” for at least several years, not too many perfumes warrant the vats, in which most perfumes nowadays are sold.

Sure, big bottles are great for splits; and decants are nice for getting to wear something without committing your heart or money to a full bottle. But even the best decant – with well-made labels and a good sprayer – is still not as good as a real bottle. And I suspect that, as a rule, it has a shorter shelf life, even if you use parafilm or electrical tape to prevent evaporation: the act of spraying perfume from the original bottle into a smaller receptacle introduces additional oxidation to the juice, which cannot be healthy (should we add a blueberry or two?).

For all these reasons for anything more than 3-5 ml I would rather pay extra price per ml but get a travel bottle from the brand – if the brand has that option.

Surprisingly, when it comes to niche brands, those that offer smaller sizes are still rather an exception than a rule. So I decided to put together a list of the brands that offer smaller (perfumista size) bottles of their perfumes. I won’t include links since those change but it’s easy to find them through a search engine.

Perfumista Size Bottles

The following brands have single bottles for all or most of their perfumes (bottle size is given in parentheses):

  • April Aromatics (15 ml)
  • Frederic Malle (10 ml)
  • Hiram Green (10 ml)
  • Histoires de Parfums (15 ml)
  • Le Labo (15 ml)
  • Sonoma Scent Studio (4 ml & 17 ml)
  • Jul et Mad (5 ml & 20 ml)
  • Cognoscenti (5 ml)
  • Dame Perfumery (5 ml)
  • DSH Perfumes (multiple sizes)
  • EnVoyage Perfumes (15 ml)
  • 4160 Tuesdays (9 ml)
  • Roja Dove (7.5 ml)
  • The Different Company (10 ml)
  • Puredistance (17.5ml)

Several brands have smaller sizes just for some of their perfumes:

  • Atelier Cologne (12 different perfumes in 7.5 ml at Sephora)
  • Juliette Has A Gun (4 different perfumes in 7.5 ml at Sephora)
  • Ineke (15 ml, Floral Curiosities line only)

More brands recently have introduced the “travel” option – probably as a response to the air travel regulations. Unfortunately, those come in sets either of single perfume or of pre-selected (or all) perfumes from the brand. Single perfume sets are easier for friendly splits. Mixed sets defeat the purpose: how often does someone like all the perfumes in the set? I also found two brands that offer customizable mixed travel sets.

Perfumista Size Bottles

Single perfume sets:

  • Neela Vermeire Creations (2 x 15 ml)
  • Ormonde Jayne (4 x 10 ml)
  • Amouage (3 x 10 ml)
  • By Kilian (4 x 7.5 ml)
  • Byredo (3 x 12 ml)
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian (3 x 10 ml)
  • Aedes de Venustas (3 x 7.5 ml)

Perfumista Size Bottles

Customizable mixed sets:

  • Hermès (4 x 15 ml sets for both their regular line and Hermessence)
  • Tauer Perfumes (3 x 15 ml)

Perfumista Size Bottles

Pre-set mixed perfumes sets:

  • Viktoria Minya (5 x 15 ml)
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian (8 x 10 ml)
  • Miller Harris (3 x 14 ml and 2 x 7.5 ml)
  • Aedes de Venustas (3 x 7.5 ml)

If you know any other brands that offer small bottles in one of these categories, please share in comments. And if you agree that more brands should have perfumista size bottles, keep repeating that whenever you publish a review on your blog or comment on perfume reviews and discussions on blogs, forums, FB or Twitter. Somebody might be reading…

Rusty and NVC Pichola

Updates from comments:

  • Maria Candida Gentile (7 ml and 15 ml single bottles)
  • Zoologist (11 ml single bottles)
  • Parfums MDCI (5 x 10 ml customizable set)
  • Memo (3 x 10 ml same perfume set)
  • Imaginary Authors (14 ml single bottles)
  • Maison Anonyme (10 ml single bottles)
  • Olympic Orchids (5 ml and 15 ml single bottles)
  • Soivohle (10 ml single bottles)
  • Ormonde Jayne (10 ml single bottles if you call)
  • Profvmvm Roma (18 ml single bottles for some of their scents)

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Peony

What did we do when Fragrantica wasn’t around to helpfully provide a list of notes for perfumes we tried? I don’t know about you, but back then I didn’t think much about the notes. Usually I paid attention to whether the perfume reminds me of any other perfume I know (I still do that) but unless it was what we now know as a “soliflore”, I rarely thought twice about the composition of perfumes I tested or wore.

When I first smelled Estee Lauder Pleasures Intense soon after it was released, I immediately said that it smelled of peonies. I liked it and planned to eventually buy a bottle but it never came to it. And only a couple of days ago, when I started thinking about this post, I remembered Pleasures Intense and decided to check the notes. Peony is the first one mentioned in the Fragrantica’s list. I haven’t smelled Pleasures Intense in about 10 years so I don’t know how badly it was reformulated since then. But in 2002 it was unmistakably peony perfume. And so far it is the only one that I recognize as such.

Pink Peopny

When I was growing up, peonies were very popular flowers for summer bouquets. By my recollections they weren’t romantic flowers (that place was taken by roses, tulips or lily of the valley), but they weren’t too formal or official either (for that we had carnations, gladioli and calla lilies). Peonies were more in the home décor or hostess gifts category. But thanks to their great aroma, they were liked and appreciated.

In the Northern California peonies are rare: I don’t think I’ve ever seen them growing here and in the last several years I would occasionally come across peony bouquets at a store or somebody’s house. So the flower wasn’t on my mind too often, and I wasn’t purposefully looking for perfume with peony in a leading role. But I would try those that happen to come into my orbit.

Vert Pivoine by Histoires de Parfums was supposed to be all about peony: as little as one can trust a list of notes, when you see the same “peony” mentioned three times – once for each position of the pyramid – it is hard not to expect to get at least some recognizable scent. But no. The closest it gets to peony is by being awfully soap-y – exactly the way some rose perfumes turn out on my skin (and peony are said to have a sweet rose-like scent). I’ll give them the “green” part thought.

Peony & Blush Suede by Jo Malone got into my perfume wardrobe by chance. I find it rather pleasant and wear from time to time but to some extent it was a disappointment: before I tested it for the first time I expected it would be more like Blackberry & Bay or English Pear & Freesia (in terms of intensity) than one of those evanescent blooms that the brand releases every year. I think I hoped for a love child of the original Bottega Veneta and Cacharel‘s Noa fleur. Unfortunately, Peony & Blush Suede is rather a delicate whisper than an assertive statement. Jessica (NST) in her review says that it “might not win over anyone who was really looking forward to a fruity fragrance, or who likes her florals to be very airy and clean, but it will probably appeal to wearers of feminine florals who have just browsed the Chloé and Balenciaga counters and not found anything quite to their liking,” and I completely agree with her, especially after testing perfume I’m covering next.

Peonies

Nobody will accuse Pivoine Suzhou from Armani Prive line of not being fruity enough. On application it feels like it’s dripping with juice. Pivoine Suzhou is young, bright and uncomplicated. Compared to it, Peony & Blush Suede seems like a very adult perfume. Interestingly, while both perfumes smell nothing like peonies I know, about an hour into the development, when Pivoine Suzhou‘s fruitiness subsides a little, for a while these two smell very similar, which makes me think that either they use the same artificial ingredient that is supposed to convey “peony” note, or they recreate the same peony cultivar, with which I’m not familiar. I would recommend this perfume for those who like the fruity-floral genre. Read Steve’s (The Scented Hound) review: his take on this perfume is very close to how I feel about Pivoine Suzhou.

Though I haven’t found perfume with a perfect peony note, the search wasn’t completely in vain: I discovered perfume that I liked very much. Peony Angel by Thierry Mugler. I had the sample of this limited edition perfume for many years but, discouraged by my experience with Violet Angel, I kept this one classified “One day when I have absolutely nothing to test” (it is an actual category in my perfume database, if you were wondering). I tested it for this post and discovered that I like it very much. While having many facets in common with the original Angel (which I love), it’s softer, less gourmand and more floral (the Mugler’s “not-a-single-flower-has-been-harmed” type of floral, I mean). Oh, and it doesn’t smell of peony either.

White Peony

Images: my own

Entertaining Statistics: January 2014

 

I know how it sounds to the most of my readers but I have to say it: we had an unpleasantly warm January. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy the light jacket weather as much as the next freezing east coaster would but we really need at least some rain. And +22˚C (71˚F) isn’t a normal temperature for this month even in our region. So now I can’t even pretend that it’s winter and time to wear my winter perfumes.

For this month’s statistics post I asked you to name five niche brands that, in their opinion, are in the “need to know” category for anybody who’s interested in perfumes. I asked the same question in one of the perfume groups on Facebook.

29 people participated on FB and 19 in the blog. 49 brands were named, 26 of them more than once.

Since I know that some people participated both here and there I thought of splitting results by the source but it didn’t change the outcome: both groups, as well as the total, returned the same set of 5 brands, just in slightly different order (numbers in parenthesis – places FB/Blog):

Serge Lutens (1/1)

L’Artisan Parfumeur (4/2)

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle (2/3)

Amouage (3/4)

Parfumerie Générale (5/5)

Stats January 2014

The chart above shows actual number of votes for the top 10 recommended brands. From my original list only Ormonde Jayne didn’t make the cut and moved to the sixth place. I need to get more samples from Parfumerie Générale line and see why it made it to the fifth place.

Out of 52 perfumes I wore or tested in January 17 perfumes were from 5 out of these 10 brands. What was unusual: this month I tried only five perfumes for the first time. Did you come across anything interesting this year?

Rusty had nothing to do with any of the numbers but he has to requite all the compliments he got in the previous post – even without appearing in it! These are pictures of him with perfumes from the “need to know” list.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Images: my own

WTD, Episode 4.2: In the Search for the Perfect Violet

If I look back and think about it, I always had two distinct associations for violets. They co-existed in my mind as if they belonged to the completely different subjects, not affecting each other.  A violet is a completely boring, slightly wilted small flower in the pot on a window sill. A violet is a tender flower somehow related to romantic love, Paris (street flower girls), Toulouse (violettes de Toulouse) and all such things that seem romantic when you’re young. But somehow neither of these two associations ever included a smell. I never thought of violets as of flowers that have a scent. Most likely, because the only variety I’ve ever been close to didn’t have any. So in this quest for the perfect violet perfume I’m not searching for the most realistic rendition of a violet since I still have no idea how that flower smells. I’m looking for the best implementation of the idea of a violet. Based on a commonality in all the violet perfumes I tested I reconstructed this note for myself.

Violets in a pot

As I did it before for lilac and linden I combine this episode of the Weeklong Test Drive (it features two Tom Ford’s violet-centered perfumes) with my periodic Single Note Exploration for the violet note in perfumes.

Blanc Violette by Histoires de Parfums – notes include violet, bergamot, iris, ylang-ylang, star anise, sandalwood, vanilla, musk and rice powder. It smells very clean and slightly powdery. There is some musk that feels too much from time to time but I do not smell it every time. Blanc Violette is an uncomplicated nice scent with medium sillage and tenacity (it stays on my skin for 3-4 hours). I can see a small bottle of this perfume in my collection after I’m done with the sample. I have to applaud Histoires de Parfumes for releasing small bottles (14 ml) for a reasonable price. For a real review of Blanc Violette read Eiderdown Press

Verte Violette by L’Artisan Parfumeur  – created in 2000 by Anne Flipo, notes include violet leaves, raspberry leaves, rose, heliotrope, cedar, iris, white musk. It’s fresh, very light, bright and happy fragrance with a nice violet note that starts a little dirty but then clears up and stays as a nice skin scent. Verte Violette is the easiest and lightest scent out of all I tried. Like many other L’Artisan’s perfumes it’s fleeting: I can barely smell it after an hour. I like Verte Violette but I think it’s too expensive to bathe in it. So, unless a bottle falls from the sky… For a real review read Now Smell This.

Violet Blonde by Tom Ford  – created in 2011, notes include violet leaf, Italian mandarin, pink pepper,  Tuscan iris absolute, Tuscan orris butter, Sambac jasmine, sampaquita, musk, suede, cedar, vetiver and benzoin. There is no personal story between me and Violet Blonde, everything happened very fast: I knew about the upcoming release, I went to the store, tried Violet Blond, liked it and jumped on a split as soon as I saw one. I enjoy wearing it. Violet Blond has a very good longevity – more than 8 hours on my skin. Had the juice (or at least a bottle) been purple, it would have been an immediate full bottle purchase. Now I plan to go through my small decant and if I still like it I’ll buy a bottle of Violet Blond for my collection. All the great reviews for Violet Blond that I read, I read after I made up my mind about this perfume (and I feel a little proud of myself because of that) but since they all are so recent I’ll skip even my “not-a-review” impressions part and just provide links to the reviews on friendly blogs: Olfactoria’s Travels, The Candy Perfume Boy, Bonkers About Perfumes.

Wood Violet by Sonoma Scent Studio – created in 2008 by Laurie Erickson, notes include violet, plum, cedar, cinnamon, clove, sandalwood, violet leaf and musk. I tried Wood Violet for the first time in winter (our Northern California winter, but still). I liked what I identified for myself as a “violet” component of the perfume in the opening and then in the dry down phases but in the middle something smelled too… dirty (?) and unpleasant. I put the sample aside for a while. One sunny warm day I decided to give Wood Violet another try; and this time the earthy smell felt right in place: it was a scent of spring. For a very short time in the beginning I smell some sweetness but then it goes away and the scent stays on my skin green and woodsy for the next 3-4 hours. Wood Violet is quiet and powerful at the same time. I do not need a full bottle of this perfume but a nice purse spray one day will find its way into my collection.

Violet Angel by Thierry Mugler – created in 2005 by Francoise Caron, notes include violet leaves, crystallized sugar, violet, woody note, patchouli and vanilla. Violet Angel smells as if original Angel ate a whole garden of violets. Wait… If I remember it correctly, it did eat the whole garden of different flowers – roses, peonies, violets and lilies. But let’s look just at this act of gluttony. Violet Angel is slightly less sweet than the original perfume, it has some woodsy note and, if you concentrate very hard or have another violet perfume for the reference on, let’s say, another wrist, you can smell some violets, sugared violets. But Angel’s signature caramel (in case of Angel Violet it’s called crystallized sugar – which is the same thing)-patchouli-vanilla is too prominent and too recognizable. I haven’t tried other flowers yet but, in my mind, violets are the least suited to be an Angel modifier. It isn’t different or special enough for either Angel fans or Angel haters. I’ll stick to my beloved Angel EdP.

Black Violet by Tom Ford – created in 2007 as a part of the original Private Blend collection, notes include bergamot, citruses, fruity notes, violet, oakmoss and woodsy notes. It opens a citrus scent blended into sweet fruity notes, then almost immediately citrus goes away leaving slightly dryer but still sweet enough floral scent with a nice wood note. For me Black Violet is not a transparent scent, it has substance. I think “dark” part suits it well (though I remember reading the opposite opinion from other reviewers). I like Black Violet it the most 2-3 hours into wearing. It lasts for 12+ hours on the skin. In the final phase (and only there) it smells similar to Violet Blonde.  I want to add Black Violet to my collection but, the same as Ines from All I am – a redhead, who recently reviewed Black Violet, I’m not ready to pay the price of a 50 ml bottle (and I do not need a bigger bottle – which would make price per ml much more tolerable). So if anybody comes across a friendly split of this perfume, please let me know.

Do you have a favorite violet perfume? If you’ve reviewed it on your blog, please share a link.

See all episodes:
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 4: Tom Ford
WTD, Episode 4.1: Neroli Portofino and Jasmine Rouge by Tom Ford
WTD, Episode 4.3: Noir de Noir, Oud Wood and Arabian Wood by Tom Ford