SSS: SSS B’sB and More

When I started my Second Sunday Sample series, I thought of referring to it as SSS Series but since in Perfumeland that abbreviation is usually used for Sonoma Scent Studio, I dropped the idea.

While writing about Sonoma Scent Studio’s samples for this month’s episode, I thought those abbreviations would look fabulous together – hence the title.

* * *

I grew up in a large city. Horses were either an attribute of a rural life, about which most of us, city kids, had little knowledge, or something from “other times,” about which we read books or watched films. So horses were almost mythical creatures, if you think about it.

The closest I’ve ever got to a horse riding was, probably, favoring Tal-y-Tara Tea & Polo Shoppe in San Francisco. While drinking tea with cute sandwiches and scones, we would look around trying to figure out the use for different unusual things on the shelves around us.

 

 

Probably because of all that Sonoma Scent Studio’s Equestrian did not attract my attention when it was launched last year, despite several very favorable reviews and year-end lists. But recently when I was placing an order for a couple of perfumes that I wanted to replenish, I decided to catch up on the newest Sonoma Scent Studio’s releases and bought samples.

If it weren’t for the name and Laurie Erikson’s Comments, I would have never guessed that this scent has anything to do with horses. The list of notes wouldn’t give it away either (at least to me): apple accord, grassy notes, hay absolute, leather accord, jasmine sambac absolute, violet, labdanum absolute, Virginia cedar, natural oakmoss absolute, patchouli, New Caledonia sandalwood and benzoin.

The first time I tried Equestrian, it reminded me Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau. I know that these two have almost no notes in common, and since then I’ve done them in parallel and proved to myself that they are very different. And still, every time I put on just Equestrian, I immediately think: Jeux de Peau. I wonder if I make some subconscious connection Equestrian –> Tal-y-Tara Tea & Polo Shoppe –> scones –> palmiers (which were my association for the SL’s perfume)?

But back to Equestrian. My nose didn’t identify “apple” initially but once I read it in the notes, I agreed that whatever I smelled might be interpreted as such. That accord and benzoin give perfume just enough sweetness to put Equestrian on the border of gourmand territory (another nod to JdP) or maybe even slightly into it but not overwhelmingly so. The leather is smooth and subtle. And the rest of ingredients together paint a harmonious picture.

The more I test Equestrian, the more I like it. I’m not sure yet If it gets to four sea stars but it is close to that, so I’ll be spending more time with the sample.

Three and Half Sea Stars

* * *

My impressions from the second sample from that recent order, Bee’s Bliss, were completely congruous with both the name and perfumer’s comments. You do not even need to read the notes list to conjure the late spring – early summer day with all the blossoms that would be considered a paradise by any self-respecting bee. But just in case you haven’t seen the list yet, here it is: bergamot, apricot and peach, orange blossom, jasmine, mimosa, lilac, heliotrope, beeswax, honey, iris, vetiver, green leaves, benzoin, amber, oakmoss, patchouli and musk.

Bee’s Bliss is a beautiful and joyful floral perfume. What is interesting about it: if you’re familiar with other Sonoma Scent Studio’s floral compositions, you’ll be surprised how light and airy this perfume is. Bee’s Bliss doesn’t have the darker woodsy and resinous base that one has come to expect from Ms. Erikson’s creations. At the same time, it has enough substance to feel like a traditional perfume rather than summery cologne.

 

 

I liked Bee’s Bliss from the first application so I decided not to wait and ordered a purse spray.

Four Sea Stars

SSS’s shopping cart will be up until December 19th, so those of my U.S. readers who were thinking about trying this perfume or ordering something else from the brand still have time to do that.

I realize that it is harder for readers from other parts of the World to obtain samples from SSS, so I want to offer my sample in a draw for those who are NOT in the U.S. To be entered, you do not need to do anything other than say in what country you live. The draw is open until 23:59 PST on December 17th. The winner will be selected randomly.

SSS does ship to at least some countries but the official shipping is prohibitively expensive. So if the winner of the sample, after trying it, decides to buy a travel spray or a bottle (you can do it over e-mail even after the cart is taken down), I can offer to receive the package and send it your way through the regular mail, which should be cheaper than to do it through the international UPS.

A reminder: hajusuuri’s guessing game and giveaway is still open.

 

Images: my own

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A Postcard from Undina: Sonoma – Love and Tears

Almost 10 years ago our friends took us to one of the wineries that they liked – Paradise Ridge. It was the last day of a beautiful 3-day Sonoma trip mid-December, right in between two big holidays with inevitable crowds, so we had most of the places to ourselves. It was a magic trip.

There are many good wineries in our region. Some of them look like a small castle or château. It wasn’t the case with Paradise Ridge: it looked quite ordinary from the outside.

 

Paradise Ridge Winery Tasting Room

 

If you expected that the next phrase would be about the great interiors, I tricked you: while it was very nice and perfectly suitable for their specialty – wine tasting and weddings, a large second floor banquet room, a ground floor tasting room and even a wooden deck with tables for picnic under a huge oak tree – weren’t the best part of this winery experience. But the view that opened from each of those areas was just breathtaking.

 

View from the Paradise Ridge Winery Tasting Room

 

That view alone would have been probably enough to visit that place from time to time, but they also produced wine that we liked very much. And about 8 years ago we became Paradise Ridge Wine Club members. Since I haven’t been to wine regions in any other country, I do not know how common are wine club memberships in countries where my readers live, so I’ll just quickly explain that in the U.S. it usually means that you “subscribe” to get a certain number of bottles during one year, and the winery sends you those bottles (of their choice but with 15-20% discount from their regular prices) 3-6 times a year. This is done either prepaid for that year or in installments when they ship (or, as we prefer to do, when we pick up our shipments). Small family owned wineries like Paradise Ridge rarely sell their wines to retail stores: they do not produce enough to benefit from volume sales. So wines that they produce are sold mostly to the club members and in their tasting rooms.

 

ParadizeWine haul from the Paradise Ridge Winery

 

Over years we went there dozens of times – just two of us, with local friends and with friends and relatives visiting from other states. We became… not friends but very good acquaintances with the wine maker and several people who worked at the Paradise Ridge winery. So we kept coming back for great wine, beautiful views and an improvised park with periodically changing strange metal sculptures – just a perfect setting to spend time walking and taking pictures in between visiting other wineries and doing more tasting. One of those sculptures became Paradise Ridge’s trademark (and I shared it with those who were here five years ago in one of my “postcard” posts).

 

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On October 9, when we heard about fires that broke out Sunday night in that region, my first thoughts went to Paradise Ridge and Sunce (our second most favorite winery). As always in such cases, at the same time there was too much and not enough information. I kept telling myself that what were the chances that the fire happens there? Moreover, Paradise Ridge was on the top of the hill, away from other houses and structures… Midday their Facebook page brought the news I feared: the winery completely burned down. I cried. It felt like a personal loss. Pictures below are from their Facebook page taken hours after the fire. You can see all the smoke in the air.

 

 

It was Monday last week. We didn’t know yet how bad the fire would get. Eleven days later, it’s about 80% contained. By estimate, so far it scorched more than 210,000 acres, burned 6,000 houses/buildings and killed at least 42 people, most of them elderly residents of the area who couldn’t evacuate in time – the fire moved extremely fast. 50 people are still considered missing, and about 20,000 people still didn’t return from the mandatory evacuation.

Official air quality in the area where I live (70 miles from the closest affected area) is back to green “Good” (from scary red “Unhealthy” last week) and it is “Moderate” in the area of fires. It a big catastrophe from which we will be recovering for months if not years to come.

When we hear or read about such events somewhere in the world, we sympathize and feel sad, on some level, but we do not feel it as acute as when it happens close to us or to somebody we actually know – and its normal, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to live and function in our age of communications, where every week brings bad news from somewhere, hopefully far-far away from us and people we love.

So while I predict bad fallout from this situation for the area and many-many people, I can’t help feeling relieved and rejoicing from (finally) good news: all people who I care about are fine: Paradise Ridge owner families are alive; Laurie Erikson (Sonoma Scent Studio) safely returned to her house and studio after a week of evacuation. And, according to the most recent reports, Paradise Ridge vineyard survived – so there will be crop next year.

 

SSS Samples

 

Drinking “boutique wines” is luxury (same as wearing perfumes), and we would have been fine with or without our favorite wines. But running wine business, same as producing artisan perfumes, is not a luxurious undertaking: it’s a lot of hard work and very low profitability (at least until a big brand comes and buys you out). So I’m happy not as much for the fact that we’ll get to enjoy Paradise Ridge wines or Sonoma Scent Studio perfumes but mostly that they will be able to keep creating them.

 

Rusty and Paradise Ridge Wines

 

As I’m finishing writing this post, it has started raining outside. It would have helped much more had it happened a week ago but I’m happy about this rain: it is time the Nature joined us in crying.

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

A Month of Roses: Week 1

First seven days of not only a specific theme but predefined set of perfumes. Surprisingly, it was much easier to do than I thought: I didn’t have to think about what I would wear the next day – it was already on the calendar.

I publish this post to sum up my impressions from the first seven perfumes and to remind you that for each comment, in which you tell us what rose perfume you wore that day (or any of the days before), you are getting one entry into the draw for two bars of chocolate from a local artisan brand (my choice) – milk, dark or mix (winner’s choice) sent anywhere in the world.

Just remember: one comment – one entry, even if you tell in it about multiple perfumes worn on different days. At the same time, two comments about the same perfume posted on two different days will give you two entries. What’s the catch? You’ve probably noticed that, other than standard WordPress’ ads, there are no ads or affiliated links on this blog, so I’m not trying to get any hits or clicks from my readers; I just enjoy your company and want you to come back more often – even if I do not publish a new post.

Red Roses

February 1: Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Esprit de Parfum (Bertrand Duchaufour)

I know that it’s called officially Mohur Extrait now. But the sample I was wearing was from the period when it still had the old name that hadn’t become official. From the first trio of perfumes, Mohur was my least favorite: I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t feel I’d want to wear it. Mohur Extrait feels different than just a higher concentration of the EdP version: it’s deeper and smoother. And agarwood doesn’t jump out on me as it happened before with Mohur EdP. Just in case you’ve missed it somehow: Mohur Extrait is a limited edition, and I’m not sure if those gorgeous bottles will be available again once they are sold out.

February 2: Guerlain Rose Barbare (Francis Kurkdjian)

While I enjoy wearing this perfume from time to time, the small decant that I have is probably all I need. It is pleasant; it fits its Guerlain collection well; but, in my opinion, Rose Barbare is neither “barbare” (whichever English equivalent you choose) nor that much “rose.” I am not trying to say that there’s no rose in that perfume but smelling it blind, I would have never thought about it as a rose-centric perfume. But still, it’s a nice perfume to wear.

February 3: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin (Christopher Sheldrake)

I think it is a beautiful perfume. It was the second time I’ve ever worn it properly, and I will not be doing it again: I have ideological grievances against it. I decided to wear it on that day because it served two purposes: while it was a beautiful rose perfume that fitted this Month of Roses project, I used it as an anti-lemming perfume in NST’s community project. I do not feel bad if you choose not to read [into] this perfume pedigree or think of Marlene Dietrich while wearing La Fille de Berlin, but for me this is where our relationship with this perfume ends.

February 4: Amouage Lyric (Daniel Maurel)

According to the calendar, I was supposed to wear Tauer Perfumes PHI – une rose de Kandahar. I didn’t realize that my sample was empty: probably, it’s time to buy a travel spray. And since it was a weekend, and we were invited to the friends’ house for dinner, I wanted to wear something special, not just a quickly found replacement out of all the perfumes that didn’t make it to the calendar in the first place. So I moved Lyric to the earlier date hoping to find a replacement for it later.

A couple of Valentine’s Days ago I paired Lyric with one of the stories from my childhood (Ax +By = A Genetic Mystery).

This is one of classic Amouage perfumes that is worth trying even if one doesn’t like rose or Amouage perfumes: it doesn’t work for everybody, it shouldn’t (and can’t) work for everybody but it is a great illustration for opulence in perfumery. I happen to love Lyric, and I feel joy every time I wear it. I wonder though, whether I actually smell this rose as a dark one or is it a power of suggestion from the packaging?

Deep Red Rose

February 5: By Kilian Rose Oud (Calice Becker)

Agarwood and I are not really friends. There is a handful of perfumes with this note that work for my skin (or at least for my nose when I smell them on my vSO) but most of them I rather dislike. Rose Oud is one of a few that are not bad, which brings me to the conclusion that it’s not real agarwood that makes up for this perfume’s price. No, I haven’t suddenly developed better olfaction abilities. But I remember that every time I thought I liked perfumes with agarwood, those were perfumes based on the “oud accord” (if any at all). I won’t probably go beyond the sample I have but I liked wearing it for the project.

February 6: Sonoma Scent Studio Velvet Rose (Laurie Erickson)

As with all Laurie’s perfumes, there is no doubt that it is a real rose you smell. More is going on in this perfume, but rose is at center stage from the big opening until the last curtain call, if I were to stretch that theater metaphor. Velvet Rose is very Sonoma Scent Studio perfume so if you like their floral perfumes, this one should work well for you. My bottle of this perfume is slowly nearing the end (so, 3-4 more years, and it’ll be done) – ask me then if I’m replenishing it.

February 7: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille (Andy Tauer)

As I wrote in the post In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Raspberry, I cannot say that I love Une Rose Vermeille but I like it very much. It is fruity-floral perfume that is done the way this genre of perfumes should be done. It is a very strong and unapologetic lemony rose with the added raspberry sweetness. But unless you’re a [serial] monogamist when it comes to perfumes, do not go for anything more than 15 ml travel spray of this perfume: it is so potent that even that amount will serve you a decade.

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

I will be back in a week with a write-up on the next seven perfumes on my calendar. I hope you like rose perfumes (and chocolate).

 

Images: my own

Perfume Bottle Splitters: Friends or Foes?

 

Recently Elena (Perfume Shrine) has published an interview with Andy Tauer, the owner of and the nose behind Tauer Perfumes brand. I like Andy Tauer and I enjoy reading what he says – in that interview, on his blog and in other media. But there were a couple of points in that interview that made me thinking.

Now to your question “Do perfumistas form the bulk of niche perfume buyers in your experience?” No, they don’t. By far not. An educated guess might be: 1/4 of niche perfume buyers in my experience are perfumistas. For sure not more.

My first reaction was: “It can’t be true!” 25%? It’s an extremely high estimate. There are not that many of us… Or are there? I started looking around. Probably there are not as many perfume-related blogs as there are blogs about fashion, books or cooking. By rough count we’re talking about a hundred blogs – give or take a few. The largest Facebook group I’m a member of has just 3,775 members. But then I went to two most popular perfume sites/forums. I do not know what Fragrantica calls “Perfume lovers” but 385K+ of those mentioned there. And Basenotes says they have 100K+ members. Of course, those numbers accumulated over time, many of the registered users aren’t active any longer but still it’s a huge number. So unless most of brand’s sales are done exclusively through high-end B&M boutiques, how is one to know what percentage of the sales should be attributed to perfumistas?

Perfume Enthusiasts On The Web

The second point felt outright wrong:

[…] bottle splits and doing decants is pretty much not good and you hurt the creator. It is actually worse than not buying a bottle.
[…] It hurts because I do not only create a scent that I launch one fine day. As creator, I am constantly building on a universe, a brand universe. I put my scents in a context of values, and esthetics, and experiences. And these I try to communicate through everything that is around the scent. The flacon, the packaging, the hand written note, the way how and where you can get the scent.|
[…]Getting a decant in a simple spray bottle is nothing of all that. It is like a stripped down to the bones scent experience. The scent is still the same, but everything else that I wish perfume lovers to experience is gone. I feel it would be better, from time to time, to just get one fragrance, instead of 5 splits.

First of all, let’s do away with small decants (5 ml) – the size I see a lot in both private decants exchanges and Facebook splits. Nobody sells perfumes without samples and/or testers calculated in the price of the product. And I feel that in case of 5 ml decants we, perfume enthusiasts, are paying our own money for niche brands’ marketing. So that cannot be bad for a brand. A small brand cannot expect too many blind buys (unless you’re an heir of the rich dynasty or a spin-off of a behemoth conglomerate strategically positioned in places where people habitually pay for the novelty itself), so allowing more people to try niche perfumes we increase the probability of the future full bottle purchases.

Now to bigger sizes of decants.

As a consumer, I do not really care if, acting within the law, I find a way to save money at the expense of an entity that tries to make money off me. But I won’t use that as an argument since as a perfumista I do care about brands and perfumers who produce perfumes that I love, especially when we’re talking about small brands and perfumers who are as nice as, for example, Andy Tauer, Laurie Erickson or Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. But I do not think that selling/ buying decants hurts them.

In order for somebody to buy five decants somebody else still has to buy those five bottles. So for each split there is still a person out there who has the “complete experience” – the original bottle, box and a hand-written note (or whatever else the brand chooses to use for creating their universe).

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

I will argue that for people who really cannot afford much, having five decants of perfumes they like is better than having just one, even a super special, bottle of perfume. And these people, once their circumstances change, will buy a full bottle of the perfume decant of which they used up and wished they had more. If more companies followed the suit and released their perfumes in smaller bottles like Sonoma Scent Studio‘s travel sprays or Tauer Perfumes’ Explorer Set (by the way, I was surprised that nobody has mentioned it in the discussion on Perfume Shrine), I would buy only official bottles.

For those of us who chooses which full bottles to buy and when to go with a decant, it’s usually not a question of buying a full bottle of the one out of five perfumes, decants of which we entertain using for a while, but rather of not buying any of the five at all. For example, currently there are no perfumes I really want to add to my collection but do not do that for financial reasons. But there are several perfumes that I know I want to get to know better and see if they grow on me. If I can’t buy or swap small decants of those I won’t buy them at all.

My conclusion on this part is: if anything, while buying decants we are helping perfumers, not hurting them. We increase the number of full bottles sold and people exposed to the experience brands had in mind while creating their perfumes. And then we talk about those perfumes we got to try. Five reviews should be nothing on the marketing scale of Guerlain or Hermès but I can’t imagine them not being important in our Internet age for tiny brands with no budget for a two-page spread in Allure or a live ballet presentation at Saks.

A separate note on experiencing a brand universe.

While I like a nice perfume bottle and on a several occasions even went for a bottle of a perfume that I merely liked, not loved, because of the “everything that is around the scent” (see my post Does the size… (strike that) bottle matter? Yep!) and I was one of the first to object to Chandler Burr‘s experiment of stripping perfumes off their packaging and substituting brands’ marketing with his own (see my post (Open)Sky is the limit?), my experience shows that when it comes to actually wearing perfumes I equally enjoy those perfumes that I spray from the original bottle and from the decant (earlier this year I had a statistics post about it).

In the last week’s poll Lucas asked his readers which shape of a perfume bottles they preferred. Most people voted for a “fancy” type, which was a catch-all type for everything that didn’t go into other categories. So the next point I’d like to make is: it’s harder to have any special experience with standard bottles in line. I have to really like the perfume to add a second identical bottle to my collection. With Chanel Exclusiffs, Dior La Collection Privee or Serge Lutens perfumes I feel like after buying one real bottle it’s enough to have just decants for other perfumes from those collections. Had they been unique – like Shalimar, Angel or Flower, – I would have felt a much stronger urge to have them in my collection. So since it’s economically more feasible for small brands to create their universes around standardized bottles they shouldn’t hold a grudge against us for not being too impulsive about buying every next perfume released and finding a more economically sound solutions for experiencing those perfumes. I promise: we’re trying to put them into the best available atomizers and create nice labels.

Rusty and decanting bottles

 

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Leather

 

It was one of the first cool days of the last fall. We were driving home after a pleasant evening at our friends’ house. I kept sniffing the air thinking to myself: I haven’t noticed before that my leather jacket smells that nice… Too nice… What’s going on?

That’s when I realized that the smell was coming from a blotter sticking out of the vent grid where I affixed it several hours earlier.

 

Tom Ford Tuscan Leather

 

That evening before going to the party I stopped by Neiman Marcus to sniff several perfumes. I didn’t want to put anything on my skin to avoid arriving to the party smelling like a perfume counter. So after sniffing from a blotter Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather (I missed it somehow in my previous tests) and talking for a while to the SA I asked him: “How does it develop on the skin?” thinking of asking next to make me a sample. In response he silently took a fresh blotter, sprayed it with Tuscan Leather and handed it to me… I was so amused that all I could do was to thank him and leave.

I think that Tuscan Leather is a gorgeous masculine fragrance. Can a woman pull it off? Of course! I would have worn it myself if I haven’t had somebody else to put it on. My vSO likes it so I’ll use a decant I have on him. And then I’ll want more.

I like leather perfumes but do not own too many of them. Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d’Empire – a bottle that I bought for my vSO (he likes it a lot) but he doesn’t mind sharing.

The only full bottle of a “leather” perfume that I have for myself is Cuir de Russie by Chanel. It’s such an elegant perfume!

 

Chanel Cuir De Russie PdE Cuir Ottoman

 

Tabac Aurea  by Sonoma Scent Studio doesn’t smell too much of leather but it’s a very pleasant dry woodsy scent that works well on my skin in cooler weather. Once I’m done with my 2.5 ml spray bottle I’ll probably get a purse spray.

Boxeuses by Serge Lutens – one of my Bikram yoga favorites and recently I discovered that I liked it as a sleep scent as well. I haven’t tried wearing Boxeuses sprayed but once my roll-on sample is empty I’ll want a decant of this strange and interesting perfume.

Another Serge Lutens’ leather perfume, of which I have a decant already, Cuir Mauresque unfortunately doesn’t work for me. I tried to wear it several times and still no. It smells harsh, dirty and somewhat unpleasant on me.

I reviewed Scent No.16 Tomato Leather by Cognoscenti a couple of months ago (You say ‘Tomato’, I say ‘Leather’). I still like it but I’ll wait for Cognoscenti to release their perfumes in a smaller bottle.

I didn’t like Traversee du Bosphore by L’Artisan Parfumeur when I first tried it but it grew on me. It wears nicely in warm weather and one day it might join my collection.

Another perfume I wasn’t a fan of initially – Bottega Veneta. Last year when everybody praised it I just shrugged my shoulders. What changed my mind was me testing recently Cuir Amethyste by Giorgio Armani. It started harsh and too leather-y to my taste but then mellowed down to a very smooth and buttery suede accord that reminded me of Bottega Veneta. I thought I found another smell-alike for my Déjà vu series but while I was trying to compare notes (there are just two in common among declared) I found out that the same nose, Michel Almairac, was behind both. I’ll see if I need more of Bottega Veneta Parfum once my mini bottle is gone.

Cuir de Lancome by Lancome – everybody seems to love this one. I want to like it but I’m not sure if I do. Sometimes I think that maybe my sample is off.  Nevertheless, I want this bottle in my collection – not that there was any logic in that.

 

Leather Perfumes Samples

 

Other perfumes with prominent leather that I’ve tried and liked: Cuir Beluga by Guerlain (it’s growing on me, I want to get a decant to test more), Cuirelle by Ramon Monegal (starts a little too sweet but develops nicely; needs more testing preferably from a spray bottle), Napa Noir by Six Scents (I had a tiny, one application sample, but I liked what I smelled), Lonestar Memories by Tauer Perfumes (have to get a new sample since the one I have become too concentrated as a result of evaporation) and Vanille Cuir by M.Micallef (something appeals to me in this fragrance; I’ll keep testing it and see if I want to werat it).

Perfumes that didn’t work for me: Leather Oud by Dior (it’s nice on my vSO but a little too much on me), Songe d’un Bois d’été by Guerlain (it’s too harsh on my skin; I find something pleasant two-three hours into the development but I won’t wait for that long to enjoy my perfume), Mon Cuir by Ramon Monegal (a strange combination of leather and what I think of as a traditional men cologne) and Kelly Calèche by Hermès (I can smell no leather at all. Do I have a wrong sample?)

What is your favorite leather perfume?

 

Images: my own.

To Dream or not To Dream: Sleep Scents

 

Under normal circumstances (bar sickness and problems of cosmic proportions, such as a broken umbrella) I’m a sound sleeper. Even loudly meowing cat cannot disturb my peace in the morning. But to fall asleep I need 15-20 minutes of full darkness and silence. I’ve never dozed off while watching TV or reading a book. I have to cease all activities, turn off everything – and only then I can sleep. The smallest noise or light bothers me: ticking clocks on the wall, humming cleaning machines at the supermarket down the block or flickering lights of a wireless router kept me sleepless for hours.

Scents do not bother me. I wouldn’t probably spray myself lavishly with Shalimar before going to bed (ok, strike everything after the perfume name) but I always enjoy remains of the perfume I wore earlier coming from my skin or hair as I’m drifting off to sleep.

The second type of perfumes I enjoy wearing to bed: perfumes that I actually designate as sleep scents. Usually those are perfumes that I like as scents but do not often wear as perfumes. I’m not sure what exactly sets them apart from perfumes I wear in my everyday life but I do have that category in my perfume collection.

Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream

The first fragrance that I defined for myself as a sleep scent was To Dream by Sonoma Scent Studio – created in 2011 by Laurie Erickson, notes include violet, rose, heliotrope, cedar, amber, frankincense, oakwood absolute, vetiver, tonka, orris, vanilla, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss absolute, subtle suede, cocoa and aldehydes. I do not know if the name lead me into it or if it happened on its own but To Dream became one of my favorite sleep scents.

Like many others Sonoma Scent Studio’s perfumes, To Dream is too concentrated for me to use from the spray bottle so I usually decant it into a dab vial and apply a little before going to bed. If you follow the link above you’ll find many links to other bloggers’ reviews so I won’t even try to describe the scent. I just want to say that if you haven’t tried it yet you should. I really like the travel spray option: yes, it’s more expensive per ml but it’s a very chic atomizer and with 20-24% concentration those 5 ml will last you forever.

SSS Fig Tree Shea Cream

Recently Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) introduced the “new idea” from Parfums d’Orsayalcohol-free hydrating perfume. It reminded me of another amazing product from Sonoma Scent Studio – shea body creams. For the last year I’ve been using Fig Tree shea cream from time to time as my night hand lotion/sleep scent (though I love wearing Fig Tree perfume as my daytime perfume as well – see my In the Search for the Perfect Fig). Shea creams will be available soon on the site (they are seasonal items). Don’t miss them because they will be gone until the next holiday season.

 

Do you wear perfumes to bed?

 

 

Images: my own