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

[Forest] Walk down the Memory Lane

 

School at the country where I grew up when I was growing up meant ten years in the same building, mostly with the same classmates from the first grade and until the graduation.

School

Starting from the fifth grade several times a year each class for a week was responsible for tidying up school common areas – wiping, sweeping, washing and taking out garbage.

The best chore was to be a coat room keys keeper. Since we didn’t have lockers all outerwear had to be hanged in a coat room. Usually students weren’t allowed to leave during a school day unless a teacher came with a class or sent a note. But somebody had to be “on the post” with keys in case a student needed to leave. The great part about it was that it would give you an official permission not to attend classes that day. Only students with good grades were trusted with that important mission. I was an “A” student.

A coat room was a nice place to “work” not only because of skipping classes but also because you were getting a chance to meet everybody while being in charge. Everybody.  Even from those classes two-three year older who usually do not notice you. And also it allowed you some freedom: your friends would join you either after running their choirs instead of returning to a class room or during breaks. Because it was a perfect place to hang out, to play hide and seek between rows of jackets or to talk about your feelings (and perfumes) with your first love.

Cinderella

The second best assignment was to wax parquet in corridors. It also had to be done while everybody was in class rooms studying. I always imagined doing it Cinderella’s way (click and watch for 10 seconds – I couldn’t embed it to start on the right time but for those who can’t watch a clip on youtube there is a static picture above) but in reality it was just one floor brush with a strap for your foot and tubes of floor wax/polish. It was made of turpentine (pine resin), paraffin, ceresin wax and beeswax.

Parquet polish

My school was many-many years ago but the first time I smelled Forest Walk, the latest perfume from Sonoma Scent Studo, I was immediately transported back to that school corridor. I know that it’s a complex perfume, it’s built with many great ingredients (notes include Black hemlock absolute, fir absolute, Western red cedar, oakwood absolute, galbanum resin, jasmine sambac absolute, violet, olibanum, labdanum absolute, natural oakmoss absolute, aged Indian patchouli, New Caledonia sandalwood, orris, benzoin and earthy notes). But for me Forest Walk smells of happy times of sanctioned skipped classes, pine-smelling floor wax and the imaginary pas de deux with that handsome classmate.

I haven’t conjured a forest out of this perfume but I still enjoyed the walk I’ve got from it.

For real reviews read Gaia‘s (The Non-Blonde) and Mark‘s (Ca Fleure Bon) posts.

I got my sample with a purchase from Sonoma Scent Studio at First Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco.

First Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco

 

Last Sunday, July 8th, I spent the day at the First Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco. You’ve probably read something about it already so just to recap: twenty artisan perfume companies presented their perfumes at the Gallery 4N5. There were also wine and chocolate tasting as well as some talks and presentations.

In the next couple of weeks I’ll try to write more about some of my personal discoveries at this Salon but I want to share with you pictures of those stands that I managed to take before there were too many people. Keep in mind that pictures on walls were a part of the Gallery decor and participants weren’t allowed to change those. Notice how perfectly some of the stands and art came together. I’m not sure if there was any special thinking behind those designations or if they just happen to come together by chance but some of them really played out. Click on pictures to see more details.

Yosh

Yosh at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Both Yosh (above) and Sonoma Scent Studio (below) found an elegant solution to the over-perfuming the small space: pre-sprayed glass containers. I really like the idea because in addition to the benefit mentioned there are multiple others: you do not need to remember which paper strip you sprayed with each perfume (which is even harder if you were given a blotter sprayed by a perfumer); you can revisit scents multiple times without trying to juggle those multiple paper strips and, finally, if you didn’t like the scent you do not need to decide if it’s polite to discard it right there, in front of a perfumer/presenter, or if you have to take it with you.

Sonoma Scent Studio

Sonoma Scent Studio at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Many people were disappointed that Laurie Erickson, the nose behind Sonoma Scent Studio, couldn’t attend the event. On the positive side, there was her newest addition to the line Forest Walk and the stand looked very elegant.

Artemisia Natural Perfume, perfumer Lisa Fong

Artemisia Natural Perfume at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

For a while I was considering one of Artemisia‘s perfumes – Ondine because of the name (it means the same as Undina, just a different spelling) but I’m not too good with all-natural perfumes, usually they don’t work for me. I should have probably bought a sample (though now I cannot remember if this table offered any for sale) but I was so overwhelmed with everything that I wasn’t thinking straight.

Ineke, perfumer Ineke Rühland

Ineke at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Ineke had a very nice spot and they decorated it just perfectly. Do you see the stack of sample sets on the left? They were all sold out quickly. On the off-chance somebody doesn’t know that, this is one of the best discovery sets out there: for $25 including shipping you’re getting the cutest box with seven 2 ml individually wrapped samples and that price is redeemable for a purchase of a full bottle.

Ineke Discovery Set

Probably half of all participants didn’t have any samples for sale and I think it’s a mistake. I understand that for a small company it might be prohibitively expensive to give away samples and I didn’t expect them to do that. But it’s also hard to expect that people who have never smelled this brand’s perfumes (and sometimes haven’t even heard about its existence) before will distinguish any of the perfumes out of literally hundreds, fall in love with it and decide to spend $40-$135 on the spot for a full bottle. Some brands at least offered purse sprays under $20 (Sonoma Scent Studio and Olympic Orchids) which is a much more reasonable option.

En Voyage Perfumes, perfumer Shelley Waddington

En Voyage Perfumes at SF First Fragrance Salon

Shelley Waddington presented her newest The Cosmologie Collection. I liked A Study in Water on a blotter but I didn’t have a chance to test it on skin. I’ll need to revisit it one day.

Olympic Orchids

Olympic Orchids at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Ellen Covey, the perfumer, in addition to the main collection, also introduced her new collection created for the Devilscent Project. I found my favorite out of five – Dev 2.

Olympic Orchids at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Roxana Illuminated Perfume, perfumer Roxana Villa

Roxana Illuminated Perfume at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

The name 40 notes perfume seemed somehow familiar but I couldn’t remember where I read about it or what. I liked brand’s esthetics and thought that Miriam, the perfumer, was really charming. But I caught her later in the day, she was tired and wasn’t sure it was the best time to pose for a picture. I promised her not to use it, so here’s just a picture of the stand:

40 notes perfume

40 Notes at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Those beautiful green and gold paper boxes are sample sets. Since perfumes are oils they are expensive. While I understand $5+ for 1 ml, there was just one perfume in the line to which I was immediately attracted so I just couldn’t justify paying $40 for the sample set. Maybe I should have… Well, I have time to think about it since those can be ordered from the website.

Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Perfumery

Velvet And Sweet Pea's Perfumery at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Leila Castle Botanical Fragrance

Leila Castle Botanical Fragrance at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

smell bent

SmellBent at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Smells & Bells Organics

Smells And Bells Organics at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Rebel & Mercury Pure Botanical Perfumes

Rebel & Mercury Pure Botanical Perfumes at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Sarah Horowitz Parfums

Sarah Horowitz Parfums at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

Persephenie

Persephenie at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

One more brand that decided to use glass as a medium for perfumes testing (though it bothered me a little that there was three glasses of one form and one of another). If I ever come across this line I’ll test it more: I was too tired by the time I got to them.

And, finally, there was one brand new brand that launched that day at the Fragrance Salon – Cognoscenti. There are just three perfumes in the line (that is how brands/lines should be launched!) and I liked one of them enough to put on the skin. I will test all three more and see if I have a story to tell.

COGNOSCENTI, perfumer Danniel Sergent

Cognoscenti at SF First Artisan Fragrance Salon

There were several more stands – Ayala Moriel Parfums, Divine Life Perfume and Parfums DelRae but my pictures of those tables are too blurry to share.

I enjoyed the event: friendly and warm atmosphere, beautifully decorated stands and an unimaginable variety of perfumes, perfumed oils, body products and other scent-related items.

On the negative side – music in some areas was too loud, it was hard talking to people; too many perfumes were sprayed in the area without a proper ventilation and just simply NOT ENOUGH TIME to try even brands about which I knew before – leave alone completely new ones. But I really tried.

I hope this will actually become an annual event because I want to go to the next one already.

Images: my own