SSS: SSS B’sB and More

When I started my Second Sunday Samples 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.

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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

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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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In the Search for the Perfect Fig

I love figs. Everybody who lives in my house loves figs including my cat Rusty. When he was six months old once he stole a piece of fig with goat cheese on it and tried to run away. His mouth was hardly big enough to hold his loot, I don’t know why he didn’t just lick cheese off it, but he ran as fast as he could while holding on to that fig. In the end he dropped it but still managed to eat cheese.

Several weeks ago after reading one of the fig perfumes reviews, I realized that even though I love and eat figs in all possible ways – fresh fruits, fig gem, fig yogurt, fig balsamic vinegar or chocolate covered figs – I can’t imagine how figs smell. I know what is considered a fig scent in perfumery – personal and home ambiance fragrances, candles or soaps – but I couldn’t remember a scent of an actual fruit.

I tried to rectify the situation but a fig season was suddenly over, figs disappeared from the farmer’s market and those I found in a store didn’t smell.

Fig on a treeOn my recent trip to Sonoma I found a fig tree that still had some fruits. I took a picture (see on the left), picked the fig, bit it, sniffed it and then ate completely. I couldn’t smell much. Either it was a wrong fig or maybe I’m anosmic to some component of this particular scent but I could vaguely smell some rather vegetal aroma – and that was it. I wouldn’t want to wear that scent realistically recreated as a perfume. Probably I’ll have to settle for eating figs without a smell and smelling their perfume version.

On the way home I stopped by Sonoma Scent Studio and bought a perfect example of such perfume version.

Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio – created in 2011 by Laurie Erickson, notes include green fig, vanilla, cedar, patchouli, tonka and musk.  I loved the scent the first time I smelled it from a sample and knew I would get it for my collection. For real reviews read EauMG. But I want to recommend trying this perfume even to those who used to have problems with SSS’s base: in my opinion, Fig Tree is very different from other Sonoma Scent Studio’s perfumes. It’s sheer enough to be worn in warmer weather but, at the same time, has enough substance for the colder months. I got a very stylish 5 ml purse spray and it’ll do for now: Fig Tree has a fair tenacity on my skin (3-4 hours). For me Fig Tree is a perfect fig perfume.

I also bought a jar of Fig Tree Shea Body cream. It smells exactly the same as the perfume. I enjoy the texture of the cream but since I do not like to use scented body product too often (it’s too much of a commitment for me) I started using Fig Tree shea butter as my hand cream before I go to bed. I think Sonoma Scent Studio’s body products will make great gifts for somebody to whom you want to give a scented present but not sure about their perfume tastes.

Fig Tree perfume and cream by Sonoma Scent StudioOther perfumes with a prominent fig note:

Ninfeo Mio by Annick Goutal – created in 2009 by Isabelle Doyen, notes include citron, lemon, petitgrain, bitter orange, galbanum, lavender, lentisque, fig, lemon wood and musk. I read many positive reviews before I got to try Ninfeo Mio. I liked that matte green bottle and really hoped to like the perfume. I didn’t. I approached it several times: it smells very nice on a blotter. But Ninfeo Mio is one of those Annick Goutal’s perfumes that I just cannot stand on my skin. I was so upset by that fact that I even gave away my sample. Of course, now, when stores around do not carry it any more, I started having doubts: should I test it again? Will I like it more if I try it now? I will test it again one day (it is a beautiful bottle…)

Birgit from Olfactoria’s Travels had similar but milder reaction but for Robin from NST Ninfeo Mio worked much better.

Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermès – created in 2003 by Jean-Claude Ellena, notes include fig woods and leaves, orange blossom, bergamot and white oleander. If one good thing came out of my trying Ninfeo Mio resolutely, it was that I finally came around to liking Un Jardin en Mediterranee. It’s not the most straight-forward connection: I just happened to test these too in parallel. I thought they had something in common and while testing I discovered that this Ellena’s creation develops very nicely on my skin. I might even pick up a small bottle of Un Jardin en Mediterranee eventually.

This is Birgit’s review that inspired me to test Un Jardin en Mediterranee again.

Green FigWild Fig & Cassis by Jo Malone – created in 2002 by Jo Malone, notes include cassis, cherry, grass, hyacinth, cyclamen, jasmine, pine tree, patchouli, cedar, amber and musk. That was the second full bottle from Jo Malone line that I added to my collection. It was the first fig perfume I’d ever smelled so it might influence me but Wild Fig & Cassis is probably my most favorite fig fragrance as of now (followed by Fig Tree). I think it is underappreciated. It’s interesting and complex enough to stand in the same line with other more popular fig perfumes. Wild Fig & Cassis is a green and slightly bitter fragrance. I do not detect any sweetness but YMMV since I’m known for not smelling some sweet notes where others get an overdose.

Philosykos by Diptyque – created in 1996 by Olivia Giacobetti, notes include fig tree leaves, wood and white cedar. I know that this one is almost an iconic fig fragrance; Philosykos gets mentioned every time when fig in perfumes is discussed. I was inclined to like it long before I tried it. Then I bought a sample. It is a nice perfume. But it’s a little too… flat(?) for my taste. And a little sweeter than I’d like it to be. So while appreciating this perfume I don’t think I’ll even use up my sample.

For real (and positive) reviews read NST and Olfactoria’s Travels (Birgit also reviews here two other fig fragrances which I haven’t tried).

Winter FigWomanity and Womanity Taste of Fragrance (Le Goût du Parfum) by Thierry Mugler – created in 2010 and 2011 correspondently, notes include citrus notes, green notes, fig, caviar accord, animal notes, aquatic notes, woodsy notes, oriental notes and sunny notes (whatever it means) – for the original Womanity and some marketing variations on the same notes plus “fig chutney” for Womanity Le Goût du Parfum. I find this perfume (well, both of them since after testing them in parallel several times I do not see much difference between them in 15 minutes of wearing) very interesting and unusual. I read many negative reviews and I tried Womanity again and again in spite of them. It smells… interesting. I think Thierry Mugler again managed to create something different, maybe not as revolutionary as Angel but still original enough. But I do not want to wear it. I thought I wanted to buy a small bottle of either version of Womanity for my collection but then after reading Ari’s review and testing both perfumes again I realized I wouldn’t wear any of them.

What is your favorite fig perfume? If you reviewed any of these or other fig-centric perfumes feel free to give a link to you post.

Images: first two my own; last two by a friend of mine lyukum