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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Going toward the light: Puredistance White (And a prize draw!)

By Donna

The sixth release from Puredistance follows the well received Black which was also authored by Antoine Lie, and White could not be more aptly named; it is very bright, dazzling even, the perfume equivalent of looking into the sun. This particular sub genre of white floral is not everyone's cup of tea, but it happens to be a style that I enjoy very much. I have fond memories of the highly pitched white florals from the Seventies and Eighties as perfumers experimented with the new aroma chemicals that were becoming available, enabling the birth of fragrances that defied gravity like nothing that had come before, such as the original Jessica McClintock, Azzaro 9 and Madeleine by Madeleine Mono. Smelling Puredistance White for the first time brought that era immediately to mind. Yet as always, the hallmarks of a Puredistance perfume are abstraction and refinement, and so it is an entirely modern creation unto itself.

The concept behind White is that smelling it should bring an immediate feeling of happiness, lightness, and freedom from everyday cares. Perfume can be a welcome escape from reality, but some have more of an effect on emotions than others; my own immediate response to smelling it was a delighted smile. The opening rides the very edge of brightness, veering perilously close to the precipice of what Luca Turin calls “overexposed white florals” but since this is Puredistance, one can be assured that it will not go over that cliff. As with the others in the line, the composition is extremely well-balanced and I never doubted it for a moment. Rose de Mai, iris, and bergamot fused with abstract white floral notes and modern musks flood the senses with their piercing beauty, and just when it seems that the effect cannot be sustained, the underpinning of sandalwood, tonka, vetiver and a whisper of patchouli appear, shoring up the lilting, feminine high notes like wedding guests carrying the bride on their shoulders. The final result is a floral perfume of impressive lasting power; after all, it a concentrated extrait formulation. It touches on some of the stylistic themes of earlier Puredistance fragrances while remaining distinctive in its own right; it is as abstract as Puredistance I if not even more so; a soft rustle of leafy green recalls Antonia; and its structure is as infallible as Opardu. Puredistance does not launch a new fragrance until it has been perfected, and White is a stellar addition to the line. As with any perfume, testing is advisable before purchasing, but for those who love White, its gorgeous alabaster flaçon will just enhance the experience.

Due to the generosity of Puredistance, I am very pleased to offer a beautifully presented boxed sample set of all six perfumes for one lucky reader: Puredistance I, Antonia, Opardu, M, Black, and White. Please leave a comment if you would like to enter to win. (The prize draw is open only to those with a mailing address in the continental U.S.A.; sorry, I am unable to ship internationally.) If you like, please let us know what your favorite Puredistance fragrance is in the comments, or which perfumes of this style you admire. The draw will remain open until Sunday April 19, 2015 at 6:00 Eastern Daylight time.

Image credits: Abstract white flowers wallpaper via Puredistance White flaçon via
Disclosure: I received my free sample of White from Puredistance for testing.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

All that glitters: The Brilliant Collection by DSH Perfumes

By Donna

Once again, a collaboration between perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and the Denver Art Museum has resulted in a stunning group of fragrances. I always look forward to these art project launches from DSH Perfumes; Dawn's reservoir of creativity seems to have no limits. The Brilliant collection ties in with the DAM exhibit celebrating Cartier's storied history of jewelry making. All the more intimidating, the company also makes some very good fragrances, so this quartet had to distance itself from Cartier's own perfumes and make the fragrances all about the jewels – and what jewels they are!

Starting off with a bang, Deco Diamonds is a tour de force, a seamlessly abstract beauty that brings to mind the kind of bold statement jewelry one might wear to a Black and White Ball – the men in elegant tuxedos and the women in sleek draped gowns embellished with feathers and sequins, and dripping with diamond necklaces, bracelets and rings, maybe a headband or two. Eventually this glittering aldehydic fragrance reveals its heart of jasmine and other white flowers, reminding me of one of Dawn's early perfumes that is no longer made, the gorgeously tender jasmine and mimosa Cielle. Deco Diamonds is a perfume from another world, not tied to the earth; if Cielle was a wisp of cloud in a blue sky, this is a jet trail, soaring bright and pure and streamlined toward the sun.

In sharp contrast to Deco Diamonds, Fumée d'Or is a fantasy perfume in the sepia tones of a movie about the past, a whimsical imagining of what a goldsmith's shop in Paris might smell like; if this is the scent of such a place, I would want to live there and never leave. The overall impressions is warm and close, like entering a mysterious place on a brisk day and being enveloped in heat, the animal heft of human bodies and not-quite-familiar aromas. What is that languid, sweet smoke arising from the cauldron? Why do the dust motes dancing by the window sparkle so? What is that strange smell, like leather and metal somehow blended together? This “olde curiosity shoppe” of a fragrance will keep you guessing all day long.

Rubies are one of the most sought after of all gems, and I predict that the fragrance devoted to them, Rubis Rosé, will be equally admired. If roses that smell of raspberries are your thing, this is the one. It is rich and dense like the best of the old garden roses, such as the purple-red Bourbon 'Madame Isaac Pereire' which is justly famous for its redolent raspberry scent. I would not call this a “jammy” rose perfume, because although it is fruity, it is so in a fresh and realistic way. Anyone who is not familiar with antique roses might doubt that a living flower can smell like this, but this plush, velvety aroma is exactly what is found in such a rose, and it comes as close as anything I have smelled to the incomparable perfume of the voluptuous old roses I love best of all.

All of the perfumes in the collection are good, but one of them has captured my heart like no other – the stunning Jacinthe de Sapphir. The distinctive aroma of the hyacinth flower is one of my favorite smells in the world, but I have very rarely had the sensation of inhaling a perfume and feeling transported in time and place to a spring garden where the colorful hyacinth spikes give off their unique perfume, rich and intense yet not sweet in the way of most flowers, a green and airy scent with the chill of earth and winter still upon them. It even has that elusive, shifting character of the flower, dancing away and then coming back to tease the nose when you think it's gone for good. Of course this one is nominally in honor of precious sapphires, but it really an homage to this beloved garden bloom. This is the closest thing I have experienced to the exquisite hyacinth note in my favorite perfume of all time, Vacances by Jean Patou, and that's saying a lot coming from me. In the dead of winter, here is the ultimate breath of spring.

Image credits: Vintage Cartier diamond engagement ring via, original source unknown. Seventeenth century engraving of a goldsmith's shop via, in the public domain. Blue hyacinth via's Multimedia Gallery, free download photo by Damon Hart-Davis, effects by Donna.
Disclosure: The samples I tested for this review were given to me by DSH Perfumes.

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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Foodie Thursday: Chicken Soup

By Tom

Last week was one of the coldest on record in Los Angeles. Of course, it's not like there was danger of freezing, at least not in the basin on the Westside. But it was certainly cold enough to make me want to break out the chicken soup.

Chicken soup is of course almost universally loved (at least in America.)  Whether it's coming from a can or a deli, it's my personal go-to comfort dish when the temps drop or I have a cold. I will even cop to still enjoying a childhood favorite: Campbell's, preferably served with saltines.

Of course, Los Angeles has better options as well. Nate 'n Al's in Beverly Hills, Canter's and Factors in Los Angeles and Greenblatt's in West Hollywood are all noted for various variations on what is commonly referred to as "Jewish Penicillin," matzoh ball soup. Even the neighborhood's local Bristol Farms has a pretty good version in what they call their "comfort bar."

One of my favorite recipes is the slow cooker one that was developed by the America's Test Kitchen people (linked to here) but it does require that you have a slow cooker. 

If you have a recipe you's like to share, please do so in the comments..

Image: Wikipedia

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A rainbow of delights: Providence Perfume Company's new oils collection

By Donna

Anyone who is familiar with Charna Ethier's creative compositions for Providence Perfume Company will be pleased with her new collection of six all-natural oil perfumes, which are free of alcohol and very long-lasting. These came about as the result of customer requests and have been very well received. I am already a fan of her fabulous Beauty Elixir oil and other body products so I was eager to try these.

I was especially interested in Rose 802, which was inspired by the scent of wild roses and blackberries growing in the countryside of Vermont – 802 is Vermont's area code. I was born there, and I wandered its verdant woods and meadows myself, so this one had a lot to live up to. I was not disappointed; this is a beautiful rose fragrance with blackcurrant, cedar and fir, and it's magical on my skin. Myrtle leaves impart a fresh greenness and a touch of vanilla adds the warmth of summer to the blend. (This is definitely not a rose soliflore, and I have to say that if you don't like blackcurrant bud, you probably won't like this.)

Violet Beauregarde (after the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory character) fits nicely into the slot between a traditional floral perfume and a “candied violets” scent – flowers with just a touch of sweetness, and no melancholy. The violet is surrounded with jasmine, mimosa and ylang ylang, with sandalwood and vanilla providing an ideal base to showcase the florals. It is a very pretty perfume and would be perfect for a young girl's first fragrance, especially if she likes the Roald Dahl books. That said, it's also perfect for adults who appreciate a truly fine violet scent.

The first thing to keep in mind about Orange Blossom Honey is that honey is the centerpiece; orange blossom is only a supporting character. It is deliriously sweet and thick, like a drowsy August day with bees humming all around the flower garden. When I was growing up in New England, we bought our honey locally – it was clover honey, sold in big buckets, very dark in color with an intensely earthy flavor. I thought all honey was like that. Then one day my grandfather brought home something exotic from the grocery store – orange blossom honey from Florida. It was a light amber color and intensely sweet, with a beautiful perfumey aroma. Smelling this oil brings me right back to that time, and I enjoyed this immensely.

In a similar manner to Orange Blossom Honey, Sweet Jasmine Brown is anything but a straight-up jasmine perfume. I have never smelled a treatment quite like this; it brings out the delicious “banana jam” aspect of real jasmine and surrounds it with a sugary, musky warmth from vanilla, tonka bean, cocoa nibs and ambrette seed, and the inclusion of ylang ylang makes the floral character even headier. Anyone who is not used to natural fragrances should not expect to encounter the blindingly white sheen of the jasmine in department store perfumes, which is almost certainly augmented in large part by synthetics, if not entirely so. It is exactly those kinds of fragrances that makes some people think they don't like jasmine, and to them I would say, try this instead, and don't be surprised if it garners some very positive attention; this is one sexy scent!

Summer Yuzu is more than just a breezy warm weather perfume. Since it's an oil, it lasts much longer on the skin than the equivalent style scent in an alcohol-based formula would be, so it can be enjoyed all day without reapplying. Yuzu is one of the most pleasing of all citrus aromas, combining the fresh bursting quality of grapefruit with the sweetness of mandarin and the sparkle of lemon and bergamot. (The perfumer cleverly added frankincense to extend its longevity.) Tomato leaf further enhances the sunny disposition of this one, and I can't imagine anyone not liking it. It is suitable for either men or women.

Ivy Tower may be my favorite of the collection, although it would be hard to choose just one. It is indeed as green as its name, but it's a soft, deep, diffusive green with nary a sharp edge in sight. It won me over when I smelled the gorgeous narcissus, one of my favorite notes in all of perfumery; green florals were my first love and I have a weakness for this style of misty, wistful fragrance. As if that's not enough, it also features jasmine, ethereal mimosa and my beloved lily. It lasts all day on me, which is unusual for any green fragrance no matter what the formula is. Calling all green lovers, this is a must try!

These oils come in a pretty roll-on bottle and are available at the company's boutique at 301 Wickenden Street, Providence, RI 02903 or on the Providence Perfume Company Web site, and if I may suggest it, the sample set of all six scents would make a wonderful holiday gift; they are generously sized and since you don't need to apply very much at a time with perfume oils, several wearings can easily be had from one vial.

Image credit: Photo of the packaging for the roll-on perfume oils via
Disclaimer: The sample set was given to me by Providence Perfumes for testing.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

A dream of summer: Fiore di Bellagio from En Voyage Perfumes

By Donna


The first time I smelled Fiore di Bellagio I was outdoors in a garden on a warm September afternoon, which was very appropriate; this perfume is an homage to a great fragrance, Bellodgia from Caron, composed by Ernest Daltroff in 1927. Even though Bellodgia is best known as perhaps the greatest carnation fragrance of all time, the perfumer saw it not as a soliflore, but as a flower in a garden setting, surrounded and enhanced by other scents. Perfumer Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes has achieved exactly that feeling with her new floral fragrance inspired by a great classic.

The hallmark carnation is certainly present in this perfume but true to its vintage predecessor, it's far from being the whole story. It is a shifting palette of shimmering beauty, with drowsy spicy-sweet and tender blooms warmed by the sun, growing in a garden of dreams. I am first and foremost a lover of flowers and their scents, and this perfume is so evocative of an actual flower garden that if I close my eyes I can see it, the idealized setting beloved of painters and poets, and if one is lucky enough to have it, a real garden full of colorful, fragrant blossoms and overflowing with life.

The fragrance opens with the freshness of green leaves and the impossibly soft sweetness of ylang ylang, followed by the romantic floral heart of carnation, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, gardenia and more. On my skin the glorious jasmine and gardenia come to the forefront and compete with the spiciness of the carnation for my attention; if only all battles could be so lovely. The carnation itself is exceptionally true to life, not overly clove-like, hazy and warm and very floral with a touch of vanilla like my favorite old-fashioned garden pinks, which have the most delicious scent of all the carnation family. It truly feels like the finest vintage perfume in the grand style, lush and full-bodied, and though while not abstract, it is a bouquet scent in the best sense, harkening back to classic French perfumery of seamless blending, and if someone told me that this actually was a Caron I had never smelled before it would not surprise me. It has the same style of plush languor so typical of that house's feminine scents, but it's not boneless by any means; the base of sandalwood, resins, orris, musks and civet ensures excellent longevity and serves as the framework for the long-lasting heart notes without intruding on the beauty of the florals; it just makes them softer and richer. This is one of those special perfumes that I will put on and then just sit and slowly inhale as it blooms on my skin, a meditation that takes me into that perfect place, the enchanted garden of my dreams.

Image credit: “Reading In The Garden” by American Impressionist artist Richard Emil Miller (1875-1943) via
Disclosure: I received a sample of Fiore di Bellagio from En Voyage Perfumes for testing.

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

The subject was roses: Natural perfumes by JoAnne Bassett

By Donna

I have to admit that that one of my earliest exposures to the work of natural perfumer JoAnne Bassett was less than ideal – back in 2011 I was one of the bloggers reviewing submissions for Monica Miller's Summer of Patchouli Love project, and JoAnne's contribution (submitted anonymously as “Number 10” and later revealed with the name Têtu) was my least favorite of the group. As a former “patch phobe” I had a hard time with her full-on interpretation of the theme. However, having tried some of her creations since that time, it's safe to say that my opinion of her work has reversed itself to the point where I would be more than happy to have her make me a custom perfume, which is one of the services she offers.

Let's begin with Intimacy, a classic chypre in a decidedly vintage style, which is right in my sweet spot perfume-wise. It's slinky, deep-voiced and really beautiful. Had I not known it was a modern fragrance I would have sworn it was the kind of classic mid-century feminine that was once the rule rather than the exception, and it's even more impressive because it's all natural. Some of its ingredients are actually vintage, and when these are aged properly, they take on a smooth and polished character that's impossible to duplicate with new “raw” materials; vintage Jasmine, Mysore sandalwood, iris (orris) root and patchouli all lend their velvety qualities. It is enriched with Bulgarian rose and Rose de Mai, and of course real oakmoss, which is one of my very favorite things in perfume. The true chypre family has a worthy modern member; pardon me while I go change into my fringed flapper dress and rim my eyes with kohl. This is the real deal.

The ridiculously pretty I Love You is a perfect marriage of rose and gardenia that showcases the best of both flowers; I could not decide if it was a deliciously buttery rose or a sweet, rosy gardenia. It is made with tender Rose de Mai and delicate Tiare (Tahitian gardenia) so it is lilting and soft while still emanating the true essence of the dominant notes. It is a fairly bright scent, but not too highly pitched, which can be an issue with synthetic floral notes, of which there are none here. A subtle base of sandalwood enhances the florals. This would be an ideal wedding fragrance, as romantic a scent as one could wish for.

Malmaison is one of a collection of JoAnne's perfumes that pay tribute to historic characters and places – of course this one is about the garden of Empress Josephine, she of the famous rose collection and even more famous husband. Roses are here but so are many other flowers, including lavender. This is more of a classic French bouquet fragrance than a rose scent, and it's easy to imagine strolling through a sunny garden smelling each flower as you pass by. It is perhaps less complex than the others I have sampled but it's very charming and easy to wear.

When a perfume is named Opulence it had better deliver on the promise, and this one does. Rich neroli and orange blossom are supported by rose otto, vintage Mysore sandalwood and real ambergris. It is rare to find a modern fragrance that contains ambergris, and what it does for a composition is hard to describe – it just makes it “more” of everything somehow, radiant even, richer and fuller. The rose in this is deep, wine-like and bold, and I picture it as being blood-red.

In sharp contrast, Camille is an oh-so-tender floral with osmanthus, iris root (orris) and mimosa, but oddly enough it is not cool and pale as one might expect; astringent and a little sharp at first, the osmanthus develops into a warm apricot that smells a bit like a fruit tart just coming out of the oven and the mimosa is lovely without the slightly chilly feeling it sometimes engenders. Even the iris root is more inviting than aloof in this composition. It lasts well considering that it's both a natural and a floral. This one can go anywhere as it is sheer and subtle and very easy to wear.

The name alone would make me want to try Sybarite, and it more than lives up to its billing. The word itself has always been a favorite of mine; for me it does not mean decadence or debauchery, but just pure pleasure in all things beautiful, and everything about Sybarite the fragrance is gorgeous. I have a weakness for this classic style of floral blend where no one thing overwhelms the composition, it all just works in harmony. Roses, orange blossom, neroli, osmanthus, frankincense, oud and musk are some of the expensive materials in this perfume, and its longevity is very good. This may be my favorite so far, although it's hard to pick just one. All of its notes are things I love and they all mesh gloriously together.

One of the most luxurious scents in the range is Luscious Roses, which is exactly that – rich, rounded, lush blooms. As with many natural rose perfumes, it takes a little while to get settled in on the skin, and was even a little sour on me at first, but once it does begin to develop, it just gets better and better. It is reminiscent of true antique garden roses with their dense, almost powdery character and voluptuous archetypal fragrance that cannot be mistaken for anything else. I would not call it “jammy” per se but there is a bit of purple fruitiness lurking about in addition to the intense damask rose character, made even more sensuous with tuberose and frankincense. JoAnne seems to have a special talent for working with various rose essences in her perfume making, and if I were lucky enough to have someone create a bespoke fragrance for me I would ask her for a rose-centered one, in one of her stunning hand blown glass amphora bottles of course– or I could just wear Luscious Roses, since it's hard to imagine how it could be improved.

All the fragrances mentioned in this review and many more, plus bath and body products and custom perfumes, are available via JoAnne Bassett's Web site.

Image credits: Pink roses wallpaper from Amphora style perfume bottles from, collage mine. Disclosure: The fragrance samples for this review were sent to me by JoAnne Bassett for testing.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Summer Rerun: Perfume Slumming, or the 70's Revisited

Review by Tom

The other say, a friend of mine who lives near Pasadena invited me out to dinner at a wonderful restaurant near her in the valley. At 8. I work in downtown Los Angeles, and live in a lovely shack in what is known as the "industrial triangle" area of beautiful Beverly Hills, on the westside of LA. Dinner at 8 in Pasadena means killing a few hours- the beauty of living on the westside and commuting downtown is that you are running against prevailing traffic. It takes me about 25 minutes to get home. I know from bitter experience that it can take years to get from the westside to the valley at rush hour, since there are only three canyons that one can get through. So killing time in other people's AC was on my mind.

I ended up in a mall in Burbank. I thought that I had stumbled across the Glendale Galleria and was looking forward to a cruise through the Apple Store, a traipse through L'Occitane, sidle up to Nordstrom's and the hours would fly by. The reality was Burbank Town Center, featuring Macy's, Hooters, and Hot Dog on a Stick. Oh well, I had found a great parking space (and parking is everything in southern California), and I was here.

Macy's is of course, Macy's as I am sure that every reader of this Blog knows (haven't they swallowed up every department store in the US? I mourn Filene's, I weep for Marshall Field's, I snarl that there is not a Bullock's to be found). They have their selection of fragrances that I smugly dismiss as "trainers". I wandered further. There was a Sears. Having a weakness for electronics, I went in, and I discovered.. a perfume counter. Well, counter was putting it generously, it was a shelf. It was a shelf stocked with some of the sad remains of the past few years: Some J Lo, some other Lo's, etc. But then I spied a bottle of something that I had not even thought of since I was in junior high: Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur.

Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur was to the 70's what CK one was to the 90's. It was a fairly unisex scent in the most phallic bottle that the company could get away with picturing in the ads, which always played up the shape of the bottle. Manly, yes, but I like it too. Cardin sold this scent like hotcakes for a long time until he had so oversold his name (he licensed himself to everything from towels to telephones to tie tacks) that his cachet fell and his fragrances disappeared from department store shelves.

But what you may ask (if you’re still awake) does it smell like? Well, I could take a cheap shot and say the 70's. It certainly took me back to the time that I bought my first bottle at Steiger's in the Hampshire Mall with money I earned mowing lawns as a kid (yes, you could tell even then). Getting those memories out of the way, it's held up surprisingly well. It starts with a bracing citrus nicely complemented by lavender and basil, moves through leather, sandalwood and geranium before settling into a powdery amber with leather. Objectively, it's a nice, somewhat simple scent that deserves better than being relegated to the dustbins of drugstores and discounters. Subjectively, I think I could never wear it myself. I'm not the kid who rode his bike to Steiger's anymore: it's so intrinsically tied to my young yoof that I just cannot bring myself to go there again. That particular veil has been drawn.

Pour Monsieur by Pierre Cardin is available various places like drugstores and warehouses, as well as on the Internet such as for as little as $15 for a 4 oz splash. If you have a kid on a bike that's getting interested in scent of either sex, you could do far worse than starting him or her on this one..

Originally published in September of 2006

Monday, October 06, 2014

Aether Arts & DSH Perfumes prize draw - The winners has spoken and the winners have been chosen!

The winner of the 5.5 ml roller ball of Aether Arts Incense Indica is Sujaan.

The winner of the 1 dram of concentrated oil perfume in the winner's choice of the DSH Perfumes Cannabis Culture Collection  is Lyubov.

Hit the "Contact  me" button on the right and give us your mailing address. Congratulations!

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Contact High: The new Cannabis fragrances from Aether Arts and DSH Perfumes -And a Prize Draw!

By Donna

Colorado was one of the first states in the U.S. to legalize marijuana, and as it happens, that is also where two talented indie perfumers happen to live and work. I am sure that the backers of the movement to decriminalize this ancient plant did not anticipate that one of the “side effects” would be the inclusion of it in perfumery, but that's what happened. I am here to tell you that these are not novelties or jokes, they are real, quality fragrances that are very enjoyable to wear.

The intensely green fougère called Agrestic from the Cannabis Culture Collection by DSH Perfumes (all of which I tested in the concentrated oil formulation) made me sit up and take notice because it manages to do something I never expected - it reminded me of one of my very favorite classic chypres, the original Jean-Louis Scherrer, because of its depth and dark green character. Had I smelled it and not known that it contain cannabis, I would not have dreamed it was in there. There is also a gorgeous hay note of course, and the combination of that with the cannabis works effortlessly. I never could stand the smell of marijuana smoke, but the heady, leafy aroma of the fresh plant is another thing altogether. It makes an excellent stand-in for patchouli and other aromatic herbal notes commonly used in fragrance, and in Agrestic it contributes to the overall green mood I love so much.

The Green House is a feast for the senses, especially for gardeners; just one sniff and you have suddenly entered a warm, humid hothouse, with the clean earthiness of the soil and the breath of living plants hanging in the damp air. It is remarkably true to the real thing and I could not help smiling as I breathed it in. The top notes don't last very long, and it soon segues into a pleasing and mild green phase with a light, lemony quality and a touch of hay. This one is perfectly safe for the office and no one will ever know your little secret.

If you prefer something that gives more of a nod to the characteristic smell of marijuana, you will enjoy I Love You Mary Jane. It has the sweet stickiness of the fresh bud blended with fruity and floral notes. Such diverse ingredients as jasmine, osmanthus, Damask rose, blackberry, mango, rhubarb, grapefruit and yuzu contribute to its unique profile, and its complexity kept me coming back to press my nose to my arm as the kaleidoscope of scents unfolded. Using rhubarb was a stroke of genius, its sour juiciness a perfect mate for the pungency of the cannabis. I Love You Mary Jane is unapologetic about its origins, and that is part of its considerable charm.

The final fragrance in the DSH Perfumes collection is Rocky Mountain High, and it features something that is new to me in perfumery – skunk accord. Yes, she went there; but don't worry, none of our little striped friends were harmed in its making. In this creation, the cannabis is paired with the skunk and with woodsy evergreens – balsam fir, juniper, cypress – and various green herbal notes such as clary sage, basil and galbanum. A profound base of hemp, frankincense and amber rounds out the composition, which smells for all the world like a high end masculine scent from a luxury niche house. The skunk accord has the effect of creating a sexy, musky vibe that underlies the rather somber mix of dark green shades, and it ends up being an imposing and mature fragrance that's easy to wear yet entirely suitable for formal occasions. It is this one out of the four that best makes the case for the use cannabis as one would employ patchouli in a fragrance.

Amber Jobin of Aether Arts Perfumes has also launched a new fragrance that features cannabis, and it is a world apart from the DSH scents. Incense Indica is her take on a classic, even ancient, style of perfume, and it's a Folger's Crystals® moment – she has substituted cannabis for frankincense, which would normally be the centerpiece of an incense fragrance, and yes, we did notice. This is a knockout of a perfume, and incense lovers are in for a treat. (I never thought I would say this, but I did not even miss the frankincense, which is one of my favorite things in perfume.) Incense Indica is the latest entry in the Burner series; each year, Ms. Jobin makes a perfume inspired by the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert and its unique subculture of free expression. It is lush and rich, all honeyed smoke and sex and dark earthiness from cannabis resin and myrrh, embellished with Sambac jasmine, this must be one of the the least “churchy” incense perfumes I have ever smelled. Its longevity is approximately forever. This style of perfume is not for everyone, but for those who appreciate a good incense this will surely deliver the goods.

This is not the first cannabis perfume Ms. Jobin has made – her 2011 Burner scent, the green chypre A Roll In The Grass, was very nicely done and highly wearable – my review of it it here.

Thanks to the generosity of both perfumers, we are giving away two prizes! Aether Arts is offering a 5.5 ml roller ball of Incense Indica, and DSH Perfumes will give a 1 dram miniature of concentrated perfume oil of the winner's choice of any one of the four Cannabis Culture Collection perfumes. This is a worldwide draw, open to everyone; please be sure to specify whether you want to enter the draw for Aether Arts or DSH Perfumes. The draw will close one week after the publication of this review. Good luck!

Image credit: Abstract cannabis motif from
Disclosure: All the samples for this review were sent to me for testing by DSH Perfumes and Aether Arts.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Dog Days: What to Wear?

By Tom

Not that its newsworthy, but SoCal has been pretty much marinating in heat: temps in the high 90's at the beaches, way hotter in the valley. Adding in humidity from a couple of hurricanes and it's making for some really miserable weather. I've been coping with a variety of beverages, like unsweetened iced tea (I can hear you Southerners shuddering, but I personally don't like sweet tea), lemonade and loads of water.

I've also been looking at the lighter scents in my cabinet: Old favorites like Eau Sauvage and Eau de Sud. as well as newer ones like Mona di Orio's Violette Fumée. It's just too hot to really think about anything else- when I get to a certain level of heat, it's like my brain melts..

So what do you turn to when the temps rise? Let us know in the comments

Image: Wikipedia