Friday Sniffing Notes

I have some new ingredient samples to sniff and have been testing the gardenia mod too.  One Indian attar is quite interesting; they don’t disclose the exact blend of ingredients, but it has some deep woods with Indian spices and is very nice (I think it’d be pretty with rose).  Another one I had to take outside to open because it was so potent, lol, and it will need to be diluted to homeopathic levels before I can evaluate it (very animalic). 

Along the animalic theme I have a bit of vintage Scandal parfum to sniff, and from the vial it is the most potent, dark leather I’ve ever smelled so it’ll be interesting to try on skin.  I just tried a sample of vintage Femme parfum and it is wonderful, much more to my liking than the current version.  The vintage parfum samples I have are fun to revisit from time to time, and it’s nice to try a few that are new to me. Many have higher levels of oakmoss than we can use today, and many have the old nitromusk called musk ketone, which we don’t use today. The style itself is different too of course, without some of the modern notes that have been popular for freshness and often with heavier, more animalic bases.

I decreased the tonka in gardenia a little bit and think that was the right way to go because it felt a bit sweet between the beeswax and tonka, but I really like both those elements and want to keep both in it.  I’m going to try bringing out the deep sandal note a bit more in the base; I’m trying to keep the base very soft but it feels like it still could use something more at the very end after 3 hours or so.

A couple of links to news items today…

Here’s an interesting interview with Patricia de Nicolai at (and for the patchouli lovers among you she talks about an upcoming men’s release called Patchouli Homme):

I love her Temps d’Une Fete in spring/summer and enjoy Sacrebleu sometimes in winter (especially around the holidays — it seems festive to me).  In the interview she also discusses the need for a balance between using fine naturals but also synthetics in perfumery.

And here’s a link to a free download of a technical paper about pheromones for those of you interested in whether we have any scientific evidence that these chemicals affect humans when used in perfume:

I’m going to try to do a bunch of paperwork this weekend.  Can’t believe it is the beginning of August.  Happy weekend!


Perfumery requires a certain amount of optimism to keep working on a formula for months in the belief that something good will eventually come of it, lol.   I’ve been working on the gardenia musk with just a small amount of musk, waiting until I’m happy with the base and the floral accords before adding any other musk to the one I already have in it.   At this stage I have a gentle, pretty floral accord composed of realistic gardenia accompanied by jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom, and ylang.  The current base is sandalwood, beeswax absolute, ambrette seed, ambergris, tonka, and musk.   I’ve been trying to bring enough interest into the base to make it work for those who can’t smell the musks, but I’ll need some testers to see if I’ve accomplished that or not.

I just added a touch of a second musk that adds volume yet smoothness to the final drydown stage.  The first musk is beautiful with the floral notes during the first few hours, and the second musk complements the soft woodsy base notes after the first few hours.  I’m still testing and want to try adjusting the strength of the florals relative to the base to maximize the staying power of the florals but without passing the point at which the opening becomes too harsh.   I like the basenotes now with the touch of sweetness from the tonka and beeswax balanced by the dry parts of the woods and ambrette, and with the musk adding smoothness and a bit of radiance.  It’s a soft, quiet scent, but that’s what I was aiming for with this one.  When I’m done twiddling I should try some in a spray sample.  I’ll need to see if others like it, but it’s not quite ready for testers yet.   I should put it down for a couple days and work on Jour Ensoleille, and then test Gardenia Musk again with a fresh nose (I began the Jour Ensoleille reformulation a few days ago and it’s off to a good start).

Quick Update

I’ve had requests for Egyptian Musk edp samples since it hasn’t been available at The Perfumed Court or The Posh Peasant; I just sent some to the Perfumed Court so they will be carrying it before long and that will make it easier to sample while my cart is down. Also, The Perfumed Court will be switching to the new version of Ambre Noir before long.

This is a good time for me to test samples, so I’m sniffing gardenia musk testers. I’ll start working on Jour Ensoleille soon to put in the new oakmoss and possibly make a few other adjustments if I like them better. I have a few new ingredients I want to try in it, but I want the scent to remain very much like the original.

My brother and family came up to visit over the weekend, which was fun, though I only had a short time to see them. My older niece is enjoying her riding lessons and my younger niece is doing gymnastics. The dog they recently rescued from the pound is feeling safer now and has made herself a part of the family (she’s a cute mini beagle mix).

I’ll see if I can get going on the last three oakmoss reformulations (Jour Ensoleille, Fireside Intense, and Encens Tranquille) while also finishing Gardenia Musk.

Lovely Tabac Review, and Update

Someone made me smile today by sending me a link to a beautiful new review of Tabac Aurea posted today by Brian at I Smell Therefore I Am. Thanks so much, Brian, I’m glad you liked it! I love feeling the enthusiasm people have for fragrance when they write about it, and it’s even more special if it happens to be one of mine.

I relate to Brian’s assessment of Tabac Aurea as being gourmand because it is that way for me too. I’m glad he enjoyed the soft plum/berry/fruity notes in it that I wanted to use to offer a little subtle, juicy contrast to the musk, tabac, and woods. Someone in the comments mentions getting a dirty note in the opening, and that comes from a woodsy ingredient that is sort of in the patchouli family but is different; it does add an earthy note to the start and then softens quickly. I could easily decrease that note by special request if it bothered someone, but I like what it adds to the drydown. Tabac actually contains a small amount of aged Indian patchouli EO plus two other earthy ingredients that help offset sweetness from other things in the blend (the vetiver that Brian liked is another item that helps counter sweetness).

I wish I could put the cart back up but need to wait a little longer. My Mom is doing much, much better so that’s great (especally since it is her birthday today!), and I’m making headway on the paperwork that needs to be finished. I’ll post updates here, and for those who are on Facebook I’m there as Laurie Erickson. I’m answering emails and if you want a Tabac Aurea sample you can get those at The Posh Peasant and The Perfumed Court.

I just received some exciting ingredient samples yesterday and can’t wait to test them; I’m hoping to get into them this weekend. And I just tried a quick experiment with gardenia musk that may finish it once I have time to work out the percentages. I’m really pleased.

Happy weekend!

Odds ‘n Ends and Heat Wave

The temperature peaked at 110 today on my porch thermometer! We’ll be in this heat wave for a few more days.

Robin reviewed EL Jasmine White Moss today on NST and I feel pretty much the same way about it as she does. I mentioned a few days ago that it seemed well done to me but wasn’t something I could get excited about. It’s nice to see the use of an oakmoss accord in a “new” chypre rather than just a patchouli accord, but setting aside the chypre issue it’s still a scent that didn’t quite work for me. Here’s the NST review:

Jasmine White Moss

And Nathan today reviewed L’Artisan’s Fleur de Narcisse, which I sampled a few months ago and really enjoyed, especially the honeyed hay note and the beautiful soft iris. It’s another fragrance that’s too expensive for most of us to buy but is fun to sample. Here’s his review complete with his usual beautiful photography:

Fleur de Narcisse

I’m making headway on the project that must be done before I can put the cart up, and my Mom is continuing to improve.  Do email if you need a sample of something that’s not on TPC or PP and I’ll help you out with it while the cart is down.

Amouage Ubar

Wow, I’m testing a sample of the newly released Ubar and this is quite a fragrance. I love the strong and lasting rose heart note in it, grounded by a base that offers soft woods, ambery warmth, animalic depth, and creamy lactonic notes with a smidge of vanilla. I even like the prominent lily of the valley note, which often can put me off. The aldehydes add sophistication, as do the high quality ingredients. There’s some jasmine it it too, but the rose is more dominant. It’s a classical, elegant, very floral scent that some will find too strong, but it’s beautiful if you apply it carefully and enjoy this type of fragrance. Thank you to a sweet swapper for the sample.

I don’t have time to blend right now but am trying to test sniff a new scent now and then while I’m doing other things. This one caught my attention.

I forgot to say yesterday that while my cart is down you can still get samples of quite a few Sonoma Scent Studio scents from The Perfumed Court and at The Posh Peasant (they have slightly different selections).

Summer Sniffing

Sonoma Scent Studio’s Champagne de Bois was included in today’s Top 10 Summer Perfumes list on Perfume Smellin’ Things. Each writer for the blog named one favorite scent he or she is wearing this summer — thanks Linda! And thanks Marina!

So far this summer I’ve not had a chance to wear scents other than what I’m testing (mostly my scents in development but also some scents that are new to me from other lines), but I enjoy vetiver when it’s warm. That’s one more reason Rappleyea is on to something with her vetiver suggestion in the comments for the Scent Blending post below because it can be a way to tone down the sweetness of floral notes and make them more enjoyable in summer. I also like light florals and musks this time of year, and sometimes a heavier scent is fun on warm summer evenings.

On a personal note, my Mom had a back injury a bit over a week ago at the same time I was hit with something that requires a lot of paperwork; I’m worried about my Mom because she’s in bad shape and is still getting worse instead of stabilizing, but we’re trying to get her better help from her doctors. So, things are a bit crazy here right now and I probably won’t be making much progress on business things for a bit, but I’ll keep checking in. The post on PST today was cheering. 🙂

Quick Sniffs

I’ve done some quick sniffs over the last few weeks and thought I’d post a few reactions, for what they are worth. Today I’m trying the new EL Jasmine White Moss; while it is pleasant and nicely done, it seems a bit too modern for me with some synthetic notes that I typically don’t favor. It’s nice enough but not a good fit for me (many people love it though so you may want to sniff if it sounds interesting to you). The EL Tuberose Gardenia on the other hand is something i enjoy, though it’s a funny one that I like better sniffed from a distance rather than up close to my skin. It’s strong so a single squirt is enough for me and produces pretty sillage as long as I don’t bury my nose to wrist.

I recently tried a few samples from the all-natural brand by Dominique Dubrana and found his Le Fablier Rose de Bois to be lovely. It has a very pretty true rose absolute note blended with soft woods, spices, and some sweet base notes. It’s not on his website but you can sample it at The Perfumed Court. I liked the other things I sampled from his line too, but this was my favorite. Lasting power is good for an all-natural scent and it is very well done (just what you rose lovers need is another lemming to sample, lol). The woods are not at all harsh but prevent it from being too sweet. The rose accord really shines for the first half but when it does fade the dryout remains interesting.

Also tried another very well done all-natural scent recently, Ayala Moriel’s Espionage. I was expecting lots of smoke and leather, but was surprised by the delicate way she’s worked floral notes into the composition. It has great smoke and leather notes, but it also has soft touches of floral that add a lot of beauty to the scent. The drydown is a soft skin scent but does give some sillage. I had previously tried and liked her Ayalitta but can now add Espionage to my list of finds from this line (need to try more).

I really enjoy natural notes in perfume and love when the most synthetic smelling aroma chems are avoided, but I sometimes have trouble with lasting power for all-naturals, or when they do last sometimes it is because the base is overly heavy on vanillic resins that overwhelm the delicate floral notes during the heart stages. It’s fun to find really well done all naturals like these.

The photo at the top of this post is a dahlia from my garden and has no relation to the scents in this post — I’m getting quite a few dahlias and even though they’re not fragrant they make great cut flowers. This one is actually more purple and less red in person but looks redder in the photo.

Scent Blending

I’m on a roll tonight with gardenia so I don’t want to stop to do a long post right now, but I thought I’d check in. My big problem with the gardenia has been to create a base that I find interesting enough to carry the long-term drydown without using lots of vanilla, lots of musk, or any ozone-tinged green notes that so often ground modern florals with their excellent lasting power. I’m just not fond of those generic-smelling ozonic greens, though I’ve used some touches of other green notes in the gardenia. I’ve made lots of mods that I love for a few hours but none that I love for four hours or more; the last few versions are getting interesting though and I’m much closer to a solution. I’ll keep working on it in between the other things going on right now.

The cart is still down for now but I’ve answered some email inquires and am around if you need to email. I’ve tried some interesting samples recently and will mention a few soon; I’ve been revisiting some vintage parfum samples and also recently tried some all natural scents that are quite nice and have good lasting power for all naturals.

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

Sending out best wishes for a holiday weekend with friends and family. We have nice sunny weather that’s not too hot, and the lavender is in full bloom here. I’m sniffing blooms on my mandevilla vine and trying to decide what they do and don’t have in the scent that makes them fresher than gardenia or jasmine. Wish my little gardenia plant would bloom again; I only had one really nice flower in spring, lol.

I need to keep the cart down for now but while it is down I’ll try to work on the gardenia blend(s) as well as the reformulations for oakmoss in Fireside Intense, Encens Tranquille, and Jour Ensoleille. That’s plenty to keep me busy right now and it’s easier to finish those with the cart down anyway, so I’ll try to make use of this opportunity. I plan to get back to some blending this weekend.

I was wearing a sample of vintage Mitsouko parfum the day before yesterday to remind myself of its mossy goodness and thinking how it seems less peachy than an edp sample I had once, though maybe that varies from one year’s batch to the next. The vintage parfum really is beautiful. I’m a bit scared to try the current version but should sometime. I’m hoping to try the new EL Jasmine White Moss; it sounds interesting and I liked the Tuberose Gardenia in this collection. (Here was a recent tempting review: Jasmine and White Moss.)

Hope your July 4rth is a fun one!