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My people are tea drinkers. Growing up, there was always a pot of tea on the go. Not just at my house, but at everybody’s house. My mother used to say that tea was the solution to everything.  Sad? Worried? Anxious? Have a hot cuppa. Got news? Gossip? A tale or two? Come on over and I’ll put the kettle on. Every family gathering for births, baptisms, engagements, marriages, deaths and more, included tea.

The thing is, I hate tea. I’d like to say that it’s because I’m a rebel – the nonconformist, the revolutionary, the maverick in the family - but I’m afraid I’m just not that interesting. Even after years of trying different teas and the cajoling, teasing and gentle bullying of friends and family, my stance hasn’t changed. I do not like the taste of tea. Period.

But, I do love the smell of it especially, in perfume form. From Two for Tea, Skive, NANBAN, to Bulgari Black and Eau du Fier – a note of tea, regardless of what kind, makes me want to deep-dive right into the bottle. And, today I’m adding Néroli Outrenoir to the list.

Launched in 2016 by Guerlain as part of their L'Art & la Matière collection, the ‘Outrenoir’, part of ‘Néroli Outrenoir’ comes from a term French artist Pierre Soulages, coined to describe his work. According to Wikipedia, ‘Soulages has said, "My instrument is not black but the light reflected from the black." Naming his own practice 'Outrenoir', (Beyond Black) the paintings he produces are known for their endless black depth, created by playing with the light reflected off of the texture of the paint.”

Similarly, Néroli Outrenoir goes beyond black tea, but let’s start at the beginning.

Néroli Outrenoir opens elegantly with a soft, floral note of petitgrain and citrusy, bitter, aromatic bergamot. But they’re just here to support the delicious note of smoked tea – smoky, dry and haylike – that’s there right at the very top. The use of bergamot here suggests Earl Gray tea to me, not a surprise really as Earl Gray is flavoured with bergamot. At the heart, neroli has a slight bitterness that echoes the bergamot, and paired with orange blossom, they add fresh sweetness that swirls through the smoky tea.

As it moves to the base, it gets musky and mossy from ambrette seed and oakmoss, balsamy and resinous from myrhh and smoky and woody from Guaiac wood. There is a slight bitterness and smokiness that runs right through to the base. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Guerlain fragrance if there wasn’t a detectable drop of vanilla in it.
It dries down to a tenacious skin scent that is woody, aromatic and gorgeous. The tea has depth and darkness and with the luminous citrus notes playing around it and going through Néroli Outrenoir has a layered texture and sense of movement that makes it a beautiful piece of work and a beautiful unisex fragrance to wear.

Néroli Outrenoir my cup of tea.

Néroli Outrenoir is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.
 

August 2017 - Sunset, Georgian Bay, Ontario

Photo: perfumeniche.com

 

We always vacation in August when the weather is best on Georgian Bay, the gigantic bay at the bottom of Lake Huron In Ontario.  If you don’t know Lake Huron, the third largest lake in the world and the third largest of the five Great Lakes in North America, click here to learn about it. By August, the HOT Hot hot summer days and nights of July have faded into perfect summer weather, which makes for long days at the white-sand beaches and fantastic swimming in the clear shallow waters.

To mix the daily routine up a little we go for drives in the country and stop at roadside farm stands for fresh fruits and veggies just in from the fields. Yesterday we came home with bags of zucchini and sweet corn, and a big basket of fat golden peaches with plump red cheeks. Picked at the peak of their ripe perfection, they felt warm and velvety to the touch and soon their delicious boozy peachiness filled the cottage. I had visions of a mouth-watering exotic fruit cocktail.

Any fascinating smell, of course, leads my obsessive mind to perfumes, and in this moment, it’s perfumes that smell like peaches. Not sweet syrupy fruity mainstream fragrances, redolent of Dairy Queen appetites or pubescent libidos, but classic or niche perfumes that are an abstract or fantasy peach, scents that trigger uplifting visions or treasured memories. I think of Guerlain  Mitsouko, Gucci Rush, MDCI Peche Cardinale, Serge Lutens Daim Blond, and Rochas Femme. Perfumes like these are extraordinary, but like the real fruits, I think they smell best in the heat of summer when they bloom on skin, become really alive and reveal their innermost beauty.

Badgley Mischka EdP from 2006 is a perfect example of a fragrance that blooms in the heat and humidity. Like the first bite into a juicy ripe peach, there’s a lovely tart sensation, then a sensation of pure nectar, a swirl of peach and apricot and tart mango sweetness in a flute of dry fizzy champagne. This fruit accord is so deliciously bright and clear, but it deepens slightly  with dark spiciness from cassis, or black current. White florals - peony, osmanthus and jasmine - add a dewy green freshness, their indolic notes dialling back the sweetness before the EdP starts the dry-down into the base. This fruity floral accord is luscious and soft and feminine, warm and inviting like sunshine, an intoxicating cocktail rather than a dessert.

After ten to fifteen minutes, Badgley Mischka EdP pushes through the sweetness of the heart into the base and starts a long dry-down. Creamy sandalwood with a hint of burnt caramel blends with light and clear patchouli and sueded musk notes so that the scent slows down, becoming more resinous, salty-sweet and musky, and deeply feminine.  Badgley Mischka EdP transforms from what appears at first sniff to be a simple linear gourmand into a neo-chypre fragrance with wonderful sillage that features fruit notes. It’s never foody or gourmand but is grounded and confident, projecting an aura of chic glamour, an olfactory ode to women who know themselves and the power of their sensuality.

The name Badgley Mischka is in reality Mark Badgley and James Mischka, two fashion designers who joined together in 1988 and have consistently been named by Vogue as one of the Top Ten American design houses. They duo are best known for their gowns - Red-Carpet and Wedding - timeless designs made from the finest fabrics that always have an element of interest, either in the silhouette or with luxurious detail, and which appeal to women of all ages, from Rihanna to Helen Mirrin. James says on their website:

“Our style harks back to the glamorous Hollywood of the Forties - our signature style is simple, streamlined and throughly elegant. One zip, and you’re glamorous!”

Badgley Mischka EdP reflects their creative aesthetic 100%. The fragrance is simple and uncomplicated in its first moments, intensely fruity and sunny and pure, but becomes so very luscious as it dries down through darker layers, resinous and musky, radiating sensual elegance. It’s quality is obvious on all levels, and compares to the classic and niche scents I mentioned earlier. Unlike Thierry Mugler’s Angel, the iconic fruitchouli scent which claimed the cool dizzy blonde groove and started the contemporary fruity scentsation, Badgley Mischka is an infinitely more grown-up and fascinating take on the fruit accord in perfume.

So I’m on vacation, and at this moment enjoying the last rays of today’s spectacular Georgian Bay sunset, sipping a cool Riesling, and feeling especially glamorous. It must be the Badgley Mischka EdP. Just one spritz!

Badgley Mischka EdP is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Note: The fragrance is rated as a 5-star in Perfumes the A- Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez but it is now discontinued. There is also a Parfum version which is said to be richer and more complex. Both have been available from on-line discounters and e-Bay but are getting harder to find. Give this one a try before it disappears, or you might regret it.

 

 

 

Welcome to perfumeniche.com

 

"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight."
                                                                       Raymond Chandler

We are Gwen and Kay, two perfumistas making our scent journey in the cool, clear North.  We are also BFFs - we hang out together a lot, travel together - so we try, buy and share fragrances.
 
What started out as a shared interest grew into a hobby, and has now become our obsession.

We’ve spent many evenings with a glass of prosecco, a little cool jazz playing in the background, spritzing, sniffing - “How does this smell on you?” and, sadly, sometimes scrubbing.

Over the past few years, we’ve tried hundreds of samples, and when we deem a fragrance ”full bottle worthy” (FBW), one of us has tracked it down and bought it. We now own a lot of really great perfumes, and we continue to buy bottles of what we think is the best of "niche" as new scents are launched.

With so many exciting discoveries, we can’t help but talk about our passion with other friends. Wherever we go, people ask “What is that perfume you’re wearing? Where can I get that?” So we end up sharing a bit of our “juice” with friends. But the circle has grown, so we've started this website to let other perfumistas buy and try samples from our collections, and share their experiences with us, too, through Comments.
 
WHAT WE DO
 
We blog
We blog once a week and post an story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent experts, so these aren't critical reviews. We love all our fragrances  - that’s why we bought them! But we describe how we think they smell, and share our stories about why we love them - maybe you’ll rediscover an old flame, or fall in love with a new scent.
Or we post "Nose-to-Nose", our conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention over the past week. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to buy our selection of 3 or 4 fragrances in a special pack at a special discount price.
 
We sell
We sell 1 ml. decants - .7 ml volume once you allow for the stopper in the vial - filled from our own bottles in our collection because the only way to experience a fragrance is to try it on your own skin. We take the fragrance from its original bottle and decant it into a smaller brand-new, 1 ml sterilized glass vials so that you can try it on your skin to see if you like it.
 
Through our Decant Store you'll have access to some of the world’s greatest niche scents, hard-to-find fragrances, and classic favourites. 
When you click on the Decant Store tab you’ll find our personal descriptions of each of the fragrances we currently offer from our collection, then you can add them to your Shopping Cart.
 
Let's be clear (this is a disclaimer!!)

  • We don’t sell full bottles of any fragrance - just .7ml decants. We only sell decants  from the perfumes we've bought.... because we love them.
  • We don't re-sell manufacturers samples.
  • We don’t represent any perfumers or distributors, so we don’t have every scent from a whole line of perfume.
  • We aren’t being paid to promote any product or scent.

 
If, after sampling a fragrance, you decide that you must have it, i.e. it is FBW (full bottle worthy), and you can’t find it, e-mail us and we will direct you to the best source we know – retailer or online source.

We provide
A place for you to learn about scent, and to share your fragrance experience with others. Click on the section called Resources, under My Perfume Notes (see top right), where  you'll find a Glossary, and fragrance FAQs. You'll also find two great tools we've created - Handmaps and My Sample Perfume Notes - so you can keep track of, and record your own scent experiences.
 
We hope you enjoy perfumeniche.com, and visit us often. Leave your preconceptions behind, look around, see what’s on offer, read the Blog, share your experiences and discoveries, and join the circle.

It’s just us.