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Basil Growing in the Sun by Paul Wittal, Wikimedia Commons

I think the universe sends very clear signals, if you pay attention.

 For example, earlier this week I bump into an old acquaintance from the dog-park on my walk home from the subway. She has her new dog on a leash, a handsome setter whose name is Basil. I’m a sucker for dogs, especially big friendly ones, so Basil and I quickly realize we love each other, a feeling so intense that we decide we have probably been soul mates in a past life. Dogs have that effect on me. We promise to get together for a walk on the weekend.

Thursday evening, a friend stops by so we can meet her parents who are visiting from England. Her father’s name is Basil. We’ve just finished dinner, a fresh basil and plum tomato pasta, so the house smells awfully delicious. There’s a big bunch of basil I’ve just cut laying on the kitchen counter waiting to become pesto, so Basil starts to tell me how he loves to cook and is fascinated by herbs, the smell, the taste, and the ways in which different cultures use them. It turns out that he built a small greenhouse in his back garden in Surrey just to grow herbs. He has over twenty kinds of herbs, including five varieties of, you guessed it, BASIL.

Friday, I buy the new Vanity Fair with Bruce Springsteen on the cover, and in my haste to read all about his newly-published memoir, I open up to an ad for Jo Malone fragrance. The page has a smell strip, which I rip open and rub on my wrists. For the second time in four days, I instantly fall in love with Basil, only this time it’s Basil and Neroli, the newest launch from the London perfume house. Two hours later, I own a bottle.

Basil and Neroli was created by perfumer Anne Flipo, the nose behind Jo Malone’s Herb Garden Collection – two of which are in our Decant Store, Nasturtium and Clover, and Lavender and Coriander    , in addition to her world-wide best-seller for L’Artisan Parfumeur, La Chasse aux Papillons. Anne’s unique skill with diaphanous white florals is well known in the perfume world, and this newest pairing of the delicious basil note and delicate orange blossom is superb. Basil and neroli, savoury and sweet, green and white, what a brilliant pair.

On the Jo Malone website, Anne Flipo perfectly describes this pairing:

“…the concept came to life as fresh, vegetal and sap-like, like a botanical garden…the top notes sing with basil’s freshness and generosity; sparkling and joyous. We used two varieties of basil; an overdose of both Basil Grand Vert and Basil Verbena, for a modern interpretation. We added an invigorating cedar needle note while the heart notes of neroli and orange bigarade create the glow of warm sunlight, and a floral aspect that balances well with the basil. Then the lasting notes of white musk and vetiver feel enveloping and grounding. It’s a game of colours between the green and the orange. They are welcoming ingredients that you want to touch.”

How does it smell? At first green, shimmery green basil with a fresh-as-all-outdoors garden waft, then slightly sweet with the addition of the orange-lemony neroli note. Neroli is the steam-distilled blosssoms from the bitter-orange tree, with green and spicy facets, less sweet and honeyed and much lighter than orange blossom. The basil is there throughout, in perfect harmony with the warm floral, no surprises or twists, just a no-holds-barred joyous scent.

I fell in love fifteen years ago with Jo Malone’s first fragrance, the herbal-citrus Lime Basil & Mandarin, now considered a benchmark for non-gendered urban-chic scents, and still one of my favourite scents which I wear frequently. Basil and Neroli is different, less resinous and more floral, a little sweeter and more playful and flirty, but like Lime Basil and Mandarin it hits all the right buttons, it goes right to my core and makes me feel good.  

And that, after all, is exactly what a beautiful fragrance should do, and why I pay attention to signals from the universe. I could have missed this one altogether.

Basil and Neroli is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $4.00 for 1 ml.



Bulgari Black image -

We recently had a cousin of mine, who lives on the east coast, come and visit with us for a few days.

Kind, generous and caring, Sandy is a pleasure to be with. We enjoy a lot of the same things so we're more like close friends than cousins and when we get together there is no shortage of things to talk about.

Of course, given my obsession with fragrance, the conversation always comes around to perfume – which leads to spritzing, sniffing and sharing. After much trying and testing during our visits over the years, I asked Sandy what her four favourites are. She didn’t hesitate to tell me what they were:

Bulgari Black by Annick Menardo for Bulgari

Passage d’Enfer by Olivia Giacobetti for L’Artisan

Sicily 6 Marzo 2008, ore 11 - Piazza Duomo, Ortigia, Siracusa – Sicilia by Marie Salagmagne for Made in Italy

Wonderwood – by Antoine Lie for Comme des Garçons

Of course, they are my favourites too and now what I like most about them is that they remind me of her and bring back memories of time spent together.

Click on the links to read my stories about these four fragrances. You might want to order decants and make some memories of your own.



Welcome to


"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.
We blog
On weekends we 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.
Mid-week, either our friend Esther posts "Sniffing Around",  which is all about news in the perfume world - what's new and wonderful, upcoming launches, what's on sale where, etc. 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, 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.