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I received an early birthday gift a couple of weeks ago from my BFE (best friend in England). It was bottle of Nirmal EdP from Italian niche line Laboratorio Olfattivo. The card that came with it was full of Happy Birthday wishes and said this: ‘I found this stunner in the Roullier White shop in south London and I’ve been wearing it for ages! Loving it lots in summer heat, so I’m sending it to you now instead of in the winter which is when your birthday is.’

I love birthday gifts, no matter when I get them and this one was well-timed. I own a few fragrances from Laboratorio Olfattivo and I’ve been meaning to explore more of their perfumes. As it turns out, Nirmal was on my short list. Oh, she knows me so well…

Laboratorio Olfattivo was started in 2009 by Daniela Caon and Roberto Drago with a mandate to give perfumers artistic freedom so ‘They produce creative sparks and dream fragments that are then transformed by Laboratorio Olfattivo into fine fragrances.’
I like it when artist are given the freedom to create, much like Frédéric Malle does with his Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. And, I like that all Laboratorio Olfattivo fragrances are EdP concentration. It just seems more straightforward to me, in the vein of ‘We do one thing and one thing really well.’ Not that houses that offer more than one concentration aren’t doing them really well…you know what I mean.

‘Nirmal’ means ‘clear’ or ‘pure’ in Hindi and the Laboratorio Olfattivo website says that ‘The original idea, transformed then in a fragrance by the Nose, was to create a perfume that was sincere and delicate as a loving caress. A simple and unforgettable perfume at the same time.’

It opens with a brisk, clear note of carrot. It doesn’t smell all vegetal because it’s the iris rhizome aspect that’s on full display here and opens the way for iris and violet. The flowers are fresh and delicate, with the earthy aspects subdued, but the EdP concentration means that they have a real presence.  As it blooms, it gets a little powdery, a little sweet and a little warmer. At the base, I smell cedarwood, just enough to support the flowers, and the smell of sweet suede from amber and Deerskin suede gives it a leathery softness.

Nirmal stays clear and transparent throughout its development and dries down to an extraordinary iris fragrance that stays close to the skin for hours. Could a man wear it? Sure, but only the right man, which makes it more of a feminine fragrance than a unisex one.

Another thing, the nose who created Nirmal was Rosine Courage. I can’t find any other fragrances by her anywhere, but I sure would like to.

I’ve been wearing Nirmal pretty regularly since it landed on my doorstep – a precious gift from a precious friend who wanted to share the experience with me. Now, I’m sharing it with you.

Nirmal is listed in our Decant Store, Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Coriander bottle -

In the summer, I have my private space where I can disappear during the day to sit and read or just let my mind wander. It’s the front balcony off our second-floor bedroom. In late spring big garden pots are placed around the perimeter filled with herb seeds or flower bulbs and by this time in late June the foliage has reached the top of the railing, starting to join ranks and become denser.

By mid-summer, I have a secret oasis. I can see and not be seen, watching daily life on our little street unfold while I sprawl on the lounge. Tall spider lilies, colourful clematis, morning glories, lavender, oleander, fuschia, chrysanthemums, dahlias attract bees and butterflies, and the waft from big pots of basil, oregano, sage, coriander, and mint, scent the air. My balcony is a little piece of heaven.

Which brings me to Coriander by D.S. & Durga, the Brooklyn-based artisanal niche line created around 2009 by a very talented husband (D.S) and wife (Durga) team. They make scents in small batches using balsams, resins, plant oils, and premium perfume ingredients (D.S. & Durga packaging notes) and have a style that feeds directly into my olfactory pleasure zone, so whenever I see their name on a bottle I pay attention.

Coriander was one of their early scents, and is still included in their line, but on the periphery – it hasn’t received much attention, not much is written about it. And that’s because it’s odd, it’s one of those quirky scents which evoke “time and place”, it’s genderless, enigmatic, difficult to classify, and therefore totally worth a closer look in my book.

Fresh-picked coriander is the bright green leaf that completes an Asian or Indian or Mexican dish – earthy and peppery and green tasting. Known as cilantro in North America, the leaves have a light tangy slightly floral scent that becomes part of the flavor when eaten with spicy food. I happen to love the flavour, and the smell. For some, it’s a no-go. The coriander seed is a little different from the fresh leaf – it’s more salt and peppery, aromatic and nutty rather than green-earthy floral.

D.S. & Durga Coriander is all of the above at different times through the dry-down. It starts out tangy and salty, like an ocean breeze over beach grass, then the aquatic sensation transforms into a dry peppery resinous herbal accord, with notes of juniper and geranium, deepening with hints of woods and aromatic spice as it dries into the heart. I love this strong uncomplicated herbal rush – which is totally devoid of sweetness!

In the base, Coriander softens with floral and musk notes, but remains aromatic and very natural-smelling in the best possible way. I will be wearing Coriander on hot humid days, hot dry days, rainy days, all summer in fact, simply because it is different  – clear, uncomplicated, tangy, then musky, but always non-sweet, cool, and sparkling green. Although the scent sits lightly on skin, it lasts for several hours, and I can tell you from experience that it smells great on men and women.

My friend gave me her bottle of Coriander because it wasn’t what she expected. It wasn’t what I expected, either. Well, actually, I didn’t have any expectations because her gift was a surprise, but I LOVE surprises, especially when they’re from D.S. & Durga, and they are as fabulously different as Coriander.

D.S. & Durga Coriander is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.




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
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, 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.