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Things that feed the senses and bring feelings of pleasure and comfort are kind of essential these days. Thank god for books, music, cooking, and perfume, otherwise I’d be catatonic.

I read a lot about perfume and perfumers. No surprise there. I’m fascinated by the creative process in the art of perfume-making, and when I come across quotes by a perfumer about their personal likes and dislikes, the triggers, the memories or events that led them to create a specific fragrance, the experimentation, the frustrations of months or years in development, how they reached the final brilliant result, well, I have to stop and read every word. To me, it’s like hunting for buried treasure, and it can lead to perfume gold.

The newest release by independent perfumer Francesca Bianchi, is a perfect example. Francesca Bianchi is an Italian perfumer, self-taught, who lives and works in Amsterdam. She launched her artisanal brand in 2016 and was acknowledged three years later as an exceptionally gifted perfumer. CaFleureBon rated her line as Best Indie House in 2019. Most of her natural scents carry her signature accord of warm animalics, which give her parfums extrait an intimate racy depth – read my post about Under My Skin. If I could, I would own every single one of the ten scents she’s released to date.

Sticky Fingers was inspired by the 1971 Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers album which featured monster tunes like Brown Sugar and Wild Horses, in addition to the cover with the iconic rock’n’roll tight jeans crotch shot. 

From her website:

“Many intertwined reasons and personal mental associations led me to this creation and its title. One major reference is surely the iconic album from 1971. I love rock, and the 70s for what they brought in music, but especially, I love that album cover.

It accompanied me for a long while, as a vinyl record shop just around the corner was displaying it on its window, and I was exposed to it every day. That cover literally stuck to my mind, and when I started thinking about the mood of this perfume, I couldn’t help but thinking about that.

This perfume is conceived to be as tempting as chocolate stuck all over your fingers and you cannot help but licking them. Mind you: this is not a gourmand fragrance, and licking your fingers is a metaphor referring to other kind of irresistible temptations. Sticky Fingers sticks not just to your fingers, but perversely sticks to your mind.”

The opening accord is an intense pleasure, rich tobacco dusted with spicy cinnamon and coriander, sprinkled with with cherry-almond heliotrope, smelling boozy, rich and fruity. Then a refined chocolatey patchouli slides in slowly and smoothly, a dark chocolate and vanilla tonka mix, but “dangerously dressed in leather and playful…”  The scent so far is not gourmand, but is now deliciously warm and tempting, with a soft sticky sweetness from the heady mix of tobacco and patchouli.

In the heart, the opening sweetness is tempered as musk and castoreum add Francesca’s animalic signature, soon accented by the earthy oily complexity of iris butter. Sticky Fingers is beginning to get a little stickier as these sensual notes intensify into a sweaty and salty bad-boy leather accord that plays decadently against the tobacco and patchouli. The accord has a definite growl, now the sticky metaphor is beginning to become clear.

The delicious growl continues in the base, but in the far dry-down, the leather accord becomes less dangerous, tamed by the creamy resins of sandalwood and the soft almond notes of heliotrope. Dusty cinnamon, sweet tonka, buttery iris, warm tobacco, chocolatey patchouli flash up from my wrist as the hours pass, definitely addictive, yet perversely comforting as a velvety accord of scented skin emerges in the final hours. 

Sticky Fingers is Francesca Bianchi’s vision of patchouli. It smells nothing like patchouli from the 1970’s, and it is definitely not a gourmand.

It is decadent and sumptuous, and for me, an irresistible temptation that I cannot stop wearing. As she predicted, it has perversely stuck to my mind. 

Sticky Fingers is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.

Image -perfumeniche.com

 

Gardeners read blogs about gardening, cooks read blogs about cooking, and perfume bloggers read blogs about perfumes. As someone who writes about fragrance, I can tell you there is no shortage of perfume bloggers out there. Over time, I've come to rely on a few and investigate others, depending on what I want information about. Want to know about new launches?  Go to Now Smell This. Interested in informed, balanced well-done reviews? Ça Fleure Bon. Interested in learning about natural fragrance lines? Read Kay's posts in perfumeniche.com. Yep, Kay's blogs are a go-to resource for me.

Natural perfumes are a fast-growing segment within the niche fragrance category and have come a long way in the past few years. Fragrances from brands like Heretic, Lurk, and Providence Perfume produce great scents that don't smell like health food stores. And, while "natural" is a broad and subjective term in the fragrance industry, what most people agree on is that natural perfumes are cruelty-free, made without synthetic chemicals, and gluten-free.

So, the perfume pump was primed when one of my favourite people, Brynne, texted me about a natural fragrance line she was excited about called DedCool. After reading about DedCool, I got excited too.

The DedCool brand was launched in Los Angeles in 2016 by 21-year-old Carina Chaz. In an interview, she says: "Growing up, Barneys was the place I would go to discover fragrance, but the way fragrance was sold was very gender-specific, and I personally wanted to wear more 'masculine' fragrances," the founder says of the inspiration for DedCool. "Coming from a background of health and beauty" — her parents started natural personal care company LaNatura in 1987 — "I was never able to wear those traditional fragrances at the Barneys counter." The scents that did meet her safety standards "were the ones sold at Whole Foods," and those didn't speak to her style." So, she created a fragrance line of vegan, non-toxic, unisex, cruelty-free scents with a "naturally chic edge."

It took me no time to get my hands on some samples, and I was impressed with quality and performance of the scents, but Fragrance 04 was a standout.

It opens with a bright, bracing note of spicy, earthy black pepper. As it fades, a note of dried fig comes up. It's jammy sweetness tempers the black pepper before bergamot and lemon appear. To my nose, the citruses aren't sharp or harsh. Here, they're aromatic and bright and add elegance to Fragrance 04. They also usher in a floral heart of sweet, opulent jasmine paired with a fresh, powdery freesia. The scent of freesia is hard to replicate in scent, yet Ms. Chaz has done an excellent job of capturing it here. The base is woody from creamy, rich and aromatic sandalwood, sweet earth and balsamy, smoky patchouli. The fig and sandalwood are a classic fragrance pairing that keeps everything balanced and in place – this is key in fragrances without synthetics.

The drydown is of complex, modern and chic making Fragrance 04 an anytime/anywhere fragrance.

I'm adding Carina Chaz and DedPool fragrances to my list of ones to watch. Thanks Brynne!

Fragrance 04 is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

 

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.

We’ve tested and tried hundreds of samples over the years, and when we deemed 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.

Also, we include many perfume "classics" that are the foundations of modern perfumery - like Shalimar, Chanel No.5, Eau Sauvage - plus other perfume "gems" that have been discontinued, or were ahead of their time when launched but now fit perfectly in the Niche category. 

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 others buy and try samples from our collections and experience the fragrant beauty we write about.

WHAT WE DO

We blog

We blog once a week and post a story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent critics, so these aren't negative 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 conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention recently. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to explore new territory by trying 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 – retail store 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.