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This morning I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I pulled out my bottle of Eau Noire from the French design house Dior. The second that deep, green juice hit my skin and wafted up to my nose, I realized how much I had missed its beauty.
Eau Noir was launched in 2004 as one of a trio of fragrances in Dior’s prestigious ‘La Collection Privée.’ I was won over by it the first time I smelled it at Collette in Paris in 2010 and bought my bottle right then and there. Looking back on it now, I realize why I didn’t hesitate to get out the plastic. First, it was created by uber-talented perfumer Francis Kurkdjian and second, it features immortelle, one of my favourite notes in perfumery.
Immortelle, also known as Helichrysum italicum or everlasting flower, is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. Its clusters of yellow flowers have grown wild on the dry, rocky ground around the Mediterranean for centuries. What makes it so intriguing is how multifaceted it is. Immortelle has facets of maple syrup, curry, sage, wormwood, smoky tea, straw, tobacco, caramel and fruit. This complex ingredient is a polarizing note in fragrance, so how a perfumer handles it makes a fragrance featuring it either a big love or a pass. 
Eau Noire has a pungent, herbal start from warm sage and dry thyme. A note of licoricey anise joins the herbs making the opening verdant and dark. Here is the ‘noire’ in Eau Noire. As it settles, the anise links to the licoricey aspect of lavender and draws it forward. As the aromatic lavender blooms, it connects to a woody note of Virginia cedar; together, their camphorous facets counterbalance and smoothen the dark, herbaceous opening beautifully with a pitch-perfect freshness. Then a surprise. Eau Noire moves into gourmand territory. I smell coffee and maple syrup. The coffee is black and strong, and the maple syrup is sweet and seductive – it’s the immortelle I’m smelling. A note of saffron adds warmth and sweetness, leading to the base of sticky licorice that is sweetened by a creamy, boozy note of vanilla. Violet appears here and echoes the lavender with a floral delicacy, while its leather facet introduces a note of supple leather that gives Eau Noire an enticing sensuality. It sits atop a gentle smell of warm, spicy curry, which comes from the stems and leaves of the immortelle plant, which balances the verdancy of the opening just so.
The drydown is rich, exotic and sensual.
Smelling Eau Noire on my skin now, I wonder: have I been smelling facets of immortelle from the start? Dry herbs? Faint floralcy? Licorice, maple syrup, curry? I am. For me, Eau Noire is a masterwork created by an exceptional perfumer and definitely a big love.
Eau Noire is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.

The previous owner of our house was a very talented and dedicated gardener. We took possession of the house, along with it’s gorgeous garden, and moved into it in mid-June. After all the Sturm und Drang of moving day, my husband and I opened a bottle of good wine, took it out to the back deck, clinked glasses and welcomed ourselves to the neighbourhood.
It was a perfect summer’s evening and our hearts were full with the shared excitement of a new beginning in our new home. But the sharpest memory I have of that moment wasn’t the taste of the wine, the clothes I was wearing or the exhaustion from a hard day’s work; no, it was the smell of the heritage rose growing by the south fence that filled the air that evening. I suppose that’s why I always associate roses with the month of June. But it doesn’t have to be June for me to enjoy one of my favourite floral notes - not since I bought a bottle of Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. In 2021, the name was changed to Rose Tonnerre  - same juice, just a new name.
It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for rose fragrances, but I am choosey, and I choose Rose Tonnerre.
In his book “On Perfume Making” Frédéric Malle talks about how Rose Tonnere came about. He says: “At the request of a cooking magazine called “La Truffle,” Edouard [Fléchier] took up the challenge of reproducing the odor of a Perigord truffle “by nose” while stripping away its garlickly smell. He did that by jotting the raw materials down on paper, like a painter sketching an object.” Together Fléchier and Malle came up with the idea of pairing the woodsy, anmalic ‘truffle’ notes with a feminine, floral rose.
He goes on to say,”The idea was to take advantage of the half-earthy, half-animal nature of the of the truffle to enhance the “garden” aspect of the flower." That’s one of the reasons I love Une Rose. But I’ve got plenty of other reasons to love it, like the fact that it just smells so, so good.
It opens with a fresh, bright note of rose – true rose, like the ones in a garden – honeyed, fruity, lavish and opulent. Geranium adds sharpness and warmth before it gets woody, animalic and earthy – that’s the ‘truffle’ effect. The drydown is layered, rich and dark.
The interplay of the ‘masculine’ woodsiness/earthiness with the ‘feminine’ rose is what makes Rose Tonnere one of the top rose scents I know. It’s an experience I want to have over and over again.
Rose Tonnerre smells like a lush, raw, ripe rose, freshly plucked from the garden – rose, leaves, roots and all.
Some 20+ years later, we still enjoy the benefits of our house’s previous owner’s green thumb. The heritage rose still blooms by the south fence, we enjoy a glass of good wine out on the deck on soft summer evenings, and I wear Rose Tonnerre anytime I want to recall those times.
Rose Tonnerre is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00 or 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.

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.


We blog

We write 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.

We sell

We sell 1 ml. decants. That's .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, 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.