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Bitter Orange Blossom - Wikimedia Commons - Alexander Hardin

A perfect summer Sunday. Agreeable temperature, clear skies and easy chores that are easily dispatched, leaving hours for reading/napping/sipping in a hammock, in a garden that’s in full bloom.

For me, and for many people I know, such uncomplicated days are a rarity, so when they come along I lean into them. No rushing, no planning, no pushing – just time to savor, relish and deeply enjoy those precious simple pleasures.  On days like these I want an uncomplicated scent. One that’s in the same spirit of the day, like Les Colognes Neroli by Annick Goutal.

Annick Goutal is one of my favourite fragrance lines. Their commitment to quality ingredients, and their deft hand in the use of them, can be smelled in every one of their perfumes. Consider the earthy sensuousness of Eau de Sud, the fresh vibrancy of Eau d'Hadrien and the citrusy bite of the multi-faceted Ninfeo Mio. So, of course, it’s no surprise to find Les Colognes Néroli on my must-wear list of summer fragrances.

Les Colognes Néroli is not to be confused with Néroli EdT also by Annick Goutal.

Néroli EdT was created by Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal in 2003 as an exclusive. It’s an uncomplicated, orange blossom absolute/neroli based fragrance, supported by aromatic basil, sweet vanilla and cedarwood. I have gone through bottes of it over the years. But much as I love it, even it’s too complex for a day like this. Les Colognes Néroli is the way to go. It was created by Isabelle Doyen  when the house reworked Néroli EdT into a cologne version that was launched in 2013.

It opens, with a note of Lemontree petitgrain. It’s floral and green, with a nose-tingling freshness. Lemontree petitgrain blends beautifully with aromatic neroli, highlighting its citrusy, sweet floralcy perfectly. The neroli is paired with fresh, voluptuous orange blossom to create a gorgeous, lush tumble of white flowers on my skin. This, dear readers, is the smell of a perfect summer’s day! At times, a bitterness peeps through the flowers, keeping the fragrance ‘real’. Heliotrope adds a gentle vanilla sweetness and a powderiness, while white musk, clean and smooth, anchors it all at the base.

The drydown is refined, romantic and just lovely. Truth is, it doesn’t evolve much – it doesn’t have to because it’s a cologne. It’s fairly straight forward and uncomplicated, but it’s not without depth. And although it is marketed as a unisex fragrance, for me, it falls on the feminine side.

One of the things I love about this fragrance is how real it smells. The Goutal website says that it evokes “the happy memory of orange blossom illumating the Mediterranean countryside.” And you know what? It does.

Now that I think of it, maybe a perfect summer’s day is not the only day to wear Les Colognes Neroli. Maybe, when you wear Les Colognes Neroli it makes it the day perfect. I’m gonna have to think about that…but not too hard.

Les Colognes Neroli is listed in our Decant store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.
 

 

Au Delà Narcisse bottle and print - brunofazzolari.com

I’m reading Perfumes The Guide 2018 by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, released only in Kindle format so far in Canada, but that’s fine with me. Anywhere, anytime, I can read their highly subjective and entertaining opinions with just a few clicks and scrolls on my phone. Scrolling through the “A” listings last night, for example, Au Delà Narcisse by Bruno Fazzolari came up on the screen. 

Luca Turin’s comment…”Not everyone can afford to put Laboratoire Monique Remy’s legendary narcissus in a composition, but this one does contain a slug of that amazing material, lending seen-it-all elegance and complexity…” Luca Turin, Perfumes The Guide 2018

Based in San Franciso and self-described as creating  “…Unusual artisanal scents for the discriminating and adventurous…Fiercely independent and crafted by hand…”, Bruno Fazzolari, who is also an accomplished visual artist, is one of the best perfumers in the “indie/artisanal” world at the moment, in my opinion, and I’m not alone in that sentiment. That’s why we’ve listed two of his scents - see Lampblack and Feu Secret.

Back story:

Four years ago I ordered a few Bruno Fazzolari samples, an assortment which included Au Delà Narcisse de Montagnes, a limited edition version of his original 2013 floral chypre Au Delà. This version included narcisse absolute, which he described in an interview with CaFleurBon:

“…it was all about the extraordinary raw material at the heart of this new edition. Narcisse des Montagnes is a star among floral absolutes, a floral that’s both earthy and green—tricky to work with because its more delicate notes are easily overwhelmed. This particular harvest was amazing and I wanted to share the beauty of it…”

I wanted to share it too, because I knew the beauty of the narcissus note first-hand from growing up with a gardener-Mother who could grow anything, grew everything, and who passionately loved white flowers, especially narcissus and lilies.

Bruno wasn’t kidding when he described narcisse as a star ingredient, and the truth is, it wasn’t just amazing, this narcisse absolute was riveting. Like fireworks, it burst open sparkly and green, juicy with tart bergamot, the nectar of orange blossom, and a spiced-honey jasmine, an accord which developed a sensuous indolic hum in the heart, like a cat purring with anticipated pleasure. The dry-down turned darker, earthy from real oakmoss, then warmed by a salty-skin amber and incense accord, the animalic waft of narcisse absolute floating in and out. It felt retro and very contmporary. at the same time.

The scent was perfection from top to bottom, not too sweet or too green, not austere or haughty like vintage chypre, it possessed a fierce warm beauty that I loved.  By the time my two decants ran out and I finally decided to order a bottle, the limited edition was sold out, and I could not forgive myself for ignoring the inner voice that had told me to click the BUY button after my first sniff. Stupid!

Fast forward to 2018:

I ordered a bottle of Au Delà Narcisse, which I discovered Bruno had recently added as a permanent scent to his catalogue (read his post here). From the original Au Delà in 2013, to Au Delà Narcisse de Montagnes in 2014, to finally the third version, Au Delà Narcisse in 2017. Is this last version the same, does it live up to my memories of my Narcisse de Montagnes decants?

YES! YES! YES! And YES!

From the website and the packaging:

Au Delà - Narcisse is a classic white-floral chypre, made in the old-school way with genuine oakmoss and labdanum. The narcissus note is clear, fresh and unmistakable, and is supported by heavy doses of highest quality absolutes of Egyptian jasmine and French orange flower. We make this with a very rare and exquisite extraction of Narcissus, but this is no fading flower! The flowers are supported by a classic base, richly spicy, and resinous and with just the right amount of animalic purr. The proportion of these high quality natural floral absolutes is very high and the formula is far and away my most expensive…

…Au Delà  is French for "the beyond," … The scent recalls…a time when fragrance was still bold, adventuresome and complex…Dries down to a smoldering, salty base of oakmoss and resins…big, ravishing, sensuous…”

In Au Delà Narcisse I’ve found a modern floral masterpiece, a piece of olfactory art that makes perfect sense to me. Classic bones, modern style, edgy, powerful, and beyond beautiful.

Au Delà Narcisse 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.

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.

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 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 a 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 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 – 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.