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Katy Perry's INDI  -

I had a WOW! perfume experience yesterday.

I was browsing in a downtown Shoppers Drug Mart, just checking out what they had on tap, was there anything new or noteworthy on the perfume shelves? Had I missed any new launches? Nope. Around the corner and in the next aisle was a shelf filled with the celebrity scents, Britney, Taylor, Nikki, JLo, Jessica, Katy, a neon-fruit-salad display of blingy bottles and boxes. Except for one, which stood out from the rest because it was black and white with a plain logo, like someone had printed it on the bottle with a felt-tip pen. Katy Perry’s INDI.  I couldn’t help myself - I sprayed, I sniffed, and I bought a bottle. Just like that.

Let me explain. My expectations for this fragrance are zero, maybe even negative, due to my dislike of syrupy fruity-berry-floral celebuscents which has evolved over the years from riding the subway twice a day. They all smell the same to me, sticky and thick and overpoweringly sweet, so I’m shocked when Katy Perry’s INDI comes out of the bottle almost the exact opposite.

At first, it smells sharp with a sort of retro vibe, but this soon becomes a green citrus and tea accord, then more creamy with the addition of musks sweetened with notes of dark plum. As it dries into the heart, INDI reminds me of the exceptional Sarah Jessica Parker scent, SJP Stash, but not as woody and spicy, much more light and airy. There are soft white florals, lily of the valley and cyclamen, and cedar notes in the heart which add up to a powdery softness, and then the base notes develop, and this is where INDI enters niche territory.

Per the note list, the base is “seductive musks”, with notes of vanilla and tonka and cedarwood, and the result is a deliciously smooth androgynous skin scent that lasts for hours. It seems linear at first, but the scent is full of surprises, revealing a menu of olfactory sensations through the dry-down that’s quite wonderful…clean, earthy, floral, woody, whiffs of dried fig, leather, bitter chocolate, citrus, sandalwood, cedarwood. INDI stays close to the skin, but stays for hours, cozy and warm, soft, intimate, subtle and sexy in the most natural way.

Katy Perry’s INDI is definitely a fragrance for grown-ups. In an interview in Cosmopolitan when the fragrance launched in August 2017, Katy Perry said that her new androgynous look with short blonde hair and more natural makeup is part of her search for her real self, her individuality. And because she’s embracing her own individuality, she wanted to encourage others to do the same. Therefore, her new musky scent is intentionally non-gendered so that it will appeal to everyone, and can be worn by anyone. No boundaries, including the price which is truly affordable.

Katy Perry’s INDI reflects the more mature and confident artist that Katy Perry is today – her new album Witness, also reflects this. I’ve always liked Katy Perry. I think she’s really talented. And I respect the fact that she’s got the guts to take a risk and offer a mainstream fragrance that smells like niche, and is so different from her Purr and Meow fragrances that perfume lovers like myself will buy it, wear it, talk about it, and truly enjoy it.

I think Katy Perry’s INDI is really good. In fact, I think it’s outstanding.

Katy Perry’s INDI is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.



DXB Dubai by Scent of Departure - 

I’m greedy for travel. I’ve made travel a part of my life, all my life. When I come back from one trip, I look forward to planning the next one. But I also enjoy all the memories of the places I’ve visited and like to relive those memories through photos, souvenirs and things I just find – stones from the French alps which I use as paperweights, a key I found on the street in Milan that that I put on a chain and wear around my neck, a gorgeous conch shell from the Virgin Islands. Perfumer Gérald Ghislain has another way to revive memories of travel: his Scent of Departure line of niche fragrances, each one inspired by a different city around the world.

Gérald Ghislain was born in Orleans in 1964 and spent his childhood travelling between Southern France and Morocco. His first calling was the culinary arts, so at the age of 13 he enrolled in the Ecole Hôtelière of Toulouse and opened his first restaurant in Paris when he was just 22. But a visit to the Museum of Perfumery in Grasse, changed all that when Ghislain discovered the world of fragrance. In 1997 he started training at the ISIPCA (Superior Institute of Industry of Perfumery and Cosmetics) and 1999 he launched niche line Histoires de Parfums. Here’s the thing about perfumers: they travel. A lot. Whether they’re sourcing raw materials, meeting new clients or launching a new fragrance, travel informs their work and inspires their creations. In the case of Ghislain, and partner Magali Sénéquier (creator of Ambre 411 for Histoires de Parfums), a love of travel led to the launch of the Scents of Departure in 2012.

I have to say, I’m not really swayed by packaging – cute bottles, showy boxes – but the design of the Scent of Departure fragrances is very clever. Each fragrance in the line is named for a city and the airport code for that city: CDG Paris, LHR London, MIL Milan, etc., while the labels on the bottles look like checked baggage tags.

I suppose any fragrance you’ve experienced in a city can remind you of that city, but the unisex fragrances in the Scents of Departure line are different in that they are “Not only a perfume, not just a souvenir, The Scent of Departure is the essence of a city in a bottle. A gift to a loved one, a souvenir as a reminder of a wonderful time, an object to collect as you travel the world…” I totally get the idea behind the brand, but surprisingly, the city scent that resonated with me the most, was DXB Dubai – a place I have never been.

It has a beautiful citrusy, herbal opening from bergamot, orange and thyme. Florals - rose, jasmine and violet – follow and match the opening perfectly. The rose is intense, deep and lush, but it’s the metallic aspect of violet that always takes me by surprise. I love waiting for it. But it wouldn’t be a Middle Eastern fragrance if the rose wasn’t paired with oud and the oud here is potent but not overpowering, making DXB Dubai rich and woody. Musk hovers, as incense warms it all up, and patchouli, earthy, dark and sweet, completes it.

The drydown is rich, warm and refined. I can still smell the thyme, the flowers and the oud. It smells like what I imagine a warm desert breeze, carrying scents of flowers and the market, would smell like. As the website says: “Close your eyes, you are already far away”.

If this is what Dubai smells like, then I’m booking a ticket. I mean, I already have my baggage tag.

Oh, wait, I’ve already got Dubai in a bottle, maybe I should do a little scent globetrotting and try SIN Singapore or TYO Tokyo. Ohhhh…I’ve always wondered about DPS Bali.

DXB Dubai 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.

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.


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, 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.