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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 Tonnere  - 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 Tonnere.
 
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 Tonnere 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 Tonnere anytime I want to recall those times.
 
Rose Tonnere is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00 or 1 ml.
 

 

Photo: perfumeniche

A trip to Tuscany in September with dear friends. We're lucky with the weather. We've escaped the heat of late summer, and the predicted rain never came. Our luck holds when we move on to Florence and then Venice, our city time contrasting with our week spent in the Tuscan countryside.

And if I'm exploring Florence, I'm really exploring perfume, and on this particular day, I head straight to l'Ó Profumo.

I wanted to sniff fragrances I'd only read about, learn more about brands I hadn't read about, and buy something from a brand I'm very familiar with - that would be Sleight of Fern from Masque Milano. I've been intrigued by this fragrance since I first read about it, and I'm more than a little obsessed with it since I smelled it on my skin. Here's why.

Alessandro Brun, co-founder of Masque Milano, has a soft spot for traditional Italian fougeres, which he associates with his grandfather. Fougère, from the French word for "fern," is one of the olfactive parent families of perfumes. Fragrances in this group don't actually have the scent of the fern plant, nor is a fougere a single ingredient. A classical fougere is an olfactory accord that usually contains bergamot, lavender, geranium, rose, oakmoss, vetiver, tonka bean and coumarin and can be modified with the addition of animalic, floral, green, leather, spicey or woody notes.

Brun wanted to add a fougere to the Masque Milano stable but faced the challenge of respecting the traditional structure of a fougere while staying true to the Masque Milano mandate of creating unique perfumes that have a soul. He needed a perfumer who understood fougeres, so he turned Stephanie Bakouche, the uber-talented nose behind the incomparable Invasion Barbare, that stunning fougere from MDCI Parfums.

The concept behind Masque Milano is that each fragrance represents a different act and scene in the 'Opera of Life,' as conceived by Brun and his partner, Riccardo Tedeschi. Sleight of Fern is Act IV, Scene Three of the opera.

The curtain rises on Act IV, Scene Three with Italian bergamot; its citrusy, fresh elegance is paired with aromatic French lavender that smells clean and sweet. I pick up aspects of honey, hay and wildflowers. We are in fougere country, for sure, but there's a twist when a fig sap accord appears. On me, it smells green, not fruity and not sweet. Lentisque, fresh and piney adds another layer of green just as red thyme shows up and brings a rich herbaceousness to the mix. Fougeres may not have the scent of the fern plant, but Sleight of Fern's verdancy lets you experience the greenness of a fern plant and what a glorious, multi-faceted green jewel it is. The green at the top connects to the green aspect of tuberose, the green facet of narcissus and the minty facet of geranium at the heart and draws them forward. The tuberose is exotic, opulent, and narcotic; the narcissus is rich, heady and floral. Together they add voluptuousness and sensuality to the fragrance that plays out against a rich green backdrop. It's just sublime. The green goes down to the base with patchouli and oakmoss. They sit atop creamy sandalwood and leathery birchwood and add sophistication to Sleight of Fern. Tonka bean absolute brings the coumarin – a reminder that this is a fougere. A sophisticated, modern, unisex fougere.

The name 'Sleight of Fern' is a play on the phrase 'sleight of hand,' which refers to skill in performing magic tricks. Is Stephanie Bakouche a magician? Maybe, but when I wear Sleight of Fern, I smell talent, dexterity, creativity, and genius. I also smell fabulous.

Sleight of Fern is in our Decant Store. Decants are $9.00 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 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 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.