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I’ve discovered another gem – a small California company by the name of Rogue Perfumery. The owner and in-house nose is Manuel Cross, a former professional chef whose love of vintage scents inspired him to seriously study perfumery for the past ten years so he could understand the science and art behind his intense fascination with vintage florals. One thing led to another, and he became a perfumer…

“I began composing fragrances as a push-back to the systematic destruction of the classics. Between IFRA recommendations and EU regulations entire genres of classic fragrances are being either discontinued or completely reformulated.”

Manuel creates what he calls “unhindered fragrance art…non-commercial, non contemporary fragrances.” In other words, honest-to-god authentic perfumes made from high quality traditional materials in small batches, bottled by hand – complex, deep, full-bodied perfumes that blow my socks off.   

I bought two of his fragrances, Chypre Siam, a chypre, and Jasmin Intense, a solifore. I’ll leave Jasmin Intense for another day since I have zero resistance to the siren call of a chypre, and have fallen in love with Chypre Siam. My Holy Grail is, after all, Mitsouko by Guerlain, one of the original chypre perfumes that followed the Big Mother of modern chypres, Coty Chypre. 

Manuel describes his creative process… 

“The idea for this fragrance came to me after sampling Coty’s original Chypre back in 2012. I was already a fan of the genre, but Coty’s original was THE epitome; I could smell the framework of so many of my favorite fragrances that were slowly disappearing from production. 

I was in my garden picking kaffir lime leaves for a curry my wife and I were preparing for dinner, and their bright fragrance instantly reminded me of the Chypre de Coty sample from days prior. I smelled the leaves again and realized that I was also catching whiffs of the jasmine blossoms on the other side of the yard! That was the moment; I thought how novel it would be to recreate, not the original Chypre, but rather the experience of the original using Southeast Asian materials (namely kaffir lime, holy basil and lemongrass -jasmine, ylang etc, of course, have already been mainstays of the perfumers palette).

Chypre-Siam took five years to complete. I’ve created a beautiful jasmine base that utilizes an even lovelier jasmine absolute, which helps meld the civet notes seamlessly into the benzoin base. What you get in the end is a “chypre experience” moreso than just of a list of notes. I wanted this fragrance to be able to briefly transport one back 90+ years.” rogueperfumery.com

On my wrists, the tartness of green lime and the anisic green basil are delicious, an unexpected attack of green, hinting of soap in the first moments, devoid of any sweet, just shimmering greenness. And then the distinct musty earth-green notes of oakmoss, real oakmoss, thickens as the opening accord changes into a damp woodsy greenness that flickers with licks of leather and animalic civet, inspiring images of other worlds.

When jasmine and ylang drop onto the moss, their natural white floral waft is at first fresh, then gentle and sultry-sweet as Chypre-Siam dries down and the heart deepens into the base. The resins, sandalwood and benzoin rise in the background, creamy, powdery, enveloping the florals and green moss accord, and Chypre-Siam becomes warm deep and very rich, saturated with deliciously earthy and animalic scents. The scent settles on my skin, silky and ultra smooth, purring like a sleek contented cat for hours and hours.

The classic chypre formula is citrus, oak moss and labdanum resin, usually with florals in the heart, and an animalic in the base. Simple. The best chypres have a deeply complex formula which is what elevates them to works of art and which give them a timeless quality, an abstract power far beyond their individual notes, inspiring deep wordless emotion. Wearing a chypre fragrance is like wearing art - the chypre experience.

Chypre-Siam is a beautiful chypre, and an absolutely beautiful perfume. Manuel Cross, without a shadow of a doubt, has created an authentic “chypre experience”, allowing perfume lovers in 2020 to travel back in time to 1920 (in countries not governed by IFRA regulations) to enjoy pure unfettered olfactory art.  Joy! 

As I said, I’ve discovered a gem. Manuel Cross. Rogue Perfumery. 

Chypre-Siam is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Chypre-Siam 30 ml. -perfumeniche.com

 

Amryis elemifera shrub

For our anniversary one year, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to 'his and her' perfumes. Since I'm the perfume blogger, my husband got the job of finding the perfect scents for us. It was a job he took very seriously. He did the research, sourced the samples, occasionally got sidetracked and but when it came time to make the purchase, the decision was easy: Amyris Homme and Amyris Femme from French niche line Maison Francis Kurkdjian.

Most niche line fragrances are unisex, but we wanted fragrances that were the same, but with different variations: one for women and one for men. Amyris Homme and Amyris Femme fit the bill. Both fragrances share the same two key ingredients as heart notes: amyris, often used in fragrances for men, and iris, a popular feminine heart note. According to the booklet that came with the perfumes, amyris and iris' create the link between man and women interpretations of this vibrant scent'.  As well, they have different concentrations. Amyris Homme is an eau de toilette while Amyris Femme is an eau de parfum, although both are also available as extrait de parfum.

We were both very happy with our same-but-different fragrances, and very pleased with ourselves for being so clever to have bought them. But, over time, I began to prefer the Amyris Homme. Don't get me wrong, Amyris Femme is gorgeous, but Kurkdjian excels at making fragrances for men. After all, this is the nose who created Le Male for Jean Paul Gaultier in 1995 - one of the world's best-selling perfumes. He is also the creator of one of my favourite fragrances for men, Eau Noire, for Dior. Smelling Amyris Homme on my husband, I realize I have another favourite fragrance for men.

Amyris Homme opens with a vibrant note of sweet, juicy mandarin juxtaposed by a note of aromatic, piney rosemary. The balsamy aspect of the rosemary draws forth the piney, fresh herbaceous aspects of amyris. The amyris also has a gorgeous woodiness that stays right to the drydown, though in a more muted form. A note of saffron, a cousin of iris, ushers in the Florentine iris with its earthiness. The earthy, floral iris is the perfect counterpart to the amyris, making Amyris Homme both powerful and delicate at the same time.  At this stage, I smell sweet tobacco. It's the coumarin in Tonka bean. It lifts the entire composition, keeping it light and fresh.  Notes of modern woods at the base echo and support the woodiness of the amyris.

Amyris Homme dries down to an elegant, alluring all-season scent that is unabashedly masculine, but modern enough to be worn by a woman.

I liked this idea of 'his and her' perfumes so much that I've been petitioning for it to become an anniversary tradition. My husband is less keen. Something about the fact that we bought a fragrance for each of us, but I got mine plus most of his.

That's when I remind him what my mother used to say to my father when she would eat her French fries and then half of his: 'We're married, so what's yours is mine and what's mine is my own.' It's not flying in my house.

Amyris Homme is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Wikipedia, Dec. 20, 2007 by CapeVerdeWave

 

 

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.