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Outrageous (2017) by Editions de Parfums Fréderic Malle

I stopped by the Frédéric Malle counter in Holt Renfrew last week. I can never resist getting a spritz of one of my favourites from this excellent niche line. The brand, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, was sold to Estée Lauder a while ago but Frédéric Malle is apparently still in charge, and thank god for that!

Malle’s innovative idea to build a collection of fragrances like a publishing company, with respected noses as authors, and notes and styles as story lines, is a global success. Malle gives these noses, the men and women who are the true artists in the perfume world, the opportunity and freedom to create their olfactory visions, and he was really the first to bring perfumers out of the closet so to speak, into the public spotlight and give them the credit they deserve. So many of the fragrances Frédéric Malle curated are now considered modern classics, and we own many of them. Go to our Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle listings on Pages 5 and 6 in our Decant Store, and click on the names of the fragrances to learn about them.

So back to the Frédéric Malle perfume counter last week. ”What’s new?” I asked. I was immediately spritzed with the new 2017 version of Outrageous, and the Sales Rep. whom I know quite well after so many visits, told me the whole Outrageous story while I savoured the little rush I always get when I sniff a new fragrance. Outrageous!, with an exclamation point, was created in 2007, developed for and sold exclusively by Barney’s in New York, so the target customer was young, metrosexual, androgynous. In a word, cool. Sophia Grojsman, creator of Tresor, Eternity, Paris, Calyx, was chosen as the perfumer, and her minimalist style, smooth, silky, clean and linear, was the perfect expression for Barney’s Outrageous!

According to the Malle website, “the idea for Outrageous poured out of a Caipirinha cocktail in Brazil: samba on the beach, bursts of orange and blue in low light, crashing waves and the ecstatic laughs of the young and sexy. It’s dramatic, festive and colorful, what Frédéric likes to call “clean sex appeal”.

The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail and is made with cachaca, which is sugar-cane hard liquor, sugar, and lime. I’ve never had the pleasure of drinking a caipirinha but it sounds delicious, maybe similar to a mojito, which is made with rum. (Read about Batucada, another fragrance from L’Artisan Parfumeur which is based on the caipirinha.)

The notes for the 2007 and 2017 versions are “bergamot, tangerine and green apple against a lusty backdrop of cinnamon, musk and ambroxan”. I don’t smell lime or orange or apple, I smell fruit but I feel like it’s not real, I’m smelling the idea of fruit from looking at a glossy photo of fruits in a bowl. It smells chilled, artificial, but really interesting. As Outrageous dries down, the fruit “idea” becomes drier and spicier. Is it cinnamon? Could be. And then Outrageous smells like outdoors, the scent of clean cotton in warm sun as the ambroxan wafts up. Now I smell warm skin, which means there are bodies, people wearing that clean cotton, warm bodies in jeans, tees, and shirts. There is definitely “sex appeal”.  

The new issue of Outrageous, without an exclamation point, is different from just about any other perfume I've ever sniffed. It offers no ditinctive notes, no lemons, no roses, no woods, no leather. It’s effect is unexpected, it’s a quiet aromatic scent that smells abstract, but pure and sensual at the same time. It’s definitely outside the norm for what we expect from Frédéric Malle and Sophia Grojsman. Outrageous is a scent that very subtly inspires images and ideas, and I think it’s perfect for thinking people who don’t like wearing perfume, as well as for those who do. It’s Outrageous, and it’s fascinating.  

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



Angelina Jolie for "Mon Guerlain" -

News of fragrance launches from iconic houses like Guerlain always send a frisson of excitement throughout the fragrance community and especially here at perfumeniche. But the buzz around their newest fragrance, Mon Guerlain, was, well, tantalizing.

For months prior to the launch there had been hints, whispers and chatter about a new fragrance for women. There were rumors of a celebrity ‘muse’ (something Guerlain doesn’t generally do…), the inspiration for the fragrance and the creation of it.

An article from The Telegraph dated January 24 2016, says ‘Very little has been revealed about the scent, however Wasser hinted that we can expect ‘notes of a woman’ and that the choices, emotions and dreams that embody modern femininity inspired him.’

When Mon Guerlain was introduced earlier this month all was revealed.

The muse for Mon Guerlain is actress, director, film maker and humanitarian Angelina Jolie. One of the most famous and beautiful women in the world, Jolie is the ideal ambassador for Mon Guerlain. She is linked to Guerlain through her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, whose love for a rose and violet scented Guerlain powder is one of Jolie’s treasured childhood memories of her mother. Jolie is also a mother herself.

When I heard Thierry Wasser speak about Mon Guerlain at the Guerlain store in Toronto last week, he spoke about the inspiration for the fragrance, which he created along with perfumer Delphine Jelk. Part of Wasser’s job at Guerlain is the sourcing of high-quality raw ingredients from around the world. He talked about creating and maintaining relationships with suppliers in some of the most difficult parts of the world to live. He said that his creativity is sparked by what he experiences and encounters on his travels.

For Mon Guerlain, he said he was inspired by four notes that formed the pillars of the scent: Carla lavender, Sambac jasmine and Album sandalwood and vanilla Tahitensis.

Carla lavender grows in Drôme in Provence. A true lavender, Wasser says that standing in a field of it and smelling it, he was struck by its pure, fresh simplicity. Its pure beauty stands for women.  Then there’s Sambac jasmine. Wasser recalled seeing women in New Guinea grouped together, enjoying each other’s company, as they wove jasmine flowers into tiaras for each other’s hair. The jasmine signifies community. Album sandalwood signifies the strength of women and vanilla Tahitensis, the smell associated with mother. Strung in sentences like this, the words form a beautiful ode to women, but wearing Mon Guerlain, and smelling it, is the highest praise.

It opens with nose-tingling bergamot backed by a note of fresh, aromatic lavender that pairs perfectly with creamy, sensuous vanilla. The lavender weaves through the vanilla keeping its sweetness in balance. Lavender, considered a masculine note in fragrance, so prominently placed in a women’s fragrance? It’s about being better together than it is about being in opposition - after all, its 2017 people! As it blooms on me, the vanilla reveals tender aspects of aniseed and spice. The Sambac jasmine shows up at the heart. It’s delicate and voluptuous, not indolic or animalic. For a moment, there is a whiff of powder from iris and a note of rose – the smell of scented powder. The vanilla sweetness threads though the heart, bolstered by Tonka bean, to rest on a base of sandalwood and musk.

It’s the vanilla and sandalwood that stay with me for hours so that the dry down is a sweet-ish, feminine scent that, while having depth, has a luminous beauty.

Mon Guerlain is a modern fragrance for a modern woman – it’s assumes she’s confident, sexy and strong and the fragrance honours that without having to trumpet it. It will be in heavy rotation around here for a long time I can tell you that.

Mon Guerlain 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.

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
Mid-week and post an 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 over the past week. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to buy our selection of 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.