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There’s always music in our house. Live or recorded it’s coming from one room or another, could be jazz, rock, classical, or country but it’s always really good music. Music by artists, music with soul. I’m a hard critic when it comes to most mainstream contemporary music, but it’s easy to admire a huge talent like Adele, for example.  Her first huge hit Someone Like You was on my playlist last month when I was doing “what’s new in niche” fragrance research. And there it was: You or Someone Like You, announced by Etienne de Swardt from Etat Libre d’Orange, a new scent launching in April 2017 and art-directed by Chandler Burr. Coincidence or what?

Chandler Burr. He’s a VIP in perfume circles, for several good reasons:

-   Former scent critic for the New York Times

-   Curator of olfactory art at the Museum of Art and Design in NYC

-   Collaborator with Luckyscent on Chandler Burr: The Untitled Series , which presents samples of famous scents “untitled”, identified with numbered codes only so they can be experienced as they actually are, free of all marketing or visual references which distort and change personal perceptions of how they truly smell.

-   Author of two excellent non-fiction books, both of which I own and can recommend as great reads. One is the story of the creation of the scent Lovely by Coty with Sarah Jessica Parker, The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York; the other is about biophysicist and extraordinary perfume writer, Luca Turin, and his theory of how we smell, how the nose works: The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession.

-   Author of a 2009 novel, You or Someone Like You, which is set in Los Angeles and is about an Englishwoman Anne Rosenbaum who lives in Los Angeles in the Hollywood Hills and is married to an American, Howard, a movie studio executive. I haven’t read You or Someone Like You, but now that I’ve experienced the fragrance, I’m definitely buying a copy.

You or Someone Like You is not a scent about a place, about the smell of Los Angeles. It’s much more about internal experience, about living in a place and being part of it. I’ve been wearing it exclusively for the past few days, and I love its polished presence. Green cool and crisp at first with a brief fruity accord, then minty earthy vibes which soon burn off, it warms on my skin becoming more floral – rose? jasmine? - then musky. At times sensuous, then retreating behind glossy shiny aldehydes, the scent is a chameleon, an actor, a performer.

There are no published notes apart from mint and rose and grasses, so I definitely recommend that you go to the Etat Libre d’Orange webpage for You or Someone Like you, and read about how it was inspired and conceived. Like all ELDO scents, this scent is perfume as art. Here are excerpts:

Etienne de Swardt – Etat Libre d’Orange

"Does Los Angeles have a scent?... Chandler Burr knows Los Angeles….and perfume... so we decided to collaborate on a fragrance that an LA woman might wear. And we gave it the name of Chandler’s novel, set in Los Angeles."

Caroline Sabas – Perfumer

"You or Someone Like You is a welcoming fragrance: neither off-putting nor strange. It is a contemporary creation built around timeless materials. It embodies the women of LA — someone like Anne Rosenbaum: cool and crisp; once foreign but now indigenous…the perfume invigorates the senses with its fresh, inviting appeal. One feels good wearing it."

Chandler Burr – Art Director

“It is, on the other hand, stylistically and in its technical construction what a Los Angeles woman would wear….Caroline and I discussed this at each step during the creation process. It is contemporary, 21stcentury. It is LA, whatever that means… my fictional Anne wears it; so presumably do thousands of other women. It represents her only in the way all such choices represent us. What it will be to you is for you to decide, obviously.”

So what is You or Someone Like You to me? Chandler Burr is right, the notes really don’t matter. The scent to me is familiar but dynamic, very wearable by anybody, and the feeling I get is one of energy and optimism, overlaid with confidence. It is definitely an ELDO scent, with the same kind of emotional weight as Tilda Swinton Like This, which is about the scent of spirit, of home and family, a timeless scent that’s tethered to a well-loved place where one closes doors and shuts out the world.

You or Someone like You is the opposite - open and airy with a look-at-me attitude, very contemporary, very now and in the moment. It too has heart, but it’s about reality and artifice. Make-up perfect, body beautiful, smile ready, flowers in bloom, planets aligned, brain engaged, a sunny day in LA.  Feeling good. How to stay real in in La-La Land.

You or Someone Like You is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

 

 

Au Bord de l'Eau (At the Seine at Bennecourt) - Claude Monet, 1868 - Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago we had some good friends over for supper. We get together fairly often, so it’s always easy with this group. Lots of food, wine, good conversation and laughter.

At some point in the evening, when we were sitting around the table after the dishes had been cleared and another bottle had been opened, someone asked the person across from them what their most moving art experience was. “Seeing Michelangelo’s David for the first time” the answer came. This sparked lively conversation and as the question went around the table and I found the answers really interesting, not because of what they were, but because of the way people seemed to relate to the experience. “I’ll never forget the day I saw…..” When it came my turn, the answer was easy: Monet's Garden at Giverny.

I remember everything about that day vividly.  We were on a driving holiday through France. It was a perfect day in June, and I remember driving on the more interesting “D” roads, my husband at the wheel, his white shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows, the map held between his teeth for easy access as we approached a destination so we wouldn’t take a wrong cutoff. I was the navigator, pregnant, a little car sick and a lot distracted. But all that evaporated when we arrived at Giverny. Walking on the Japanese footbridge bridge over the water lily pond, touring the gardens, studio and house. I can see in my mind the yellow dining room and yellow and blue Limoge place settings. It was a memorable experience in so many ways, and I came away from it with a deeper appreciation for Monet and his work.

Which brings me to Au Bord de L’eau from L’Artisan Parfumeur. Along with Sur L'herbe, Au Bord de L’eau is part of L’Artisan’s first ever cologne collection. Both fragrances were created by nose Fabrice Pellegrin and both were inspired by Impressionist paintings. Sur L'herbe was inspired by Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe by Edouard Manet and Au Bord de L’Eau was inspired by Au Bord de L’Eau by Claude Monet. Like the Impressionist artists did with painting, Pellegrin seeks to create a fragrance that captures a moment, a sensation, through suggestion rather than defining contours.

Originally titled ‘The Seine at Bennecourt’, ‘Au Bord de L’Eau’ was painted in 1868. It shows Monet’s future wife, Camille, sitting on an island in the Seine, looking across the water to the village of Gloton. The simple setting is defined through bold colours, light and reflection rather than through form and location. Au Bord de L’eau cologne has the same effect.

It opens mild, refreshing and green from bergamot and zesty, lemon oil. The top notes settle into a subtly sweet lemon scent that lingers, making Au Bord de L’Eau luminous at this stage. And then, slowly, slowly (I mean like an hour in) sweet, warm, floral orange blossom comes forward along with aromatic, camphorous rosemary and cedarwood. It’s herbaceous and woody and complex and luminous all at the same time. And then, another hour or so later, the most beautiful earthy, powdery violet note emerges, over the scent like a veil, supported perfectly by the herbal freshness of the rosemary and resting on a base of musk and wood.

For me, this cologne is a successful olfactory expression of the Impressionist painting but that aside it is a gorgeous unisex skin scent that conjures the feeling of a gentle summer’s day and that’s a feeling I want to experience time and time again.

A word of caution: the word ‘L’Eau’ in the name of the fragrance refers to the painting that inspired it and not the notes in the fragrance. ‘Au Bord de L’Eau’ is not an aquatic fragrance.

Au Bord de L’Eau is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 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.

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 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 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.