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Lemon flower and fruit

It's been a very busy week around here. I had a project due for a client that involved a lot of statistical research, which is not really my thing. Looking through research and data online, I became easily distracted. I'm disciplined enough not to drift into shoe/handbag/sunglass shopping but blur the work/play line when I find some really fascinating stuff that I just had to stop and read. Like this fascinating article 'Where do Eels Come From?' And just the other day, I found a study on 'The Role of Odor-Evoked Memory in Psychological and Physiological Health.' This is a kind of research, isn't it? You see the problem, right? Buckling down got the project done and it was easier with the help of Fleurs de Citronnier by Serge Lutens.

Let me explain. That article on odor-evoked memory and psychological health got me thinking:

'…when odors are capable of eliciting emotional and physical changes it is due to the emotions, memories and associations that have been linked to an odor through past personal experiences, which are then elicited when the odor is encountered, and the psychological and physiological responses connected to the odor are recapitulated'.

This explains why lemon-based fragrances lift my mood, energize me and just brighten my day. Lemons unlock all my favourite childhood summer memories. Lemons, the colour of the sun, are forever linked to memories of hot, school-free days spent playing outside with my best friends until I got hungry and went home for dinner. To this day, the tart, sour fragrance of lemon, pull me back through time to the first time I held a glass of lemonade by all by myself. Was I three-years-old? Older? Younger? My mother coaching me: 'OK, sweetheart, the glass is wet and slippery, so hold it with both hands….' The slipperiness and the weight caught me by surprise, and I faltered for a moment, but I didn't drop the glass. Writing about it here, I can taste that lemonade now – cold, tart, sweet, delicious, reviving. I thought I had drunk a magic potion. Lemons make me happy in any form: food, drink and especially fragrances, like Fleurs de Citronnier.

'Fleurs de Citronnier' translates into 'lemon blossoms,' and they are the main attraction in this eau de parfum, which opens a note of bitter, citrusy, green citronnier petitgrain – the kind made from the leaves of lemon trees. As it settles, the lemon blossom appears, its delicate beauty is transparent but tenacious, and it stays right through to the drydown.  Citrusy neroli bolsters the lemon blossom with its green and orange facets. Soon they are joined by a lush, indolic note of tuberose; its' sensuality countering the purity of the lemon blossoms. A note of honey keeps the tuberose in check, while iris rounds out the flowers. Around this time, the fragrance smells clean. On me, it's not soapy-smelling clean as much as it is fresh-smelling. This is when I realize how simple and uncluttered with heady, heavy notes Fleurs de Citronnier is. At the base, there is a touch of warmth from nutmeg, while styrax gives it a dry, subtle woodiness and musks smooth it out.

The drydown is delicate, floral and fresh. But its beauty lies in its simplicity and transparency. It's structured to allow every note to shine without any of them outshining the lemon blossom. It's the smell of a neighbour's summer garden caught in a breeze drifting over into your backyard.

Fleurs de Citronnier brings the summer back to me and somehow revitalizes my saggy spirit. It certainly helped that little research job get done on time.

Fleurs de Citronnier is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Wikipedia - by Elena Chochkova, November 25, 2007


I’ve got you under my skin
I've got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me
I've got you under my skin

Cole Porter 1936

Sometimes I come across a fragrance that just takes my breath away, a fragrance that so deeply connects with my emotional core that I lose my words, which for me is a big deal. Under My Skin by Francesca Bianchi is one of those fragrances.

Francesca Bianchi is an Italian perfumer, self-taught, who lives and works in Amsterdam. These facts in themselves make her interesting, but she also single-handedly launched her independent artisanal brand in 2016 and was acknowledged three years later as an exceptionally gifted perfumer. CaFleureBon rated her line as Best Indie House in 2019

Under My Skin is her fourth fragrance, launched in late 2017. In her press release, she said:

“I started working on it around 2 years ago. I was charmed by strong animalic scents, and I tried to do my own; but I had to realize that what I like in other’s creations is not necessarily what I like to create myself. So after adding materials going into the heavy or sweet or stable-like animalic theme, I had to eliminate them little by little, and arrive to this solution which suits me the best: a leathery, slightly animalic, powdery one, a velvety and elegant take. The name comes from a conversation with an artist and fragrance lover, who told me it was as if the scent emanates from skin, rather than being sprayed from outside. This concept of ‘Under My Skin’ reinforced my path of going into something more subtly ’human’ than overtly ‘animal’. 

Under My Skin extrait de parfum owns a long and complex note list but it wears on skin with intimate warmth and elegance.  The opening is at first citrusy and herbal from grapefruit and lavender but the notes are beautifully rendered in watercolour tones, fresh and dewy and soft. A cloud of milky sandalwood and orris butter rises and goes poof! releasing the lush elegance of the vegetal iris accord which merges with salty/sweet ambergris, sueded leather and musk notes as the perfume dries down.  Spicy pepper and carnation, rose and more sandalwood and balsamic wood notes and dark vanilla and bitter moss expand the warm skin notes, adding depth and texture, so that Under My Skin taps into intimate memories. The scent of home and place – woods, seashores, gardens, kitchens, books, clothes. And the scent of loved ones - siblings, mothers, fathers, lovers, babies, children, wives, husbands.

Under My Skin is really two scents. Smell it up close on your skin and it is leathery and sensual, a deep animalic scent. Catch its elegant waft from your clothes and it is creamy and velvety, an intimate human scent. Because of this subtle dichotomy, Under My Skin is an incredibly wearable fragrance, for any person for any occasion. It is a fragrance I wear just for myself, for how it makes me feel. It's truly gotten under my skin and connected with my psyche, which is where I started with this story.

Describing her creative process on her website, Francesca says:

“The creation of a perfume is a very long and complex process, and it takes me a hermit life to devise a formula which I then blend, holding my breath at every drop I add as in a sacred ritual. At those ecstatic and silent moments, I feel like an alchemist which – through a transformation – gives birth to something new, which is not the simple addition of different materials.”

Francesca is on her own brilliant path as an olfactory alchemist. Under My Skin is definitely a new interpretation of the animalic genre in contemporary perfumes - there is currently nothing else like it. Seamlessly blended and harmonious, not dark, or loud, or polarizing, her fragrance emanates warmth and good-feeling, with a “lean-in” quality that is so appealing.    

Under My Skin is not about the notes, it’s about the feelings it stirs, and I can feel Francesca’s passion for her art whenever I wear it. I know that we can all use more passion and beautiful art in our daily lives as we live through this uncertain time.

Under My Skin is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.

Image -


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.

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.


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, 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.