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Nose-to-Nose: Sniffing out news with Esther

New in niche

I was recently in New York City and made a trip to Aedes de Venestus, where I had a chance to sniff three scents in the new niche line Thirdman. Now Smell This has some info on the line though it comes from a press release from the house, and is filled with less than helpful bafflegab. Of the three scents in the line, Eau Moderne was the one that grabbed me--a brisk, (yes) modern scent that reminded me a bit of the synthetic notes in some of the Comme des Garcons scents. I’d have bought a bottle—but it wasn’t yet in stock, so I had to make do with a decant which I’ve been obsessively sniffing since getting home.

Vintage appeal
In my sniffing around for information about perfumes, I came across the intriguing story of “the other No. 5.” The story goes that designer Edward Henri Molyneux and Coco Chanel both decided to launch perfumes named “No. 5” and to see whose would be the most popular. Now, since Chanel’s fragrance was launched in 1921 and Molyneux’s in 1925, the factual accuracy of this tale seems a bit questionable. (Molyneux’s Paris shop was at 5 rue Royale, and so may also have been named after his address.) Still, it was an intriguing enough story to hook me into purchasing a bottle of the now-discontinued Molyneux Numéro 5 when I spotted it on eBay for about $35. Like many vintage scents, it has a bit of a nail polish remover whiff when first applied, but quickly settles into quite a lovely scent—one Luca Turin describes as “beautiful and strange” and an “iris oriental.”  Worth the $35--to me at least!


Deals, deals, deals

One of the best things about the holiday season is the opportunity to stock up on perfume coffrets (a word I didn’t know until I started sniffing!). I love them because they give me more than a decant but with less commitment than a full bottle. Last year, it was Frédéric Malle’s boxed set that drew me in (still one of my all-time favourites and my all-time most expensive perfume buy). This year I’m tempted by L'Artisan’s trio of men’s scents—Tibuktu, Fou d’Absinthe and Coeur de Vetiver Sacré (all three of which are available in decants from Gwen and Kay here on Perfumeniche)—and the By Kilian Discovery Set. Maybe Santa will tuck one or the other under the tree!


The blogs were buzzing late last week with news of the death of nose Mona di Orio at the age of 42 from complications following surgery. Di Orio was a protégé of legendary perfumer Edmond Roudniska, and founded her own line in 2004. I’ve smelled only a couple of her scents in decants, but they are beauties—rich, layered, classic scents. If you’re interested in checking them out, try Luckyscent or The Perfume Shoppe. And you can read about di Orio herself on Perfume Shrine, Now Smell This, Osmoz  and The Perfume Magazine. 

Makes me want to try it
“A real, honest-to-goodness fresh chypre” with orange-y citrus, green underneath, with peppery undertones—those words in a review on Now Smell This were enough to tempt me to look for Parfum D’Empire’s new Azemour Les Orangers. While I’ve sampled from the line (I bought a set of 13 of their 2 ml samples on their site for 16 Euros), I haven’t yet bought a full bottle (though many are FBW—and you can get decants of Ambre Russe and Fougere Bengale here on Based on Robin’s review, Azemour might well be my first!

Just because

Wow! When I started getting interested in perfume last year, I very quickly read my way through the relatively limited number of easily available books on perfume and the perfume industry: Turin and Sanchez’s Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, Chandler Burr’s books The Emperor of Scent and The Perfect Scent, and Luca Turin’s The Science of Scent. And that was pretty well it. But this year and into 2012, it seems like perfume books are popping up all over the place. In 2011, we’ve seen Turin and Sanchez’s Little Book of Perfumes and Hermes nose Jean-Claude Ellena’s Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent. In 2012, we can expect Frédéric Malle’s On Perfume Making (priced at an eye-popping $150), Michael Edwards’ Fragrances of the World 2012 (even more eye-popping at $200+) and Grain de Musc blogger Denyse Beaulieu’s The Perfume Lover (priced like a real book and frankly, the one I’m most looking forward to, since she’s a terrific—and terrifically smart—writer).