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Nose-to-nose: Sniffing out news with Esther


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New in niche

What is it about tobacco? Seems it’s one of this season's hot (so to speak) notes. And the latest release from Diptyque, Volutes, sounds particularly enticing, as described by Denyse on Grain de MuscIt is, she writes, inspired by one of the company’s founder’s “memories of crossing from Marseille to Saigon and smelling the Egyptian cigarettes smoked by glamorous female passengers.” I’m intrigued—are you? And if tobacco is your thing, check out these decants with tobacco notes from Gwen and Kay.

Vintage appeal

My sister, also a perfume hound, has a small bottle of vintage Tabu, that classic Jean Carles creation—a sexy, animalic oriental. The ‘fume can still be found on drugstore shelves, though the current version—like so many—apparently pales in comparison to the vintage. Now I see on that Dana, the company behind Tabu, is releasing a limited edition version of the scent, titled 1932 by Tabu, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the perfume. Yup, I’ll be searching it out. And getting my sister to send along a sample of the vintage to compare it to!

Deals, deals, deals

If you’re in the US—or have a pal there who will let you have perfume delivered to their address—you might want to check out’s Boutique Fragrance Finds sale. Sale ends this weekend, and features niche lines Yosh, Bois 1920 and Carthusia. The prices aren’t deep discounts—more in the 20 to 25% off range—but hey, at those prices, any savings are welcomed! One not on offer in the sale is Kay's fave, Bois 1920 La Vaniglia, but you can order a sample from her here. 

Nosing around

I love stories about the creators of some of the stand-out vintage perfumes, and the story of Jean Carles and his creation of Carven’s Ma Griffe is one of my favourites. (Carles was also the nose behind Dana’s Tabu, Elsa Schiaparelli’s Shocking, Miss Dior and a number of Lucien Lelong scents.) Much as Beethoven created symphonies while deaf, apparently Carles created Ma Griffe (the name is French for “my signature”) after losing his sense of smell. Imagine: a scent created entirely in his head! And a terrific one at that—a floral chypre that opens with a burst of citrus and green notes and while the florals do surface, the green lingers on. Read more about Carles, and his influence on other perfumers, in this short article on Interested in sampling Ma Griffe? Gwen and Kay have it on offer.

Makes me want to try it

I love it when someone points me to a well-priced treat…though when that treat is only available an ocean away, as Bien-etre L’Eau Parfumee des Familles is, it’s a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, I have a pal on her way to Paris soon, and she’s offered to pick up a bottle—at just 6 Euros—for me. Can’t wait to see if it lives up to Victoria’s description on Bois de Jasmin. I bet it will--she hasn’t steered me wrong yet!

Just because

Those of us in the West think of Grasse as the traditional centre of perfume production, and I didn’t realize that there was an Eastern equivalent: Kannauj in India, the centre of the production of traditional eastern attars. There’s a terrific story and photo essay about the area, and the disappearance of the traditional attar factories, on the CNN site—worth checking out. And thanks to Lila Das Gupta on Basenotes for pointing it out!