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Skive – smoky and woody and exceptional – June 20, 2015

Skive - 2015 Art and Olfaction Award winner, Independent Category, 2015

Awards shows like the Oscars, the Tony’s and the Emmys are always fun. I love tracking who’s been nominated, who wins and who doesn’t. I’ve never really paid much attention to the mechanics of the voting. It’s just a bit of entertainment for me after all. But when it comes to awards for fragrance, I sit up and pay close attention to the entire awards process because the results could affect my credit card.

I am full of questions when it comes to perfume awards. For example, I want to know how fragrances are nominated, how judges are determined. I want to know the categories, if the sponsors’ support influences the judging, the rules of eligibility, among other things. When I read a piece by Luca Turin on the process of judging the Art and Olfaction Awards, I came away with a lot more respect for the nominees and winners of these awards: “Age and experience have their consolations: as a veteran reviewer of fragrances, I was asked to be a judge in the Art and Olfaction Awards, to my knowledge the only fluff-free fragrance contest in the world. They send you numbered samples with no information as to who did them, with a brief text written by perfumers (again, no names) explaining what they were trying to do.”

And I really began looking at the fragrances nominated for an Art and Olfaction Award. They have won our seal of approval here at the niche - we’ve written about Art and Olfaction Award winner Bat, Eau de Céleri and Miyako in this blog.

And then there’s Skive, by Canoe Goods, winner of the 2015 Art and Olfaction Award in the Independent Category. An exceptional, unisex fragrance that is beautiful to wear.

Canoe Goods is a modern leather studio launched by designer/artist Natalie Davis in 2009. Based in Austin Texas, Ms. Davis specializes in handmade leather-tooled home goods, accessories and art.

In 2014 Ms. Davis teamed up with nose Jessica Hannah, of J. Hannah Co., who creates small batch hand-bottled natural fragrances in her studio in San Francisco, and created Skive. Named for the process of thinning the backside of leather strips by planing off thin layers with a knife, Skive, according to the Canoe Goods website, was inspired by “The musky amber-rich scent captures the essence of Canoe’s sun-drenched studio, animalistic with hints of freshly brewed tea. Skive includes ancient oils with aromatic qualities of fresh turned earth, campfires, old wooden cabinets, and dried tea leaves.”

Skive opens campfire smoky, sweet and woody from pungent choya loban, which is a distillation of Indian frankincense. It’s used in natural perfumery in Russian leather fragrances and in creating leather accords. Here it morphs into the smell of soft, worn leather.

I. Am. In. Love.

Ambrette and castroium make it animalic, while clary sage and myrrh give it a dry bitterness. Atlas cedarwood heightens the woodiness and the sweetness. Ms. Davis is tea lover and there is a whiff of lapsang souchong here. Nutmeg makes it warm while saffron adds an earthy dimension that is picked up by vetiver. A note of tobacco rounds it out with its rich, warm and sweet facets. I smell all of these notes but experience the fragrance as a whole because it is blended in such a way that the notes seem to slouch into each other instead of playing of each other.

I don’t have a scent reference for a sun-drenched leather design studio but I know a great fragrance when I smell one. I love it when I pick a winner!

Skive is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $9.00 for 1 ml.