Blog post by Gwen

Skive – smoky and woody and exceptional

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

When the Art and Olfaction Awards were founded in 2014, it was good news for perfume lovers because they promote independent, artisan and experimental perfumers. And because of those awards, I’ve discovered some exceptional fragrances, like Skive by Canoe Goods. Skive won a top prize in 2015 in the Independent Category, and once you smell it, you’ll understand why.

Canoe Goods is a modern leather studio founded by designer/artist Natalie Davis in 2009. Based in Austin, Texas, Ms. Davis specializes in handmade leather-tooled home goods, furniture and art in the tradition of Texas leatherworking.

In 2014 she teamed up with perfumer Jessica Hannah of J. Hannah Co., who makes small-batch hand-bottled natural fragrances, to create Skive. Named for skiving (thinning the backside of leather strips by planing off thin layers with a knife), Skive was inspired by the evocative scent of Ms. Davis’ sun-drenched studio.

On me, Skive opens smoky, sweet and woody from choya loban, a distillation of Indian frankincense. The smokiness trails through the fragrance and calls up a note of Atlas cedarwood, which brings a subtle balsamic freshness and dry woodiness to the opening. Ambrette, sweet, ambery and musky, appears, joined by castoreum, which picks up the slightly animal scent of the ambrette and heightens it before blooming into the smell of well-worn, supple, sensuous leather, that’s like nothing I have smelled in other fragrance. As it evolves, a note of clary sage shows up. It’s fresh and botanical, with delicate musky facets highlighted by amber accents that help it blend right in. Myrrh is earthy and warm and balances the freshness of the clary sage. Nutmeg and saffron add more spicy warmth. Tobacco blends well with castoreum, cedar and sage, allowing its sweet, herbaceous and woody nature to shine. Ms. Davis is a tea lover, and tobacco's tea facet is a wink to that. Vetiver here is sweet, leathery, earthy and smoky. It loops back to those notes and is the perfect way to draw Skive to a close.

Skive dries to a warm, soft, subtly sweet, graceful leather scent. There is nothing sharp, pungent or overbearing, and the transitions from note to note are barely perceptible. Breaking it down by note is a real disservice because it’s the scent of an experience. So, here’s how it smells. We have a cabin in the country, no running water, no electricity. When we go there, we cook over a campfire, we hike in the woods, we swim in a pristine lake. I bought a used leather coat from a thrift store many years ago that I keep at the cabin. It’s so worn; it’s taken the shape of my body like a second skin. Over the years, it has come to smell of the sun warming the wood walls, the smoky campfires, the earth beneath our feet, and the plants and trees we walk through. This is Skive.

Check out Skive in our Shop.