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Nose-to-nose: Sniffing out news with Esther

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New in niche

If you’re a ‘fume hound, odds are that you’ve found your way once or twice to the reference site Now, the founders of the site have come out with their own niche line of perfumes, The Vagabond Prince, with the first frag titled Enchanted Forest and created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. (I love Monsieur Duchaufour’s work, but I do sometimes wonder if he’s actually triplets, given the volume of work he produces.) The sales copy is as over-the-top as perfume marketing verbiage usually is (see the excerpt on Now Smell This for proof), but the notes do sound intriguing: pink pepper, aldehydes, sweet orange, cassis flower, blackcurrant leaf, hawthorn, rosemary, coriander, honeysuckle, rose, vetiver, oakmoss, fir balsam, patchouli, castoreum, cedar, vanilla, musk and more. Available at Jovoy Paris and Check out the long list of Duchaufour decants on offer from Gwen and Kay as well. 

Vintage appeal

A pineapple chypre? Because I couldn’t wrap my nose around the idea, I had to search out the juice that prompted this description: Jean Patou’s Colony. Discontinued, of course. I surfed eBay, checked out Ruby Lane and watched for mentions on message boards. I didn’t want to spring, unsniffed, for a full bottle at almost $300 (heck, even if I was sure of what it smelled like, $300 was out of my price range!). And then a lucky find: just before Christmas I spotted an auction for a vintage mini. I bid, I won—and for under $10, I got to sniff. And yes, “pineapple chypre” is the perfect description. It’s a lovely sunny scent—but while I’d love a larger bottle, $300 is still beyond reach. I’ll keep looking though: you never know what you might find on the yard sale and junk shop circuit! 

Interested in sampling chypres? Check out the chypres on offer from Gwen and Kay. 

Interested in finding out more about Colony? Check out this post on Yesterday’s Perfume

Deals, deals, deals

It’s true: I’ve turned most of my family members into perfume-aholics—or at least got them keeping their eyes open for deals and steals. Recently, my brother mentioned a great spot for perfume-hunting: the discount shelves of drug stores, especially in January when the great post-Christmas clear-out commences. He’s picked up Cacharal’s Noa and Giorgio Beverly Hills at bargain basement prices for the ladies in his life (his girlfriend and sisters), and recently scored 150 ml of Perry Ellis for Men (original) for himself—all for under $20 each.

Nosing around

Normally, I’d be pointing you to an article or background on a single perfumer, but this time, I’m going to point you to three hours of pure perfume pleasure: the BBC’s three-part series on perfume, available in chunks on YouTube. The presenter is occasionally overwrought, but the information is terrific, and the interviews with perfumers including Christopher Brosius, Thierry Wasser and Jean-Paul Guerlain are all illuminating. (A couple of appearances by author and fragrance expert Chandler Burr are, frankly, less compelling.) Check them out on simply type “BBC Perfume” into the search bar and they’ll pop up.

Makes me want to try it

I looove “best of” lists, and the end of the year brings out the “best of 2012” perfume lists from a number of bloggers. Check out The Non-Blonde’s list, Denyse Beaulieu’s list at Grain de Musc, Victoria’s list on Bois de Jasmin, the Now Smell This list, Perfume Posse list and Perfume-Smellin’ Things list.

What were my faves of the ones I sampled in 2012? Seville a L’Aube is definitely near the top of my list, as is Frapin’s Speakeasy. A whiff of Olfactive Studio's Lumiere Blanche has me thinking that it might make my 2013 “to buy” list. Of the ones the others have mentioned that I haven’t sniffed, I think I’ll be looking for a chance to sniff Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire, Vero Profumo Mito and Anat Fritz Tzora—and about a dozen more! Interested in sampling Speakeasy or Une Voix Noire? Gwen and Kay have decants!

Just because

The cool older siblings of friends blasted Space Oddity; my generation bopped to Let’s Dance and we all knew the words (or at least some of them) to Ziggie Stardust. But after a decade of silence, I think we’d all assumed that rock icon David Bowie had retired. Turns out, not. He’s about to release a new album in March, and the track Where Are We Now? can be seen (and viewed) on I honestly can’t quite figure out what the melancholy tune is really about, but it is kind of catchy. 

Of course, I couldn’t help wondering what scent Mr. Bowie might favour. Turns out, the folks on Basenotes have wondered the same thing.