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Palissandre d`Or – Rosy and woody and textured – May 2, 2016

Original Aedes de Venustus store, Christopher St. NYC -

This spring marks the sixth birthday of perfumeniche and since we are celebrating with a contest which centres on besties, I’ve been thinking about my bestie, Kay, and our friendship, our shared passion for fragrance and this blog.

Kay and I met when I moved into the neighborhood about 25 years ago. We live one house away from each other and since we are about the same age, it wasn’t long before we became friends sharing each other’s good times and bad times over dinners, drinks and gatherings at each other’s houses. As we got to know each other better, we realized we shared a lot of interests but especially a passion for niche fragrances. We would gather samples or buy decants, get together over a glass of wine, or two, and smell, sniff, talk and laugh.

Living in Toronto, it was more difficult to get niche fragrances then. And, if you could find them online, shipping and duty costs added about a third more to the cost of the fragrance, making some of them outrageously expensive. So, one evening, we decided that the best thing to do was to go to New York, and see some of our favourite perfumes up close and personal.

That first trip, we were like kids in Dylan's Candy Bar. We went to places we’d heard about or seen online like New London Pharmacy, Comme des Garçons and L’Artisan. We gorged on Goutals, swooned over Lutens’ and binged on Parfum de Nicolai fragrances.

So many great memories come back to me from that first visit. One evening, we were on our way to dinner at Kittichai. Walking down Thompson St., we found a L’Artisan store so we nipped in and treated ourselves to a bottle of perfume (Passage d’Enfer for me, Timbuktu for Kay). After we left the store, we walked by a nail salon and decided to have a 10-minute manicure. Scented and polished, we walked into the restaurant in perfect time for our dinner reservation. Then, after a fantastic meal we walked up to the Blue Note and caught a jazz set. Our idea of a perfect evening.

Another stand-out memory was our first visit to Aedes de Venustas, the niche perfume store on Christopher St. in the West Village. We were on the hunt for the just-launched Aedes de Venustas EdP 2008 by L`Artisan Parfumeur, but we didn’t expect what we found. A bijou box of a store, the decor was luxe - painted a dark jewel-toned purple with gold coloured accents, it was textured and rich. The place was full of glass bell jars, candles, floral arrangements - there was even a stuffed peacock somewhere in the mix as I recall.  The niche fragrances were displayed in handsome wooden cabinets, on glass shelves or a mantelpiece. It was the perfect setting to sniff, to linger and to experience some of our favourite perfumes.

That day, we met one of the owners, Robert Gerstner, who couldn’t have been nicer. He made us feel like he had all the time in the world for us. He talked about the development of Aedes de Venustas L`Artisan Parfumeur, a trip to Brazil that he and partner Karl Bradl had taken and our mutual love for niche fragrances.

We’ve been to Aedes de Venustas many times since, and the last time I was there, I brought back the stunning Palissandre d`Or.

‘Palissandre’, which means ‘Rosewood’ in English, is a precious wood in the Dalbergia family. Native to the tropical regions of southern Asia, Africa and Central and South America, the cut wood is fragrant and aromatic, smelling more of flowers than of wood. It is the inspiration for Palissandre d`Or EdP, which the Aedes de Vensutas website calls ‘…a journey into the quintessence of wood.’

On me, Palissandre d`Or doesn’t move through layers, but evolves seamlessly. It opens with ambrette – vegetal and musky, its rose facet is pronounced on me, enveloped by its pear and iris aspects. You know right from the start that you are smelling a great perfume. Soon, pink pepper amplifies the rose at the opening while coriander adds a spicy woodiness to the fragrance. Nutmeg gives it a subtle sweet/spiciness. Then, cinnamon heats up Palissandre d`Or and releases the woods – sandalwood, subtly smoky and rose-faceted, reinforced with balsamic, woodsy copahu balm along with three types of cedarwood: Virginian, Chinese and Alaskan. They smell of cedar, tea and leather. There is the smell of moss, which is probably from patchouli. Ambroxan, smelling like warm skin and clean wood is the perfect ending.

The drydown is a refined and elegant woody, smoky and musky skin scent that is as textured as the shop I first visited with Kay.

Since then, the store has moved to Greenwich Ave., is now called Aedes Perfumery, the fragrance line has expanded and Kay and I still sniff, drink, laugh and share.

We love it when good people like Robert Gerstner and Karl Bradl make high quality perfumes  - I suspect that that will never change.

Palissandre d`Or is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.