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Pear + Olive – Outside the box, inside my heart – February 8, 2013 New Fragrance Listing


Photo - Wikipedia - Pears

If you've read my September 2012 post - Norne – Not just a walk in the forest – you learned one or two fascinating details about me LOL, but more importantly, you learned much more about Slumberhouse, the indie perfume house located in Portland, Oregon. And you discovered Norne, the deep, dark, green, forest perfume that you should experience if you are truly serious about niche perfumery.

Slumberhouse, which started a few years ago as a collective effort by several young post-punk artists, has evolved to be now only Josh Lobb, a self-taught perfumer whose creative star glows brighter with every new fragrance he launches. You can learn quite a bit about Josh’s creative approach in this excellent interview by Ron Slomowicz on  For example, he doesn’t use top notes…” typically I don’t ever like to use them. I don’t think I ever have..” and “…Right now, the fragrances that I am working on would probably surprise a lot of people. They are definitely not as crazy…I am really focusing on wearability…. my approach is more streamlined and somewhat different than the perfumes that I have put out thus far.”

The first release in this new “wearability” direction appears to be Pear + Olive, which launched in October 2012. The first notable difference is that this fragrance has a real name, rather than a non-descriptive single syllable like its predecessors - Rume, Vikt, Jeke, Grev, Norne - so it creates real expectations before the first spritz. “I’m going to smell a pear note and an olive note”. Well, yes… and no…because this is a Slumberhouse scent, which, like the website banner says, are “strange and unique perfumes”.

Josh isn’t kidding, he’s right, he doesn’t use top notes, and it’s right down to business with the first sniffs of Pear + Olive. But I’m not smelling a pear or olive anywhere. Instead, for the first 15 seconds or so, I smell booze, a delicious alcoholic winey note of brandy in a snifter, without the sweet caramel fumes. I’m enjoying this unexpected deliciousness, when I get a distinct waft of funk. It can only be cheese – Danish Blue or Gorgonzola – has someone has read my hungry mind, and set down a cheese plate? The cheese waft transforms into a very faintly sweet green vegetal note, with a waxy slightly bitter undertone, and after a couple of minutes, there it is – pear and olive, or maybe pear leaf and olive leaf, a perfectly refined accord… strange and unique, and divine.

Photo - Wikipedia - Ripening Black Olives

As Pear + Olive develops, this green vegetal accord warms up, becoming stronger, and is joined by others: a aromatic sweet-grassy-herbal mix – chamomile and aglaia (Chinese perfume tree blossoms), which adds a heady, earthy, almost smoky layer; a milky-wood-spice mix - massoia and calamus, which adds a creamy almost tropical coconut edge, and which works to blend the different accords into a balanced scent that is airy, and yet has great depth.

Even several hours in, the scent is vibrant and alive, and I get flickers of dry pear, bitter olive, oaky cognac – the dry-down doesn’t follow a linear path, or end in a soupy powdery cloud that just fades away. Pear + Olive has perfect sillage and, like all Slumberhouse scents, lasts for many hours with just a couple of quick spritzes. It is a perfume oil which is quickly absorbed, leaving your skin feeling silky.

Sweet, fruity, or gourmand does not describe Pear + Olive. This perfume has a green sweetness to it, with a savoury edge, the perfect marriage of opposites which makes it a divine skin scent with an aesthetic that you will love if you want “something different”. Not weird-and-demanding different, but unique-and-arresting different. It's refrained and quiet, but those around you will likely lean in for a better sniff, prompting the what-are-you-wearing question. You’ll get tired of answering it….

I love outside-the-box, strange and unique kinds of perfumes, especially when they are as beautifully composed as Josh Lobb’s Pear + Olive. I thought Norne was the only Slumberhouse fragrance that would steal my heart, but I was wrong. There are two…so far.

Pear + Olive is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.