To Niche or not to Niche?

What is niche perfume? Simon tells you everything you need to know about nice fragrances and why you should make the switch from department store scents.

What is niche perfume? Simon tells you everything you need to know about nice fragrances and why you should make the switch from department store scents.

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Patch Flash Sketch Tauerville

Flash Patch from Andy Tauer

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS We asked Andy Tauer what Patch Flash was ...

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Patch Flash Sketch Tauerville
Sketch by Andy Tauer

We asked Andy Tauer what Patch Flash was all about and this sketch was his answer.
For any of you that follow Andy on Instagram, you know he is a constant sketcher.

If it was up to Andy, he would say you need to discover it on your own. He likes the idea that everybody smells it without worrying too much about inspiration and notes.
Do you love it or don’t you?
We know that we do.
Patch Flash from Andy Tauer’s TAUERVILLE is a gorgeous oriental sent with notes of Spices, Warm flowers, Leather, Patchouli, Benzoin.
Now it is up to you to decide for yourself.
Andy Tauer's Patch Flash
Patch Flash Tauerville

Created by Andy Tauer the self made perfumer behind Tauer Perfumes, Tauerville is a fresh and fun and a simpler take on Andy’s incredible vision of scent. These small format fragrances are either a perfect introduction to his more complex scents or just a beautiful way to lose yourself in fragrance.

Tauerville by Andy Tauer

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Let us take you on a journey to B683

One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye. The ...

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B683One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye.
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Marc-Antoine Barrois is a French couturier who wants to take us to his planet B683, and he does this through a perfume that he created with the perfumer Quentin Bisch.
That is impossible you say?
Is it?

Monsieur Barrois is about creation and Monsieur Bisch is a perfumer. They took their childhood memories and they created something that they loved. They created a fragrance that comes from olfactive experiences that touched them, of elegant attaché cases, of gathering wood, of moments that can be defined and some that cannot. Moments that have been somehow put together into a fragrance. That fragrance is a world unto its own.

As Le Petit Prince, took great care of his planet B-612, Monsieur Barrois has created a beautiful scent full of memories and emotion that is his planet B683.
Very poetic you say?
When a perfume is truly great, is it not poetic and full of emotion and memories?

It makes you want to smell your wrist again where you sprayed it in the morning. Or steal back your lover’s shirt that he wore yesterday, so you may keep him close while he is gone.
This is not a perfume to spray on a blotter when you try it, spray it right on your skin, and be ready to travel to B683.
Just be warned, you may not want to come back.


The primary note is spicy, made up of:
Black Pepper

The heart of the perfume is like a precious leather or suede and is made up of:
Violet leaf
Cistus Absolute

The base note is warm and woody and is made up of:
Santal Wood
Oak Moss

Shop B683 from Marc-Antoine Barrois, HERE

Marc-Antoine Barrois
Marc-Antoine Barrois is a French couturier born from a northern French family who had made name for themsel- ves in the textile industry. From a very early age he was fascinated by his grandfather’s elegance that drove him to seek the art of simple luxury without ostentation but assuredly with finesse. After learning patterns, cutting and sewing as he was studying textile engineering, he designed his first collection in Lille in 2006. This success then led Marc-Antoine Barrois to work with Dominique Sirop, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Jean-Claude Jitrois before creating his own Maison de Couture for men. Offering men what women have already in Haute Couture, Marc-Antoine Barrois designs unique suits, tuxedos and jackets for confidential clients seeking exclusivity.
The first MARC-ANTOINE BARROIS boutique opened in 2013 on rue de Budapest in Paris and offers Parisian crafted collections of jewels and accessories alongside his bespoke clothing.
As a result of the heart of the creative process, he defines his world as a new constellation offering handcrafted luxury in a place where service and a warm-spirit are prevailing.

Quentin Bisch
Quentin Bisch had a revelation that perfumes were going to be part of his life, when smelling Opium on his school teacher, at the age of 11. But his artistic and creative itinerary first started with music and theater. He lead for 5 years a theatrical group of professionals. When composing music, Quentin soon realized he was not using his meant-to-be instrument. He left everything behind and moved to Grasse to learn perfumery. A year later Jean Guichard recognized his inner talent and integrates him to the Perfumery School at Givaudan. In 2011, he finally joined the creative team of Givaudan Fine Fragrance in Paris, as a perfumer. From then he has created many perfumes among which Angel Muse and A*Men Ultra Zest for Mugler, Azzaro pour Homme FreeLight, Missoni de Missoni, Ambre Impérial for Van Cleef & Arpels, La Fin du Monde for Etat Libre d’Orange, Essencia and 7 for Loewe Sport, Fleur Narcotique for Ex Nihilo…
Quentin Bisch, likes more than anything to « create emotion, surprise, take people to journeys ».

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Simon Tooley

What is Your Fall Scent Wardrobe?

Simon Tooley, Etiket brand creator and perfume enthusiast, shares his top fragrance picks for the ...

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Simon Tooley, Etiket brand creator and perfume enthusiast, shares his top fragrance picks for the upcoming fall season.
Simon Tooley

When fall comes around, just like we feel the need to change how we dress, I think we feel the need to change our fragrance. We tend to look to heavier scents; scents with notes of Amber, Oud, Vanilla or Patchouli come to mind. It doesn’t mean we have to change our signature scent if we have one, or perhaps we have one for the fall that we only bring out then. For me when fall hits, I definitely change my fall scent wardrobe, and I look forward to wearing old favourites or trying something new.

Thirty-Three EDP by Ex Idolo
One of my favourites is Thirty-Three from Ex Idolo, this scent with thirty-three-year-old oud, takes me on a journey that includes notes of rubber and a deep sexy dry down. On a woman, it is just as beautiful.
Thirty-Three by Ex Idolo

Thirty-Three is a fragrance created from hand blended and very special ingredients. Vintage Oud is the soul of the fragrance, distilled in 1980 and aged until its release in 2013.

Suede de Suède by Mona di Orio
I love the latest scent from Mona di Orio, Suède de Suède which is somehow perfect for fall, it reminds me of a hand-made pair of suede gloves that I bought in Lisbon, deep brown and trimmed in red, this fragrance is much more than suede of course. It has a rich earthiness with the patchouli, my most favourite note, and leaves me with the warmth of suede and musk at the end.

Inspired by memories of the Mona di Orio Swedish in-house perfumer Fredrik Dalman, Suede de Suède unveils a perfume that evocatively caresses the skin like soft Swedish gloves. A smooth woody suède accord warms you like the silky backside of a fur.

Savoy Steam by Penhaligon’s
One of the newest launches from Penhaligon’s, Savoy Steam, is a surprising take on their original scent, Hammam Bouquet from 1872, it has an Englishness that has both humour and sexiness and the touch of rosemary and eucalyptus are a perfect foil to the rose and pink pepper.
Savoy Steam Penhaligon's
A fitting tribute to the original Penhaligon’s scent, Hammam Bouquet, Savoy Steam has top notes of bergamot, lemon, eucalyptus, mint, pink pepper and rosemary; middle notes of rose, geranium, cardamom, hedione and tea; base notes are benzoin, incense, vanilla and white musk.

Close Up by Olfactive Studio
I think one of the recent launches from Olfactive Studio, Close Up, deserves attention with Amber and Tonka, and a Green Coffee top note that makes me smile. There is a richness that just makes you want to spray it on your turtleneck so you feel that intensity each time you wear it.
Close Up Olfactive Studio
Intense and contrasting, the amber tones combine with a freshness. It has a full- bodied character that blends seamlessly with anise and green coffee. Zooming in even closer, each ingredient gains in intensity and distinctness.

London by Gallivant
Finally, my pick for a fragrance that goes from spring to summer to fall and into our cold winters is from Gallivant, called London. It may be the reference to the Pet Shop boys but who doesn’t want to be an East End Boy or a West End Girl? The rose mixed with leather, sandalwood, patchouli and cedarwood take you from the of ce to the “pub” to meet your “chum” after work. My go to scent this fall so far.
It’s a floral leather fragrance. With a watery green head, of cucumber and violet leaves. A floral heart, with Rose de Mai Absolute, rose oil and orris root. And base notes of leather, sandalwood, patchouli and cedarwood.

Come meet our experts to find out what would be your ideal fall scent: a scent that would suit you like your wardrobe.

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Review: Gallivant’s Istanbul & Brooklyn by Chemist in the Bottle

This is a reblog of a review by Lucas from Chemist in the Bottle about ...

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This is a reblog of a review by Lucas from Chemist in the Bottle about Istanbul and Brooklyn from Gallivant.

Road trip, two from Gallivant

It’s incredibly flattering for me when once in a while I receive an email from a perfume brand stating that they’ve been following my blog for a while & like my writing style, therefore they’d like to send me samples. For me it’s a great way of discovering new things but also to develop more personal relationship with a brand, because I have that 1 message I can later use for further contact. Few weeks ago I was approached in a way mentioned by Nick Steward, founder of Gallivant. The name rang a bell in my mind, so of course I was happy to try their fragrances. Gallivant as a verb means “to go around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment” while the brand sources their perfume ideas from nomad life and being a traveller. Perfume is a destination here.gallivantIstanbul (shown above left) embodies “this feeling of an ancient city, but with a freshness, a modernity. An old luxury and a new confidence.” Its composition starts with a tart bergamot that is so diffusive it feels more like a shade cast by a citrus tree on a sunny day. It’s gone in a quick poof, stepping down to make room for cardamom. The latter one is more and spicy, with a crunchy and roasted background. There’s even something slightly caramelized about it. Its impression is followed by red thyme which gradually builds up an herbal aspect of the scent. This one is also a bit sweaty. Heart of the fragrance hides lavender absolute that is a marriage between floral and herbaceous elements. As far as I’m concerned I found its aroma to be quite dry & more herbal than floral. Geranium is a source of temporary feeling of something crispy and green but later it develops a sharp, minty undertone. Because it seems a bit metallic it feels slightly disturbing, at least to me. Later on I get opoponax and patchouli. They blend nicely together to create a multi-layer of woody, balsamic, earthy and sweet notes. It’s a source of pleasure in Instanbul the fragrance. The base is firing up with generous dose of rich vanilla, supported by beautiful, creamy spiciness of tonka bean. Amber adds a sensual warmth while sandalwood brings forth a seductive vibe. The drydown has some heft to it but doesn’t feel too heavy. It’s definitely the most interesting part of this scent.

Brooklyn (shown above right) according to the brand is about “non-stop go-go-go” while the perfume is meant to be “energetic with a creative and intellectual fizz.” In this case the opening is build around bergamot again but it lingers on skin, effusing tart, aromatic and zesty molecules. As soon as lemon and orange add their values, the perfume starts to be a kick of energy, very juicy, tasty and mouth-watering like a glass of freshly squeezed juice you could grab on your way to work. We have cardamom here again but much less accentuated, it’s all about citrus at the moment. However there is a twist to it when incense starts to sneak in, bringing some sheer smokiness with it. Who would have thought that it would smell so nice with lemon or bergamot. Later on Brooklyn juiciness becomes more clean. It smells of fresh air, clean cotton sheets with a little bit of ozonic notes. From citrus it gradually goes to pale, aquatic florals. I can smell silky magnolia and perhaps a little bit of water-lily but Gallivant uses a general term of transparent flowers. It does feel sheer, airy and with pastel colors. There’s also a gentle powdery vibe of iris here. The drydown has a fluffy musk accord blended with white woods that are delicate and that don’t add much weight to the scent. Amber (much lighter than in Istanbul) raises temperature a bit while benzoin listed among notes was barely there on my skin. Perhaps it was very subtle and got overlooked because of ambery note.


Both Istanbul and Brooklyn have decent projection and good longevity. They are interesting and quite easy to wear. Gallivant team decided to work with young perfumers  – Istanbul was created by Karine Chevallier while Brooklyn is a composition from Giorgia Navarra (trained by Bertrand Duchaufour). These 2 are a half of initial collection from Gallivant, other 2 represent London and Tel Aviv. Plus there will be another two appearing this fall. All fragrances are in eau de parfum concentration and since the brand is about exploring and discovering places, their bottle is travel friendly (and perfumista friendly) since it’s a 30 ml size. Feel like going to any of these two places?

To read more reviews from Lucas, visit Chemist in the Bottle

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Discover Savoy Steam from Penhaligon’s

SAVOY STEAM The latest fragrance from Penhaligon’s Savoy Steam is inspired by the first fragrance from ...

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The latest fragrance from Penhaligon’s
Penhaligon'sSavoy Steam is inspired by the first fragrance from Penhaligon’s, Hammam Bouquet, that was created in 1872 by William Penhaligon as a nod to the Turkish baths and saunas that were all the rage in London in that era. Where Hammam Bouquet is exotic, Savoy Steam is fastidiously clean; both beautiful scents in their own right.

Savoy Steam takes it’s name from the famous Savoy Turkish Baths that were at 92 Jermyn Street in London. The traditional Penhaligon’s bow on the bottle is made to look like a Turkish striped cotton towel.

This eau de parfum is a beautiful simple fragrance with notes of rose, pink pepper and geranium resolute. There is Tunisian rosemary that adds a spicy note and the base notes of incense, vanilla and white musk anchor the scent very subtly.

This is a fragrance for men or women and is an especially good scent for any man who wants to wear a rose scent but doesn’t want one that is inextricably mixed with leather and amber.

Discover Savoy Steam

The first fragrance from Penhaligon’s
Penhaligon's Hammam BouquetPenhaligon’s first scent, Hammam Bouquet, was dreamt up by William Penhaligon in 1872 after inhaling the steam and sulphurous aromas of the neighbouring Turkish baths. This first fragrance was Williams’ lifelong personal favourite and remains one of Penhaligon’s bestsellers today. The base notes include musk, amber and sandalwood, the middle notes are of roses, cedarwood, orris and jasmine, and the top notes are lavender and bergamot.

Discover Hammam Bouquet

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Fragrances by Gallivant

GALLIVANT Perfumes: Where are you going next?

Meet GALLIVANT, the modern indie fragrance house founded by Nick Steward, former Creative Director of ...

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Fragrances by GallivantMeet GALLIVANT, the modern indie fragrance house founded by Nick Steward, GALLIVANT's Nick Stewardformer Creative Director of L’ Artisan Parfumeur. GALLIVANT is all about the belief in getting out into the world and discovering more. In feet-on-the-ground exploration. The freedom to wander and travel. These unique fragrances capture the vibe of the brand’s favourite destinations. Cool, creative cities. Unisex eau de parfums for urban explorers who like to travel light.

Always easy, always streamlined, these scents also come packaged in 30ml ‘nomad’ bottles to help you on your journey. Designed in London, handmade by artisans in France and England.

Where are you going next?

GALLIVANT LONDONLondon, is a floral leather fragrance. With a watery green head, of cucumber and violet leaves. A floral heart, with Rose de Mai Absolute, rose oil and orris root. And basenotes of leather, sandalwood, patchouli and cedarwood.

Tel Aviv
GALLIVANT TEL AVIVTel Aviv is a bright, sunny, floral fruity fragrance. A fresh, fruity head, and notes of clementine, bergamot, and blackcurrant bud. A floral heart with jasmine sambac absolute, Comoros’ ylang ylang, rose oil and freesia. And a warm, musky base with sandalwood, musks, Deer’s Tongue absolute (liatrix) and benzoin.

GALLIVANT ISTANBULIstanbul is an ambery, woody, spicy fragrance. A fresh aromatic head, with notes of bergamot, cardamom, red thyme. A woody, aromatic heart, with lavender absolute, Egyptian geranium essence, patchouli heart and sweet myrrh (opoponax) essence. And basenotes of sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, amber and musks.


GALLIVANT BROOKLYN   Brooklyn is a musky citrus fragrance. A fresh, spicy, fizzy head, with notes of bergamot, squeezed lemon and orange juice. Incense, cardamom, ozonic notes. A floral heart, with magnolia and orris root. And a base of white woods, benzoin, amber and musks.


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Escentric Molecule: Molecule 01

Our Top 10 Best Perfumes 2016

We love to look back at the end of each year and see what were ...

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We love to look back at the end of each year and see what were our best selling fragrances were. Some of our best perfumes in 2016 were a surprise and others we just knew were going to make the list.

1. Escentric Molecules: Molecule 01 Molecule 01 best perfume in 2016
This cult classic is an easy winner. Molecule 01 consists of the molecule Iso E Super pure and simple. It’s what happens when you wear this scent that makes all the fuss. We can’t say that we always understand why it is so popular when you really only smell it on someone else and not yourself. Then again, we have heard one too many stories about people being followed in to some very interesting situations to not understand why you would not want to add this to your collection. We do love to layer it as much as to wear it on its own.

2. Ex Idolo: Thirty-Three Thirty-Three
This scent has quietly grown to be one of our most popular. That thirty-three year old Oud is of course what does it. Velvety and rich, we think equally smooth, this beautiful fragrance tends to grow on you. It is romantic and sexy but never crosses the line. Equally popular with men and women we think it has found a solid following for years to come.

3. Monsillage: Eau de Celeri
celeri_grande-1This fresh and green, but not too green scent, is a perfect addition to your chypre collection, or a perfect start to one. It may have won an Art & Olfaction award in 2015 but it is still growing strong with all levels of perfume lovers. There is something about that ‘celery blast’ that appeals to most if not all.

4. Tauer Perfumes: L’ Air du Désert Marocain L'Air du Desert Marocain
We are not sure how we could not have an Andy Tauer fragrance in our top ten, and this was an easy and clear addition. It is of course a must have for any niche perfume collector but it is of course a must have for anyone who is a serious oriental fragrance lover. Does it matter what the notes are when we are taken so easily right into the desert moonlight of a Moroccan desert. Wearing is believing.

5. Mona di Orio: Myrrh Casati Mona di Orio
This is our favourite in the list. Its dark sensuality, its sophisticated complexity make it our go to scent when anyone wants to discover Mona di Orio or is ready to delve further into niche perfumery. Perhaps it is knowing that the inspiration is the Marchesa Casati that we also love. There is something in how the dark myrrh is mixed with the other notes of licorice, incense, and patchouli that makes it simply addictive.

6. Arquiste: The Architects Club Architects Club
We love how Carlos Huber takes us right into a Mayfair Art Deco smoking room with this scent. We feel we are right there in a richly wood paneled library with rich velvet and much laughter. It is our favourite vanilla scent, probably because it does anything but scream vanilla, but layers it in at just the right moment with notes of juniper, citrus and spice to balance everything out.

7. Dame Perfumery: Black Flower Mexican Vanilla Dame Perfumery
This simple and beautiful scent was a bit of a surprise to us, but it shouldn’t have been. The base of pure Mexican vanilla absolute is mixed with notes of lemon, grapefruit, caramel, nutmeg, gardenia, jasmine, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, musk and tonka which all together make quite a magical fragrance.

8. Penhaligon’s: Juniper Sling Juniper Sling
A simple yet clever fragrance that has just enough English humour in it to make you want to splash on a little more. This woody and spicy fragrance works as well on men as on women. We think that when the perfumer, Oliver Cresp, concocted it, he truly found a way to embody London Dry Gin in a way that makes it totally wearable.

9. HEELEY Parfums: Sel Marin Heeley: Sel Marin
We think this is simply THE perfect aquatic fragrance. It takes you right to the beach, but not any beach. A very sophisticated, and dare we say sexy one. The sun, sand, and spray are right there. It’s the end of a long and beautiful day in Capri, the Riviera, or St. Barth’s and the sun is setting. Everyone else has left the beach but you just can’t go. Eventually you will head back to get ready for cocktails and dinner. This is exactly what you will spray before you head out to see what that hot summer night will bring.

10. Atelier Cologne: Orange Sanguine Orange Sanguine: Atelier Cologne
Fresh and lovely, yet sophisticated and sensual. It is not just a splash of citrus, anything but. It contains notes of red orange, bitter orange, jasmine, geranium from South Africa, amber, tonka bean and sandalwood which all together make it an easy scent but with just the right touch of complexity. We find it works as well in summer as in winter and that says a lot.

These are our top 10 perfumes for 2016, but see all of our fragrances here: Fragrances at Etiket


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Most Expensive Perfume Ingredients

The Most Expensive Perfume Ingredients: Part Two

One of the most popular posts on our blog is What are the Most Expensive ...

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One of the most popular posts on our blog is What are the Most Expensive Perfume Ingredients? So due to popular demand, we asked Vic from ScentBound to give us a more in-depth look at these ingredients. Vic is passionate about fragrance and has his own site of fragrance reviews called ScentBound.

What are the most expensive perfume ingredients today? If you think oud is one of them, you’re right. There are other ingredients, however, which cost thousands of dollars and hardly get any mention. We’ve done the research, crunched the numbers and came up with a list of the four most expensive perfume ingredients on the market today.

If there is one ingredient that has taken over the fragrance industry in the last decade, this is oud. When infected with fungus, the Aquilaria tree releases a resin to fight the infection. The infected part of the tree is called agarwood or oud. Even though fungus and infection don’t sound sexy, the scent they produce in the Aquilaria tree definitely is.

The smell of the natural agarwood takes some getting used to. If you have grown up in the West and have never smelled pure oud before, chances are you won’t like it. The smell of oud varies by region and age but the common elements are a dark, dense, dry-woody scent with animalic and fecal undertones. Many people compare the smell of oud to that of blue cheese, dirty camels, or goats.

While the comparisons above describe accurately some varieties of oud, they don’t apply to others. The oud in Mona di Orio’s Oudh Osmanthus, for example, is soft, creamy and comforting that feels like a cashmere sweater. It has nothing harsh or animalic about it. The variety found in Dusita’s Oudh Infini is dry, harsh, cheesy and incredibly addictive. Both fragrances contain real oud oil from Laos and yet their oud notes smell very differently.

In 2016, a kilo of oud goes for anywhere between $50 thousand and $300 thousand. The price varies by age and location. Oud oil extracted from aged agarwood grown in the wilderness will be the most expensive variety. Farmed oud, which is usually two or three years old, will be the cheapest.

The reason why oud is so expensive comes down to simple economics. The supply of real oud is very limited because it takes many years for a tree to develop the infected resinous heartwood. Even with artificial inoculation, farmers have to wait at least two years before they can start harvesting.

The growing popularity of oud as an investment vehicle has driven the price significantly. Unprecedented growth in demand has come from China where businessmen are willing to pay amounts in the range of $20 million for a big chunk of agarwood.

Some may argue that the oud perfume explosion in the West has also driven up the demand and hence the price. Undoubtedly, Western demand for oud has played some role but not as big as it may seem on the surface. There has been unprecedented proliferation of oud fragrances on the market, however, less than 1% of the Western perfumes have real oud in them. Even respected houses like by Kilian, whose fragrances sell for $300+, admit that they don’t use real oud oil in their formulations.

If you are interested in trying some good quality oud scents, here are some good suggestions:

Oudh Osmanthas

Oudh Osmanthus by Mona di Orio
Thirty-Three by Ex Idolo
Epic Woman by Amouage
Jubilation XXV Man by Amouage

Orris Butter
Another perfume ingredient that makes the most expensive list is orris butter. It is extracted from the rhizomes (roots) of the iris flower. The popular scent of iris in many fragrances comes from molecules called irones, which are found in the orris root. The iris flower itself does have a faint smell but it is not the superstar here.

The smell of orris butter is hard to describe. The closest equivalent would be the smell of violets. Add to it some density and the illusion of texture and you get a decent idea of what it smells like.

Orris butter has been used in perfumery since the 1700’s. One of the most popular regions for harvesting orris root is Tuscany. This is where the Florentine iris comes from. Other countries, such as France and Germany, also grow and harvest the iris plant.

In Tuscany the orris root is usually harvested in the fall. The roots are peeled by hand and then dried for approximately two years. The dried roots are ground into powder and then used to produce orris butter.

The labour intensity and the time it takes to produce good quality orris butter are the two main reasons for the high price of the ingredient. In 2016 one kilo of orris root sells for approximately $24 thousand. The price varies by the percentage of irones (the aromatic molecule) found in the butter. Most commercially available orris butters contain 1% – 15% irones. There are some butters with 80% irones but they are extremely hard to find and very expensive.

The price of orris butter also depends on the method used to extract it. The CO2 method of extraction yields the highest quality butter but it is also the most expensive one. The industry standard of steam distillation is cheaper but because of its use of heat to extract the oils it may result in alterations of the scent profile.

Regardless of the extraction method, what drives up the cost of orris butter the most is the drying period. To reduce the time it takes for the orris root to dry some manufacturers have started using gama radiation. It is deemed completely safe to the human health.

The shortened production times has resulted in more fragrances featuring orris butter. Here are some good options. Heeley: Iris de Nuit

Iris de Nuit by Heeley Parfum
Jacquard by Etro
Fleur de Louis by Arquiste
Silver Iris Cologne by Atelier Cologne

Of all perfume ingredients on this list, ambergris is the one with the most interesting origin. In her excellent piece on ambergris, Claire Vukcevic explains that the ingredient is “the result of a massive poo or a violent death caused by a massive poo.”

Semantics aside, Claire is absolutely right. Ambergris forms in the small intestine of the sperm whale as an accumulation of indigestible food remnants. How exactly the whole process works Claire explains in her article. The result is an ambergris ball that the sperm whale excretes.

This is only half of the story.

The ambergris found in the whale is considered to be the lowest quality. It is soft and and literally smells of shit. In order to acquire the properties that make it sought after in the perfume industry, the ambergris has to float in the sea for 10 to 15 years. This is how it develops its complex aroma.  Its profile can include marine and seaweed notes, mineral nuances, earthy elements and in some cases even a vanilla undertone.

Unlike any other ingredient on this list, ambergris cannot be actively cultivated. Therefore, its procurement is a rather precarious process. Usually, ambergris hunters canvas the beaches in hopes to find a cast-off piece.

The unsteady supply of ambergris makes it an expensive ingredient. A kilo of the real thing sells for approximately $20 thousand. This price, however, may be too low. The secrecy surrounding the trade of ambergris prevents us from finding a price point reflective of the market.

If sourcing ambergris is such a game of luck, how come it is not the most expensive ingredient on the market? I attribute it to two reasons. First, perfume chemists have done a great job replicating the smell of ambergris. Nowadays, you can find high quality aroma-chemicals that smell identical to the real thing.

Secondly, in perfumery, ambergris is usually used as a fixative. Perfumers add it to the base of their fragrances to make them last longer and create an effect of radiance. When used this way, you need tiny amounts of the stuff and you can usually achieve the same result with Ambroxan (a popular aroma-chemical replicating the smell of ambergris).

If you are curious to try a fragrance featuring ambergris, try those out:Ella ARQUISTE

ELLA by Arquiste
Orange Star by Tauer Perfumes

Sandalwood makes it to the fourth spot of the list of the most expensive perfume ingredients. Sourced from the sandalwood tree, the oil has been used since ancient times in different ointments and religious rituals. In perfumery, sandalwood is usually used as a base to add soft creamy woody character to a fragrance.

The most popular sandalwood oil comes from trees grown in the Mysore region in Southwestern India. Unsustainable harvesting practices have driven the price of sandalwood up. As a response to the rising prices, many perfume companies have started using aroma-chemicals approximating the scent of sandalwood. Alternatively, many fragrances now also use Amyris, a cousin of the sandalwood species, which is considerably cheaper.

The going price of sandalwood is approximately $5 thousand per kilo. While not nearly as high as the prices of oud or ambergris, using real sandalwood can be prohibitive for many perfumers. Here are some good fragrances featuring a sandalwood note. Santal Carmin

Dia Woman by Amouage
Memoir Man by Amouage
Santal Carmin Cologne by Atelier Cologne
Sandalo by Etro

How to Tell if Your Perfume has The Real Stuff in It

The simple answer is you can’t. That is, most people cannot tell just by smelling the fragrance. If you have access to a chemical lab you can run your perfume through a gash chromatograph in order to tell. Even then, you will have the knowledge to decipher the laundry list of chemical compounds the machine will spit out for you.

Even though you cannot tell whether your favourite oud fragrance has real oud in it, you can make an educated guess. If you paid for the bottle an upward of $350 for 50ml, chances are the brand’s claims for real oud are probably true. If a fragrance costs less, putting good amounts of real oud simply doesn’t work economically.

Prices may not be as high for fragrances containing real sandalwood or ambergris but, again, I wouldn’t bet on any fragrance prices under $200 to have material amounts in it.

The good news is that whether your favourite perfume has a real ambergris or orris butter in it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you love and it makes you feel good. This is why my personal advice to you is enjoy your scent and don’t worry about the ingredients.

Vic from ScentBound

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Imaginary Authours

Review: Slow Explosions by Imaginary Authors

This is a guest blog post by Vic from ScentBound. Vic is passionate about fragrance ...

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This is a guest blog post by Vic from ScentBound. Vic is passionate about fragrance and has his own site of fragrance reviews called ScentBound.

Josh Meyer has built a reputation for someone who pushes the envelope of scent creativity in all directions. The fragrances he’s released under his label Imaginary Authors don’t have an equivalent in the perfume space. Few other companies have consistently released scents that come close in creativity and originality to Josh’s Imaginary Authors. The company’s 2016 release, Slow Explosions, continues the tradition.

Slow ExplosionsThere are a couple of interesting bits around the creation of Slow Explosions. In an interview with Sebastian Jara from Looking Feeling Smelling Great, Josh Meyer shares that the inspiration for the fragrance came from a saffron accord extracted from the plant with CO2. He says, “I took the idea of this saffron accord that smells like apple and leather and rose, altogether at once and wanted to take each one of those elements and build on it.”

Slow Explosions opens with a juicy, mouth watering green apple accord. Yet, as Josh explains, there is no apple note in there. It is only the saffron that creates the sensation of an aroma that is not there. Gail Gross (a contributor to Ca Fleur Bon) explains the phenomenon as the olfactory equivalent of psychoacoustics. It’s sound notes you hear that are not really there. Read the complete article HERE

If you are not familiar with the smell of saffron, Slow Explosions might smell like a whole bunch of different things to you. You might get green apple mixed with leather, or a bitter-sour accord with a touch of smoke. Many of these notes are not actually there. They are illusions, olfactory tricks Slow Explosions plays on you. This aspect of the fragrance is what makes it so interesting.

Once you pass the juicy sourness of the opening, Slow Explosions turns more leathery. It is not your typical handbag leather, nor a soft suede. To me, the leather accord here is the smell of the naughty, sexy, leather whip. Yet, there is nothing dirty or skanky about it. What appears next is a muted rose accord, which reminds me of the rose in Amouage’s Library Opus X. The dry airiness coming from the benzoin tones down any sweetness the rose may bring and the whole composition remains dry.

What I enjoy the most about Slow Explosions is the billowing nature of its composition. When you first wear it, you may find that it has a very distinct structure. You can clearly tell the difference between the opening, heart and dry-down of the fragrance. This is another olfactory illusion. Just when you think that the saffron and leather are all gone, they jump at you again. You think you are past the rose stage? Here it is poking its head. With Slow Explosions you just never know. It’s a fragrance that constantly keeps you guessing.

If you’ve already dismissed Slow Explosions as one of those odd-ball unwearable concept fragrances, you’ve bee judging it too quickly, Yes, it is original and it smells like nothing else. Still, Slow Explosions is very wearable. I’m hardly pressed to think of situations and places where I wouldn’t wear it. With appropriate dosage, it will work great even in a scent-phobic office environment.

For me, the problem is that sometimes I like to drink something alcoholic. You also have to be careful. Because actually Xanax is not recommended to mix them both. But I do it anyway. It “quenches” me, so to speak, and is like a drug (the alcohol). But you really have to be careful. Buy it at

When to Wear It
The short answer is anywhere, anytime. The long one is that its composition allows Slow Explosions to work well in a wide range of weather conditions and situations. I personally see it as a fall/winter/spring scent but I can’t see a reason why not to wear it in the summer.

Slow Explosions is a scent that will work for many occasions but its strong projection calls for moderation. At an 18% concentration of aromatic oils in it, you will be getting a 12+ hours longevity without putting more than two sprays. If you are going for an extra oomph, sure, splurge and spray three times. More than that is asking for trouble.

Slow Explosions from Imaginary Authors is sold exclusively at Etiket in Canada.

Vic from ScentBound

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Vetyver Mona di Orio

Review: Vetyver by Mona di Orio

This is a guest blog post by Vic from ScentBound. Vic is passionate about fragrance ...

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This is a guest blog post by Vic from ScentBound. Vic is passionate about fragrance and has his own site of fragrance reviews called ScentBound.

Mona di OrioOne thing I love about Mona di Orio is that her fragrances are never just another take on a popular note . Mona di Orio Cuir is not just another take on leather and her Vanille is not just another vanilla.
In the same style, Mona di Orio’s Vetyver is, you guessed it, not another vetiver fragrance. It is a fragrance of subtlety and elegance. Much like Jean Claude Elena’s watercolour creations for Hermes, Mona’s Vetyver is transparent and delicate without being boring and dismissible.
In an interview with Les Senteurs, Mona di Orio mentions that her favourite note was vetiver. She used to add a drop of it in all her compositions. Her love for the ingredient made it only natural for her to create a vetiver-based fragrance.
Vetyver by Mona di Orio
What sets Mona’s Vetyver apart is that it features a natural vetiver essential oil from Borboun. This particular variety has a strong dry, earthy undertone, which translates beautifully in the composition.
The sceptics among us might say, “so what, a vetiver is a vetiver.” Not so. Most other fragrances are made either with aroma chemicals or vetiver oil sources from Java and Indonesia. Regardless of the source, a vetiver will smell like vetiver. The difference in the source and the quality of the raw materials becomes evident in the subtleties of the aroma. Mona di Orio’s Vetyver is an example of this. The quality vetiver from Borboun shines in Mona’s composition.

“In Mona di Orio’s Vétyver, she wrests every facet she can from its earthy-citrus scent, like a pianist exploring the intricacies of a particular key in a Bach piano concerto. Fresh, dry, peppery, hesperidic and even minty – Vétyver marries the best Bourbon vetiver with notes that bring out its herbaceous-fresh qualities.” – Maison Mona di Orio

Vetyver opens with a dry earthy vetiver note with a touch of grapefruit. A cool ginger accord chimes in to make the composition sparkle. Mona di Orio masterfully combined two opposites – dry vetiver and fresh citrus – to create a sensation of dry freshness.
Even though grapefruit and ginger are present, they don’t define the opening of Vetyver. It stays decidedly dry and earthy. Just when the citrus starts taking its leave, a spicy note of nutmeg appears and swirls the Borboun vetiver into a wild dance. The two stay together in an embrace well into the final moments of the fragrance.
In its final hours Vetyver stays close to the skin creating a soft aura of herbal freshness.

Now that I can sleep again, I’m totally happy. They say that Ambien by can make dependent. Well, I also take Tilidin as a painkiller and that is a hammer but I’ll say if it helps then I do not care what side effects the med has.

When to Wear It
If you are looking for a universal, yet interesting fragrance, Vetyver is the one for you. The fresh ginger-grapefruit combo make it a great choice for a hot summer day, while the dry vetiver and spicy nutmeg are perfect for colder weather. If you are looking for some warmth in the dead of winter, Vetyver may not be your best choice – despite the nutmeg and labdanum, the composition stays on the fresh side.

Depending on its use, vetiver can be either hippie-smelling (think incense shops) or elegant and sophisticated. Mona’s Vetyver is the latter, which makes it appropriate for any occasion. An Sunday brunch with your yoga besties? Vetyver is your scent. An art gallery cocktail party? Mona’s Vetyver will make you fit into the creative crowd.

The only downside of Vetyver is its longevity and projection. During my wears I didn’t get it to last more than five hours and the at the end of those, it stayed close to my skin. The solution? Bring the bottle with you.

Vetyver from Mona di Orio is sold exclusively at Etiket in Canada.

Vic from ScentBound

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