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European Trip 2015 – Day 6 (Paris)

jovoyAfter visiting Paris for a few years, I’ve realized that a trip to Jovoy should start in the morning.  They open at 11am so I was there to work my way around the room.   I started at the back and went around and sniffed everything that I have never seen before.  Starting at the back of the store:

Institut Tres Bien is a basic intro line.  Cologne a la Russe is a spicy wood with a nice citrus kick.  The three tradition scents – Amber, Cuir, and Bois are realistic single-note scents.
Berdoues Colognes Grand Crus are elevated colognes.  They are light but have a full-bodied feel.  Scorza Di Siciliar and Assam of India are both solid citrus scents.  Scorza brings in cedar and vetiver, which means it will probably never touch my skin.  Assam brings in a tea note and a hint of creamy sandalwood. Arz El-Rab and Oud Al Sahara are heavier orientals, but not overbearing.  At 70 Euros a bottle, all of these colognes are a much better value than Third Men.

20151104_135300I discovered the Gritti line in Germany last year with its heavily-spiced Damascus (review coming soon.)  The high end expensive jeweled line (Collection Prive) didn’t grab me except for Areta, a spicy, candied carob with a lot of weight.  I actually think the main line is nicer with the spicey Damascus and Noctem Arabs.  Doped Tuberose is a unique take on florals.  Saraj and Delirium start with the same briney note as ODriu scents.  Antalya has a strange top note that makes me sneeze and has that ugly pretty vibe that Tyra Banks always talked about on America’s Next Top Model.  This interesting line is definitely worth exploring.
Olfattology seemed a bit generic for such an expensive niche line.  Yacuma is a nice rose.  OT-11 is a spice bomb.  Sagami is the major standout with a mix of incense, plum, tobacco, and woods.
I spent more time with Nobile 1942 than I did in Italy and started to really enjoy the line.  Anonimo Veneziano, Pontevecchio, and Casta Diva are three florals that I want to spend more time with.  La Danza delle Libellule is an upscale fruity floral that would be a nice adult fragrance for any woman who grew up on Britney Spears perfumes.  Cafe Chantant is a sweet, milk chocolate coffee with a hint of cherry.  The extrait version is a dream come true.  The only scent that lost me in the line was Malia which had a witch concept that was beyond cheesy.
While there was nothing new from Bois 1920, Sensual Tuberose is always amazing.  Jovoy also has full stock of cult favorite Vento bel Vento, which is hard to find.
chabaudChabaud Maison de Parfum does sweet very well.  The three milky scents – Lait de Biscuit, Lait Concentre, and Lait de Vanille were all so strong that it was a challenge to choose which one was going home with me.  (Lait de Biscuit made the final cut.)  The two florals, Vintage and Chic et Boheme are both worth sniffing.  One criticism, the only mysterious thing about Mysterious Oud is why every niche line have this same exact scent.  I will also note that the caps are unique with the pass through top.
The new Collection d’Ailleurs remind me of the first batch of Tom Ford Private Blends – you know they were really good.  D’Ame de Pique and Noir d’Orient are heavy and full-bodied.  Blanc de Sienne is ethereal and reminds me of IUNX l’ether.  The wood feeling caps give the bottle a really nice feel.
One line that didn’t impress me at all was Anatole Lebreton.  Looking past the cheap bottles with tacky white sticker label, the three scents could easily be described with two words each.  L’eau Scandaleuse – Cougar Juice.  Bois Lumber – Dirty Pet.  L’eau De Merzhin – farm hay.  I don’t see myself spending much more time with this line.
For some reason, all the notes that I wrote after this entry disappeared without a save.  The Arty line of scents and candles were quite nice.

I remember liking the Premiere Note line as well.   I sniffed the Xerjoff Al-Kimiya line and as amazing as they smelled, the price price point made me too scared to try on skin.

 I ended up skin-testing Gritti Arete, Chabaud L’ete du Biscuit, Mendittorossa Segno Beale and Liquides Imaginaires Bello Rabelo.  All four of them did really well but my sweet tooth won out and I bought the Chabaud.

European Trip 2015 – Day 5 (Paris)

After a nice train ride to Paris, I was greeted at Gare Du Nord by my good friend Kim, who accompanied me for some sniffing and a nice dinner.  We hit Sens Unique and were greeted by the lovely Renata who happily showed us around.

A few highlights:

cigale-figue-oriental-2N-Cigale – a new line based on three notes (lavender, fig, pine) delivered in two ways – realistic for daytime and inspirational for evening.  For example, Fig Fresh is a minty fig that is quite bright.  Fig Orientale is a spicy wood scent with incense and fruits.   Cigale is french for Cicada, and the inspiration is to take something common and reinterpret it in two ways. The bottle is gorgeous, and at 155 Euros for 120 ML, there is enough that you can use it liberally and really enjoy it.  All scents have matching candles which make for great gifts. I picked up Figue Oriental myself (unfortunately Black Lavender was sold out) and a Figue Fresh candle for my good friend who is a fan of fig (say that three times fast).

beaufort-east-indiaBeaufort – a new line inspired by British Maritime history. This line is for the hardcore perfume lovers and history buffs, as well as anglophiles.   They all start off quite strong – so don’t let that scare you off, they do calm down… eventually.

1805 is inspired by the Battle of Trafalgar and the notes of smoke and gunpowder are reminiscent of the infamous DS & Durga scent.  There is also a sense of boozy citrus in the mix – appropriate notes when you consider the sea life inspiration.

Coeur de Noir is the smell of a dark library – paper, ink, leather, pipe tobacco.  Basically a gentleman’s lounge that has been well loved and used.  This is a very masculine scent and could be considered the blue collar version of Creed Bois du Portugal (and that’s a compliment).

East India is more than a bit of intense – whiskey and tobacco dominate with a little tea in the mix.  Basically, everything that the British people traded as luxuries are there.  I hate to assign genders, but this is clearly a male scent.

simone-andreoli-camouflageSimone Andreoli – this line was new to me, and I had sniffed Camouflage last week in Rome.  I gave it a full wearing and fell in love with the musky wood scent.  The is some incense and oud in the mix, but both play a backseat.  Unlike the Givenchy t-shirt, this camouflage won my heart.

After confusion in Amsterdam, I resniffed Pierre Guillaume Metal Hurlant.  It is a metallic rubber and leather scent, like what I smelled in Rome.  One worth testing, but I can’t imagine wearing it on a regular basis.

Renata was inspired by my jacket and suggested David Jourquin Cuir Caraibes.  The fruity floral scent is grounded by wood, leather, and amber.   Another nice scent from the leather-inspired line.

I went back the next day and bought the Cigale Figue Orientale and Simone Andreoli Camouflage.  I also got a Cigale Figue Fresh candle for my good friend (and blog mother) Victoria of eauMG.  I held off on the Beaufort so I could spend some more time with it and because I was planning to meet the perfumer in London later in the week.

Just like I love taking pictures with DJs and producers in dance world, I like taking selfies with perfume people who I enjoy.  Here’s a cute shot of me and Renata.



European Trip 2015 – Day 4 (Amsterdam)

eric-zwaga-chanel-upcycled After four days of non-stop Amsterdam Dance Event, I was able to take a break and sniff some fumes.  I took a walk to the home of Erik Zwaga (Geurengoeroe) and had a nice conversation with him about his history, art, and perfumes.  So much of what he said resonated with me – that most designer fragrances are common, unmemorable, and don’t fit the designer’s brand.  He mentioned that Thierry Mugler and Tom Ford as two lines that actually do fit their designer. I taught him the American usage of the word “basic,” which is a great description for many designer scents.

eric-zwaga-fragrance-machineErik showed me his custom fragrance bottles and clothing.  He upcycled several Serge Lutens bottles for a unique sculpture.  A Chanel bottle was reimagined using mascara compacts.  His perfume fountain, constructed from blue patterned ceramicware, was unbelievable.  His goal is to create a unique line of upcycled fragrances for every store that picks up his scents. He gifted me with one of his upcoming scents, LGD – Let’s Get Drunk, which smelled great on my skin.  The list of more than 20 fragrances that went into the mix was fascinating.  Watch for the interview coming soon.






ron-skins-coffee I decided to go to Skins to check out Erik’s day of the week line.   Skins is just as I remember it, complete with many international niche lines and a few things from smaller lines that aren’t seen often.  I sniffed Erik’s Days of the Week and it was Thursday, Ambracadabra that I loved (go figure).  A mix of three ambers (Noir Brecourt, Reminiscence, Parfume D’empire Ambre Russe) along with 10 other scents made a sweet yet dirty scent that felt very me.



ron-skinsThe Skins staff are very well-educated and extremely friendly.  Rose (great name for a fragrance SA) and Margot chatted for a good bit about upcoming launches, new lines (Mirko Buffino, Liquid Imaginaires, Cinema Olfactif), and Dutch life.  Cinema Olfactif is based on scenting movies such as The Virgin Suicides and Love Exposure.  They even gave me some tips about places in Paris to check out.  We all had a good laugh about the word “basic.”




ron-marshall-jeffersonAs I left the shop, I bumped into the House of Virus guys who were sitting at a bar across the seat.  My last DJ interviews of the week were with them and the legendary Marshall Jefferson (“Move Your Body”). The duo of guys from across the globe (Lithuania and Ireland) under the mentorship of the Chicago house forefather shows how people from across the globe with different backgrounds can unite together to make great music.  That is the same feeling I get as I explore the fragrance world.


European Trip 2015 – Day 3 (Amsterdam)

Welcoming tulips at Schiphol airport
So I said that I wouldn’t be posting any more perfume write-ups until Paris.. I was wrong.
with-hiram-greenPerfumer Hiram Green met me in Amsterdam for an interview about his work and forthcoming perfume Voyage.  He says it is inspired by a trip to India, and I get that – but it isn’t necessarily that specific.  Wearing it all day, I realized that it doesn’t “smell like a natural.”  That isn’t meant to be a dis, but I’ve found that many naturals have a distinct smell.  Voyage is full-bodied, robust, and long-lasting – three things not normally associated with natural perfumes.  I will be rushing to get the interview posted asap… I thought the rest of my Euro trip might delay it.  Hiram was extremely honest in the interview and shared a lot of great information that most of us probably don’t realize about perfume creation.Annindriya Perfume Lounge-2After the interview, we were walking around and he mentioned that there was a store in Amsterdam that carried his line – Annindriya Perfume Lounge – (website  I said, “let’s go” and we hopped into an Uber.
Annindriya Perfume Lounge-1This may sound incredibly snobby but I judge a perfume store based on what they have that I have not seen before.  When I am in a European niche perfume shop, I want to see new stuff, different lines – rather than the expected international niche scents that every shop like this has.  Annindriya was exceptional with its curated collection.With the amazing SA PhineFirst let me give a shout out to Sales Associate – Phine, who was beyond friendly and kept the store open late to show us around.  She was incredibly knowledgable, sweet, informative, and helpful.  There were several lines that were new to me.  Frazer is a South African natural line which was nice but didn’t blow me away.  The smelled like natural perfumes… see above.
hiram-work-on-displayThere was a smartly priced line called Baruti (I call anything under 100 Euro – well priced).  The scents I sniffed were unique and smelled high quality.  It is interesting the “No-oud” smells like a typical oud but has no oud in it.  Standing out to me was Chai – a delicious gourmand with cloves, pepper, black tea, milk, and vanilla – basically what a chai tea would smell like.  I almost bought this.Also interesting was Eau D’Amsterdam which is a scent recreating the Elm Trees that populate the city. It smelled photo-realistic – if that makes sense. It is not something I would wear but it definitely could find an audience.Another line I really liked was Papillon – strong scents that are edp but have the intensity of extraits.  Anubis was really special but I fell for the new one – Salome, which had hints of flowers, tobacco, and patchouli.  It was a dirty floral scent that was quite sexy.One odd thing was the bottle of Metal Hurlant that was on display. It smelled NOTHING like the motor oil, rubber, smoke monster that I smelled yesterday at Cherry in Rome.

Up cycled magicNow, for what y’all are going to go crazy for.  Le Bienaime is an upcycled perfume house from Geurengoeroe blogger Erik Zwaga.  This is pure madness and absolute brilliance all rolled into one.  He takes perfumes from the same family of scents or from the same house – mixes them together – and makes a brand new scent.  For example, Guerlainisimo is a mix of 20 Guerlain scents and forms a more perfect Guerlinade concoction that is more pure Guerlain than you can imagine.  Cha-cha-chanel mixes 10 Chanel scents for a new kind of magic.  S.T.I.N.K. is a musk/incense/oud bomb with a mix of scents from these lines:  Von Euserdorff, Histoire de Parfums, Comme des Garcons, Parfum D’Empire, Obsessive Oudh, and Song for a Queen.  Wow, it took sheer will power not to buy all six scents that were on display – I ended up buying three. I am hoping to catch up with Erik while I am in Amsterdam this week… this guy sounds like a brilliant madman.

hiram-crystal-watersAfter the wonderful trip to Annindriya, I had to go into dance music mode. I had invited Hiram to dinner and he agreed to play along before catching a train back to his hometown of Gouda.  About two hours later, we ended up at a Thai restaurant with Crystal Waters, Vassy (“Bad” with David Guetta, “Secrets” with Tiesto), and Eric Lumiere (Filo & Peri “Anthem”). It was great to see my different worlds – music and perfume  – merge together so seamlessly.

All in all, an amazing start to my week in Amsterdam.