Sometimes you happen upon a treasure that you just want to share with the world. I mentioned to a friend that I was DJing in Louisville and she said that I had to visit Miss Ruth at The Perfumerie.
Walking into the Perfumerie, the first thing you see is the two tables carrying the full Amouage line. The Oman-based line is highly-respected and very hard to find in the South (the only other stores carrying it in the South are Gus Mayer in Birmingham and Art With Flowers in Virginia). Though I am willing to guess that neither of those stores has a woman as colorful as Ruth.
When I first met writer Denyse Beaulieu (The Perfume Lover), I described her with my highly complimentary term – bawdy broad – a woman of a certain age who speaks her mind and doesn’t care what others think, backed with a lifetime of knowledge and experiences worth sharing. Ruth could be Denyse’s lost sister from the south – or Clairee Belcher from Steel Magnolias (if Clairee was a perfume expert). She knows a lot about perfume but shares her love for the art with simple explanation and her own take on it. She doesn’t just list notes or recite a memorized story, she is much more colorful than that.
For example, after she greeted us she told us to look to our right and check out Mona Di Orio. Yes, they have the full line including the recently released Violet Fumee – which she described as a cloud of violets that you can breathe in (which is an incredible description). On the same table, there is the full Ramon Monegal collection as well (another line that is a challenge to find outside of Bergdorf Goodman or Neiman Marcus). Then I spotted candles and scents from Tiziana Terenzi and I realized that she had chosen specific lines that would appeal to a Southern woman or man who have a sense of international adventure.
Exploring the store, you will find select mainstream and designer scents along with some interesting vintage classics (a few Guerlains, Carons, etc.). In the far back, there is a custom scent area where she will blend you a perfume or lotion with a scent you described. All of the ingredients are laid out there for you to sniff as well (a great way to learn how to identify single notes).
All around the store are gorgeous custom perfume bottles and decanters which are actually for sale; I found a special red/orange glass decanter which I bought for my living room.
The store also offers mail order on everything over the phone or through their website http://www.LadyRuthPerfumes.com . The prices are very fair and she offers samples with every purchase (or if you ask nicely). Though this is a store you really need to visit for yourself to meet the eccentric and charming Ruth. I wonder if the people of Louisville realize what a treasure they have in the city – an amazing niche perfume store with the finest scents from around the world, curated and hosted by a special woman who you will never forget.