Friday Sniffing Notes

I have some new ingredient samples to sniff and have been testing the gardenia mod too.  One Indian attar is quite interesting; they don’t disclose the exact blend of ingredients, but it has some deep woods with Indian spices and is very nice (I think it’d be pretty with rose).  Another one I had to take outside to open because it was so potent, lol, and it will need to be diluted to homeopathic levels before I can evaluate it (very animalic). 

Along the animalic theme I have a bit of vintage Scandal parfum to sniff, and from the vial it is the most potent, dark leather I’ve ever smelled so it’ll be interesting to try on skin.  I just tried a sample of vintage Femme parfum and it is wonderful, much more to my liking than the current version.  The vintage parfum samples I have are fun to revisit from time to time, and it’s nice to try a few that are new to me. Many have higher levels of oakmoss than we can use today, and many have the old nitromusk called musk ketone, which we don’t use today. The style itself is different too of course, without some of the modern notes that have been popular for freshness and often with heavier, more animalic bases.

I decreased the tonka in gardenia a little bit and think that was the right way to go because it felt a bit sweet between the beeswax and tonka, but I really like both those elements and want to keep both in it.  I’m going to try bringing out the deep sandal note a bit more in the base; I’m trying to keep the base very soft but it feels like it still could use something more at the very end after 3 hours or so.

A couple of links to news items today…

Here’s an interesting interview with Patricia de Nicolai at Osmoz.com (and for the patchouli lovers among you she talks about an upcoming men’s release called Patchouli Homme):


I love her Temps d’Une Fete in spring/summer and enjoy Sacrebleu sometimes in winter (especially around the holidays — it seems festive to me).  In the interview she also discusses the need for a balance between using fine naturals but also synthetics in perfumery.

And here’s a link to a free download of a technical paper about pheromones for those of you interested in whether we have any scientific evidence that these chemicals affect humans when used in perfume:


I’m going to try to do a bunch of paperwork this weekend.  Can’t believe it is the beginning of August.  Happy weekend!

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  1. Hi Laurie!
    Wow, I can go on about these topics for quite a while! Femme… and Patricia de Nicolai. I have a lg edp bottle of Femme purchased around 2002. While it was the most unusual, spicy scent I’d ever encountered, I also found it strangely attractive. This past year I picked up a vintage bottle of the perfume (5ml in a Lalique-like flacon) and I guess due to the age and use, it has lost the fresher notes, but I know it’s the real thing because the drydown is very similar to the revised (Cresp) version. The vintage seems softer and more leathery? Anyway, I like the frosted glass bottle!
    I’m just becoming acquainted with the Nicolai fragrances – sampled Odalisque and Sacrebleu, at least, I’m assuming it’s Sacrebleu and not one of the vanilla scents! I don’t get the citrus or the flowers that they describe, rather, it seems to go straight to the vanilla notes. Very warm and smooth, like vanilla-maple syrup, but there’s something else in it. Both fragrances have a quality for me that transports me back to my early childhood and of happy times. If this is part of her “signature” base, I’ll definitely be saving up for purchasing her work in the future as well!
    So glad to hear more progress on the Gardenia musk, and love your descriptions on trying the new materials!

    1. Hi Ann! The latest version of Femme opened nicely on me and finished well, but for a while in the middle I got a little musty note that wasn’t in my vintage sample (I’m probably just sensitive to something in it since I get a little musty note from a few things, like cashmeran and some synthetic oakmoss ingredients). The vintage Femme sample I have is well-preserved with no damage to the topnotes — wish I had a bottle just like it! From my quick test the vintage parfum seems like a smoother, closer to the skin blend but with more moss and animalic touches in the base; I’ll have to try a side-by-side though.

      I love the blackcurrant and spice notes in Sacrebleu, as well as the soft florals under the incensy vanilla base. It’s too sweet and vanillic for me unless the weather is cold, but in winter it can be beautiful. I’ve not sampled her Vanilla Tonka in years but remember liking it too. I can see where Sacrebleu could bring up nice childhood memories because it borders on gourmand for me — yummy! Glad you’re finding fun things to sample! PdN has some beautiful scents in her line.

      Today I tried adding another balsamic component to the gardenia base for oomph (in addition to some salicylates already in it). It does add more volume by adding a balsamic ambered touch to the base, but it changes the character. It brings out the beeswax honeyed note and the spice notes in the blend, making it richer and deeper. It’s a good fixative. Not sure yet if I’ll keep it in.

      Off to sleep for me…

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