Skip to main content

Red Rose by Andrele Bohner, Nov. 18, 2007 - Wikimedia Commons

 

“So, what do you think” I asked the sales assistant.

She wafted the blotter back and forth under her nose a few times before answering.

“This one is a challenge,” she said finally.

“How so?” I asked.

“I like a smooth, creamy rose…not this. It’s dark and a little strange not what I think a rose fragrance should be,” she said.

I thought about that for a moment as I put my nose to my wrist and inhaled Épine Mortelle deeply again. Was it what I think a rose fragrance should be? I dunno about that, but I do know it’s an exceptional rose fragrance that brings out some kind of primal longing in me.

“I’ll take two bottles,” I said.

The SA was taken aback.

“Are you sure?” she asked, “It’s not for everybody.”

“I understand” I said, handing her my credit card, “but the people I know will love it.”

Épine Mortelle is part of the Back Label Collection from LM Parfums, the niche line founded by fashion designer Laurent Mazzone in 2011. Regular readers are already familiar with the line from Kay’s posts on Ambre Muscadin and Patchouly Bohème, and Épine Mortelle is another reason to pay attention to LM Parfums.

It opens with dark, warm and spicy from pink pepper, black pepper, Sichuan pepper, bitter, earthy cumin and spicy-sweet nutmeg. The spiciness is tempered by licorice-like anise and angelica. The angelica is key here. It’s herbaceous, but also earthy, and sweet with powdery aspects that give Épine Mortelle an unusual beauty. The earthy powderiness of angelica is carried into the heart by a note of violet, opening the way for the roses: the sensuous Damask rose and the opulent, creamy, May Rose. These two complementary roses have honeyed, fruity, spicy aspects when combined that add dimension and depth to them. Simply put – they are better together. Blackcurrant adds a tart, sweetness that enhances the roses, making them darker and richer, while a note of mimosa adds a soft, vanilla-like sweetness that tips the fragrance into gourmand territory. Musk and vanilla at the base softens it so that the drydown is elegantly gourmand and, I think, very feminine. And, as an Extrait de Parfum of 20% perfume concentration, this juice has depth and staying power. No faded roses here.

The LM Parfums website describes Épine Mortelle like this:

"In the pursuit of the absolute essence of this dark, but comforting fragrance, I was walking inside this long and tortuous hedge maze.

I thought I was lost but these deadly thorns finally revealed themselves to me.

Suddenly, the absolute essence appeared from this angelic Rose."

As for being ‘challenging’, I find it complex, intriguing, unusual and straight-up beautiful.

Reading this now, I have to say that Épine Mortelle captures this beautifully. I didn't find the fragrance ‘challenging’ the way the SA did. Instead I found it complex, intriguing, unusual and ultimately beautiful.

If you love rose-based scents, there are hundreds of the out there, but not one of them is like Épine Mortelle.

 

Épine Mortelle is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

 

 

Arbolé Arbolé  - courtesy of hiramgreen.com

If you haven’t yet discovered Hiram Green’s natural perfumes, it’s time to step up and experience something wonderful. But let me set the scene first.

Hiram lives in Europe but grew up in Toronto, and on his most recent trip home to visit his folks he gave Gwen a call, so the three of us met up for lunch at our favourite spot on the Danforth for what turned out to be a very long lunch. Hiram arrived with samples of his two new fragrances, Dilettante and Arbolé Arbolé, which he laid on the table as our wine was served. Gwen reached for Dilettante, I zeroed in on Arbolé Arbolé, and the conversation flowed from there. We talked and laughed non-stop for three hours and when the server cleared our table I was honestly surprised to see empty plates. Who’d had time to eat?

A short time later in May 2017 Gwen wrote about the “rapturously beautiful” Dilettante with its fresh orange flower accord, “a stroll through a garden after a rain shower, a celebration of summer”. She jokingly mused that although Hiram told us he’d made this special fragrance for himself, she thought he’d made it just for her.

I felt the same way about Arbolé Arbolé, a woody-based fragrance that I fell in love with immediately, but it had an unusual beauty that I knew my skin would best reveal in in cold weather, so I patiently waited for winter to write about it. When I began to set down my thoughts, I realized I had more questions, so Hiram and I had an e-mail conversation….well, I asked the questions, and he kindly responded. With his permission, here it is, edited for brevity: 

HI Hiram,

It's me, Kay

Right now I'm sitting in front of my bottle of Arbolé Arbolé …which I've patiently saved to write about as soon as the weather turned cold.

Well today is the day, and since the moment I sprayed Arbolé Arbolé on my skin about 30 minutes ago, I've been transported. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful! I'm so glad I waited. I know I 'm going to be wearing this a lot this winter.

I have some questions ....

I'm fascinated with the creative process, which got me wondering about your creative process and the path your patchouli vision took to becoming Arbolé Arbolé. 

I know the background of the Lorca poem. Was the connection through the story told in the poem, or inspired by particular images in the poem, the colours he describes? Was it the life story of Lorca (quite a story), a visit to Granada near where he lived?

What were the triggers? 

And which came first? Did the fragrance evolve from your experience of the poem, or vice-versa?

Warm regards,

K.

Hi Kay,

It is great to hear that you enjoy Arbolé Arbolé. I really like it as well. Although I think you could wear Arbolé Arbolé all year round, I certainly agree that for whatever reason it is particularly suited to the colder months.

As for the creative process, I work best when I start with one material and slowly build up an accord combining a couple like and contrasting smells.

In the case of Arbolé Arbolé, I wanted to make a woody based fragrance and started blending various kinds of woody materials together. The problem was that most woods are base notes and are not very strong in terms of projection. As all my perfumes are all-natural, I needed to mix the woody materials with a natural material that would not only add a bit of projection but also create some depth. After several trials and errors, I eventually added some patchouli to the formula. It was a last-minute addition and changed the entire character of what I had been working on for months. It often works out like this, months of struggling and then one drop of something and voila, it’s finished. What is difficult is knowing when to stop adding things. 

As for the naming and the story of the perfume, that came after the perfume was finished and often does with my perfumes.

I find it very difficult to name the perfumes, tell stories and provide imagery about the perfumes. Nevertheless, I realise that the perfume is only one-part scent and I spend just as long agonizing over names and writing simple stories that hopefully help give a meaningful description about the perfume. Naturally, if you see no connection with the Lorca poem or smell other notes than the ones mentioned, that is totally fine.  

Sometimes I wonder why I go to so much trouble with the naming and stories for my perfumes. Perhaps I should have just called this perfume for what it is, F*** Fabulous which, for whatever reason seems to be a perfectly acceptable name for a luxury perfume these days. I would have also been a year earlier. It is not easy being ahead of your time…

I hope to visit Canada more often, but not in the winter, maybe another trip next spring.

All the best from cheesy Gouda,

Hiram

So what is Arbolé Arbolé all about, how does it smell? To my nose, Arbolé Arbolé is one of those fragrances where the note list is interesting but unimportant in terms of enjoying its beauty. Arbole Arbole is all there in the first spritz, it’s quite linear, but what follows is pure magic. Here’s Hiram’s description on his website:

“…Arbolé Arbolé opens with a burst of earthy patchouli that slowly merges with rich cedar wood and velvety sandalwood. Vanilla and tonka bean anchor the fragrance and provide a sweet and powdery base…

…Arbolé Arbolé, is a warm and woody fragrance that takes its name and spirit from Lorca’s eponymous poem. Ostensibly simple, yet subtly complex, this is an unashamedly romantic fragrance for those who dare to dream.”

The poem by Spanish poet, Frederico Garcia Lorca, is about a young woman who is in a tree by the roadside, picking olives. Suitors on horseback pass her by, offering to take her with them to the city, but she refuses, choosing to stay in her own sweet spot. The scene is set – hot, dry, dusty, woody, aromatic, and the patchouli and cedarwood accord that emerges from the bottle is extraordinary, dry and soft with a slight cosmetic waxy quality, conjuring the scent of the ripening olives on warm scented air.  

Hiram Green is a natural perfumer, so there are no synthetic or animalic overtones, nothing too heavy or resinous or sweet. The patchouli is cleverly balanced with the clean cedar and satiny sandalwood notes so that the accord feels polished and smooth, yet Hiram allows hints of its earthy roots and green leaves to shine through, creating a glamorous vintage sensation, an unashamedly romantic, slightly dirty quality that becomes stronger and stronger as Arbolé Arbolé dries down. Tonka bean and vanilla wrap this sensation in a featherweight veil of musky sweetness, with hints of cocoa and coffee which add to its romantic velvety warmth.

Experienced through its long and quietly tenacious dry-down Arbolé Arbolé is extraordinary, and is also so unique I’m hard-pressed to think of another woody patchouli fragrance to compare with it.  It is one of the most beautiful fragrances I own.

Hiram,

Just keep doing what you're doing,…because it really is f*** fabulous.

All the best from Frigid Toronto,

K.

Arbolé Arbolé is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

 

 

Welcome to perfumeniche.com

 

"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight."
                                                                       Raymond Chandler

We are Gwen and Kay, two perfumistas making our scent journey in the cool, clear North.  We are also BFFs - we hang out together a lot, travel together - so we try, buy and share fragrances.
 
What started out as a shared interest grew into a hobby, and has now become our obsession.

We’ve spent many evenings with a glass of prosecco, a little cool jazz playing in the background, spritzing, sniffing - “How does this smell on you?” and, sadly, sometimes scrubbing.

Over the past few years, we’ve tried hundreds of samples, and when we deem a fragrance ”full bottle worthy” (FBW), one of us has tracked it down and bought it. We now own a lot of really great perfumes, and we continue to buy bottles of what we think is the best of "niche" as new scents are launched.

With so many exciting discoveries, we can’t help but talk about our passion with other friends. Wherever we go, people ask “What is that perfume you’re wearing? Where can I get that?” So we end up sharing a bit of our “juice” with friends. But the circle has grown, so we've started this website to let other perfumistas buy and try samples from our collections, and share their experiences with us, too, through Comments.
 
WHAT WE DO
 
We blog
We blog once a week and post an story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent experts, so these aren't critical reviews. We love all our fragrances  - that’s why we bought them! But we describe how we think they smell, and share our stories about why we love them - maybe you’ll rediscover an old flame, or fall in love with a new scent.
Or we post "Nose-to-Nose", our conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention over the past week. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to buy our selection of 3 or 4 fragrances in a special pack at a special discount price.
 
We sell
We sell 1 ml. decants - .7 ml volume once you allow for the stopper in the vial - filled from our own bottles in our collection because the only way to experience a fragrance is to try it on your own skin. We take the fragrance from its original bottle and decant it into a smaller brand-new, 1 ml sterilized glass vials so that you can try it on your skin to see if you like it.
 
Through our Decant Store you'll have access to some of the world’s greatest niche scents, hard-to-find fragrances, and classic favourites. 
When you click on the Decant Store tab you’ll find our personal descriptions of each of the fragrances we currently offer from our collection, then you can add them to your Shopping Cart.
 
Let's be clear (this is a disclaimer!!)

  • We don’t sell full bottles of any fragrance - just .7ml decants. We only sell decants  from the perfumes we've bought.... because we love them.
  • We don't re-sell manufacturers samples.
  • We don’t represent any perfumers or distributors, so we don’t have every scent from a whole line of perfume.
  • We aren’t being paid to promote any product or scent.

 
If, after sampling a fragrance, you decide that you must have it, i.e. it is FBW (full bottle worthy), and you can’t find it, e-mail us and we will direct you to the best source we know – retailer or online source.

We provide
A place for you to learn about scent, and to share your fragrance experience with others. Click on the section called Resources, under My Perfume Notes (see top right), where  you'll find a Glossary, and fragrance FAQs. You'll also find two great tools we've created - Handmaps and My Sample Perfume Notes - so you can keep track of, and record your own scent experiences.
 
We hope you enjoy perfumeniche.com, and visit us often. Leave your preconceptions behind, look around, see what’s on offer, read the Blog, share your experiences and discoveries, and join the circle.

It’s just us.