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Swiss Alps near Grindelwald - Alpine Globeflower (Trollius)

Oh, the Swiss alps! Just typing these words conjures up images of skiers schussing down mountain pistes to the sound of the gliding skis and the crunching snow against a backdrop of conical pine trees, cutting through the cold, clear mountain air. Then, the apres-ski in cozy chalets, warmed by blazing fires heating a raclette cheese round.

But the Swiss alps have another summer season too. Think of the image of Julie Andrews twirling around in the meadow from the iconic opening of the film ‘The Sound of Music,’ which tells the story of Maria, a novice nun hired as a governess for the von Trapp family. And, while that scene was filmed in the German Alps near the Austrian border, it reminds me of summer hiking in the Swiss Alps with my husband’s family - memories brought back to life with L’Air des Alpes Suisses by Andy Tauer.

Andy Tauer has a talent for creating olfactive scenes. His Lonestar Memories is a desert island pick for me and, speaking of deserts, his Le Maroc Pour Elle, is, to me, incomparable. With L’Air des Alpes Suisses, Andy Tauer has created another stunner, this time inspired by his home country.

On his blog, he posted:
‘Cheers from wonderful Switzerland in summer!  I enjoy it whenever I can and when I am up there in the Alps, I try to bring a bottle of L'air des Alpes Suisses with me for photos and fun.

This picture of today: I took it on the Diavolezza. I admit: I got up there with the telecabin. The view is breathtakingly beautiful and the air is clean and crisp.

The day before yesterday, I was hiking in the Alps again, but on 1500 meters over sea level and I realized again why I came up with L'air des Alpes Suisses. The air  up there smells amazing.’

The scent coming out of that bottle smells amazing too, I can tell you.

L’Air des Alpes Suisses opens with the fresh, bracing smell of bitter alpine herbs and crisp, exhilarating glacier-cooled air. It is a scent I recall from our hikes when herbs were crushed underfoot as we walked, their fragrance gently wafting up to our noses. As it develops, it gets green - I smell dried needles from a fir forest - and spicy-warm. This is summer in the alps, when the meadows are lush and grassy, and the Alpine flowers bloom. Here, Lily is joined by orchid to create a powdery, soft floral heart. The base is woody from larch and beech, which grows on valley floors, gently sweetened and warmed by amber. L’Air des Alpes Suisses is so evocative of the Swiss Alps; you can hear almost cowbells off in the distance.

The dry down is warm, airy, and beautiful. L’Air des Alpes Suisses is a masterpiece in fragrance from one of the most talented niche perfumers working today. It’s also a scented invitation from Andy Tauer to experience the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps with him. RSVP.

L’Air des Alpes Suisses is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Wikimedia Commons, by Gabrielle Merk, June 22, 2019

Mûre et Musc EdT 50 ml.

The first truly “niche” fragrance I owned was from L’Artisan Parfumeur, the Paris perfume house created in 1978 by Jean Laporte.

I bought it in Bendel’s in NYC where I’d discovered the L’Artisan counter on the second floor. I’d never heard of the brand and since I was the only body in sight as well as a sucker for a sales pitch, I was given the full script by the Sales Assistant.  I sniffed six or seven of her personal favourites, then told her the kinds of scent I wore and liked, at which point she grabbed my hand (she was French) and passionately implored: 

“Try something new, get outside the box, expand your horizons, madame!” 

“She’s got a point,” said a quiet voice to my right. My best friend and future perfume partner had found me finally, and was silently sniffing the testers.

“I’ll take Timbuktu”, I said decisively, and since that day more than ten years ago, Gwen and I have slowly built our collections and added forty-two L’Artisan scents to the Decant Store. 

However, I have to admit that we’ve missed one, one very important fragrance in the L’Artisan pantheon, the  fragrance that established Pierre Laporte as a visionary perfumer and L’Artisan Parfumeur as the innovative brand in modern perfumery. The fragrance is Mûre et Musc, which set the perfume world buzzing with its innovative fusion of tart sweet wild blackberries with the warm fruity facets of the new synthetic “white musks”. The result was a fresh and playful but subtle and sexy scent that could be worn easily by women and men, and which, after its 1978 launch, immediately became a best-seller. Over forty years later, it still is. 

Watch “Mûre et Musc: Forty Years of an Icon”on the L’AP site – the story is told by Master Perfumer, Jean Claude Ellena, who worked closely with Laporte on the development of the new accord and the final fragrance. 

Mûre et Musc EdT is fresh, light and soft, typical of the fragrances from the late 1970’s. It’s one of those scents that can seem to fade quickly or disappear, but then has deceptive strength, returning unexpectedly in lovely sheer wafts. It’s somewhat dependent of skin chemistry, or what I think, more correctly, is nose chemistry - if you’re anosmic to musks you’ll miss some of it’s magic. I find it superb in hot weather, unobtrusive but always interesting with the tart blackberry, subtly sexy from the musks with their soft sweat-on-warm skin notes. 

The listed notes are citrus, blackberries, and musks, but of course there is much more going on. Jean Claude Ellena mentions citrus – bergamot and lemon, and herbs – tarragon and lavender. “As blackberry extract does not exist in perfumery, the inspired alchemist created it blending a molecule often found in flavoured foods, reminiscent of the coveting warmth of cooked raspberries, with a blackurrant note. The illusion is perfect: one can almost see, smell and touch 'blackberry'. “  But it’s not the big blackberries in fruit salad or blackberry jam, the note is the scent of small wild blackberry fruits on the stem, warmed by summer heat, scented with stems and dust and leaves and grass and earth underfoot. The aromatic citrus and herbs notes prevent re et Musc from being cloying or jammy, and oak moss in the base fills in green woody facets, keeping the sensation fresh and unfussy.  

Mûre et Musc is superbly uncomplicated, but beautifully refined in its simplicity. The citrus and blackberry accord fades through the long dry-down but never completely disappears, the musks are clean-sexy rather than funky, which give the scent a modern sophistication. 

If you are a perfume lover, this elegant musk should definitely be on your Try-Me list.

After all, there’s nothing else like it, it’s a classic, a game-changer, and still a best-seller. Plus it smells great. Doesn’t get better than that. 

Mûre et Musc is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

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Welcome to

"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.

We’ve tested and tried hundreds of samples over the years, and when we deemed 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.

Also, we include many perfume "classics" that are the foundations of modern perfumery - like Shalimar, Chanel No.5, Eau Sauvage - plus other perfume "gems" that have been discontinued, or were ahead of their time when launched but now fit perfectly in the Niche category. 

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 others buy and try samples from our collections and experience the fragrant beauty we write about.


We blog

We blog once a week and post a story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent critics, so these aren't negative 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 conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention recently. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to explore new territory by trying 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 – retail store 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, 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.