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Lon Megargee, Stetson advertising poster "The last drop from his hat"

I love drugstores, the big city ones with all the shiny packaged stuff in them, and the old ones in little towns with all the shopworn, dusty stuff in them. Those small-town drugstores are the best. You get a free trip down memory lane and sometimes a treasure, if you have eyes to see, and a nose to smell.

Exploring the aisles of a drugstore always gives me a little thrill of anticipation, which takes me right back to my twelve year-old self. That was the age when consumerism kicked in for me. Baby-sitting money was burning a hole in my jeans pocket, and those cosmetic shelves were beckoning. Lipstick…dare I chose Iced Pink instead of Natural? How about some green eye shadow? Rows of hair products, hair clips, hair bands, hair gels, hairsprays…gossip and movie mags and romance paperbacks to swoon over. Plus the ritual of choosing the weekend essentials, potato chips, ice cream, and chocolate bars.

Even back then at age twelve, I was cruising the fragrance shelves. Dad’s Christmas gift was either a bottle of Old Spice or English Leather After-Shave, both classics from the 1930’s and 1940’s’. It took him a year to go through a bottle, so Christmas always meant time for a refill, which was boring to my mind. As I got older, I wanted to check out the new modern man-scents and I’d be tempted to buy him one like Brut or Stetson, but I couldn’t disappoint him, and anyway I wanted him to smell like Dad, not an over-muscled celebrity or a lonesome cowboy.

But I was really intrigued by Stetson because it was advertised as the smell of the “American West” and “manly” and I wanted to know what both those two things smelled like. Years passed and I never made the opportunity to sniff Stetson, until a while ago. I saw Stetson Original cologne on sale, so I finally bought a bottle. At the drugstore, of course.

Stetson was launched in 1981 by the company that makes the iconic Stetson cowboy hat, the big-brimmed hat which is now de rigeur for every country music star who walks onto a stage. The Stetson cologne was advertised as a scent for men who love adventure, rugged individuals who are ready for any challenge. The Stetson website describes it:

“Experience a true original. STETSON. The legendary fragrance of the American West. A rich, masculine blend of rugged woods and spice. “

Hmmm. Masculine. Rugged. I’m primed for wood notes, like pine and cedar, bound up with leather and musk, a real butch kind of scent, but what comes out of the bottle is definitely NOT rugged woods and spice. It’s a burst of refreshing citrus – lime, bergamot and lemon – followed by aromatics – lavender and sage – two accords which transform Stetson into a gorgeous oriental with the addition of classic floral notes as it dries down. Spicy sweet carnation, not manly clove or cinnamon or cumin, animalic sweet jasmine, and earthy orris root are classic floral notes in its heart. Grassy green vetiver, resin notes of cedar and bitter geranium make Stetson smell like soft leather and balsams as it shifts into the base.

The base yields the best surprise. The florals mix with sweet amber and vanillic tonka settling into a warm spicy accord, with faint notes of citrus and dark patchouli wafting through. I can’t smell the cowboy or the horses or the cattle, but I detect the distinct notes of sueded leather. I catch notes of honey and beeswax, soft musk, and dark vanilla. It becomes a faint musky floral, and then Stetson just fades away…

Stetson is not super masculine, and definitely not butch, but it is definitely manly. This is a for a man who has good taste, knows a well-made classic fragrance when he smells one, and isn’t afraid to wear it.

Here’s the Tania Sanchez comment about Stetson in Perfumes, The A-Z Guide, p. 510: Stetson is “…gorgeous, as rugged and masculine as the lingerie level at Saks Fifth Avenue…I’d truly love a man who wore this, but in the absence of one, I’ll gladly wear it myself.”

Stetson is also womanly, making it one of the best non-gendered floral orientals that you can own for almost no money. In the dry-down, Stetson smells much like Chanel Cuir de Russie, which is also unisex and one of my favourite classic perfumes, although Stetson is lighter in character, and less leathery. Considering it costs less than one-tenth the price of Cuir de Russie, I think you’d be smart to get yourself to a drugstore and buy yourself a bottle, even if it isn’t on sale.

As the folks at Stetson say on their website:

“See, the real, true West isn't a place at all. It's a state of mind.”

The same sentiment applies to perfumes.

Stetson is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $4.00 for 1 ml.


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Photo: perfumeniche

How long has it been since you felt the hot summer sun on your bare skin?

When did you last take the time to relax and enjoy a cool summer cocktail?

Or gaze in awe at the beauty of a setting sun on the unbroken horizon of sea and sky?

If you’re craving a summer escape, but just aren’t able to answer the siren call of water, sun, and cool drinks, take heart.  We have a solution,  we can help.

Just waft your nose over a fabulous summer scent or two - beach scent on left wrist, cool drink scent on right wrist, close your eyes, inhale deeply, then let your imagination run free and it will transport you to your happy place in the sun.

“Summer Escape” Decant Pack

Three fabulous beach scents, three delicious cool drinks scents, for women and men. Six unique niche scents with lasting power and soft sillage which will help you escape into summer for hours….

Six 1ml. decants, regular price $24.00 for $18.00.

Beach Scents

Bronze Goddess - the scent of the perfect vacation. Beachy ambery skin, hints of exotic woods, with a sexy retro vibe.

Terracotta Le Parfum – the smell of suntan lotion, the headiness of ylang ylang, jasmine and orange blossom – It’s a chic, sun-soaked invitation to explore faraway lands

Coccobello – the scent of a five-star beach vacation on an exclusive tropical island: palm leaves, coconut water, gardenia, Bourbon vanilla and a gust of salty sea air. Really, it should be listed on Trip Advisor.

Cool Drink Scents

Batucada - the scent of the caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil . Soft, tropical, sexy and quietly refreshing.

Déclaration – fresh citrus, green absinthe, herbs, this is a like a James Bond martini, only “spritzed not splashed”.

Still Life – sparkly, citrusy, peppery, with hints of anise and rum, this special scent truly gets the party started!

“Summer Escape” Decant Pack is listed in our Decant store. Six 1ml. decants, regular $24.00 for $18.00.

…And check out more fascinating beach scents in our blogpost:

Top Ten Beach Scents



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.