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Adoration of the Three Kings, Dutch school (anonymous) 1700-1799

National Trust, UK 

Christmas. A day of celebration, with family, friends, colleagues and for giving and sharing. But it’s also a busy time – planning, buying, wrapping, eating too much, drinking too much, spending too much. And if I push the busy-ness back, a sense of peace settles in that always brings me back to the story of the first Christmas.

I am not a religious person, but I like a good origin story and the story of three distinguished foreigners who travelled for weeks to pay homage to a child-king with gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh is so ancient, so exotic, and so mystical, I find it fascinating.

Is it a true story or a fable? Is it historically accurate? I can’t answer these questions; I just know the story I heard as a child at Christmastime. It goes like this….

In an ancient time, in an ancient land, three kings, Balthasar, a king of Arabia, Melchior, a king of Persia, and Gaspar a king of India, saw a new star rising. These three weren’t just kings; they were Magi - wise men with a knowledge of philosophy, alchemy and astronomy. They were also kingmakers. The star was a sign that a king had been born, and these three Magi set out to meet him. They travelled by caravan, with an entourage of servants and guards, to protect them and their precious gifts, bobbing and swaying on camels as they crossed mountains, plains and deserts, following that star until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were jubilant when they saw the child king and opened their treasure chests; they gave him gold for its value, frankincense as a perfume, and myrrh as an anointing oil – gifts for a king.

For me, this is how giving became the Spirit of Christmas. It’s not just the gifts you buy, but the gift of your time, your care, your love, and your friendship.

So, this year, we give you the scents of that first Christmas in a "Spirit of Christmas" Decant Pack – one for women, and one for men....

"Spirit of Christmas" Decant Pack for Women - Four 1ml. decants for $25.00, plus shipping.

Gold –  Gold for women by Amouage

Notes of apricot, peach, neroli and lily-of-the-valley weave in and out as the fragrance develops. Skin heat and it brings out the most opulent jasmine and ylang, ylang accord I know. Rose is here too, but bolster rather than dominate the white flowers, making them soar. As it settles, sandalwood and patchouli anchor it, giving it a warm smooth lushness. Ambergris is at the base sweetens it while civet and musk give it an animalic soul. Gold Woman is an opulent, rich fragrance experience with those white florals still humming softly in the background.

Frankincense – by La Via del Profumo (profumo.it)

The aroma of Frankincense evokes the mystery of the sacred and spiritual authority. Worn as a perfume it communicates the image of a nearly ecclesiastic seriousness. This is the best essence of frankincense in perfume form with natural alcohol and without any additives.

Myrhh - by La Via del Profumo (profumo.it)

One of the oldest known perfume ingredients, it has a warm balsamic, sweet aromatic spicy fragrance. This is the best essence of myrrh in perfume form with natural alcohol and without any additives.

Camel – by Zoologist

The smell of dried fruits mixes with resinous, balsamic-spicy Frankincense from Oman, rounded out with the warm, honey-sweet smell of palm date. A note of lush rose and sweet-smelling amber completes it. Warm, aromatic cinnamon keeps the mix warm and spicy as it evolves. Myrrh, jasmine, oud, sandalwood and vetiver support it all. Camel really is the smell of a caravan traveling through the Arab desert.

"Spirit of Christmas" Decant Pack For Men - Four 1ml. decants for $25.00, plus shipping.

Gold –  Jubilation XXV by Amouage

Bertrand Duchaufour’s signature incense accord is the story Jubilation XXV. A tart fruitiness at the top is followed frankincense. The magical resin immediately gives the fruit accord some weight. Into the heart with rose and more resin from guaiacwood, honey, orchid, everything in balance with the frankincense front and centre but never stealing the show. As it develops, more resinous notes are added to the mix – moss, cedarwood, and oud - but they are tamed by musk, sweet myrhh, patchouli, and salty hints of ambergris. The unique maple syrup/curry accord of immortelle flower reveals a hint of leather in the deep dry-down. It’s rich, opulent and worth its weight in gold.

Frankincense – by La Via del Profumo (profumo.it)

The aroma of Frankincense evokes the mystery of the sacred and spiritual authority. Worn as a perfume it communicates the image of a nearly ecclesiastic seriousness. This is the best essence frankincense on perfume form with natural alcohol and without any additives.

Myrhh - by La Via del Profumo (profumo.it)

One of the oldest known perfume ingredients, it has a warm balsamic, sweet aromatic spicy fragrance. This is the best essence of myrrh in perfume form with natural alcohol and without any additives.

Camel – by Zoologist.

The smell of dried fruits mixes with resinous, balsamic-spicy Frankincense from Oman, rounded out with the warm, honey-sweet smell of palm date. A note of lush rose and sweet-smelling amber completes it. Warm, aromatic cinnamon keeps the mix warm and spicy as it evolves. Myrrh, jasmine, oud, sandalwood and vetiver support it all. Camel really is the smell of a caravan traveling through the Arab desert.

"Spirit of Christmas" Decant Pack For Women is listed in our Decant Store. Four 1ml. decants for $25.00, plus shipping.

"Spirit of Christmas" Decant Pack for Men is listed in our Decant Store. Four 1ml. decants for $25.00, plus shipping.

Image -wikipedia.com
 

Champs Elysee, Paris - wikipedia.com

I got an email earlier this week from the Netherlands from some new perfume lovers who are just beginning to seriously explore the world of fine perfumes, and they have questions about the Guerlain classics,  Jicky, Vol de Nuit, Mitsouko, L'Heure Bleue,  Shalimar, etc. Which is better, EdT or EdP? What about the extraits, the parfum versions, are they really so much richer than the lower concentrations? And what about recent re-formulations? How do they compare to previous versions? We’re in the middle of a real conversation now, having some fun as I answer their questions and they make choices for their first order. 

A run-through of our Guerlain listings brought me up short. We’re missing the Mitsouko Parfum version, an inexplicable oversight which I’m going to fix right now.…

If you’ve read my post about Mitsouko, you know that this particular Guerlain chypre is my Holy Grail perfume. I was wearing and loving Mitsouko long before my perfume obsession fully developed, and long before Luca Turin ever picked up a pen and wrote The Perfume Guide. The connection to Mitsouko has everything to do with my real life – read about it here.

The Mitsouko I describe in my original post is actually the parfum concentration which was in the little bottle that was given to me years ago by my Paris boyfriend, and which started my devotion to this iconic scent. Mitsouko was then, and still is, a whole different experience than other perfumes. From my post in 2010:

“…Mitsouko is made for skin - in fact, skin should be listed as one of the ingredients. This stupendous fragrance doesn’t reveal itself in a predictable way, but I can tell you that you’ll smell sun-warmed peaches, a whiff of orange blossom, lemon or lime, roses, jasmine, soft ambery vanilla, damp green moss, sea salt, dried herbs, spices, woods, leather, smoky vetiver. Not in sequence, alternating, repeating, maybe together, maybe separately, perhaps strong, maybe just a whiff, almost sweet and then not sweet, filled with light then darker, mysterious, open, playful, satisfying, but always leaving you wanting more..."

My current bottle of the parfum is the most recent 2013 formulation, and it is the Mitsouko I remember from years ago. It is full and luscious, warm and plush, nothing overstated or out of balance, with creamy golden peach, cool mossy notes, velvety woods spiced with cinnamon and vanilla, a feast for the senses. Less citrusy and sharp than the EdT, not as fruity as the EdP, Mitsouko Parfum has a darker richer opulent complexity than the lighter versions, a depth that intrigues from the very first sniff. 

Beautifully balanced, elegant, mysterious , and sensual, Mitsouko in any of its fragrant variations is a timeless masterpiece. Eau de toilette, eau de parfum, or parfum, each Mitsouko version has a slightly different focus, but all of them have the same wonderfully long langorous warm drydown that feeds the senses with pure pleasure.

Someone, somewhere, commented that a person doesn’t choose Mitsouko – it chooses you. And if it does, you’re one of the lucky ones. I consider myself very lucky.

Mitsouko Parfum is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $20.00 for 1 ml.

Also...

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

Mitsouko EdP is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 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.

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.

WHAT WE DO

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 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.