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Of all the notes in perfumery, incense is one of the most popular. It's not surprising, really, when you consider that incense has played a role in religious rituals in Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, Taoist and Shinto, so most people are familiar with its scent. And, since incense's religious use has its origins in antiquity, it's a scent that people have known and shared across cultures for thousands of years. It's no wonder then that 'churchy' fragrances never truly go out of fashion. I must admit that since discovering fragrances like Incense: Avignon, Cardinal or Timbuktu and Chembur, I have developed a real appreciation that borders on obsession for them.

Which brings me to Sacreste by Italian niche line Laboratorio Olfattivo.

Launched in 2018 as part of Laboratorio Olfattivo's Black Collection, Roberto Drago, owner and art director for the brand, says in an interview with Fragrantica that "Sacreste was born from the study of another perfume that I try to achieve for 8 years. Two years ago I received a proof from Luca Maffei characterized by a famous incense that I liked very much. On that note we worked, we refined it making it sensual, we gave it volume up to the final project, which I particularly love."

I particularly love it too.

At this point, I usually translate the name of the fragrance, but I can't find a translation anywhere. Is it an Italian word for some religious rite? Is it an ancient vessel in which incense is burned? In the same Fragrantica interview, Roberto Drago, gives us the answer: 'The word Sacreste does not exist in the Italian language, I invented it specially for the perfume. You could see some recognizable parts like "sacre" or "crest" because it's about incense and church'.

A fragrance so special, a new word had to be created for its name. Sounds about right.

Sacreste opens rich and sweet, smoky and resinous from cistus labdanum. Elemi, a fragrant resin with its balsamy/pine and citrusy scent, is the perfect counterpoint to the labdanum and prevents Sacreste from becoming a heavy, dark church scent. Aromatic cardamon's sweet and resinous nature boosts the labdanum while adding a spicy warmth. Saffron adds its characteristic leatheriness and softness to the opening. As it blooms, the true heart of Sacreste is revealed. This fragrance is built upon two incense types – one bright and clean and the other smoky, dark and rich.  They form a double helix – a pair of of parallel scent strands intertwined around each other – that show different aspects of incense at different moments throughout the course of wearing it: at times it's smoky, at times it's sweet, sometimes woody or earthy or dark. A note of black pepper, hot and bracing gives a spicy brightness to the juice and an unexpected note of limette sends a sweet, fresh citrusy shot throughout the fragrance every so often. The incense stays right down to the woody base of cedarwood and guaiac wood, soft warm, woody Cashmeran, and rich ambery, woody Ambermax. Musk is here, too, ensuring a smooth finish.

Sacreste dries down to a refined, intimate skin scent that is a siren call to anyone who comes near. What I love most about it is how the heavy aspects of incense are all there, but the experience of the fragrance isn't heavy, dark or moody.

Sacreste is the reason why 'churchy' scents never go out of fashion.

Sacreste is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Wikimedia Commons - Burning Incense Stick - Antan, 08/13/2010

Goddess 30  ml. - LUSH Gorilla Perfume 

This is what months of COVID living has wrought: 

1. My husband and I now share the same thoughts at the same time, even in our dreams. We are one big brain.

2. My husband now fully comprehends and believes that I am, indeed, a goddess. 

True story:

The other morning I wake up abruptly, at the exact moment where I’m enjoying a most delicious breakfast. I can smell the tantalizing dark coffee, the scent of smoky bacon and hot fluffy maple syrup-soaked waffles. But the house is dark and dead quiet. It’s just a dream. I lie there a minute or two, wide awake and suddenly super-hungry, so I get up and head right to the kitchen and set to work cooking my dream breakfast of waffles and bacon and maple syrup. The smell of the coffee brings my husband into the kitchen. 

“How did you know I dreamed about having waffles and bacon for breakfast this morning? “ he says, giving me a hug. “YOU are a GODDESS! Mmmm, you smell like a goddess, too. That scent, it smells so lush!”

“It’s called “Goddess”, I reply. “And it’s made by LUSH”.

“Nooo, c’mon. What’s it really called?” 

“It’s true, It’s Goddess by LUSH Gorilla Perfume”.

"Now you have a perfume with your name on it," he says, laughing.

Goddess is from 2019 , an evocative captivating fragrance which features oudh, jasmine, osmanthus, rose, and sandalwood, an uncomplicated formula of top-quality botanical ingredients which allows each note to demonstrate its beauty and brilliance through the dry-down.

Experienced  perfume lovers know that it’s impossible to judge a fragrance from the first few minutes on your skin, which is especially true of the Gorilla line, and Goddess doesn’t disappoint. The oudh is first up, with its camphorous smoky oily richness providing shock value to the opening accord, but it soon pulls back, allowing the jasmine absolute to bloom in all its indolic lusciousness, a white floral aphrodisiac flecked with traces of sweat, and bits of lemon and green. Never too sweet, the jasmine is fresh and delicate, but seductive. 

As the jasmine becomes more expansive, spicy Damascus rose adds a mellow elegance, and in the heart osmanthus flower completes the floral triad with its distinctive sunlit notes of honeyed apricot and sueded leather. As this sensual bouquet begins to dry down, the warm leather note leads directly to sandalwood and oudh in the base. 

The sandalwood is fragrant and creamy, powdery with hints of spice and soothing woody balsams, like a beautiful wood polished to satiny perfection, smooth as silk and warm to the touch. The oudh is dark and rich and woody, grounding the floral sweetness with a smoky depth. The dry down in Goddess is exceptional, warm and enveloping, sensual and sophisticated with a lingering waft that has a powerful attraction. 

Goddess smells real and refined, the true character of the notes can be recognized and enjoyed from start to finish, a testament to the quality of the ingredients and the creative vision of the perfumers. To my nose, it is an absolutely beautiful fragrance that has understated strength and a regal character that I find extremely captivating, and which makes me love it. Plus, it has my name on it - LOL!!!

I think Mark and Simon Constantine, the father and son who own LUSH and are the creative team at Gorilla Perfume, make outstanding perfumes which stand shoulder to shoulder beside any brand in the natural/artisanal category. Original, sometimes strange, but always interesting, in addition to being excellent quality for the money, Gorilla fragrances are hand-blended in-house by LUSH and are composed mostly of high quality natural essential oils and distillations which they personally source directly from global producers.  “We are an antidote to boring mass-market scents and a movement to get people excited about good quality perfume.”

Goddess is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Note: In our Decant Store we list  Breath of God, Karma, Lust, Smuggler’s Soul, 1000 Kisses Deep, all unique scents based in natural botanical perfumery. These are hidden gems, usually found at the back of LUSH stores, and easily available from the LUSH online stores in Canada , USA, and Europe. If you don’t know about LUSH, check out the UK website

Image by perfumeniche.com

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.