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I lusted to own Or du Sérail from the first moment the sample touched my wrist. I’d read that this 2014 Naomi Goodsir scent created by Bertrand Duchaufour was focused on the tobacco note, but there was something much more going on in that opening accord than simply tobacco. The accord quickly became intriguingly lush and dense, rich and mesmerizing, which I did not expect, and as the scent developed on my skin over the next few hours, it turned out that Or du Sérail was filled with hypnotic surprises. 

Wearing it now, I’m experiencing that same hedonistic pleasure I got when I first sniffed it, only amped up several notches by the heat and humidity of mid-summer. Right out of the bottle, there is a whiff of sour fermention which quickly becomes boozy and fruity. Freshly-cut orange and mango, apple and honey and coconut, rum-soaked, make a potent brew that is tart and luscious, fruity and aromatic so that it’s sweet but not sugary. 

It’s a gourmand cocktail, layered lightly with the aroma of tobacco leaves dried in the sun, golden in colour, flavoured with wisps of hay and herbs and beeswax that add a natural earthiness to the boozy opening. As the top accord dries into the heart it shifts, becoming lighter and more airy. Soft florals emerge, wafting invisibly like the nicotiana (tobacco flowers) in my front garden when they bloom in the early evening – sweet with a teasing herbal tobacco twist. And I smell coconut again, just for a moment. 

Very slowly, Or du Sérail reveals deeper facets.  The tobacco note becomes more aromatic, cedar and woody notes are layered in, then amber, vanilla, labdanum and musks, but the notes seem to appear and rotate through the scent individually in waves rather than swirl together in a heavy dark mix, so that the base remains as textured, and as golden and luscious as the opening accord. 

Women of Algiers - Eugene Delacroix, 1834 - Wikipedia

Or du Sérail hints of decadence, it has a quiet but seductive charm from start to finish. The Naomi Goodsir site says that the scent was inspired by the Delacroix painting, Women of Algiers, which depicts the interior of a seraglio, or harem, with women lounging and smoking a hookah, the quiet interior scene decorated with exotic textures and objects and infused with a golden light. Or du Sérail captures the sensation I get from the painting, of quietly waiting in lush comfort for decadence and seduction to begin.

Tobacco is the golden core, and Duchaufour has layered it with unusual notes from top to bottom that continually surprise and delight the senses. Teasing with sour fruity sweet earthy floral woody ambery musky notes, Or du Sérail has a lush vibrancy that is cleverly restrained and stays close to the skin with a soft personal sillage that lasts all day. Everyone time I sniff my wrist I detect another facet. I absolutely love that.

Or du Sérail is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Naomi Goodsir’s fragrances on perfumeniche.com:

Nuit de Bakelite

Cuir Velours

Bois d’Ascese

Image - Or du Sérail bottle from naomigoodsir.com

 

No matter how long the summers are where you live, they’re never long enough. We want to help you squeeze every drop out of those carefree, sun-kissed, easy-living days, so here is our “Summer 2019” Decant Pack.

These are colognes or lighter eau de toilettes which work best on everyone’s skin in hot weather, women and men, and each fragrance is chosen to make your summer smell better. Wear them this summer, and they’ll bring summer memories back to you any time you wear them. 

“Summer 2019” Decant Pack. Six summer colognes, regular $30.00 for $23.00, plus shipping.

Eau de Cologne Du Coq - Guerlain

This is one of the original colognes from Guerlain, launched in 1894. Guerlain lists the notes as: Lavender, Lemon, Bergamot, Orange, and Rosemary. Citrusy up top, an earthy character emerges from the herbs and indolic floral as it dries down, and it ends with rich woody notes. Eau de Cologne Du Coq has a clean elegance to it, with a slightly dirty edge that lifts it out of the archives and drops it into the 21st century. 

Eau Dynamisante – Clarins 

This is a hidden gem displayed in plain sight on the cosmetic shelves in your favourite department or drug store. Containing essential oils and natural extracts, it’s the perfect balance of citrus and herbs with airy floral facets. And the earthiness at the end is pure bliss, nirvana, a place to go when the real world is just too darn hot! Eau Dynamisante is like walking in a cloud of “cool” all day long.

Haute Provence- Nicolaï Parfumeur-Créateur 

Colognes make hot days bearable and this little gem, built around ‘true lavender’, is a summer life-saver! It’s the paring of lavender with iris that makes this fragrance so irresistible to me. Smooth and elegant and sweet, floral and woody. Perfect for ‘haute’ days.

Les Colognes Néroli- Annick Goutal 

It’s floral and green, with a nose-tingling freshness. Neroli paired with fresh, voluptuous orange blossom creates a gorgeous, lush tumble of white flowers on my skin. This, dear readers, is the smell of a perfect summer’s day! 

Lime Basil & Mandarin– Jo Malone

I think the Brits do some things better than others. Jo Malone’s fabulous Lime Basil & Mandarin opens with the smell of lime zest rubbed on the rim a cocktail glass, green, tart, aromatic, which sweetens ever so slightly and slowly by the addition of fresh-squeezed mandarin orange. Then the magic happens...herbal notes of basil and thyme transform the rich citrus accord into a top-notch cologne. You’ll be cool, calm, and collected all day.

Twilly d’Hermès- Hermès 

Built around just three notes: tuberose, ginger and sandalwood, it’s the way these notes are manipulated and blended that makes it so gotta-have-it! Twilly is the scent of a light-hearted fling, not a deep seduction, which makes it ideal for carefree summer days and nights.

“Summer 2019” Decant Pack. Six summer colognes, regular $30.00 for $23.00, plus shipping

Image - perfumeniche.com  - Hot August day on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada

 

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.