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Bois Mysterieux Eau de Parfum - courtesy

Guerlain describes Bois Mystérieux as a modern interpretation of the concept of exoticism..."bold , unique, audacious..." an eau de parfum that..."only unveils its radiance through its intensity, adorned with touches of cedar patchouli and myrrh...and leather. Dark is the night...a deep night..."

Bois Mystérieux is part of Guerlain's Les Absolus d'Orient collection created by the company's Master Perfumer Thierry Wasser. Les Absolus d'Orient is a relaunch with minor tweaks of a smaller earlier collection which embraced exotic Oriental notes such as oud, saffron, cumin, myrrh and was aimed at the Middle East market. Bois Mystérieux is, in truth, Songe d'un bois d'été, a fragrance from this earlier collection with very minor differences, but with the same compelling beauty and artistic force.

The scent is intoxicating from the very first moments with a huge aromatic accord of neroli and green laurels, fresh and citrusy with a medicinal edge but which soon becomes much drier and spicy into the heart from resinous cedarwood and rich herbal patchouli. The leather note develops, sliding under the cedar and patchouli ,and soft jasmine is almost undetectable but adds a nuance of indolic sweetness to the leather as it deepens into a more animalic leather in the base.  Sweet myrrh changes the leather cedar accord, adding a musky sexiness and intensity to the scent, and an exotic smoky quality emerges from the wood notes which brings Bois Mystérieux into the realm of deep and dark and daring, and unforgettable. 

Bois Mystérieux has a warm exotic sillage that radiates unobtrusively for hours. Easily unisex, it is a chameleon on skin, appealing more to some people than others, but it does require an appreciation of perfume as art in order to wear it with confidence. Like many Oriental and Middle Eastern fragrances, its exoticism can be perceived as too much, but as it slowly dries down Bois Mystérieux becomes silky and softer and more intimate, revealing a sublimely beautiful and sophisticated fragrance with great depth and balance. 

Woods and leather, but so much more. One of the best from Guerlain.

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



October tree -

One of my favourite months is October. Where I live, it starts out as late summer, when the leaves turn fiery red, burnished gold and Jack O' Lantern orange and ends as the real beginning of autumn, the leaves fallen to the ground, leaving branches, boughs and limbs bare. It has an air of melancholy about it that makes me seek coziness and comfort.

October is a transition month for sure, and like other transition months, weather and temperature are unpredictable. There are warm days, hot days, cold days. One day you're wearing a jacket, the next, flip-flops. The only sensible solution for any perfumista is to find a scent that can perform in both warm and cool weather. It sounds daunting, but Ambra, from Etro is up to the job.

Etro started as a textile design company founded by "Gimmo" Etro in 1968. The Milan-based business soon became known for its paisley patterns. Today Etro is a family-owned fashion and lifestyle brand that produces fabrics, accessories, ceramics, wallpaper, clothes and fragrances. Originally, perfumes were added to the Etro stable in 1989 and were intended to enhance their clothing lines. This is around the time when niche houses like Serge Lutens and Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier started producing fragrances, making Etro a pioneer in niche perfumery. Ten fragrances, all signed by Jacques Flori of Robertet made up Etro's initial launch. Ambra was among them.

On me, Ambra opens with nose-tingling bergamot, backed by a note of fresh, bright lemon. Coriander is fresh, peppery and spicy, and it complements the citrus beautifully before the flowers appear. A geranium note smells lemony and green and rosy, the perfect way to introduce a sensuous note of rose. The florals keep the scent light and fresh. At the heart, ambery labdanum appears. The labdanum is deep, resinous and balsamy, and to me, smells like a forest of fir trees which adds a different dimension of freshness to Ambra. Things turn from fresh to warm and cozy when patchouli and styrax show up, giving Ambra a dry woodiness that lingers in the background as the base notes appear. There's amber, sweet, animalic, and a little powdery braced with caramel-tinged, warm, velvety opoponax. Vanilla is creamy and cozy, while musk adds sensuality and fixes Ambra to the skin.

This EdT has a lot of heavy notes, yet it's surprisingly light while still being rich. If you're looking for a BIG fragrance, look somewhere else. Ambra has an elegance that comes from being perfectly balanced so that the notes intertwine and dry down into a soft, smooth, refined sensuous stunner.

The real beauty of Ambra though lies in its duality. It transitions from a fresh scent into a cozy, warm one making it ideal for warm or cool days. Who am I kidding? I'd wear Ambra any day.

Ambra is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.


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.