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Nose to Nose - Let's recognize rare talent - August 26, 2015


Image - Paris Perfume Store

Gwen:     Kay, you look great! All tanned and relaxed after your vacay.

Kay:        Yep, I had a great time. Didn’t do much but eat, swim, and read – and I got to visit with old friends I rarely see, who are on my list of “most favourite people in the whole wide world”…

Gwen:      Isn’t that the best feeling, when you re-connect with people you love and have a history with? Catching up on each other’s news, re-living memories together, sharing stories, laughing…

Kay:         There’s nothing like it! It makes you realize the joy and ease of true friendships.

Gwen:      And, how much you value them….even if they aren’t big names or at the top of everyone’s list…

Kay:         We’re not talking about friends anymore, are we…we’re talking about perfumes!

Gwen:       Don’t we always talk about perfumes? We just can’t help ourselves. But seriously, BFF, while you were away I got to thinking about the underappreciated lines, the overlooked ones, the perfumers who are under-the- radar and aren’t top-of-mind, but which have exceptional fragrances.

Kay:         Like some of the small niche perfumers, the ones that have just local or regional distribution and never advertise. They don’t get much press or recognition in Perfumeland but they sure do create some incredibly beautiful scents. Who are you thinking of?

Gwen:      Right off the top of my head, would be Christian Louis. His 18 Place des Vosges is like spending a little time in that perfect place in Paris. Iris and bergamot, lavender and tobacco. It’s the smell of flowers from the gardens in the morning before the sun has had a chance to warm things up too much. Then, you catch a whiff of tobacco from people who come to sit, smoke and read Le Figaro before moving on to their next appointment.

Kay:         I want to be there right now!

Gwen:     Then there’s Claudiae from perfumer Enrico Buccella’s line Sigilli. You know, he created this for his wife.

Kay:         Lucky her!

Gwen:      Poppy, rose, galbanum and patchouli all lose their individuality and evolve together into a deep, dense sensuous siren call that is irresistible.

Then there’s Cedre by 06130 - Zero Six Cent-Trent. Wild, dirty, violet, lightened with citrus on a sandalwood base. It stays close to the skin and beckons people to come closer. Categorized as a masculine, it is soft and sophisticated enough for women to wear.

Oh, and then there’s the Merchant of Venice line by Parfums Marvive. Their Asian Inspirations is such a swooner! That citrus/sage opening, the grassy, rooty, woody vetiver heart… dry, aromatic and deliciously green, yet sophisticated and refined.

Who are your unsung noses and under-the-radar brands?

Kay:         Christian Louis, for sure – I’m right with you about him. He’s brilliant in capturing smells of places. Like Espelette, the small town in the Basque region of France which holds a chili festival in early Fall. Red chilis are hung everywhere to dry in the sun, and their scent, mixed with the smell of spices, ripened peaches, sandalwood and vanilla is intoxicating and unforgettable. It's captured in Espelette.

Then I’d say AbdesSalaam Attar (Dominique Dubrana) from La Via del Profumo – he’s based in Italy and is a natural perfumer who makes soulful fragrances that are out of this world. I have Mecca Balsam, an olfactory jewel inspired by his trip to Mecca during Hajj. It’s rich and dark, but subtle and comforting, and with an inner mystical core that speaks of peaceful strength. A balsam for the soul.

Milano Caffe is about an actual place rather than a state of bliss, and is from his Five Italian Cities series. It isn’t really about the coffee note in a perfume or the smell of coffee, it’s much more about the pleasurable experience of living with beautiful scent.  Wear it, experience it, share it, enjoy it, and love it. Be Milanese, be Italian!

And I have to mention Maria Candida Gentile, also from Italy. Classically trained in France, her work is so creative, lyrical and passionate, she is a poet who uses scent to describe beautiful places or moments in time. Like Exultat, for example. It’s all about incense. Not a smoky church incense or heavy floral incense,  Exultat is an incense full of life and light which come right from its core. MCG uses violet and vetiver so that Exultat is an incense that shines, like a perfect sunny day. It’s fabulous.

Gwen:      Hmmm, these brands and their creators are all Italian and French!

Kay:        Well, aren’t we just getting started on under-appreciated lines?

Gwen:     You’re right! We have so much work to do….

Kay:        Yes, yes, we do….

Click on the links and read all about these extraordinary fragrances by true perfume artists with under-the-radar brands, then try a few. You will be amazed by what you smell.