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  1. #1

    Default The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Just got back from my first trip to The Perfume House. Kind of overwhelming. They are the exclusive sellers of a number of high-end fragrances. For example, something I bought a small bottle of (impossible to refuse): Rancé Le Vanquer (not le Vainquer, as I notice is in a blank page on this site for this scent). Now, the formula is out there and a person can buy modern versions of this sublime stuff, designed for Napoleon (as a part of Napoleon's and Josephine's signature perfumes, the two of which became a third distinct scent when Napoleon's and Joesphine's skin touched), but The Perfume House is the only place in the USA where one can buy bottles of the actual perfume found in the original vats labeled Napoleon and Josephine, which only became available in the last couple of years (for $75 for 1.7 oz, from the original vat, how could a person say no?). The scents were perfectly preserved, as we were told any properly made perfume would be. The owner and his wife have had the place for about 25 years. The Perfume House has many awards, including a crystal egg from the government of France in thanks for keeping the true perfume tradition alive. The owner (Chris I think) spent many years in Europe prior to opening the shop, studying with the greatest perfumers in the world. He says, in some cases, he's the only American ever trained.

    We asked him a little about alcohol and perfumes; he said all true perfumes have to have it, but that good (European) perfumes use real alcohol made from grapes, whereas it is common for American makers to use synthetic alcohol...is this common knowledge here? (Perfume House only sells fragrances with real alcohol from grapes.) He then went on to talk about pure plant essences (no alcohol), which he said are "on a whole different level." He let us try essence of Snow Rose. This is a rose that grows in the Himalayas, and each rose lives only a day, after rising up through the ice (no one yet understands how this is possible); obviously, to make an essence from such a flower is incredibly labor intensive and time consuming. His stuff was commissioned by a man to whom the Himalayas are very important. Shows of current plant essences are given a few times per year; customers are called, and, so we were told, no one ever leaves without a bottle of some hand-made essence (and they're not cheap, 1 oz is over $200, but then it last forever too). Hours later, the Snow Rose is still filling my head with fantastic pictures, like, memories that aren't mine or something...and I don't ever remember actually puttin any on myself.

    They also sell a companion pair of perfumes created by some middle-eastern royalty, one is Frankincencse and Myrrh, as was brought to baby Jesus. The other is rose essence added to that. We were told millions and millions of dollars and hundreds of years were spent perfecting these fragrances (they are aged for more than a hundred years). With the rose one, it took them many years to figure out that when adding rose essence to the aged Frankincense and Myrrh, they needed to add aged rose essence. When they tried adding fresh rose essence to the aged stuff, it ruined every batch. Now, a certain mid-east representative for the royalty comes at least once a year to check on the Perfume House stock.

    Another fascinating moment was when Chris said, "If you hear someone say they've got a scent they wear 24 hours a day, something's wrong." At most, he assured us, a given fragrance is good for a 12-hour period. With so little exposure to a lifestyle incorporating perfumes and colognes, most Americans are insensitive to the changing nature of fragrances. You want different smells for different moods, different times of year, different times of day, etc. Then I'm sure all the Basenote folks are completely hip to that notion

    Anyway, a totally fascinating and enlightening experience and l look forward to patronizing the place for years to come. I'm still sitting here in awe that I have a bottle of cologne (EDP actually) on my bathroom shelf that dates from 1805, the actual liquid! I'll go to one of the plant-essence shows--and maybe he'll have some neroli or immortelle essences!

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Sorry, I just noticed it IS Le Vainquer, my bad. Tonight's my first night trying out, so I'm still in testing phase, but I like it more than anything I've tried so far. It has some similarities to Geurlain's Eau Imperiale, but smells a little bit more like Acqua di Gio to me (being from 1805, of course, it must be the model that Armani folks followed), classy, fresh. It's an EDP. Here's the pyramid:

    Top Notes:

    Grapefruit
    Bergamot
    GINGER
    Melon
    Watermelon
    Italian Mandarin

    Middle Notes:

    Lavender
    Geranium
    Lily of the Valley
    Nutmeg
    Calabrian jasmine

    Base Notes:

    Sandalwood
    Vetiver
    Florentine Iris
    Leather
    Ambergris
    Musk

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Yes, it's a fantastic shop (and no sales tax in Oregon). However, the notion of "real" and "synthetic" alcohol is silly. There may be characteristics of alcohol distilled from grapes, but not if it is completely distilled. Then it is just like pure ethyl alcohol from any other source. You might just as well speak about "real" and "synthetic" water.
    Last edited by Tuner_Watson; 3rd March 2007 at 10:14 AM.
    “They aren't connected . . . they aren't mafia. Not with names like Tuner Watson” - Jim Rockford

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Interesting post adamgottschalk, enjoyed reading it. Looks like you got a lesson in perfumery while you wer out there . Somebody else at basenotes had mentioned this store about 4 or 5 months ago.


    Vijay"Maisonstinky"
    Vijay"Maisonstinky"

  5. #5
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    It's a great place.
    Last edited by pluran; 3rd March 2007 at 04:59 AM.
    "You have to paint things black if you want to make future possibilities more vivid."
    - Michel Foucault

    The entire universe is based upon your ability to conclude the new idea which is the summoning forth of the new life into the new space.

    Man, this site has really gone to shit. Seems like every person who knew anything about perfume has left the building, and I can see why.



  6. #6

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    I love the Perfume House, they are very generous with samples and never pushy. Chris has been recognized as a Master by France Parfum Association (there are only 13 master worldwide), he can detect most notes in a fragrance. The store has one of the biggest collection in the world ,you can find fine niches like Serge Lutens, Rosine, Commes des Garcons, L’artisan, or private reserves. If you visit Portland, this is a “most” destination.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuner_Watson
    Yes, it's a fantastic shop (and no sales tax in Oregon). However, the notion of "real" and "synthetic" alcohol is silly. There may be characteristics of alcohol distilled from grapes, but not if it is completely distilled. Then it is just like pure ethyl alcohol from any other source. You might just as well speak about "real" and "synthetic" water.
    No question alcohol is alcohol, but I've been thinking on the subject, and, knowing a fair bit about solvents and fuels and such, I think what Chris meant (being one of 13 "master perfumers" in the world, as noted above), and considering that he kept talking about alcohol made from grapes, was basically any alcohol not made from grapes. For example, the majority of the sugar used in making Budweiser is refined white sugar, not the traditional barley malt (Budweiser cannot legally be sold as "beer" in Germany for example, because of a law dating back to the 1500s, the Rheinheitsgebot (sp?), which says anything sold as beer must have only 4 ingreditents, barley malt, hops, yeast, and water...meaning, according to that law, Budweiser would rightly be considered a synthetic beer). Many other alcohols are made by complex chemical extraction of the sugars in a given plant (corn alcohol, for example). With grapes, they still walk on them to press them in some parts of the world. Talk about "non synthetic."

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    By the way, I own several niche/ non niche fragrances, but the one that I get the most complements from friends,co-workers and estrangers is Le Vainquer by Rance

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by adamgottschalk
    I think what Chris meant (being one of 13 "master perfumers" in the world, as noted above), and considering that he kept talking about alcohol made from grapes, was basically any alcohol not made from grapes.
    I'm sure there is a meaningful difference in the olfactory quality of the alcohol used, probably because there are residual impurities in the distillate, or because it is not "specially denatured" (the "SD alcohol' seen in ingredients) with a chemical additive. However, if it is just alcohol, noting that it is made from grapes makes as much sense as saying the water you drink is "distilled spring water."
    Last edited by Tuner_Watson; 3rd March 2007 at 10:15 AM.
    “They aren't connected . . . they aren't mafia. Not with names like Tuner Watson” - Jim Rockford

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    I live in Portland, OR. and I've been to TPH a fiew times. *They sell over 1000 different fragrances and I find it hard to believe that ALL of them are based with grape alcohol. *Many of their fragrances can be found in Nordstrom or Macy's. *They don't carry just the rares. *So many of the fragrances they sell are massively mass produced and I don't think that mass production allows for searching out alcohol from grapes crushed by foot. *I could be wrong :-?

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by Eau Boy
    I live in Portland, OR. and I've been to TPH a fiew times. They sell over 1000 different fragrances and I find it hard to believe that ALL of them are based with grape alcohol. Many of their fragrances can be found in Nordstrom or Macy's. They don't carry just the rares. So many of the fragrances they sell are massively mass produced and I don't think that mass production allows for searching out alcohol from grapes crushed by foot. I could be wrong :-?
    Hard to believe, no doubt. But part of the reason Chris started talking about "synthetic" alcohol was so that he could say, "We only sell perfumes made with grape alcohol." My female accomplice and I both said, "Really?" He said, "Yes, of course. If it weren't we wouldn't sell it here."

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Geez, I was just making fun of Creed marketing hype but the advertisement that is the first post in this thread puts Creed marketing hype to shame.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  13. #13

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    What is rose "essence"? I have never heard of the stuff.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  14. #14
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    ...
    Last edited by pluran; 3rd March 2007 at 05:00 AM.
    "You have to paint things black if you want to make future possibilities more vivid."
    - Michel Foucault

    The entire universe is based upon your ability to conclude the new idea which is the summoning forth of the new life into the new space.

    Man, this site has really gone to shit. Seems like every person who knew anything about perfume has left the building, and I can see why.



  15. #15

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    What is rose "essence"? I have never heard of the stuff.
    According to what I would gather from Chris, it's an extract of the essential oils from a plant. However, the high-end essences Chris makes are somehow very different than the kind you find at health food stores and the like. The difference is probably 1) in the methods of extracting the oils, and 2) in the substances used as substrates. This stuff, as opposed to perfume, is highly perishable.

    The "Snow Rose" essence we tried is such an essence made from the extremely rare Himalayan rose whcih grows through ice. It ony lives for a day, so making an extract of its essential oil must take years. Chris talked of one European perfumer who came by the shop and said he'd always heard of Snow Rose, but had never smelled it. He now buys a 1 ounce bottle from TPH 5 or 6 times per year (at over $200 per bottle).

    "Rose water" as is commonly used in everything from cooking to perfume in many parts of the world, is very different. It's really just water with a little rose fragrance thrown in.

  16. #16

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    According to what I would gather from Chris, it's an extract of the essential oils from a plant. However, the high-end essences Chris makes are somehow very different than the kind you find at health food stores and the like
    So, basically, it is just some bogus marketing hype this guy made up.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  17. #17

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    The "Snow Rose" essence we tried is such an essence made from the extremely rare Himalayan rose whcih grows through ice. It ony lives for a day, so making an extract of its essential oil must take years.
    LOL, that certainly outdoes any Creed marketing hype.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  18. #18

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    Geez, I was just making fun of Creed marketing hype but the advertisement that is the first post in this thread puts Creed marketing hype to shame.
    Suddenly I get the impression this a less than amicable community, while wallowing in a certain degree of ignorance.

    As you're implying that I was "advertising" in some way, I am compelled to respond:

    Economics 101: an advertisment comes when a) someone is trying to sell something, and/or b) someone has a vested interest in a given thing they're addressing. I was and am trying to sell absolutely nothing. I have no vested interest in TPH at all. I'm just a lowly guy whose girlfriend thought he might like it there; she was right. And I thought other fragrance lovers here might be interested in hearing about it if they hadn't. Sorry you didn't find my account interesting, really.

    Such an unsavory comment was yours, I find I'm not sure my patience is right for this "community." But then I'm sure that was your point, for whatever reason.

  19. #19

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Okay, gents.
    I think everyone's viewpoints are well expressed here. I'll lock this thread if it becomes issues related to members and membership instead of fragrances. I understand skepticisim, I understand reporting what one's heard, but I won't understand not dropping issues associated with attacks.
    Thanks very much,
    --Chris
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  20. #20

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran
    [quote author=adamgottschalk link=1147312737/0#0 date=1147312736]
    They also sell a companion pair of perfumes created by some middle-eastern royalty, one is Frankincencse and Myrrh, as was brought to baby Jesus.
    "......as was brought to baby Jesus?" :-? It is an interesting book. Lots of entertaining content.[/quote]
    It is a really fascinating book, one that I find sometimes entertaining and sometimes horrifying. Now, if you're the sort of person who believes that some of the stories in there might actually be based on real facts of history, no matter how much they've been "poeticized," you have to wonder, would 3 wise men in ancient times make a long trek to bring a mother and newborn actual Frankincense and actual Myrrh? Completely implausible. Much more likely they were brining fragrances, especially to a barn. It's also likely that an ancient royal family from the mid east would have specialized knowledge of what exactly went into those fragrances as they were made in ancient times.

  21. #21

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Adamgottshalk, take a look at my post. This is a forum for fragrance discussion. We're not going to solve biblical travel probabilities.

    Refer to these rules, please.

    #9: Avoid hot topics
    Posts/signatures that involve politics are expressly forbidden on this board.
    Posts/signatures that involve religion are expressly forbidden on this board.
    We have the right to lock or delete topics which have the potential to get out of hand. We have been running this discussion board for over five years, some topics come up regularly that cause problems. These will be locked.

    #10: Stop when you are told
    If you are advised to stop a discussion by an administrator or moderator then do so. Threads will be locked should discussion continue after you have been advised otherwise. If you wish to carry on your debate after you have been advised to drop it, please use private email.
    Under no circumstances attempt to restart a locked thread.

    http://www.basenotes.net/cgi-bin/art...ame=forumrules

    Thanks. Questions, please PM me. Anyone.
    --Chris
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  22. #22
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    somewhere back in this thread, basenotes member "adamgottschalk" used my name in a quote which appears to indicate that i mentioned something about "the baby jesus". perhaps i'm misreading it, but i feel the need to clarify either way. i have never had anything to do with religion or baby jesuses. not by a longshot.

    as for the perfume house...it's an awesome place.
    Last edited by pluran; 3rd March 2007 at 05:25 AM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    the prices at the perfume house are really good too , should be mentioned

  24. #24

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by supermarky View Post
    the prices at the perfume house are really good too , should be mentioned
    Wonderful place. Have been there many times. Chris Tsefalis is a gracious and interesting host. I wish them continued luck.

    The scents there include many classics, scents you'd not find at a department store, such as Amouage.
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 23rd January 2014 at 06:33 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: The Perfume House, Portland, Oregon

    Epic Grave Digging.

    Almost a decade.

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