Wet Garden is one that interests me greatly. Does anyone know where to get samples of these in the UK?
Thread: Demeter - What's up with them?
Since it’s only 12:30 am (2.5 hours before 3 am), I thought I’d write about Demeter. This house boggles my mind. Who is this company turning out lovely, affordable perfumes? Is my nose off, is it too new? Or are some Demeters almost as spectacular as the super expensive perfumes I've been sniffing? Time to probe this mystery.
The BN brand profile says it was set up in 1993 by Christopher Brosius and Christopher Gable. Located in Great Neck, NY, the official name is Demeter Fragrance Library. It sells the fragrances online and in drug, grocery and convenience stores in the USA and Canada. The motto: Simple, Subtle, Singular Scents, Each Day. Everywhere. A terrific mission statement for a perfumer. Their "about" page says they're "the physical and literal manifestation of "stopping to smell the roses," convincing people to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful smells that surround us all the time." The founder, Christopher Brosius, says: "A person's fragrance "wardrobe" should include more than just designer or classic perfumes. Having a fragrance wardrobe of just designer perfumes is like having a wardrobe of nothing but evening clothes - beautiful but not what you might want for everyday life. You need the comfortable clothes as well.” In more than 250 fragrances that use 95% natural ingredients, they carry out their mission.
This article says Brosius is known as the Willy Wonka of the fragrance industry. Sounds to me like a possible genius. http://nymag.com/news/features/perfumer-christopher-brosius-2011-5/
I’ll search for sniff-alikes for the Demeters, as I explore.
Jasmine. (Floral) This precious darling grabbed me during my Jasmine Sniff-Fest. It has held its own against the best: A La Nuit, Olene, Odalisque, Magnetic Scent Untitled #1, Creed's Jasmine Imperatrice Eugenie. In spite of having these gems at my fingertips, my nose kept wanting to return to Demeter's Jasmine. I put the sprayer to my nose and I'm a goner. The indolic scent closes my eyes. Demeter tells you zilch about how they accomplished this. Trying Fragrantica: apparentaly there's an animalic note along with Spanish/Grandiflorum Jasmine and lilac. Closest to it is Diptyque's Olene, but Demeter is a bit greener. Notes: white floral, animalic, floral.
Bulgarian Rose. (Floral) I picked this up on ebay and didn’t like it at first. Too rosy. But, it does dry more nicely. It’s divine layered over something woody,/musky/animalic. Demeter encourages mix-matching and layering. This is perfect for that. Notes are rose, floral, citrus.
Salt Air. (Aromatic Aquatic) Who would think to try for this? Brosius, apparently. And, guess what, it smells terrific. I could wear it by itself. Fragrantica says the accords are: marine, salty, aromatic. Yep, but in this case it’s a designer beach
Beeswax (Oriental). Wow, I could wear this one, too. And it does smell like the best beehive ever in a field of wildflowers. Notes are: Beeswax, honey, flowers, with something animalic thrown in. The result
Amber. (Oriental). This should be simple. Sniff. It’s amber, all right. Rich and sultry, An idea! Just layered it on one hand with Jasmine and Bulgarian Rose. Geez, my hand thinks it’s died and gone to heaven. Beauty, beauty! Notes: Amber, animalic, balsamic, powdery, marine.
Bamboo. (Aromatic Green). Notes are woody/earth. I could wear this alone, too. Wonder what it would smell like layered with Salt Air? Not bad, not bad. My nose can’t move fast enough between the backs of my hands. This is really good stuff!
Snow. (Woody). Well, whatever they put in there, darn if it doesn’t smell like clean snow. It’s a nice, subtle scent. Can’t believe what they’ve done here.
Wet Garden. (Floral). Accords are: floral, earthy, aquatic, fresh, watery. Heck, it smells like a wet garden! A just beautiful scent. Totally impressed.
Oops, forgot about the sniff-alikes.
Anyway, that does it. These fragrances are perfectly good. Simpler than those from big perfumers, but accomplished nonetheless. I also notice these have less alcohol than the Caron EdP’s I just got, which leaves me a bit miffed. Spraying on one arm to check. Okay, ignore that. Whatever the relative alcohol content, the Caron is fabulous. However, Demeters are darned good. Back to their website with me to order more of their 1/2 oz splashes and find new faves.
Hat off to Christopher Brosius for accomplishing such a vision.
Last edited by ScentFan; 18th December 2013 at 07:30 AM.
Wet Garden is one that interests me greatly. Does anyone know where to get samples of these in the UK?
"What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.
The last time I looked Liberty in London stocked some of the Demeter line; not all. Whether they still do, I have no idea. My main gripe with Demeter is that the fragrances often don't last very long; but I haven't smelled all of them.
Roullier White in London sell samples of those stocked.
Longevity was also an issue for me on sampling.
Last edited by lpp; 18th December 2013 at 10:27 AM.
You're welcome, teardrop - I wrongly thought that they'd stopped stocking them!
The few I have tried lasted no more than an hour
They are really great, but they're very cheap because they last minutes. I don't think they're meant to be all-out perfumes.
I do love Christopher Brosius's I Hate Perfume range, though. Some great stuff there.
Gingerale is actually among my top 10 favorite perfumes. Longevity is okay when I get some on my clothing.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I've heard of Demeter fragrances in passing but your post is quite in depth and interesting.
Loved reading your thoughts Scentfan. I've been wondering about this house also. I know they have some gourmands that have intrigued but I've yet to smell any. Will have to seek them out. I'm curious now which drugstores carry them.
Yes, longevity isn't super long on all of them. The Jasmine (pre-reformulation I got off ebay) for onlly $18.50 reeks forever. So does the Bulgarian Rose (if not as enjoyably). This morning I woke and resniffed. The Caron I sprayed on my arm last night is still almost fully there, of course. The Bamboo/Salt Water Demeter mix on my left hand is holding its own. On my right hand, the Jasmine/Bulgarian Rose/Amber layering is barely detectable, but that's because the amber muted the flowers immediately and the scent melded with my skin. Alone, though, the Jasmine rules.
No, most probably don't last as long but as these prices, respraying is zero problem. What delights me is not only the authenticity and quality of the scents, but their variety. I ordered an (ahem) few 1/2 oz splashes more and can't wait to layer and mix them with abandon.
I layered Jasmine & Bamboo at about 12:30 and they lasted about 2.5 hours.
You guys know the longevity is designed to be short, right? They're not "proper" fragrances -- but what the company calls "Scent Memories"—kind of like novelty scents. The idea is that they conjure up a familiar scent / note / impression (as opposed to a composition) that's really just designed to last a very brief time (like 10 minutes or so). Think of them as a sort of taste of something, or a quick refresher (depending on the scent) and you won't be disappointed. With that said, if you dump enough onto fabric, they can hole up longer than intended. In fact, their fig (fig tree, I think it's called) is comparable to Philosykos (not as green) and lasts around the same amount of time. I really like Funeral Home and that one does hold up quite well, also.
And ScentFan, if you're not familiar with Brosius, he's the guy behind CB I Hate Perfume. Very talented, quirky perfumer who really sits outside of the industry (literally).
Last edited by deadidol; 18th December 2013 at 11:49 PM.
Brosius won some kind of international fragrance award for Snow. I forget the exact award but it brought him a lot of attention in the fragrance industry. He is a 100% self-taught perfumer who started in perfumery by making personal compositions for customers from essential oils when he worked at Kiehl's. Interesting guy. There is a good bio of him here:
There is also a super good BBC documentary in which Brosius constructs a personal fragrance for a man who wants a perfume that smells like England - i.e. the country! It's called "Bottling the Memory". Sorry if I sound like a nerd.
I have not yet sampled anything from the CB I Hate Perfume line, but as I understand it, the fragrances are constructed as quite literal scent experiences in the same sense as Demeter's are - for example At The Beach 1966 is supposed to smell exactly like a 1960s bottle of Coppertone suntan lotion. I am hoping these 'scent memories' last a bit longer as the fragrances are quite expensive - in line with many other niche houses.
Last edited by Wingie; 19th December 2013 at 01:35 AM. Reason: More info to add
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=annRzLYrRwM. Appreciate it.
It's great to read your thoughts on these, ScentFan! Thank you for the reviews.
Ulta used to carry Demeter, and I remember they were fun and very realistic. There was one called Geranium or something like that, and it smelled exactly like the leaves of a geranium plant when you rub them between your fingers.
I currently own their Gingerbread and Chocolate Mint. I love the Chocolate Mint, but it stays on my skin for 5 minutes. (It's in the small splash bottle, so I don't know how it will be if it's sprayed.) Gingerbread is okay. I didn't know they were designed as "scent memories," but that's exactly what they seem to be. I like smelling them, but I don't think I can wear them. I ended up using Gingerbread as a room scent last year around Christmas
Last edited by catnip_too; 19th December 2013 at 11:22 PM.
My favorite Dime-Eater (*lovingly*) is Dandelion, green and airy and just what the doctor ordered for the dog days of summer. This thread is encouraging me to test-drive some more fragrances of their repertoire, I have read many praises for their Honeysuckle.
I was not impressed, however, by their Chocolate range -- too much patchouly without the milky-dark-creamy aspect emphasized.
I found a hello kitty perfume by them at my local Walgreens. They were on clearance for .99¢ from $15 I think.
I bought all of them and gave them to the little girls at my church for the holidays. They went nuts for them!
Hopefully I sparked a few future perfumistas
"I am more afraid of an army of 100 Sheep led by a Lion than an army of 100 Lions led by a Sheep."
Twolf, I used to have a bottle of their Honeysuckle but disliked it and eventually got rid of it. It lacked the sweeter notes of honeysuckle and only had the "dirtier" ones, so it wasn't very realistic to my nose (I am thinking of the yellow Japanese honeysuckle that grows wild here). But lots of people seem to like it, so take that with a grain of salt.
Oh, thanks for letting me (and all of us!) know. You know I value your opinions and like my fragrances sweet.
I'm a big fan of their Laundromat fragrance actually. People at work used to grab it as well ( I had it on my desk) if they felt they needed a neutral scent to refresh with before going anywhere.
It lasted a couple of hours no problem
But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.
The Demeter minis (.5 oz) I ordered arrived as I headed out of town so I lugged the box along in case of sniff withdrawal symptoms. Tonight, my guy and I decided to try them. As already pointed out, these are meant to be "sniff impressions'" of scents that surround us all the time, so I don't expect much projection or longevity (though their pre-reformulation Jasmine is a sillage monster I enjoy. It does have a too-green top note, but wait a bit and the dry down is superb as is the longevity).
Demeter, as we know, was the Greek goddess of agriculture and the earth's fertility. Her grief was the cause of the seasons. When her daughter, Persephone, was out picking flowers one day, the earth opened and Pluto, God of the underwood, rose in his chariot and took Persephone down to his dark home. Demeter bargained for her return and Pluto allowed it only once a year. Each time Persephone went back to the underworld, Demeter's grief caused the leaves to fall from the trees, caused the days to grow cold and snow to fall. When Persephone returned above ground, Demeter's joy brought spring.
That this myth inspired Demeter Fragrance Library seems fit, given what I've already smelled. What new delights await?
Firefly. Him: It's an interesting smell, like being in a very humid, woodsy, swampy, lush almost tropical place. Her: Smells exactly like the kind of summer dusk in which fireflies appear: a fresh-mowed lawn, a faint whiff from a flowerbed, a sprinkler going somewhere.
Honeysuckle. Her: Honeysuckle with a hint of magnolia, jasmine? There are insoles, that's for sure. Him: Honeysuckle gone rancid. Skunk armpits.
Bamboo. Her: A soft fragrance that smells exactly like bamboo to me, with perhaps a hint of fresh sugar cane. Him: A fruit gone rancid in the kitchen. A man repellant. Her: Perhaps I should put some on.
Lavender. Her: Lavender's not my favorite scent, but it's more than tolerable here. Him: A drugstore nasal inhaler. I like it. It's addictive. Her: No comment.
Beeswax. Him: There's that smell again. What I'm calling skunk. Her: You're reacting to indoles. To me, this is a beautiful scent. I smell the beeswax, the honey, and the nectar the bees took from the flowers. It's hypnotic.
Thunderstorm. Her: One of my favorite phenomena and this scent doesn't disappoint. The ozone produced from lightning comes through as well as the fresh mud the water makes and, in the background, all that grows is wet. Him: I'd rather be seasick on the Titanic. Her: Do you want to continue? Him: Yeah, I'm sure we'll find a good one in a minute.
Cosmopolitan Cocktail. Him: A carnival smell. Clowns and things. Her: Don't know what's in a cosmopolitan (looking it up). Demeter says this is lime juice, vodka, cranberry juice and cointreau. I smell the latter two predominately and whatever he uses to get those indoles.
Rain. Her: The subtle hint of mandarin oranges in the rain. Him: Somewhat similar to the softener sheets you put in the dryer. Her: Demeter says rain is really the smell of moist, humid air full of earthy odors.
Chrysanthemum. Her: Beautiful. Smells just like a vase of Fall chrysanthemums. Him: Flowery, sweet, old womanish.
New Zealand. Her: I haven't been there yet, but this makes me want to go. It's the smell of rolling green hills in the spring. Him: Reminds me of a plant we had in the yard. It had small yellow blooms in the spring and when you cut the vine it smelled like this. The stems were about 1/4"
Sandalwood. Her: My favorite wood. Love, love. I could wear it alone. Him: Best by far.
Rose. Her: Much, much nicer than their Bulgarian Rose which is a bit harsh. Demeter says this one has chamomile, rose absolute, rose petals wrapped in soft woods with green undertones. Smells like two beautiful red buds in a vase. Him: Makes my throat itch. I must be allergic.
Patchouli. Her: Patchouli pure and simple. It's on the sweetish side so I'd have to layer it with something else. Demeter intends that their scents be layers. Him: Smells like paint thinner, but I like paint thinner.
Dirt: Him: Definitely dirt. If you're dating an earthworm this is just what you want. Her: If you're ever locked away for any reason and you miss the smell of good, clean earth, order this.
Russian Leather. Her: Nope, not the cowboy kind of leather, the czar's riding crop kind, his boots, the imperial cossacks' scabbard. Him: Interesting (she left off forgettable, said I was being too negative but now she's typing it back).
Snow. Him: This one I like. Her: Think I reviewed this before. It's amazing. Snells like clean snow.
Pausing for the night.
Him: Thanks for inviting me to your sniff fest. I'm sorry my nose is connected to the same face that my undisciplined mouth is. Her: You're kinda cute.
Last edited by ScentFan; 18th January 2014 at 03:49 AM.
The article found in the below link has this to say about "Snow":
Slowly, the outline of a fragrance was beginning to take shape. “It’s the contrast and juxtaposition of the real and surreal that are the key elements,” he says, and finding the balance between a real olfactory experience and an imagined one would take a lot of trial and error. “You can’t rush a perfume.”
After all, it had taken five years to create Snow. “I wanted the smell of snow, like when you’re standing outside in a field in the country, and it’s snowing heavily, and it’s that big white flake, really coming down. I wanted that smell.” Finally, while cleaning out his inventory, he stumbled upon a chemical compound that worked. He added a few slight notes to it, and in 2000, he won his first two Fragrance Foundation Awards for Snow.Mary Ellen Lapansky, vice-president of the foundation, says Brosius’s awards, and the two he earned the following year, were a recognition of his avant-garde vision and technical skills, a high mark of achievement for a self-taught perfumer.
Things are things because of Mind--Zen Buddhist saying
Thanks, kbe! Snow is really great.
Completing the duo-sniffs. Some of these I bought to learn what the notes smell like.
Cannabis Flower. Her: A floral with a slightly odd dank note. Hmm, cannabis. Looking it up. Right. Hemp! Of course, this is what marijuana smells like. Him: Smells like an over-ripe melon.
Cherry Blossom. Her: Candied cherry blossoms and therefore a bit too sweet but it does remind me of D.C. springs on Tidal Basin. Him: Oversweet candy.
Clover. Him: Bitter. Upsets my stomach. Her: Wow, pure clover, authentic and fresh.
Grass. Her: If you've ever lain in thick grass in the summer, picking daffodils and watching clouds drift by, you've smelled this. Him: Pleasant.
Lily of the Valley. Her: Couple extra indoles, maybe, but this is geniune Lily of the Valley. Him: Smells like a funeral flower.
Magnolia. Him: That one's okay. Her: Pleasant, but a slighter milder scent than from the magnolia trees outside.
Neroli. Him: Don't know what it is, but I like it. Her: Beautiful mild orange scent.
Oud. Him: Good stuff! Her: Yep, pretty darned good.
Vetiver. Him: Good stuff! Her: Yes, a quite smooth version of this green note.
All done. Now comes the fun part. Mixing these scents as Demeter suggests. I'll try one now. Jasmine/Oud: Mmmm. I loved Demeter's Jasmine alone. I adore it layered with their Oud.
I've got a couple of friends who really like 'Dirt' but I'm afraid since I know what the smell of dirt after rain is (it's Staphylococcus aureus spores germinating) I've got less of a liking for it.
'I suggest we learn to love ourselves before it's made illegal.'