New in Niche : Sniffa Spring Fling recap

26th August, 2010

I did attend my first Sniffapalooza earlier this year and wrote about the overall experience. Now that I have had a month or so to live with the samples I acquired and the sneak previews I was given it is time to collect them all for your sniffing pleasure.

Atelier Cologne: Trefle Pur, Orange Sanguine, Oolang Infini, Bois Blonds, and Grand Neroli

One of the pleasures of attending an event like Sniffapalooza is the chance to try something new. It is even more fun when you get to experience a brand new line. Atelier Cologne was founded by Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel. These fragrances are being called Cologne Absolues to distinguish them from lighter Eau de Cologne. The main difference is the concentration of oil used which varies from 15-20%, which makes these closer to Eau de Parfum strength. This imparts a longevity and sillage to these fragrances that is unusual for colognes. The five fragrances in the line are:

Trefle Pur by Jerome Epinette with notes of bitter orange, cardamom, basil, clover, violet leaves, Tunisian neroli, patchouli, moss, and musk.

Oolang Infini by Jerome Epinette with notes of bergamot, Tunisian neroli, oolang tea, jasmine petals, blond leather, tobacco flower, gaiac, and vetiver.

Bois Blonds by Jerome Epinette with notes of Tunisian neroli, pink pepper, orange flower, incense, blond woods, musks, and vetiver.

Grand Neroli by Cecile Krakower with notes of Moroccan neroli, lemon, bergamot, petitgrain, galbanum, moss, birch leaves, clean musk, white amber, and vanilla.

Orange Sanguine by Ralf Schwieger with notes of blood orange, bitter orange, jasmine, geranium, amber woods, tonka beans, and sandalwood.

If you examine that note list many of the classic ingredients of eau de colognes are there but with the concentration higher it allows for a longer lasting fragrant experience. Because these are colognes they are going to be ideal warm-weather fragrances and I expect much of my summer will be spent wearing one or the other of these.

Guerlain Cologne du Parfumeur

If I wanted a traditional eau de cologne Thierry Wasser was ready to supply me with one. M. Wasser evidently composed Cologne du Parfumeur while he was also designing Idylle. Cologne du Parfumeur was supposed to be for M. Wasser’s personal use. After experiencing it I am not surprised that Guerlain has chosen to share this with the general public. Cologne du Parfumeur is the first eau de cologne since 1974’s Eau de Guerlain. The notes are orange blossom, lemon, bergamot, cut grass, and galbanum. Cologne du Parfumeur is, arguably, the best fragrance Thierry Wasser has released in his role as in-house perfumer at Guerlain. I find the juxtaposition of the green and citrus in it to be a nod to the past and a look towards the future. This is going to be another warm weather staple for 2010.

Penhaligon's Anthology Eau de Cologne

It seems like everyone is jumping into the eau de cologne end of the pool and Bertrand Duchaufour doesn’t want to be left out of the party. One of two new re-working of the classic Penhaligon’s fragrances by M. Duchaufour is Eau de Cologne. M. Duchaufour has resurrected the original 1927 classic and the notes are orange, lemon, bergamot, rosemary, and neroli. This is a classically constructed eau de cologne and it has all the refreshing hallmarks of the class. What makes it interesting is the way the lemon shimmers on my skin and the rosemary and neroli add complexity to the construction. This feels like old-fashioned perfume making the way they did it back in 1927 and is another fragrance ready for the dog days of summer.

Penhaligon's Anthology Orange Blossom

The other fragrance from Penhaligon’s is one where M. Duchaufour’s hand is much more evident. Orange Blossom is almost the antithesis of what he created in Amaranthine at the end of 2009. Where Amaranthine was described as a “corrupted floral oriental”; Orange Blossom is all about light and it almost seems as if M. Duchaufour has captured sunlight in a bottle. The note list is extensive and contains, neroli, violet leaf, bergamot, lemon-cedrat, cardamom, pink berries, orange, jasmine, tuberose, rose, peach flower, orchid, sandalwood, cedar, white musk, and vanilla. There are a flower shop’s worth of florals in that note list but Orange Blossom always seems to keep in balance and present what is advertised; which is the slightly citrusy sweet aspect of an orange blossom in the sunlight. This is such an interesting companion piece to Amaranthine I could see owning both of these and rotating them as the seasons change.

L'Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse

If Amaranthine is corruption and Orange Blossom is light the third fragrance I’m going to cover by M. Duchaufour is all about the shadows in between. M. Duchaufour has been the in-house perfumer at L’Artisan for about a year now and each new release has illuminated another aspect of his artistic vision. In Nuit de Tubereuse he has taken a powerhouse of a note like tuberose and stripped it down without losing the essence of the note. What is left is tuberose that speaks in enticing whispers and beckons you toward the dark side. The notes are cardamom, clove, pink berries, pepper, citrus, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, rose, mango, angelica, gorse, sandalwood, pallisander, musk, benzoin and styrax. This is a triumphant piece of perfumery and even if you’ve found tuberose to be too intense for you in the past this is one you should try because M. Duchaufour has domesticated the powerhouse and made it play nice.

Acqua di Parma Bergamotto di Calabria

Returning to the refreshing category the latest fragrance in Acqua di Parma’s Blu Mediterraneo series, Bergamotto di Calabria, was one of the bigger surprises for me at Sniffapalooza. I’ve found the Blu Mediterraneo line to be above average and very wearable but I had yet to be wowed by any of them. Bergamotto di Calabria changed that. The notes in Bergamotto di Calabria are bergamot, citron, ginger, cedarwood, and vetiver. This could easily be called Vetiver di Calabria because it wears as a refreshing light vetiver fragrance on me and is an ideal alternative to my other warm-weather vetivers. The bergamot and the citron in the top of this really harmonize well together and it is that harmony which had me saying “Wow!”

Tom Ford Private Blend Azure Lime

The latest entry in the Tom Ford Private Blend line is Azure Lime. We were told during the Sniffapalooza presentation that it was inspired by the Caribbean island of Mustique. They have been cagey about giving out a note list and so I’m going to describe my impressions of how Azure Lime developed on me. The beginning is a tart lime cut with a slightly sweet orange this is followed by a light jasmine and a hint of coconut followed by nutmeg and cardamom which is all brought together with a sheer musk. Tom Ford could have called this Lime Musk and released it as part of the Musk collection last fall. There is nothing very new here other than a lime-musk fragrance which can be worn in the heat.

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Montauk

The latest entry in the Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol series is Montauk. Montauk is a town at the very end of Long Island and was purported to be Andy Warhol’s favorite beach town. Bond No. 9 has once again used images from Andy Warhol on the bottle namely from his “Sunsets” series. The notes in Montauk are bergamot, bay leaf, blueberry, hyacinth, lily of the valley, honeysuckle, amber, driftwood, maple, and oak. Montauk is a very fruity floral fragrance which very slowly lets the woody base gain a foothold. It should be one that fans of this type of fragrance will enjoy wearing.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Butterfly Nectar

Another fragrance, fans of fruity florals should have on their radar is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Butterfly Nectar. This is to be the first release under her DAWN Perfumes label. Butterfly Nectar is a classic example of an artisanal perfumer at work. The notes are lemon, green mandarin, peach, apricot, violet, linden blossom, clover, osmanthus, honey, musk, sandalwood, and civet. The choice of apricot and peach leading to the violet and osmanthus heart make Butterfly Nectar a fruity floral but it is one with a quirk all Ms. Hurwitz’s.

1000 Flowers Reglisse Noire

Ms. Hurwitz has been a reliable artisanal perfumer but nothing delights me more to experience the first steps of a new perfumer. Jessica September Buchanan has started her own line of perfume called 1000 Flowers and her first fragrance is Reglisse Noire (Black Licorice). Reglisse Noire has notes of white pepper, ozone, mint, shiso leaf, star anise, ginger, licorice, cocoa, patchouli, vanilla, vetiver, and musk. As one who has been wanting a licorice fragrance as dark as the candy itself Reglisse Noire is an answered plea. Ms. Buchanan’s dark core of anise and ginger followed by licorice and cocoa takes Reglisse Noire into a licorice heart of darkness that I found compelling. This is a fragrance for those who like licorice and want more, more, more. Ms. Buchanan serves up just what I was looking for.

CB I Hate Perfume M4 Room With A View

Ever since Christopher Brosius began his CB I Hate Perfume line he has been making some of the most interesting fragrances out there. Whether they are wearable comes down to whether you want to experience the various scent memories he is bottling. The Metamorphosis Series has been one series from which each one of the creations has been very wearable for me and the latest in that series is M4 A Room With A View. The view from this particular room must be that of a field of violets in the sun with a breeze blowing the fragrance up to you at the window. The notes are grass, fennel, dusty earth, and violets. This is a middle of summer olfactory landscape and the dust of the earth is present with the sharp floral quality of the violet. If you like violets this is one you should give a try.

Jo Malone White Tie & Tiara

White Tie & Tiara was a fragrance created to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation. It was inspired by the “White Scented Garden” at Sir Elton John’s Windsor estate and is named after the White Tie and Tiara Ball which takes place every year on the grounds. This fragrance used to only be available to those who attended the ball but now Jo Malone is making it a limited edition. White Tie & Tiara’s notes are bergamot, pineapple, tangerine, jasmine, orange blossom, and violets. This is a slightly sweet fruity floral that I found wore rather well on me. It never pushes the envelope too far and the pineapple note that concerned me never really predominates. This is a fruity floral that is perfect for that garden party you’ve been invited to.

Pretty Woman by Barbara Orbison

One of the biggest surprises of the Sniffapalooza weekend was a fragrance I received late on the first day. By that point I was pretty sniffed out and gratefully took a sample of Pretty Woman by Barbara Orbison and headed back to my hotel. I ended up spraying a bit on the back of my wrist and realizing that maybe my nose wasn’t quite worn out. Pretty Woman has notes of bergamot, lily, rose, carnation, amber, patchouli, vanilla, cedar, and incense. It was the drydown to the warm ambery incense that really stood out to me. I’m not sure it is something I want to contemplate wearing in the summer heat but once things turn cooler I will definitely look forward to wearing this. I’m just not going to tell anyone I’m wearing Pretty Woman.


Like so many jewelry designers before him, Stefano Canturi wanted to have a signature fragrance to go with his exquisite baubles. He enlisted Kevin Vespoor to create his fragrance. What Mr. Vespoor came up with is an oriental chypre with notes of bergamot, mandarin, neroli, rose, jasmine, iris, lily of the valley, white pepper, cardamom, patchouli, cedar, oakmoss, amber musk and vanilla. Mr. Vespoor throws all the traditional ingredients of both orientals and chypres together to create a fragrance that comes off more strongly floral after an acerbic citrus opening before allowing the woody spices to have their way. It is an interesting mash-up of a fragrance and if the note list looks interesting to you then it is worth giving a whirl.

I’m leaving out a lot of other amazing fragrances I experienced but there is time to write about them in future New in Niches. See you soon...


About the Author

Mark Behnke is a writer for Basenotes and Men's Style editor for FashionTribes. Mark is a regular poster on the Basenotes forums as Somerville Metro Man and on Twitter as @SomMetroMan.

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    • Kiliwia | 27th August 2010 02:44

      Excellent reviews, thank you so much!

    • Mr_Castro | 31st August 2010 02:35

      I think that your bias against Tom Ford is apparent in your review of Azure Lime. You obviously didn't like Azure Lime but loved Montauk? You have to be kidding me. Also, there isn't a drop of Coconut, nutmeg, or cardmom in it.

    • Doctor Mod | 31st August 2010 07:29

      I'm hoping to learn more about Barbara Orbison's Pretty Woman. Barbara is, of course, Roy's widow. I wonder if she'll make other fragrances with the titles of his songs. Blue Angel? Blue Bayou? Running Scared? Only the Lonely?

    • Guest 3 | 1st September 2010 00:26

      It's always a pleasure to read your impressions, Mark! Thank you! :) I see a few in there that interest me. Ah...Barbara Orbison is Roy's widow - the name of the fragrance makes sense now. I was listening to him today singing on a Traveling Wilburys song on the radio. Made me miss him.

    • Lessa | 6th September 2010 17:13

      Thanks for the superb reviews, Mark! More to put on the list. (Sighs)

    • Sybarite | 15th September 2010 12:10

      Yep, and I certainly concur with the whole " there isn't a drop of coconut, nutmeg or cardamom" in TF's "Azure Lime", comment above ! ... In fact, just FYI , in case someone's interested !? The notes, other than the obvious Lime, are rather : Bergamot , Orange , Juniper and Mint ... Followed by Menthol , Violet Leaf , Basil , Buchu* , Jasmine , Orange Blossom , Neroli , Iris ... Rounded out by Tonka Bean, Sandalwood, Oak Moss , Patchouli , Oak Wood , and the good dose of lingering Musk. ...

      It seems this Eau Fraiche is rather more complex than it's deceptively simple laid-back "aura" suggests.

      (* "Buchu" , for those who might be wondering, is an aromatic shrub found in the Western-Cape (SA), with a somewhat minty/blackcurrant like scent.) ... Add boiling water and you get a delicious herbal tea too ! (~ "Buchu" that is, not "Azure Lime" ! :grin:)