Selperniku by January Scent Project

Notes: petitgrain, cypress, lemon, apricot, immortelle, butter, cardamom, chamomile, juniper berries, sandalwood, milk, salt, and tobacco leaf.

Selperniku was the first sample I sprayed when I got my January Scent Project sample kit. Even on the JSP paper test strip, it smelled so strange at first sniff! I was both put off and intrigued at the same time. Just looking at the list of notes, you can tell this is not your typical crowd-pleasing scent. It would never be a mainstream designer release. Scents like Selperniku make me so happy and grateful for the indie perfume scene, because smelling Selperniku is really an experience.

I get that dairy/butter smell right away in the opening. This is not buttery as in creamy (like the way we would describe a buttery Chardonnay). This is real butter. To me, it smells like Kerrygold butter. It’s salty as well, and I can actually visualize the sea salt sitting atop a pat of perfectly yellow butter. I have to say, wearing butter as a scent is extremely odd. It’s distinctly different from wearing a scent with a creamy or milky note (I have Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk cologne, for example). Selperniku is not almondy or powdery, which is the route many milky scents take.

The composition begins to develop on my skin after about an hour into wear time. This is where I feel I can actually wear this scent, rather than feeling as though butter is wearing me! All of a sudden, Selperniku is aromatic. I sense green cypress, zingy cardamom, and a slightly bitter petitgrain. This is where Selperniku radiates a little bit off my skin and I get some projection. This part of the composition really balances out the butter opening, which is rather dense. I appreciate the balance.

The apricot note appears around 3 hours into wear and anchors the composition for the rest of wear time. I also have a sample of Vaporocindro from January Scent Project, and I smell a bit of Vaporocindro here, right at the mid way point. The tipping point from the aromatic green cypress over into the apricot smells like Vaporocindro to me. I’m not sure exactly why, because those notes don’t overlap between the two scents, but I’ve gotten that sensation multiple times now. The main thing is that like picking out connections between different scents from the same perfumer and the same brand. It makes the brand feel cohesive.

Selperniku lasts around 6 hours on my skin. I’ve discovered that it lasts much longer on my clothes and my PJs in particular. Luckily my PJs don’t smell like butter! Rather, the last vestiges of Selperniku smell like faintly sweet apricot and something slightly herbal. Perhaps the chamomile note? It’s strangely comforting. On my skin, a milky dairy note comes back during the dry down, however, it’s not butter. It’s much more like a typical creamy milk note. I have a milky serum from Kypris that I use on my face. The texture of Selperniku’s base is exactly like this serum: milky, substantial, but not too dense. And even though the apricot note is still there, it’s not gourmand at all. It’s such a fascinating composition.

I wouldn’t wear Selperniku every day. I don’t think it’s intended to be that type of eminently wearable scent that you can find at any Macy’s counter. Selperniku is something else. And yet, it is also wearable! With notes of butter and salt, it’s remarkably wearable on the skin. Like haute couture, Selperniku is a piece of art that you can wear. I will say, this scent more than any other scent I’ve tried recently, absolutely must be sampled. Do *not* blind buy! I can imagine the butter note coming across very differently according to skin chemistry. Luckily, John Biebel makes it easy with the sample kit.


As I’ve stated, my Selperniku sample is part of the JSP sample kit that I ordered a couple of months ago.

The list of notes is via Fragrantica.

The photo of my sample and John Biebel’s Selperniku mini art poster was taken by me.

11 thoughts on “Selperniku by January Scent Project

  1. I absolutely cannot wear it. Smells of blue cheese until it hits the drydown when it becomes a creamy apricot. Definitely not a safe blind buy. I am passing my sample on to my friend as I am curious how it will register on her skin.

    1. Oh dear, blue cheese!!! Thankfully it’s not cheesy on me, although I still want to try it in really hot weather just to see how it behaves. I was so curious to hear other people’s thoughts on this one because the butter and milk can so easily go wrong on the skin!

      1. And you already know that Secretions Magnifiques reads beautifully on my skin…. smells of the Atlantic ocean of my childhood…so it’s not as if I can’t do challenging or thought provoking… Maybe I should just give my sample to Daisy (coolcookstyle)

        1. Oh of course I know you can do challenging scents!! Skin chemistry is such a fickle thing — you just never know!

        2. I agree one hundred percent …I always love reading everyone’s impression based on skin reaction and also how our noses interpret scents 😃

        3. I also love that you are testing and reviewing scents that are a bit off the beaten path.

        4. I can’t believe you posted this comment before my Aftelier post went up! Good timing 😄

          I’m having so much exploring the American indie perfume scene. I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts about it! I do still love my designer scents though, of course.

  2. Your experience was exactly mine! It’s hard to move from the super salty butteriness. The salt also felt almost drying to me, like being in a salt cave.That being said, I also couldn’t stop sniffing myself. It’s both addictive and kind of borderline repellent. In the end, I liked it very much and feel that John should be commended for his skill and also ability to make me feel strong emotions in a way that most perfume on the market doesn’t. I don’t think I would ever be able to wear it enough to justify a full bottle, but I think it comes in a smaller size, which I am seriously considering.

    Thanks for the great review!

    1. So interesting that you had a similar experience! I didn’t think of salt caves but that’s a good comparison. It is a little repellant and yet completely addictive. I’m fascinated to hear other people’s impressions of Selperniku because it has the capacity to be so different for everyone, even more than the typical fragrance.

  3. Sounds very interesting! I’ll try to get a sample of it.

    And for whatever reason your review makes me hungry 🙂

    1. It really is interesting! I can’t promise that you would like it. It’s not a crowd-pleaser, but it is interesting and thought-provoking! I think it’s a scent for us perfume people 😄

      Ha, I hope you’re hungry for something with lots of creamy butter and dairy!

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