Frost by St. Clair Scents

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Notes: bergamot, mandarin yellow and green, coriander, petitgrain sur fleur, Meyer lemon, honeysuckle accord, rose geranium, elderflower absolute, petitgrain absolute, cistus, labdanum absolute, vanilla absolute, vetiver, cedar, smoke, and clove absolute.

St. Clair Scents is another independent artisanal fragrance house. I wrote about their newest scent, Casablanca, here. Diane St. Clair has a dairy farm in Vermont and, luckily for us, she also makes perfumes! The dairy farm sounds lovely and happens to be near to Robert Frost’s historic summer writing cabin. Frost the scent is based on Robert Frost’s poem To Earthward:

I had the swirl and ache

From sprays of honeysuckle

That when they’re gathered shake

Dew on the knuckle.”

To Earthward, Robert Frost

The poem is full of olfactory references like the honeysuckle mentioned here. There is indeed a noticeable honeysuckle note in Frost, along with a whole cavalcade of other notes. Frost opens green and bracing for me. There’s a sparkling bergamot note and a fir note that really gives me that fresh evergreen vibe. The blend of other notes prevent this from coming across as a Christmas-y evergreen, so it’s completely fine wearing this in the post-Christmas winter.

The opening of Frost mostly smells like the outdoors. It smells like fresh air and open countryside. This puts me in mind of Jane Austen novels where the local doctor often prescribes going to the countryside or to the seaside for a “change of air.” It’s good for the mind and the body. I get the honeysuckle and more of a floral bouquet around 3 hours into wear time. I get something slightly animalic underneath the florals, which makes the heart notes well-rounded and substantial.

As Frost wears, I get much more of the underbelly of the countryside, and a representation of the darker themes of To Earthward. There’s a cedar note that smells very true to real cedar. The clove note here is the richest clove I’ve smelled. Again, this is a true clove. The vetiver is definitely there, although my nose has a hard time specifically pinpointing it among so many other notes. What I sense most in the base, is a smoke note underpinning everything. It’s sort of distant and close at the same time, as though the next neighbor over has a bonfire going and the scent is wafting to your backyard.

The wood/spice/smoke accord gives Frost an Autumnal feel to me, which I find interesting. I feel this would wear well during all seasons. The sparkling citrus opening would play well in warm weather. I will have to save up my sample to try this out during spring weather. But there is something special about the name “Frost” and wearing it during winter. It just feels right.

I have now tried two of the offerings from St. Clair Scents, and, all I can say is, I want to smell more! I will sample their other two scents Gardner’s Glove and First Cut when I am able to, and I will definitely do a write-up here when I do! The house offers a 13 ml travel size bottle, so you don’t have to commit to the full bottle if you happen to love multiple scents. I will say that the full bottle price point is not cheap at $125 for 30 mls. On the other hand, the fragrances that I’ve smelled so far are extremely high quality, vibrant compositions, and long lasting. I’m at the point where I would rather give more of my money to independent and creative perfume houses, but it’s all a personal choice. Either way, St. Clair Scents is an independent house well worth seeking out and supporting.

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I ordered my sample directly from St. Clair Scents. It arrived in this adorable matchbox-like packaging. The house offers a general sample pack as well as 2 ml individual samples of each fragrance, so there is plenty to choose from.

The info on notes is from St. Clair Scents.

The photo of my sample was taken by me.

What I Wore This Week

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Hi everyone! I’m back with another round-up of what I wore this past week:

  • Monday: Woody Mood by Olfactive Studio
  • Tuesday: Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens
  • Wednesday: Mon Numéro 10 by L’Artisan Parfumeur
  • Thursday: Wood Sage and Sea Salt by Jo Malone
  • Friday: Narciso Poudrée by Narciso Rodriguez
  • Saturday: Nirvana Bourbon by Elizabeth & James

The Elizabeth & James Bourbon is one in particular that I’ve wanted to wear more during this cold weather season, so I’m glad I got that in my rotation this week! I’m also trying to use up some samples thanks to Thunking Thursday, and that’s why I made the Narciso my scent of the day.

What did you all wear this week?

Tauerville Rose Flash

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Notes: rose, woody notes, and resins.

When I first started this blog way back in 2012 (yes, all the way back in 2012!) Andy Tauer was *the* perfumer to get into. He had all the buzz, and well-deserved. I wasn’t really drawn to the independent perfumery scene at the time though. I wanted to explore Guerlain, Chanel, and high-end niche houses like Serge Lutens. Now that it’s 2019, I’ve had plenty of time to explore designer scents and I’m ready to embrace independent perfumers. Tauerville is like a fashion diffusion line, in that it’s the more affordable and approachable line of Tauer Perfumes. That doesn’t mean lower quality though, as I discovered with Rose Flash.

Rose Flash opens with a blooming jammy rose. There’s a touch of orange citrus, which feels like orange marmalade to me. It’s textured, it’s pretty, and rose is definitely the star. I haven’t always gotten along with rose soliflores and rose-centric perfumes in general. Part of the reason I chose Rose Flash was to challenge myself to make this scent work. There aren’t many other notes for me to cling to and distract from the rose. Fortunately, I love the rose here, so I don’t mind the lack of distraction!

There are some woody notes that become more apparent as the composition develops. This helps to anchor the rose and balance that huge blooming opening. The resinous notes come through a little stronger than the woods for me, which is lovely. The rose becomes dry as it wears, almost like a dry red wine. This blends beautifully with the resinous notes of the base.

The really remarkable thing about Rose Flash is that it’s an extrait de parfum, and it has the longevity to prove it. I can easily get 12 hours of wear time from this. If I wear it in the evening or to bed, it’s still quite noticeable the next morning. The sillage is heavy here, particularly during the first two hours of wear. And this one is easy to over spray. I apply one spritz on each wrist and that’s it! I personally wouldn’t wear this to work or the doctor’s office. I prefer it for myself in the evenings just because the rose is so rich, but I’m sure there are people who like this as their every day rose scent.

If Andy Tauer can make me finally embrace rose scents, he can probably do pretty much anything! I have more Tauer samples on the way, this time directly from Tauer Perfumes. It’s always nice to support the actual brands and perfumers when possible, and it is one of my 2019 resolutions to support independent artisans! Thankfully, independent perfumers are much more on-board with samples than the mainstream designer brands, so it’s possible to support the indie houses without having to do the dreaded blind buy.

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I ordered a sample of Rose Flash from The Perfumed Court. The Tauerville Flash series is available directly from Tauer Perfumes.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

I took the photo of my Rose Flash sample with a print of Botticelli’s Primavera panel painting.

What I Wore This Week

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I’m back with another round-up of what I wore this past week. I came down with a 24-hour stomach bug from Wednesday to Thursday, so you’ll see that Wednesday was the rare day that I did not wear any fragrance. But I’ve recovered well!

  • Sunday: Twilly d’Hermès
  • Monday: Plum Japonais by Tom Ford (Plum Japonais)
  • Tuesday: Paris – Deauville by Chanel
  • Wednesday: nothing
  • Thursday: Tendre Madeleine by Laurence Dumont
  • Friday: Honeysuckle & Davana by Jo Malone
  • Saturday: Narciso For Her L’Absolu by Narciso Rodriguez

What did you all wear this first week of the new year? Do you wear anything scented when you’re feeling under the weather?

Now Sampling: Hendley Perfumes

Hendley Perfumes is an independent, artisanal house based in Brooklyn. Hans Hendley is the perfumer. I actually learned of Hendley through instagram and was intrigued by some of the fragrance names I heard people mentioning. Here is what I’m sampling:

Amora: This is a very interesting jammy red berry mixed with rose. To my nose, it’s strawberry mingled with a wine-esque rose. It reminds me of a yummy summertime rosé. There is also a resinous note that adds some warmth. It all sits on a base of musk and ambergris that melds beautifully with the skin. Amora is a fun and unique fruity floral.

Blond: Surprisingly my favorite of the bunch! I was certain Amora would be the one for me, but Blond just spoke to me right from first spritz. It starts as a powdery orris that develops into a creamy and beautifully textured suede and sandalwood. It’s both smooth and a little spiky in just the right way. There is also a melon note in the composition that I don’t get on my skin, but I shall keep wearing and see! I’ll be purchasing this one, whether it’s the 9 ml travel size or a full bottle.

Rosenthal: This is a rose/patchouli very much in the vein of Portrait of a Lady. I get a camphorous medicinal scent in the opening before the rose really settles into the skin. If you’re a POAL fan, this might be one to check out, as the price point is a little more approachable than the typical Frederic Malle level. Again, this is available in a 9 ml travel size.

There are some shady brands on instagram and social media, who are only in it for the sponsorship and influencer opportunities. (Hello to those annoying skinny detox teas!) I suppose perfumery is not immune to this kind of behavior. Not everything you see on instagram is going to be amazing in person. However, Hendley Perfumes is the real deal. Hans seems very genuine about creating intriguing and high-quality scents.

As I said, I have my eye on Blond. I also want to sample Fume and Bourbon. Look out for a full post on Blond and more details on the other Hendley scents when I do another sample haul!

Have any of you tried Hendley? What are your thoughts?

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Samples are available directly from the Hendley website, which is where I purchased these three samples. Just as a heads up, it looks like Amora is currently out of stock. You can sign up for an email notification when it’s back in stock.

The photo was taken by me.

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain (vintage EDT)

Notes: orange, orange blossom, galbanum, Mandarin orange, bergamot, narcissus, lemon, aldehydes, iris, vanilla, violet, Indonesian carnation, jasmine, rose, spices, sandalwood, musk, orris root, and oakmoss.

Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit famously takes its name from the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry novel of the same name. In English, it’s Night Flight. The novel tells the story of pilots making the night flight from Buenos Aires to various destinations around the world to deliver mail. The Guerlain extrait bottle features an art deco airplane propeller motif and it’s my personal favorite design of the Guerlain extrait bottles. Vol de Nuit was released in 1933, and we have to keep in mind that flying was not common then. People and luggage weren’t packed onto industrial-sized aircrafts the way we are now. Back then, it was usually a solitary and dangerous voyage, a fact which Saint-Exupéry emphasizes in his novel.

I have a small decant of vintage Vol de Nuit EDT from The Perfumed Court. I don’t know what batch it’s from as I don’t have the full bottle or the batch code. The opening of my decant is green and bitter. It’s definitely galbanum and a hint of bergamot. I don’t get much of the orange citrus notes or the aldehydes. I’m guessing those top notes have faded a bit over the years. The bitter green opening quickly settles down and the composition forms a floral cloud on my skin. There’s still a bitter edge, but it’s significantly softened by jasmine and iris in particular.

For some reason, I get more lemon in the heart notes. About an hour into wear time, I get a lovely lemon mingled with jasmine. It gives me a bit of a Chanel vibe. The iris and that Guerlain violet make an appearance. The soft texture of the florals combined with the violet note makes me think of Guerlain’s iconic météorites powder. But this isn’t really a makeup/cosmetic scent. There’s so much going on, and there’s always that undercurrent of galbanum.

Though not listed in the note pyramid, I smell cocoa powder in the heart and moving into the base. The powdery iris is still there, bolstered by a creamy orris. But there is definitely a dry, cocoa powder note to me. There’s a spiced musk and a weighty, damp oak moss. This will sound strange, but the texture of the dry down, and the oak moss in particular, reminds me of damp cotton balls. You will be familiar with this if you’ve ever soaked a cotton ball to remove eye makeup or nail polish. It’s a weird texture. It’s dense and weighty but still soft.

It’s this texture that is missing from the current EDT formulation. I don’t currently own a bottle of Vol de Nuit but I always test it when I’m near a counter at Saks or Bergdorfs. I still love the scent, but the composition is more sheer. It’s a shame, and I just hope that LVMH doesn’t get the idea to tell Guerlain to completely phase out Vol de Nuit. I think it’s an important piece in Guerlain’s heritage. Vol de Nuit is actually one of my favorite classic Guerlains along with Jicky and Mitsouko. It is my perfume dream to own the Vol de Nuit parfum extrait in the art deco bottle one day.

I’ve seen many comments (on fragrantica and elsewhere) labeling Vol de Nuit as “cold” or “aloof.” I’ve seen similar things written about No. 19 so it may be the galbanum note that people react to. I find this strange because Vol de Nuit is very emotional to me. It’s nostalgic with an undercurrent of sadness. Think of Saint-Exupéry’s novel, which was Jacques Guerlain’s original inspiration for this composition. Of course this fragrance is a challenge, just as the night flight mail delivery was a challenge. Vol de Nuit is not an easy scent to wear or appreciate. It gives off an air of seriousness and of sadness. It is not seductive in a typical way. But, for me, it’s one of the most rewarding scents. You simply need to let Vol de Nuit settle into the skin and pay attention as it tells its own story.

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I ordered my sample/decant from The Perfumed Court.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo is my (almost empty!) sample pictured with a painting called: “The Old City Market, Warsaw, at Night” by Jozef Pankiewicz from 1892. I found this painting while leafing through my Taschen book on Impressionism. The nighttime atmosphere reminded me of the nostalgia of Vol de Nuit.

What I Wore This Week

Here’s what I wore over Christmas! I actually didn’t wear Fille en Aiguilles on Christmas Eve this year. I wore Mon Numéro 10 on Christmas Eve and Hypnotic Poison for Christmas Dinner. What can I say, that was just the mood I was in! I also wore some samples from DSH Perfumes, Hendley Perfumes, and Tauerville Rose Flash.

  • Sunday: samples of Blond by Hendley Perfumes and Tauerville Rose Flash
  • Monday: Mon Numéro 10 by L’Artisan Parfumer
  • Tuesday: Hypnotic Poison by Dior
  • Wednesday: Châtaignes du Bois by DSH Perfumes
  • Thursday: Belle de Jour by Dior
  • Friday: Chanel No. 5 L’Eau (the white travel spray packaging)
  • Saturday: Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone

What did you all wear over this last week of December?

Now Sampling: DSH Perfumes

 

I’ve been wanting to try Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s gorgeous line of artisanal perfumes for a long time. The only problem was, where to start? She has so many to choose from, it’s overwhelming! Luckily, she releases holiday fragrances every year for the festive season. These holiday-themed scents sounded like a good way to start exploring the brand so, for December, I decided to pick out two of her holiday scents from previous years.

Châtaignes du Bois: This is the smell of roasted chestnuts, sugared and slightly burnt, too. It took me back to college, when my freshman year roommates and I would take the train into New York City on the weekends. Just outside of Grand Central, we could smell the roasted chestnuts from the various carts trying to attract tourists. Finally, one day, we gave in and bought some. They tasted good, but the taste couldn’t live up to that smell, which was even better. This is the scent of Châtaignes du Bois, which is purely yummy and nostaglic for me. Unfortunately, it’s extremely short-lived on my skin, but that’s to be expected from naturals.

Lumière: This is a coffee-centric fragrance, which immediately makes me happy. One of my favorites is Bond’s New Haarlem, which is a coffee scent, but also very sweet with a strong maple syrup note. I expected Lumière to also be sweet, but it’s dark and spicy. It’s like cinnamon-laced coffee and booze with a dollop of whipped cream on top. It’s decadent, yet balanced. I also get better longevity with this one at 5 hours. I’m still searching for my holy grail coffee scent, but Lumière is a contender for a larger bottle purchase.

I also have two small samples of Au Lait (creamy milk) and Tonic (as Dawn describes, it’s like “ginger ale for the soul.”). I think I chose a good entry point into DSH Perfumes. I’m excited to discover more from here and find my favorite DSH creation.

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I ordered my samples directly from the DSH website. I highly recommend browsing around her site — you can lose hours just clicking on all the fragrance descriptions!

Photo taken by me.

What I Wore This Week

Here is my round-up of what I wore this week!

  • Monday: Woody Mood by Olfactive Studio
  • Tuesday: Lumiere by DSH Perfumes
  • Wednesday: Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens
  • Thursday: Chanel No. 5 EDP
  • Friday & Saturday: Mon Numero 10 by L’Artisan Parfumeur

What are you all wearing in the run up to Christmas?

Comparative Perfumery

I posted this photo and a little summary on my instagram, but I wanted to do a more in-depth post here on the blog.

I recently ordered a sample of Casablanca from St. Clair Scents, which is an indie artisanal brand based in Vermont. Diane St. Clair is the perfumer. Casablanca is the newest release for 2018 and it’s definitely a winter-appropriate scent. You can tell just by looking at the juice in the bottle, this scent is a rich and intensive experience.

Soon after first applying and testing Casablanca, I was reminded of Baptême du Feu from Serge Lutens, which I recently wrote about. Both scents have a striking animalic undercurrent. They have a dark vibe, a sort of dark fairy tale. I decided to wear one on each arm and do a little comparison test.

The result is that they are definitely not dupes of each other, but I feel they are in the same family. Baptême du Feu leans more foodie. There is a gingerbread note and the familiar Lutens dried fruit note. It’s not quite gourmand, but it’s a well-rounded composition and feels very festive for this time of year. Casablana is not foodie at all. It opens with some lovely citrus notes that bring a real radiance to the composition. This bright radiance balances out the deep animalic notes, which include civet and hyrax. Casablanca is really an animalic scent for me. There are white floral notes in the heart, including jasmine and tuberose. But the animalic notes are most present on my skin.

The animalic note in Baptême du Feu is castoreum, and it has a dark oily undercurrent for me. The hyrax and civet in Casablanca are also dark and have a black oiliness to them, like oily animal fur. It’s sensual, but it goes even further than that. It’s like an unnamed beast lurking outside the castle grounds. This is the dark fairytale aspect. It’s the theme of a beast that cannot be named but is undeniably present.

My favorite book from 2018, The Essex Serpent, deals with similar themes: the fear of a medieval beast re-appearing to wreak havoc in the present day. Both Baptême du Feu and Casablanca recall these medieval kind of superstitions. Both scents feel appropriate right now, as we come to the winter solstice and the darkest day of the year. But, ultimately, these scents and The Essex Serpent aren’t about fear, but about wonder and awe related to the unknown out in nature.

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I got my sample of Baptême du Feu from Luckyscent (and I have now completely drained it!)

I ordered my sample of Casablanca directly from St. Clair Scents.

The Essex Serpent was published in the US in 2017 but I did not read it until this year. I highly recommend it!