December 16, 2014

House of Cherry Bomb-Brooklyn Atelier Perfumes

DUMBO Brooklyn, NY
The House of Cherry Bomb collaboration of Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl has put together a collection of what they call Atelier perfumes, in limited edition or made to order as necessary, as seasonal responses to how they feel and what's on their minds. The new ones are released at intimate perfume parties at their Brooklyn studio.  

I have collected most of them myself; and happy to find they are deliberately kept well priced so they remain affordable as a collection to their fans. Available only directly through them at the Brooklyn DUMBO Atelier, or online, layers of mark up are avoided and their strong word of mouth much reduces the work of marketing.

I have written about most of them before, but I thought I would bring them all together in one post so they can be referenced as one collection.  They have a sophisticated lyrical minimalist spirit, the presentation is an elegant leather band wrapped around an etched spray flacon, and their tone is focused and direct.  Many of them layer with each other in an appealing way. They are lovely to experiment with, and easy to love.  These are not perfumes that are difficult or that you must develop a taste for; they are immediate pleasures for the aromatically inclined of all levels of experience. Then can be worn applied either lightly or with abandon and work both ways.


Cardamon Rose is a favorite of mine for hot weather but good anytime. Cardamon and rose water is a traditional Middle Eastern combination, and in this form ornaments the skin with a dessert-like dry champagne effect that is not sweet at all. Effervescent in nature, it mixes with whatever humidity is in the air to turn it into something refreshing.  If you know cardamon through the tea, that distinctive tone is here, inflamed by a dewy rose, a hint of orange and a whisper of spiciness, holding itself onto you with a coolness that recalls the structured vintage summer dresses the perfumers wear with bright red lipstick, wrapped up in their elegant vapors. If it's not summer I recommend trying it in your hair, as it will be tenacious there and lovely in cooler weather. 


Tobacco Cognac is at the other end of the perfume spectrum, slanted to winter and masculine in a manner that would not stop a true lover of deep and dark perfumes, of whatever gender. Using the house specialty of fossilized amber, and the last of their vintage Arabian musk, tobacco, cognac, and a little smoke, it's deep but still maintains that clear as a bell style that incorporates energy and the depth bomb effect they favor, as do I, of deep sultry notes. 

Cognac brings up the brightness and energy, so that it's not an over heavy aromatic burden but a warm cloak to draw about for comfort and depth.  I think of the wallpaper in Sherlock Holme's study, imbued with his pipe smoke and the vapors of many nights of drinking before the fire with the fog outside and crime around the corner.


Swanson by Steichen
When I found out there was a Tuberose Tobacco Cognac version, a further permutation on the deep dark scale with the addition of a soprano honeysuckle and Moroccan tuberose, I thought these two perfumers were reading my mind because this combination of dark and light is one I often pursue myself, with layering when I have to. The wide contrasts bring out the details in each. This freshness of heady florals set beside the earthy tobacco and aromatic brandy is a Valentine's Day celebration in liquid form, and somehow even though all the ingredients are traditional, the romanticism is modern because it is so pure and itself, especially presented as the transparent veil it is.  Watch the carnival pass by through the black lace of your mantilla and think about having a smoke.


Violet Green Tea Honeysuckle calls out to the spring, even as a winter floral. I'm getting that forced narcissus in the heated room effect that I love. A tiny amount of powdered dust from the crumbling rained-on old blue slate pavements, Ray Davies' voice singing Waterloo Sunset, limpid eyes, green gunpowder tea exerting a little control over the potentially unruly headiness, indeed adding a spine with good posture. Again not sweet though growing a little sweeter as time goes on, this is a simple and direct form of elegance, staying in the heady lane, without crossing the wider modern bounds of sophistication.  In other words, the essence of an adult longing for spring sans sentimentality or going overboard with too much lily of the valley. 

Pink Haze is from the PLP Project, about which I posted last time, so I'll start by quoting myself, to say this one captures Brooklyn's very specific city and earthy metallic feel, lightened by cherry and apple blossom petals, to be an infusion of the natural into a man-made environment. There is a glow that comes through clearly within the perfume, inspired by those pink sunsets over the rivers and reflected in the glass of a million windows. There's a relation to Violet Green above, with tones of lilac, stone, and beeswax making it earthier and more romantically emotional.  

Coffee Amber Vanilla is a full rich rendition of these three soothing sensory stimulants all together, veering close to the intoxicating end of the olfactory scale, in the house style.  A gourmand liqueur that might fuel a winter's day and night, entering into the spirit of black/brown sepia that sinks into the skin like an ink stain. It dwells the longest in the upper register of a new kind of incense that burns coffee and amber vapors so that you may then give yourself up to the worship of the concentrated brunette beauties of dark vanilla, chestnut, agar and oud. Try this and hopefully get it worked into your sweaters and scarves, and enjoy the cashmere softness it will veil over your winter wools.

There's a discovery set available, as a nice gift to yourself or others.

I know the perfumers well and follow their work, and this post has been based on perfumes I have purchased with a couple of samples provided by the perfumers. 

Please follow the links to their online sites for more details and to order.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved,

Images of the perfumes from the perfumers.
Image of DUMBO found online w/o attribution, please let me know if you know it.  Gloria Swanson in the iconic photo by Edward Steichen.



December 9, 2014

PLP Perfume Project

Carlos J Powell of PLP, Goodsmellas, Brooklyn
Fragrance Lover, etc.

The PLP Perfume Project was inspired by the theme of Peace Love and Perfume, a fragrance group of online friends who were brought together on Facebook and often in person, too, by Carlos J. Powell, who promotes the love of perfume online and at events, encompassing a full range of styles and tastes. He creates perfume review videos as the Brooklyn Fragrance Lover, blogs and and also organizes the Goodsmellas group which has focused attention on the rapidly growing interest in fine and niche perfume among men from a wide variety of backgrounds.

There are many fragrance groups online but Carlos maintains a special atmosphere that focuses especially on the qualities of Peace, Love and Perfume, so that it's a space for appreciation that helps introduce a wide range of people from all over the country and internationally to perfumes they otherwise might not run across on their own.  The civility, open mindedness and pure enthusiasm is a rare combination in the online world and makes for a safe space to explore and discuss those fragrances that are close to the members' hearts.  Carlos has a great talent for bringing people together around perfume and takes a lot of joy in it.  As he often says, quoting a famous source, "perfume and incense bring joy to the heart."  He asked several of his favorite indie perfumers to participate in a group perfume project to embody the spirit of the PLP group.

New York Man by Envoyage
New York Man - by Shelley Waddington of Envoyage Perfume.  This is a subtle and transparent dark perfume, highly animalic and musky but at the same time subtle and stealthy in its power.  It begins as if nothing will happen at all, seeming to be almost invisible, and then rises up from the skin as it warms to become ever more a presence, increasing itself into a highly decorative skin scent, a silky envelope of warmth and velvety ambiguity.  It's quite abstract, and doesn't remind or recall anything, acting kind of like instrumental mood music, maybe New York House and Electro, or early trance/rave washed up on our East Coast shores from the UK. Directly inspired by Carlos Powell of PLP, I know the perfumer and her subject have never actually met, but this is her tribute to the presence he's made felt through all of his many online trails. Slanted to masculine but notwithstanding the name I would wear it with no qualms as I am always looking for another musk experience that will lead me further down the road opened by Bruno Acampuro's Musc.  For me that means a relaxing subtle and a true atmospheric fragrance that creates an aura, and this perfume certainly puts me in that place of comforting body scent beautified by skillful emphasis on all the right things.

Pink Haze by The House of Cherry Bomb
Pink Haze - by Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl of The House of Cherry Bomb.  A truly Brooklyn inspired fragrance, composed of the fragile and fragrant petals of street trees in bloom, mixed with the scent of gritty sidewalks and traffic soot, washed by rains and collecting together at the street corners. That very specific city and earthy metallic feel as lightened by cherry and apple blossom petals, that infusion of the natural into the man made environment.  There is a glow that comes through clearly within the perfume, inspired by those pink sunsets over the rivers and reflected in the glass of a million windows. People in Brooklyn sometimes get a little high when a form of natural beauty presents itself, it's always a surprise and delight, like those aforementioned pink sunsets and pink petals set against the greys of steel and sidewalks. Hence the lovely short song voiced by Alexis Karl on their video for the fragrance, based on the Jimi Hendrix classic, which has a sensuality that evokes the true spirit of this perfume.

Peace, Love and Perfume by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH perfumes.  The PLP group concept was divided into the three component parts, Peace as a meditative incense, Love as a romantic perfume laced with animalic tones, and Perfume as a classic cologne formula updated into a more contemporary feel.  

Peace holds a soothing deep woodsy incense cloud within, and embodies an East/West aromatic mix.  The incense and woods are so closely bonded they are perfectly equal. Resin, oud and attar together softened by the great moderator, Rose de Mai and lightly powdered by Orris, for me combines into the effect of the fine sandalwood of my dreams, as I fondly remember it. A powdery woodsy-ness gives it a comfortable familiar, almost child-like innocence.

Peace Love and Perfume by DSH
Love is a dark dark vanillic rose, a rose reduced over a long simmer to a caramelized state. Super urban and highly animalic, I find it more masculine than even I would attempt to carry off, so I would have to admit this one's for the boys, even though that kind of strictly gender specific perfume designation is against my general principals. The animalic aspect is stronger than the rose by far, but the florals tame that wildness somewhat to make it soft for all its strength.  Those fans of the most 'skanky' of vintage perfumes should assuage their cravings by trying this one.  After it settles down a bit of pepper peeks out, cut with a little cool aldehyde to balance it all.  Definitely a fully tatted old school Brooklyn gangsta rap level of skank going on in this infatuation/romance.

Perfume is based on the aesthetic of the classic cologne but made with non-traditional materials of grapefruit, rhubarb and cognac spiraling down to a fruity and creamy finish.  A complex composition of varied essences that work together to give that characteristic lift and refreshment of a traditional cologne, cloaked in clever choices of fruit and herbs not typical of the cologne genre.  This will also be available in an Absolute strength in limited edition. I think this one would be highly pleasing to a general audience on a beauty appeal level, but reveals its more subtle comments on perfume tradition to the more experienced perfume aficionado.

Chocolate LOVE Coffret by Kedra Hart of Opus Oils concentrates on the Love in PLP as expressed through the sweetness and velvet smoothness of ultra rich chocolates.  There are four perfumes and they are all going to make you smell like a box of the most chocolate chocolates imaginable, at least initially. Those who are gourmand fans are fully indulged in this predilection here. The smallest drop will soak you in deep chocolate scented by the  four different flavors.

White Chocolate from the Chocolate LOVE Coffret by Opus Oils
Though I love chocolate I am not a fan of very realistic chocolate perfumes, but that said, I find Violet Lilac Dream the most relatable and wearable for me.  It's a fantasy chocolate that indulges an old wish of mine. We have an old-school chocolate shop in the West Village of NYC called Li-Lac and this fragrance makes me think of what I always hoped for from the name of that shop. I wanted a lilac/violet infused dark chocolate, and that is made so realistically  in this perfume it is almost the same as having a smooth chocolate melting in your mouth, infused with hints of those two evocative perfume accords.   After awhile the chocolate burns away and a delicate violet/ lilac is left, deepened by the last vestiges of chocolate, combined with a woodsiness in the base that makes for true lyricism.

Dark Chocolate Royale is a deep dark chocolate infused with amber, whose primary initial hit of strong chocolate dries down to an predominantly amber-infused dark chocolate scent.  White Chocolate Delight begins as a super sweet chocolate, as is typical of that type, but then dries down to a more delicate floral with a creamy undertone.  Both morph into a body scent that references chocolate more distantly but uses its darkness and depth to ground and hold the top notes that cling for quite a long time.

Raspberry Rose Rapture is much like a chocolate covered cherry just as you bite into one, with a strong sugary sweet candy note real enough to almost taste it. This one is so realistically chocolate of a certain type that it's almost like a representational illustration of that sensation, in fragrance form. A lot of people have come to associate true love with the taste and smell of chocolate, red roses and raspberries with whipped cream, from years of celebrating Valentine's Day that way, so these signals might call forth the classic Pavolvian response.  It quickly calms down to a much more delicate and refined rendition of sweet rose and berry notes over cream.

Peace, Love and Perfume by Olympic Orchids
Peace, Love and Perfume by Ellen Covey of Olympic Orchids divides the three aspects into three fragrances that soften quickly and can be worn alone or layered together.   Peace opens with a vetiver-ed incense mix of varied calming base notes, dark but transparent, representing the base of the scent triangle.  Love hovers within the  centered, earthy and grounded heart, a middle balanced by a blue lotus accord mixed with some of the Peace perfume elements.  Perfume is a bright dry and fresh cologne emphasizing the top notes, with an evergreen and herbaceous edge. A perfume concept divided into three component parts that can be mixed by the wearer to their preference, with the result based on order of layering, or how it is applied, either directly on top of or beside each other or on different areas of the body, mixing together in the air itself.

Please hit the links above to go directly to the perfumers' sites which will give more details on notes and pricing.  Please see the links in the first two paragraphs for Carlos J. Powell online in videos and blogs.  Carlos has a lot of interests in addition to perfume.  There's music, photography, cooking and two exceptionally cute tuxedo cats. There's a lot online as he is generous in sharing his enthusiasms.

Images above were taken from the perfumers' sites from pages relating to the PLP Perfume Project.
Samples were provided by the perfumers at the request of Carlos J. Powell of PLP.  This post was not commissioned or compensated.  I know Carlos and several of the above perfumers personally and have written about them all before, so please give the search button a try for a lot more about them all.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

November 21, 2014

Midwest Indie: Madame Scodioli



I've been collecting the solid perfumes of Madame Scodioli for some time now.  When at first and by chance I ran across her solid perfume Laudanum, I had to have it, based on the name alone.  That solid scent proved to be both intoxicating and soothing, just as I hoped it would be.  It's a combination of pipe tobacco and strong black tea, fully redolent of my scent memories of nicotine and caffeine, those two All-American soothers and stimulants.

Then I was drawn further  into her carnival sideshow website, and the life she described in a time warp set in Salina, Kansas, the rest stop for the traveling circus side-show attraction that she styles herself to be, that is, a Bearded Lady. It makes perfect sense, as her perfumes lean toward the masculine side of the aisle but are highly attractive to the feminine sensibility too.  Indeed a portrait of herself is featured on all the solid perfumes, as a pretty turn-of-the-century lady stroking her well-groomed beard.

I was more than willing to enter into the spirit, especially on reading her copy describing Laudanum
"...dominant notes of pipe tobacco and black tea, and hints of fruit and spice. This scent reminds the Madame of sitting in the parlor of the troupe's stygian Horned Devil Man."

Well yes.  So I went on to order Cloven, featuring a number of my favorite fragrance elements of amber, sandalwood, vanilla and cedarwood.  Those magic words!

As described on the site:
"...the perfect scent for our troupe's own cloven footed lady, who glides so gracefully across stage before the captivated crowds. She's a showstopper, ladies and gents, and we think you'll feel the same..."

Rather milder than Laudanum, its charm recalls the scent of a smooth waxed wooden floor, a little heat thrown up by the striking of heels against the polished surface, subtle, a restrained passion like the beginning of a flamenco dance, and the fragrant light powder on the ladies' faces as they clap along.

Then I came upon Fortunato, themed on Pine, Smoke and Whiskey, a scented balm held within beeswax, sunflower and sweet almond oil, and vitamin E. How could it not be beneficial to both body and spirit?  Something like dozing over a stiff drink in the woods before the campfire. Or reading in a library lit with beeswax candles feeling the alcohol running through your veins. If you can't get to either place and would like to, you might try this perfume to bring you there in spirit if not in fact.

Step Right Up is a refreshing if "exotic"  blend of "cedar, smoky patchouli and sandalwood, musky saffron and finished with a touch of vetyver." I find it close to becoming my ultimate comfort scent for going to bed, rubbed into the base of the throat like a salve, at the temples and wrists, to be carried away on the waves of the anticipation of rest. All those notes sound like show-stoppers but they combine into a mild and decorative softness, to soothe and beautify the darkness without taking over.

All these details and nuances hit the chords for me of the old Ray Bradbury stories of the traveling carnival, and the Western pioneers, both rough and refined in their elegant physicality. These are mythic scents of the characters that went their own way with quite an individual sense of style and their own standards of practicality around morality, in good times or bad.

These are not the candy and soda scents of the drive-in entertainments of later years, or the animal scents of the circuses, but the scents of individuals who were unusual visions in themselves, showing off for money before the public.  As much as we'd all like to be celebrities at least in our own minds nowadays, that impulse is not new, it was born of a time when the most unusual of us vied for the public's attention with energy and much to impart in the way of self-knowledge, just from being so different.

I like the concept as translated into perfume and grooming aids.  I also appreciate how Madame Scodioli describes herself as two people in one. In the guise of Madame Scodioli, she is:

"Owner, Maker, Stoic Figurehead, Bearded lady. Soapmaker. Perfumer. Relentless perfectionist. Facial hair enthusiast. Lover of antiques, whiskey, chocolate and shoes."

In her guise as D.H. Riley (Doghouse Riley) she is:

"the Madame's devoted assistant and aspiring Painted Lady. The troupe found her on a barstool in Omaha." 

The two are one and the same, the perfumer does all herself, from design to hand pour to writing copy.

These solid perfumes are extremely well priced and generously proportioned (1 ounce for $16 ) so they are great to collect or give as little gifts, and perfect to carry around, as these flat disk like  tins have a secure screw-top lid.  There is also a sample program.  Most of the scent described above and many of the others on the site also come in other forms such as whisker wax, shaving soap or beard tonic, and also in liquid eau de parfum, 1 ounce for $30. 

Don't be misled by the simplicity, there is a sense of design that makes for a rich perfume experiences captured in wax, holding close to the skin but strong enough to make their presence known to you alone as you dwell in them.

Madame Scodioli also collaborates with others, my favorite of these is Ms. Cloven, a jewelry designer. They've made a look book together with beautifully earthy and enviable pieces paired with the perfumes. 

A visit to the site will deliver much that is well worth pursuing. Be sure to check out the old farmhouse Madame is restoring in her free time, to become a storefront at some later date.  

Above images from the Madame Scodioli website.  
Samples and perfumes from my own collection.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved. 

November 11, 2014

Bruno Fazzolari Lampblack and Au Dela Narcisse


Bruno Fazzolari is an indie-perfumer who was lured into making perfume through his other artistic pursuits,  as a natural outgrowth of making visual art, writing and a lifetime of travel and eclectic self-directed creativity.

He owns a rare form of sensuality in that he has the ability to experience synesthesia, a form of perception that crosses over taste, sound, smell, touch, sight and very likely memories and words, receiving different senses simultaneously. 

I think this trait is a hyper-sensitivity to beauty or a strong emotional tie to sensual experiences that in turn trigger vivid memories of other sensual experiences.

He explained at his recent event at Twisted Lily in Brooklyn that he is a self-taught perfumer but as a self-confessed process 'nerd' delved obsessively into all the technical information he could find.  

Since he grew up in France he naturally assimilated respect and love for perfume and brought that into his later creative work. Moving to the U.S. as an adolescent he was steeped in modern American culture too, and expresses the energy of experimentation over that core of traditional French culture.  

There's a strong spirit of the 20th Century Modernist era within these two perfumes, a time that I believe were those last few sensualist decades before our own present day dive into a more virtual reality. 

For me the two perfumes Lampblack and Au Dela Narcisse hit both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, during that time period, ranging from restrained modernist elegance,  referencing the smell of sooty black ink (Lampblack, exhibited beside his ink drawings), to the capture of the vintage French perfume spirit in the classically ornamental feel of heady spring flowers and animal spirits in Au Dela Narcisse (for which BF made a print that gives a shout out to the style of late Matisse, see above image).

Lampblack has been well-reviewed already, and received the imprimatur of the Emperor of Scent Luca Turin. So noted, but personally for me it is an affectionate and accurate rendition of what good black ink smells like as it dries, as I recall it myself from my printmaking days.  It recalls too what it was like to read the paper version of the  Sunday NYT,  notorious for its soft fresh ink that rubbed off on your hands or clothes or anything it touched.  Those who know this on-the-cusp of old-fashioned smell will get a true kick back into that not too distant past, and  recognize the core scent of this perfume. There is also a wood paper pulp tone reminiscent of soft newsprint, and a lightness and grace once the ink settles down into the skin's pores and the surface throws up a fresh citrus air beside an edge of dry hay like vetiver.

Truly this has become a nostalgic smell, as the days of real ink are quickly passing by, so in that regard lampblack, an ink made of carbon soot has become  a reference to all kinds of glamorously antique things, like Japanese brush painting, books and newspapers, even the soot of air pollution from big old cars drifted onto windowsills, and hits those buttons that connect to those experiences, or if you are quite young perhaps make the only connection to these things that you will ever know. Lampblack could give the tech-savvy at-risk youth a reference point for  film noir featuring hard boiled newspapermen, or even an awareness of the physicality of ink-brush calligraphy paintings from Japan, or the handwriting that once pervaded daily life, or the typewriters that novels were drafted on, before the days of word processing.

The mid-Century Modern vintage feel is also evoked in Au Dela Narcisse.  It smells like a French vintage perfume, in that there is a head and a tail, with the fresh breath of a Spring floral seamlessly grounded and bound to an earthy body-conscious base.  This is a school that holds a well-made perfume is one that creates a beautiful atmosphere rather than a skin scent, one that is so well-balanced that no particular note can be picked out, with the aim of creating an impression such as sophistication, or innocence,  romance or elegance, to envelop and associate with the person wearing it.  Here I think of the May perfumes of France, the heady early spring flowers Narcissus and Lily of the Valley, encapsulating the warm sunshine after a long grey winter, and a tradition of youthful beauty and energy growing into sophistication and elegance.

Perfume evokes our memories and moods but I think that sometimes perfume allows me to enter into someone else's. 

These two perfumes bring me into this perfumer's experiences and associations, ones that I in turn think of as The Good Life of a certain period of time past in both France and the America.

Disclosure: Twisted Lily provided samples to me, and also provided the opportunity for me to meet the perfumer at his event there.

Copyright 2014 Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Above image from the Bruno Fazzolari site, of his hand screened poster for Au Dela Narcisse.
Perfumes available in NYC at Twisted Lily.
Please also see the perfumer's site for more on his art and perfumes and ongoing projects.

October 29, 2014

Slumberhouse: Sadanne, Ore, Sova

Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac
Slumberhouse makes perfumes that are different and original even in comparison to those of the wildly diverse indie-perfumes category.  They stand out and apart even for those with wide experience of the ultra-niche category as unusual perfumes, but they are deeply attractive and addictive nonetheless, for all their individuality. They smell really good, and that's what counts, right? 

There is a mythic, Scandinavian feel to them, as referenced by the names of the perfumes.  Strong and dominated by deep and rich base notes, some might say they are made for men, but those women who are drawn to deep tones in perfume will want them for themselves.  I know I do.  

I have Norne, and have written about it before.  Norne's deep winter evergreen saps and resins and cool air reclaim the fragrance of evergreens away from their commercial overuse to their rightful place as wild and beautiful substances that enhance inner and outer well-being.

Sadanne is a perfume that suits my skin extraordinarily well as it starts beautifully and then just keeps getting better and better for me. I'm sitting here a little surprised at how good I smell after five hours, and with what strength. My skin generally absorbs fragrance which rarely lasts past breakfast, but this miraculously has lasted (and how). The perfumer's primary dedication to his base notes above all pays off for me and I dare say will for most others who feel a pull toward deep dark mysterious perfumes.

Sadanne, unusually for this line, does indulge in a top note of strong and unique character, redolent of strawberries preserved in bourbon. The delicate freshness of this floral-scented wild form of the berry emanates from the skin but that spirit is tethered to the body by the wildness and depth of natural base notes, used in composition to be most of the perfume in itself. 

On first impression, some might find the use of strawberry untoward in a fine perfume, but in this case do try again, as it is a rediscovery of the unassuming beauty that has always been there under our noses. I then turns into quite another thing as the  base notes take over. 

Again, as with Norne, I am relieved that a scent that has been overused in a commercial way has been reclaimed for fine perfume. 

As in others of this line, the base notes are powerful and all consuming.
From the amusingly taciturn website filled with images of possibly decadent goings on, it is described to be:

Stained glass syrup
Serenades in damascone minor
Allegory obscured / pastel wound
A slurry of subtlety
note list unavailable
I find it to be ultra-sensual in that it does one of my favorite things that good perfumes do, that is, unite opposites in a way that is close to sexual in sensuality.  Highlighting opposing differences and characteristics, as in yin/yang, masculine/feminine, light/dark, etc. 

Here that would be the delicacy and subtle mystery of a fresh small delicate wild strawberry, not so far off in time or character from its own floral beginnings, crossed with a deep lake full of cedar water where mossy sticks and heavy earth and sand and fir needles from the surrounding balsamic trees have fallen down to the murky bottom. Brewing intoxication, as that bourbon boozy feel comes forth.  

Seductive, in that the more I smell it the better I like it; it grows on me more and more. I even get a hint of that strawberry still, clinging to me long past any length of time I could reasonably expect it to.  It's a gift. Like strong coffee or whiskey this perfume might well be an acquired taste, but once you do acquire it, most addictive. 

I suspect the Scandinavian connection is the famous Bergman movie title: Wild Strawberries.  I have not yet seen this film, tho I have most of his others, and I believe it is full of romantic melancholy, with close ups of beautiful faces, dwelling on blonde skin.

This perfume stands out as a departure for the line, which until now eschewed the use of top notes or florals. 

Now Ore is described on the site this way:
A swim with the caramel nettles
Flooded with dusky murk
Wish I could dream it again
Oakwood, cocoa, mahogany, guaiac, dittany of crete, vanilla, whiskey lactone & peru resin
Yes, just like it says, it's the essential nature of oak mixed with several other delicious things like cocoa and vanilla and whiskey, and noble and beautiful trees contributing more, such as scent-color and strength from mahogany and the Amazonian guaiac.  

I am unfamiliar with Dittany of Crete but I am getting a touch of incense formed by the combination of all these things that would burn with fragrant smoke if set afire. Peru resin is like sap circulating within it all.  I find it a delightfully rich complex and austere version of a scent dessert for the skin.  
Dittany of Crete from Wikipedia

So ok, I could not resist a little research (though I have been trying not to be literal minded about notes lately).  I looked up Dittany of Crete, it is an herb related to oregano, known in the lore of Classical and Northern European legends, used in healing, and even in witchcraft for astral projection, to give spirits a physical body, and as an aphrodisiac.  Why am I not surprised? 

I think here it gives a lift of its strong Mediterranean herbal oregano-like nature, though not dominant in any way, simply brightening the other smooth velvety tones that otherwise might go too far down the road of soft gourmand. Again, longevity to the end of time, though growing closer and closer to the skin as time goes on.

Sova.  More in the general aesthetic line, like Ore, of Slumberhouse as we know it so far, it is described by the site in this way:
"All the glorious trials of youth dear boy. When I was a lad I'd rocket off on my tandem with Wrigglesworth and ride and ride. Find some old barn and fall asleep with the sweet perfume of hay on our lips." -Montague
Tonka bean, hops, poplar bud, hay, tahitian vanilla, castoreum, amber fossil, broom, cocoa, araucaria, sweet clover, beeswax, acacia, pipe tobacco

The quote is accurate in that it depicts almost an overdose of dry hay that is so pervasive you can almost taste it in your mouth, sinking into the pores and coming out of the skin like scented sweat after some wholesome athletic exertion.

It reproduces the sensation of the outdoors, of the open summer country roads and making strenuous muscular effort that inevitably leads to passing out into the deep dreamless sleep referenced above.  

I find it almost overwhelmingly narcotic, with a dry malted aspect that is heavy even if soft.  I believe the tobacco rides the perfume and gives it that slightly mind-altering tone.  I find myself sensitive to it and could not take much of it for long, as I am a former smoker who goes a little faint these days at the scent of pipe tobacco, but it would be perfect for someone who can carry it. Someone like a poet from the Beat Generation or an Abstract Expressionist painter.

The tonka bean and vanilla infused into the beeswax, clover and tobacco intensify that dizzying effect for me, while I must emphasize it stays soft within its strength. 


This one definitely leans into masculine of a brawny kind, for one who might enjoy intoxicants of every variety, and acclimated enough not to be as overwhelmed by them as I am.  With only one spray it's quite tenacious and if I get too close to it on my skin I go a little light headed.  This might be what Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac or Willem DeKooning, smelled like, handsome devils who could hold their intoxicants and their ecstasy and keep asking for more.


There are new flacons, glass and metal fashioned into something reminiscent of a hip flask.


Disclosure: Samples generously provided by Twisted Lily of Brooklyn.  The above three are extrait strength.


These thoughts are my own and these posts are not compensated or commissioned.


You can get samples and full sizes from Twisted Lily, or order from the Slumberhouse site if you are not nearby, or check their list of stockists if you want to go and try in person right away.


Please visit the sites linked to above for more information.


Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved. 


Photos above from Pinterest and the Slumberhouse website.