Perfume Review: Jour Ensoleillé by Sonoma Scent Studio

A sunny day, late in the summer and spent in dappled woods. Fall is around the corner, but the heat of that summer’s day is matched by the brightness of the sun. Jour Ensoleillé (“Sunny Day”) is a floral chypre perfume from the beloved, Indie, artisanal line, Sonoma Scent Studio (or “SSS”), which seeks to encapsulate the feel of that summer’s day in the woods.

Jour Ensoleillé via SSS. (34 ml bottle.)

Jour Ensoleillé via SSS. (34 ml bottle.)

Jour Ensoleillé was released in 2007, the creation of Sonoma Scent Studio’s founder and nose, Laurie Erickson. It is a largely natural perfume with minimal synthetics, and comes in what is essentially extract de parfum or pure parfum concentration. It is also cruelty-free — something which I always approve of most wholeheartedly — and almost vegan. (The beeswax prevents it from being purely vegan). The company describes the perfume on its website as follows:

Jour Ensoleillé (sunny day) marries a lively floral blend of orange blossom, tuberose, and jasmine with a soft woodsy, mossy base that is gently chypre in nature. Like the golden late summer sunshine as the season moves toward fall, Jour Ensoleillé warms your spirit with its uplifting blend of woods and florals. The woodsy base makes this fragrance appropriate for men as well as women, though the floral notes are prominent.

The image associated with Jour Ensoleillé from SSS.

The image associated with Jour Ensoleillé from SSS.

The notes are:

Orange blossom, neroli, tuberose, jasmine, beeswax absolute, labdanum absolute , myrrh, sandalwood, ambergris, vetiver, green leaves, oakmoss absolute.

Orange blossoms via the Pattersonfoundation.org.

Orange blossoms via the Pattersonfoundation.org.

Jour Ensoleillé opens on my skin with strongly animalic orange blossoms, drenched and coated with honey. It is sweet, but also a little bit salty, with a musky, honeyed labdanum that doesn’t feel even remotely leathery or goaty. There is a strong mossy element that is also intertwined with the honeyed orange blossoms. It is neither the brightly green, fresh kind of moss, nor the completely dusty, pungent, arid, grey sort that sometimes feels almost more like lichen. Instead, it is somewhere in-between. When combined with the subtle touch of green leaves, the overall impression is of a very sunlit spectrum of green.

Jasmine

Jasmine

The real star, however, is the heavily honeyed orange blossom which is just faintly tinged by a little of the bitterness of neroli. Actually, it feels a little more like petitgrain with its slightly twiggy, woody facets. Together, the notes swirl together to create a glowing, orange blossom with deeper, musky, almost salty qualities atop a bed of bright and dark green. All around, dancing up to the orange floral notes, are powerful white flowers: heady tuberose and, perhaps more significantly, lush jasmine. They never feel sour, plastic-y or over-ripe; instead, they are very warm, bright, and lush. But they are also incredibly potent, and far from feeling dewy or fresh. They are indolic flowers in full bloom, and just a little droopy from the strength of the summer’s midday sun.

Underlying the flowers is a subtle woodsy note that is hard to pinpoint. It feels almost amorphous and abstract; it’s never dark or heavy, but it’s not like white woods, either. It’s also nothing like real sandalwood with its spicy, opulent heart. Whatever kind of sandalwood is used here, it’s not from Mysore and, honestly, is not really detectable at this stage in the perfume. I can’t figure out the wood note, but whatever it is and wherever it comes from, it does feel creamy and adds a subtle depth to the floral notes.

Labdanum compiled into a chunk. Source: Fragrantica

Labdanum compiled into a chunk. Source: Fragrantica

Honestly, the most intriguing part of Jour Ensoleillé’s opening is that animalic note. It feels nothing like usual labdanum (or even labdanum absolute) which can have quite a masculine, nutty, occasionally goaty and leathery feel. Here, it is deeply honeyed and even the musk seems different. It’s never skanky, dirty, raunchy or a little bit intimate in nature. Perhaps the reason is that both the musk — and the labdanum that triggers it — are deeply intertwined with the heavy, lush florals. The overall result is a floral labdanum which is quite unusual.

Even more unusual is the concomitant effect of the labdanum on the orange blossoms. They have a smoky, musky sweetness that feels both opulent and incredibly sensuous (though never sexual or intimate). The way they are drenched with honey and accompanied by heady, narcotically strong jasmine (and, to a lesser extent, tuberose) makes them feel a little feral, like a giant tiger that has been set loose. Granted, it is a tiger that is lazily and languidly stretched out in the sun, purring as it flexes its huge paws, but it is still quite a feral, feline take on orange blossoms. I don’t think I’ve smelled anything like it.

Painting by Gyula Tornai (1861-1928): "In the Harem."

Painting by Gyula Tornai (1861-1928): “In the Harem.”

I tested Jour Ensoleillé twice, and my reaction to those powerful, incredibly potent, opening stage differed quite a bit. The first time, I was quite bewitched. I thought the combination of the jasmine-tuberose twins with that dominant, glowing orb of an orange blossom, the unusual muskiness, and the honeyed, subtly smoky labdanum was utterly fascinating. While the perfume is supposed to evoke a summer’s day in the woods, it did absolutely no such thing for me during that first test. Instead, I envisioned the Sultan’s favorite odalisque, emerging from her morning bath, to spray Jour Ensoleillé all over her oiled, naked body, before she dressed to spend the day in the harem’s private, enclosed, secret garden, where she would lounge in the sun and smell the heady, white jasmine surrounding her.

The second time, however, using just a dab or two more in quantity, I found the smoky, musky, animalic white flowers to be too, too much. Coming from someone with my tastes — and who finds scents like Fracas to be child’s play without any troublesome extremeness or indolic negatives — that says quite a lot! I no longer saw the Sultan’s favorite concubine, sensuously purring out in the sun, nor that languid tiger. Jour Ensoleillé no longer felt quite so much like a glowing, jeweled orb above a lush base of dappled green, both mossy and leafy. Instead, the perfume seemed a little sharp, completely excessive, slightly verging on the territory of “cloying,” and far too indolic. The jasmine even reeked of mothballs — which almost never happens to me — and it stayed that way for a number of hours. Lastly, that honeyed note felt clangy and metallic. As a whole, I felt almost suffocated by heaviness, thickness, honey, musk, and over-ripe, blown florals. And I only used the dabbing equivalent of two medium sprays! Clearly, this is a perfume with ferocious potency in its early stage, and one which requires a very light hand to prevent it from turning unpleasant.

The rest of the perfume’s development was the same in both instances. After the two-hour mark, Jour Ensoleillé became a primarily orange blossom and jasmine duet atop a base of oakmoss infused with amber. It feels very much like a mossily green patchouli element is there, too, to help with that chypre base. And, as always, there is always that constant undertone of smoky honey and amber, thanks to the myrrh and labdanum. A quiet woodiness lurks underneath, but it’s very muted. Jour Ensoleillé is also, at this point, a skin scent on me. That potent, ferocious start softened with every moment until, exactly two hours in on both occasions, it clung right on top of the skin. It’s certainly strong whilst there, and if you bring your arm to your nose you can detect it, but the projection is minute, at best.

Four hours in, Jour Ensoleillé starts to feel a little abstract. The fragrance seems, primarily, like a well-blended, harmonious, but generalized, white floral fragrance atop light dashes of sweet oakmoss and honeyed amber. At times, the perfume throws off more noticeable, individual notes. Jasmine takes the lead from the orange blossoms, becoming significantly more pronounced, though the orange blossoms are still detectable. The tuberose which always lurked as a very distant third on my skin seems gone almost entirely. In its place is the start of the beeswax element, along with some soapiness. Jour Ensoleillé remains that way for hours in a generally linear line, becoming increasingly abstract, muted and soapy, until it finally dries down as a soft musk with florals and beeswax. All in all, Jour Ensoleillé had great longevity on my perfume consuming skin. To be precise, it lasted just over 9.5 hours during the first test, and 10.75 with the slightly larger amount during the second test.

Jour Ensoleillé is a hugely beloved fragrance from an even more beloved indie perfume house. And it is an extremely well-done, beautifully blended creation. It wasn’t my personal cup of tea, but I can see why so many adore it and associate it with the sunniest of days. I actually received my sample from Brie of The Fragrant Man blog; she is not only Sonoma Scent Studio’s biggest fan, but also a passionate advocate for Jour Ensoleillé, in particular. It is her “Desert Island” scent which truly says a lot given just how many fragrances she’s tried and, also, her love for the rich, vintage classics. In her emotional, deeply personal review for Jour Ensoleillé entitled “Coming Home,” she writes:

[U]pon first whiff,Jour Ensoleille touched a raw visceral nerve within my psyche in such a way that has never been matched by any other perfume. It was simultaneously euphoric and meditative, calming and exciting, gorgeously complex and extraordinarily simple in its exquisite beauty.  It was the perfume I turned to time and time again just to whiff straight out of the bottle and it was as if I was smelling it for the very first time.

I usually relegate my perfumes to certain days, seasons and/or moments in my life. But this is not the case with Jour. I don’t want that  distinct memory connection as I desire to be able to savor Jour wherever and whenever I please. [...][¶]

[W]ere I ever to have the misfortune of being stranded on a deserted island Jour Ensoleille is the only perfume I would need in my possession if I were forced to choose just one. After 42 years of perfume wearing and 400 or so empty  bottles later, I am  finally home.

Another lovely review comes from the Eiderdown Press blog:

The sparkling, sunlit warmth of orange blossom, tuberose and jasmine falling on a cool mantle of grassy, mossy and woodsy base notes creates a rather distinct dichotomy in Jour Ensoleillé. [...] The sweetness of the flowers and the bitterness of the base notes seem almost equally weighted, creating the kind of marked contrast that first struck me as odd and discordant. But it was an intriguing kind of odd—not at all strident or grating, but rather the kind of odd that, at first whiff, makes one say, “hmm, that’s different,” instead of “ooh, pretty!” and then rather quickly becomes the very thing that keeps you coming back to the fragrance wanting more, realizing it really is beautiful. (Sublime, really.)

While the herbaceous, woodsy base lends a contemplative air to the perfume and keeps the white florals from running riot in their usual erotically-charged way, this perfume is still every bit as sensual as it is thoughtful in spirit. Orange blossom and jasmine do indeed express their indolic nature within Jour Ensoleillé, adding to the lushness of the scent—completing it in a sense—and entreating the wearer to dream not only of afternoon sunlight, but also perhaps of “afternoon delight”: a romantic tryst leisurely taken or perhaps stolen, like kisses, from the golden middle part of the day.

On Fragrantica, the reviews are generally quite euphoric, too, though there are some dissenters who have issues with the orange blossom. One happy commentator, “Pisces3774,” writes:

Absolute perfection! I don’t normally gravitate toward chypres, but with all of the beautiful and balanced floral notes, the combination is intoxicating. The opening is bright and citrusy – a bit like Lauder’s Azuree. Then the white flowers are ushered in. They’re not whiny, thin, and polite-typical. They’re high-quality, and well blended. This is no tuberose monster. The white flowers mellow, the citrus mellows, and the creamy combination sets the stage for the chypric base. The result is a creamy, sophisticated, white-floral chypre. I get numerous compliments every time I wear it.

Another added something that I thought was quite interesting because it pertained to that opening stage and its potency. In her very positive review, “Khterhark” noted:

this is the third fragrance I’ve tried from this line, and I feel comfortable saying these wear like Caron Urn fragrances on me. They open rather harsh and unpleasant, and you have to wait a good 40 min before you are rewarded with a long lasting, beautifully harmonized, gorgeous composition.

I think she has a definite point, as Jour Ensoleillé’s opening is quite potent and heavy, indeed. One commentator on Fragrantica, who really liked the scent, actually wrote that her stomach “curdled” at the opening minutes. So, again, I caution, use a light hand when applying this fragrance, or you will experience something like what I went through on my 2nd test run.

While I hope the other reviews are helpful to you, I find them interesting, in part, because I noticed how the commentators rarely talk about the animalic, sweet, strong musk. They certainly didn’t seem to experience as much as I did. Also, on my skin, the labdanum’s honeyed undercurrents were as strong as the oakmoss (with its occasionally green-patchouli feel), so Jour Ensoleillé felt more ambered in its foundation than a pure chypre. Finally, some commentators, on both Fragrantica and on MakeupAlley, seemed to get significantly more tuberose than I ever did. But one thing that most people seem to agree is this: the very lush, indolic, sensuous feel of the perfume.

It’s always tricky to write about a perfume that one of your good blogosphere friends adores with a passion. So, I was rather relieved when I liked parts of Jour Ensoleillé, at least the first time around. As most of my regular readers know, I can be quite forceful and blunt when I hate something. And I don’t believe in protecting companies just because they are small and artisanal, especially when almost all of the reviews out there are positive. My loyalty is to the readers who expect my honesty, not to the perfumers.

So, my honest opinion is that Jour Ensoleillé is a pretty scent, and I can see why it is receives so many rave reviews. It’s an unusual twist on the orange blossom leitmotif, it can feel quite sensuous as well as bright, and it’s very feminine. Its opening is quite glowing, like a jeweled orb, and it becomes softer with time, though also a bit flat, linear and soapy on my skin. Ultimately, it’s not for me, but it has made me extremely interested in trying out the rest of the fragrances from Sonoma Scent Studio. All those raves about Laurie Erickson’s talent, creativity, and originality are clearly rooted in fact, not hype. I’m genuinely intrigued.

So, if Jour Ensoleillé’s notes sound interesting to you — and if you can take indolic white flowers — then I would definitely encourage you to give the perfume a sniff.

 

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Jour Ensoleillé is essentially pure parfum extract in concentration, and is exclusive to Sonoma Scent Studio. It is available via the company’s website in a variety of different sizes and prices: a 34 ml bottle costs $65; a $15 ml bottle costs $40; a 5 ml travel spray costs $16; a 3 ml sample spray costs $10.50; and a 1 ml dabber vial costs $3.50. SSS also offers Gift Sampler Sets in a black gift box: 10 carded samples of your choice for $40, or 12 perfume samples of your choice for $65. (The company is temporarily out of those but they will be in shortly.) The samples look like 1 ml vials. The company takes credit cards or PayPal, but is forced to impose California sales tax for California customers.
International Shipping: Due to postal regulations on alcohol-based perfumes, SSS is unable to ship directly to overseas customers except by the very expensive option of FedEx or UPS. However, the FAQ page provides some more affordable options in terms of freight forwarders who, in one past case, shipped even to Saudi Arabia. The full details, taken from the website, are as follows: “If you want to purchase directly from me, you can use a freight forwarding service that gives you a USA address; I ship to the freight forwarder in the USA and they collect and forward all your packages to you, or they can send them one by one. By consolidating your packages from several USA merchants, you can save on shipping. Most freight forwarders will not ship alcohol-based perfume by regular mail, but some of them have other methods of shipment to offer, depending on your country. One freight forwarder I have worked with on a shipment to Saudi Arabia can possibly help many of you. His name is Jim Rojas and he has an ebay shipping store. His shipping costs are very reasonable (though you may have duties depending on your country). You can get a quote from him if you give him the size and weight of the package, and I can give that information to you if you tell me what SSS items you would like to buy. Larger freight forwarding services also exist, like www.myus.com. Another option is for me to ship to a friend or family member here in the USA who can then get the package to you. And a third option is to buy from one of my retailers who ships to your country. Indie Scents in the USA does some international shipping and carries my boutique line.” Please note, however, Jour Ensoleillé is part of the Exclusives line and is not carried by Indie Scents.
Samples: Samples are available directly from SSS at the links listed above. It is also available from Surrender to Chance (which ships overseas via First Class Mail for $12.95 for all orders up to $150) in various sizes, starting at $4.99 for a 1 ml vial, $21.61 for a 5 ml spray, and going up to $64.87 for a large 15 ml decant.

37 thoughts on “Perfume Review: Jour Ensoleillé by Sonoma Scent Studio

  1. Too bad Jour Ensoleille didn’t work for you. I don’t get any of the animalic notes you describe in your review. On my skin it smells lush and sheer. The orange blossom is dominating with a lot of white flowers in the background. So funny and intriguing that our skin can amplify some notes and make the others more quiet.
    I really enjoy Jour Ensoileille, it’s one of my favourite from Laurie’s SSS :)

  2. I love this one. I don’t really get the animalic notes either. It’s more floral with some earthiness to it. I’m a heavy sprayer but I agree that you can use a light touch with this and still get enough impact. I don’t, but it can be done. I swear I could swim in a vat of most of the SSS scents. I really like the line, at least what I’ve smelled of it.

    • It seems like a great perfume house and it certainly has a huge, adoring following. After trying Jour Ensoleillé, I’d definitely like to try the rest of Ms. Erickson’s perfumes. I’m glad you love Jour Ensoleillé and that it works on your skin. :) It also sounds like this is one which isn’t eaten up or doesn’t die on you like so many other perfumes do.

  3. Kafka, I’m so glad you reviewed Jour Ensoleille and again another amazing review. SSS has come to be my favorite perfume house taking all things into account like quality, price points, and availability of different sizes and samples.Wood Violet is one of the several fragrances I’d want on my deserted island for its floral but woodsy not too powdery sweet quality. It helps that DH says it really, really, really heightens his senses. Really :). I am wondering if Kafka will review it and find the same :)

    • You’re welcome, dear Vicki. I’m glad you liked the review. Judging by Jour Ensoleillé, SSS fragrances definitely do seem high-quality and good for the price point. I know how much you love the Wood Violet, but I wasn’t aware it would be one of your desert island fragrances! Wow, that’s a huge compliment to SSS indeed. :) As for reviewing others, I probably will down the road. Jour Ensoleillé was the only sample I have from the brand, and I probably need to get through the many other things I already have before I start ordering more perfume. :)

  4. Oh, thank you for this review, I’ve been meaning to try this one because I’ve enjoyed so many other SSS fragrances. I have such trouble with prominent orange blossom notes going soapy on me that I sometimes get tired of even trying them. I love her woodsy perfumes though, there’s something about the kind of labdanum that she uses in them that seems particularly lovely. And while it doesn’t change my opinion of the perfumes one way or another, I have to say she is an incredibly sweet person with excellent customer service that makes it a pleasure to order from her.

    • She seems absolutely lovely from all the things I’ve heard and read. :) What is your favorite SSS fragrance thus far, Cacomixtle? As for the labdanum here, it definitely put an unusual twist on orange blossoms. I was most impressed to see such a different facet to them: salty, musky, slightly animalic. It really made them glow orange, if that makes sense. But, if you have issues with orange blossom notes going soapy on you, the drydown here may do the same. It certainly did on my skin, and that doesn’t always happen to me with the note.

      • I’m not sure I can choose between Tabac Aurea and Winter Woods. I think they may both contain Iso E, but for some reason, no headache and it doesn’t bother me as a smell in these fragrances. I’m wearing Winter Woods today and I adore the heavy labdanum combined with Oakmoss. One of my perfumes that is guaranteed to make me smile when I wear it. :)

  5. Kafka,
    I should have forewarned you that SSS fragrances are in parfum concentration! Yes, a little goes a long way and over application of Jour is NOT suggested by me! You have done an amazing job taking it apart piece by piece..something I have no talent for and even if I did just could not do with my beloved Jour as it is such an emotional fragrance for me…but after reading your review and having worn it today I do get that salty quality, honey drenched orange blossom and labdanum with a tad of musk …but I think it is the oakmoss that really makes me swoon when I wear/sniff Jour….oakmoss unto itself is pure perfume for me and I will often wear it as such!

    And I am glad that you have brought up that high quality perfumes can be affordable! I think many of us make the mistake of equating really expensive with really great…. and with SSS the lasting power on my dry perfume eating skin is amazing!

    For me Jour is definitely ALL of those adjectives you have used to describe it…..bright, sensual and feminine :D!!!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this review!

    • I’m glad I could do justice to your favorite perfume, Brie. :) I’m very relieved that you enjoyed the review. And thank you again for the sample! As for the amount, I usually have no problems with similar dosages for parfums. Something happened here, however. And, even before the slightly larger amount (which was truly nothing at all), Jour Ensoleillé seemed much more animalic on my skin than it seems to have been on others. Perhaps my skin amplifies and magnifies base notes, and labdanum in particular? Nonetheless, it is definitely high-quality and very well done. The ingredients also seem to be superior in quality to those used by some much more expensive houses.

      Totally off-topic, I have to say, I’m hugely impressed that the line is cruelty-free. I know it’s easier for artisanal, Indie lines than big houses, but still!

  6. Pingback: Sunday Link Love, Volume #139 | FFBlogs

  7. Please, please review more of the SSS offerings! I haven’t traveled down that rabbit hole (yet) as I fear greatly for my bank account once I do. The offerings all seem very enticing, and like Parfums de Nicolai, reasonably priced.

    • It seems like a fantastic perfume house, Gretchen, I quite agree. Given the response to this review, I will definitely try to get samples of more SSS fragrances. I really will! Thank you for being the final voice to push me over. :P lol

      • Hi Kafka. I’m sorry Jour E didn’t work better for you. The indolic jasmine in it works for some people and not for others. (And btw, pure indole does have a mothball note; since you seem more sensitive to indole, you are probably picking that up.)

        I honestly don’t think I have a scent on my list right now that you would like. Some of my scents have ISO E Super, and I have read how you hate it. Many of my scents have aldehydes, and I’ve noticed in reviews that they often go soapy for you. The naturals would likely be too short lasting, and several of my mixed media would be too strong. Some of the violet scents would be too powdery. You also may not like the synthetic musks in some of my scents. Every scent has some attributes that rule it out.

        I really don’t like causing people pain (my goal is to find scents that bring people pleasure). When people email me to ask what they might like, I do not try to sell them on anything; I always encourage sampling rather than full bottle buying, and I always try to be realistic and steer them away from things that are not likely to work for them, like I am doing here for you.

        I’d rather wait until I have something I think you would like that I can recommend for you. Perhaps you might like the new all-natural amber incense I am working on. Maybe you can revisit my line when that scent is done (I’m aiming for this fall). Meantime, I hope you find some other scents you love by other lines, and that you continue to enjoy your current finds. You write very well and I’d enjoy seeing you cover some more things that work for you. Best wishes!

        • Dear Ms. Erickson, thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful note. You didn’t cause me pain, I promise. :) Your perfume was far too high-quality and well-blended for that. Plus, I did enjoy it during my first go-round. It was sensual, feline, bright and sunny.

          Thank you for letting me know that some of your scents have ISO E Super. You’re right, those wouldn’t work for me, alas, as I am not a fan of the note (to put it mildly). ;) Same with aldehydes. But with regard to indoles, I fear you may have misread something as I actually do not have problems with them as a general rule. I was practically weaned on Fracas, and many of my favorite perfumes have tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, or some combination thereof. Take, for example, Cuir Mauresque which has both animalic notes, musk and indolic flowers. So, indoles aren’t usually a concern. I suspect that perhaps this was a rare exception, and for that I am truly sorry. I trust I covered enough of other people’s raves about Jour Ensoleillé for people to realise that I am in a minority. And I’m sure there has to be one SSS fragrance that would make me fall in love. I really have heard nothing but amazing things about your line. :) All the very best to you.

          PS — You are as gracious, kind and thoughtful as everyone has said!

          • Sadly as you know, most commercial scents like Fracas contain very little real jasmine or tuberose, but rather synthetic floral accords, and those are formulated to be much cleaner than the real thing. I don’t find natural tuberose or ylang to be indolic, but I do smell a lot of indoles in natural jasmine and orange blossom. Like you, I don’t find Fracas to be indolic; it has a lot of synthetic tuberose to my nose. There are even synthetic indoles available, but most of today’s scents are so clean that I don’t think they are used very much!

          • You’re absolutely right about Fracas and its synthetic basis now. Alas. But I’m old enough to remember the real stuff. LOL. What I loved about your perfume, even if ultimately it didn’t work for me, is that it was clearly very rich and lush. “Clean and fresh” are three words I abhor in perfumery. I can’t fathom spending a huge amount of money to smell as if I just left a shower or like something in my dryer.

            I’ve noted time and time again how your goal is to make people truly happy with your fragrances and how you want to find something that is the perfect fit. You have obviously read me long enough to know the things I dislike but I am truly determined to find my “Desert Island” scent (to use the phrase that so many others have when it comes to your perfumes) amidst your line. Is there ISO E Super in any of the following: Tabac Aurea, Forest Walk, Incense Pure or Champagne de Bois? I hope you know that, despite the fact that Jour Ensoleillé didn’t work for me, I meant what I said when I wrote that I greatly admire your talent, creativity and originality — all of which were very, very evident in J/E. And your incredibly graciousness here has made me even more of a fan.

    • I’ve heard wonderful things about Tabac Aurea, and it is one of the ones that I’d love to try. Others are Forest Walk, Incense Pure and Champagne de Bois. Is Vintage Rose the one with carnation?

  8. Hmmmm, where to begin? SSS is definitely one of my favorite indie/niche lines…and Laurie is so personable. Up until February this year, all I had were 14 of the 3 mL spray samples (the 15th – Champagne de Bois – was re-homed). I had since ordered several larger sizes of 3 perfumes: To Dream, Forest Walk and Fig Tree. Anyway, all this to say that unfortunately, Jour Ensoleillé did not work for me as my nose picked up the worst parts — animalic (described by a family member as just one rung better than skunk…I am not kidding) and the mothball effect of jasmine (and here I thought I was the only one with the jasmine / mothball association).

    Great review though…as always. It is somewhat rare that we have the same reaction to a perfume. I know we are NOT scent twins.

    • It’s incredibly rare for jasmine to turn so … funky… on my skin. I’ve never met an indolic flower that didn’t love me, and have the feeling reciprocated. During my second test, I kept struggling and struggling to pinpoint just *what* was that odd twist on the jasmine and what exactly it smelled like. It wasn’t medicinal at all, nor purely indolic. It was… something. I couldn’t pinpoint precisely what it was until you replied to the Téo Cabanel post about jasmine sometimes turning into a mothball scent on you. And then the lightbulb went off. Mothballs was EXACTLY what it smelled like on me.

      As for the animalic twist, no, it definitely wasn’t like skunk on my skin. Not at all. But it was a very different sort of animalic note that was quite unusual as it was more than just musky or extremely honeyed. I know it came from the labdanum, but I still can’t figure out the *exact* parallel or comparison to describe it. (And you know that I don’t usually struggle in describing the nuances of a scent!) It baffled me. That part actually was present even during the first test, but to a significantly smaller degree where it was just somewhat unusual, interesting and feline.

      I have to say, I’m rather stunned that our reactions were so similar on those points. As you noted, you and I are most definitely NOT scent twins, and we almost NEVER have the same experience at all! For you to be the one who went through what I did is quite unexpected!

  9. I think we ran out of reply space on that inner thread, so I will continue here, but you can move it up if there’s a way..

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I debated whether it was ok to post here, but I decided I’d rather be open and try to save you from disappointment. I’m the one who knows what is in these, so it’s easier for me to figure out what might work and what might be disasters. Tabac Aurea does have significant ISO E and wouldn’t be worth your sniffing. Champagne de Bois has no ISO E but it has more aldehydes than Jour, and I think you would find the synthetic sandalwood to be strident. I’m working on a more floral version with toned down sandalwood that I prefer; it would be more suitable for you except that the aldehydes still probably wouldn’t work. Forest Walk has a very tiny amount of ISO E. Most people don’t notice the ISO E in it (I used it to extend lasting power because early testers thought it needed more oomph), but ISO E is your kryptonite ingredient so I am doubtful. It also has a quirky earthy ingredient, and a light touch of that indolic jasmine sambac absolute. Incense Pure has no ISO E, but it does have aldehydes. It’s fairly common to use aldehydes in incense scents. I smell aldehydes in CdG Avignon and Heeley Cardinal, both of which I like a lot. Cardinal was a disaster for you. Incense Pure is quite different than Cardinal, but it does still have some aldehydes and it has a lot of labdanum, plus a related cistus that has incense and smoke notes. Incense Pure is very heavy on frankincense and labdanum/cistus. I don’t think it would quite work. Have you liked any straight up incense scents?

    What would be really fun to send you would be a bunch of ingredient samples, mostly natural but a few synthetic. I could send a few animalic notes because I suspect you like the animalic para cresyls found in narcissus accords but maybe not so much the indoles.

    I feel like I am currently at a bit of a turning point with my line. I am trying to avoid using ISO E (and other synth ambers) and synthetic musks and sandalwoods. I’ve been doing some all-naturals and my next mixed media scents will have a different feeling from this influence. The challenge is to try to keep reasonable lasting power and oomph.

    I can relate to your feelings about vintage Fracas! I used to love the parfum, but I haven’t bought it in over 10 years and doubt it is the same these days.

    • I can’t tell the last time I enjoyed a conversation more! Honestly, I can’t thank you enough for your time and for the insights which you have provided, both in terms of your own line and in terms of your future plans. Thank you — really!

      In terms of straight up incense scents, I think it really depends on definition. Everything has some other note in it, so nothing is really pure incense in that sense. But I adore Mitzah which is heavy labdanum and incense, Puredistance M which has heavy labdanum (possibly absolute, but I can’t recall now) with incense and some indoles, Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour Le Soir which has heavy labdanum, animalic musk and indolic flowers, along with some incense. Less successful ones for me were the recent Tom Ford Sahara Noir which was almost entirely labdanum and frankincense but which also had oud (which I’m truly tired of, unless done very well). I also wasn’t keen on Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute which was pretty much labdanum and incense, but that is because it wasn’t well-balanced or finessed in any real way. So, I don’t think I’ve tried any “straight up incense scents” but I have if we are talking about incense with one other note being the dominant players. I definitely haven’t tried CDG Avignon yet. As long as it doesn’t smell of fresh cotton and bucketfuls of soap, I’m hopeful. ;)

      I find it fascinating that you would consider avoiding ISO E Super in your future fragrances. God, how I wish other perfumers would take that possibility under advisement. I know few people can even detect its nuances but, as you put it so fabulously, it really is like kryptonite to me. At least, in large doses, since that brings out that rubbing alcohol base and antiseptic side that makes my whole body shudder. I often feel like a crazy person when writing about it because I just *know* a lot of people don’t know what I’m talking about. They just smell “extra pepperiness” and that’s it– with the exception of those poor sods who get raging headaches from it. Coincidentally, my arm is currently wafting of ISO E Super, oud, and cedar — all completely unexpectedly. I think perfumers should list the damn note so that people like myself could avoid accidentally stumbling on it while trying out perfumes. Er… sorry, I think I got carried away by my hatred for the note.

      May I ask why you’ve been considering dropping ISO E Super as a possible note in future perfumes? (Such joyous, joyous news! I feel like setting up a cheering section with a marching band!!) :P I really shouldn’t take up so much of your time but, please know, you’ve made me incredibly happy and I’m truly honoured that you’ve taken as much time as you have to share your insights with me. I’ve both grateful and very touched.

      • I think ISO E has been overused and I prefer to find other solutions when I can these days. Perfumes like Feminite du Bois were early ones that used it in a groundbreaking way, but later it became popular and ubiquitous. It’s hard to go anywhere without smelling it on people today.

        ISO E is a funny ingredient because it elicits a variety of reactions. Many people love the smell and are very attracted to it. To me, it a mix of woodsy cedar, soft floral notes, and musky ambery notes that can add lift, interest, and lasting power to a scent. It can work magic in a blend if your nose gets along with it. Some people can’t smell it at all, however, or find that the scent comes and goes, and some people find it to be unpleasant, like hamster cage, vinegar, pickles, or rubbing alcohol. Initially the number of people who liked it far outnumbered those who didn’t, but now we’re all getting oversaturated with it and even those who like it are tiring of it. I think most people are still fine with small amounts here and there but are finding large amounts to be repetitive. I’m feeling the same way about synthetic musks these days. I think I just need change to keep my creative interest going.

        I have often wondered that very same thing – if I should add some text to the fragrance description pages about ingredients that can be deal breakers for some people and that might not be obvious from the list of notes. It’s hard to cover all the territory for everyone, but perhaps I could provide info on a few. The list might include ISO E, synthetic musks, animalic notes, and powdery notes. Ozonic notes fall into that category too but are not found for the most part in my blends because they are my kryptonite ingredients. (I can’t work with Calone and numerous others in that ozone/fresh/clean category.) Maybe I should consider adding some further information like that to the notes descriptions. I wonder what ingredients should be included in that kind of list. It’s hard because one person’s poison is another person’s catnip, but maybe a list could be helpful if it highlighted some common problematic ingredients to help people find them or avoid them.

        Thanks for an interesting discussion! And for making me think again about the notes info (that’s been in the back of my mind for a while)!

  10. Laurie and Kafka, I wanted to jump in here and let you both know I am crazy mad in love with Wood Violet. I find many violets to be too sweet and powdery but this is a walk in the woods after a spring rain. I just ordered a full bottle from your site today along with Lieu due Reeves, which I also adore for being pretty without being too twee. I also got Voile due Violette and a sample of Velvet Rose. I am so very happy to find wonderful rose and violet fragrances that are fresh, green and pretty in a grown up way. Thank you so much. My DH thanks you too :)

    • Vicki, the perfumes sound wonderful on you. I know how much you adore Wood Violet, but I’m happy to hear there are some others as well! Wear with joy, my dear. :)

  11. Kafka, I really enjoyed your image of Jour Ensoleille as the Sultan’s favorite odalisque, pouring oil on her body before going off, all cat-like, to slumber in the sunlight in the enclosed garden. It’s too bad that your second experience went bad; it is indeed a very saturated perfume (which is one of the many reasons I adore it) that requires a light touch. Also, perhaps because it does have a nice dosage of naturals, I find that this particular perfume can be shape-shifting in terms of its indolic character: sometimes it’s not all that indolic, on another day, it’s very much so. It’s really a very living, breathing perfume that almost seems to have it’s own mind. :) It always smells recognizably like itself, but I do find the indolic nature shifts from wear to wear.

    Thank you for the link love. I hope you get to try some others in the SSS line.

    • Your comment about the shape-shifting nature of Jour Ensoleillé is utterly fascinating! I bet you’re right, Suzanne. I’ve always found that really well-blended perfumes with high-quality ingredients are prismatic, in the sense that they throw off different facets on different days. It sounds like Jour Ensoleillé is like that for you. Probably for others as well. I really hope people will give it a try (if they can handle indolic perfumes) because it *was* lovely and I think a lot of people would find it beautifully sunny and sensual. Thank you so much for stopping by, my dear. I greatly enjoyed your beautiful take on the perfume in your review and hugely appreciate your added insight here. :D

  12. If there is any animal in Jour Ensoleillé for me it would be a tiny kitten, if even that :)
    On my skin it’s a very pleasant orange blossom scent, I enjoy putting it on my wrist before going to bed.

  13. I loved reading this review, and loved even more that the creator was able to drop by to provide more insight about SSS creations. :) I’d like to try this one, and I really should investigate procuring more samples from this house. I’ve heard so many good things and I don’t mind ISO-E (unless it’s ALL ISO-E, in which case I just can’t smell a damn thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here). I do have a sample of Fig Tree, which perhaps I’ll wear to bed tonight!

    • I thought it was incredibly gracious of her to share her insights and be so wonderfully sweet! I was hugely, hugely touched! As for Jour Ensoleillé, I actually think you’d really like it, Kevin! I really do, so I hope you get a sample and get to try it, along with a few others from the line. The potency of the fragrances should also please you; these are not perfumes that will disappear from your skin!

    • Hi Kevin, I will be happy to re-home my almost 3 mL spray sample of Jour Ensoleille. Just click on my name to get my contact info. The SSS perfumes are really well done and my current loves are To Dream, Fig Tree and Forest Walk.

Leave a Reply