Niche & Artisanal Giveaway: Bogue, Papillon, Neela Vermeire, Ensar Oud, St. Clair Scents & Sammarco

Source: Amazon.com

For perfumistas, reading about fragrances is fun but smelling what you’ve read about is even better. As most of you probably know, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez just published their Perfumes The Guide 2018, the first new version of the book in ten years. The authors sought to examine the changed perfume landscape since the original Guide was released and, consequently, there is a heightened focus on both niche and indie/artisan houses.

I haven’t done a giveaway in years and years, but this seemed like a good occasion to make an exception. One of the criticisms of the book, in some quarters at least, is that too many of the houses are small and unknown. That won’t be the case if you’ve been a regular reader of this blog because I’ve long emphasized niche and indie/artisanal houses over big designer ones. In fact, a good number of the brands that I’ve covered are reviewed in the book.

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Papillon’s Liz Moores – Part II: Perfume Production, Logistics & The EU

Yesterday, I posted Part I of an interview with Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery that covered the methodology of making a fragrance, the process that a self-taught perfumer undergoes to learn about notes and perfume composition, and the various aspects of working with both natural and aromachemical materials. In Part II, we will focus on the technical and logistical side of having a small, independent perfume house, from obtaining the quantity of supplies required for large-scale production, to the steps necessary to launch a new fragrance, the impact of EU perfume regulations, and more.

Source: bhc.edu

Source: bhc.edu

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Papillon’s Liz Moores – Part I: Learning, Creating & The Perfume Process

How do perfumers actually make their fragrances? How did they learn the methodology, process, and chemistry-related aspects of perfume creation, particularly if they are self-taught? How do they feel about various materials? Are some trickier to use than others, and is there a difference in the process of handling naturals versus aromachemicals? What are some of the logistics involved in wide-scale production and starting a perfume house, as well as taking a finalised product and releasing it?

Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery. Source: Liz Moores.

Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery. Source: Liz Moores.

Those are some of the questions that I asked Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery. It is in the first in a series of interviews that I hope to post over the next few weeks, as the various perfumers’ schedules permit. Several of the interviews have sections that intentionally cover the same subject-matter, focusing on the process of learning notes and creating fragrances, as well as each perfumer’s methodology. Many of the perfumers are self-taught, so I think seeing differences in how they answer the same or similar questions will be revealing. We all start some place, even perfumers who have received acclaim for their creations or who are the best in their particular field. So, I’m interested in their educational journey, but I’m also curious about other things, like the precise logistics that are entailed in launching a fragrance, particularly for those perfumers who are subject to the rather exhausting list of EU regulations. We all know about the oakmoss issue, but what are some of the more unexpected side-effects or obstacles that a perfumer may have encountered?

Liz Moores.

Liz Moores.

Liz Moores answers all those questions and more. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, she is the founder and nose of Papillon, a British artisanal brand that launched last year to great acclaim with three debut fragrances. I fell hard for Anubis, an incredibly complex fragrance with so many facets that summarizing it as a “smoky, leathered, ambered oriental” simply doesn’t do it full justice. I thought Anubis was the second best new release of 2014, but its siblings, Angélique and Tobacco Rose, were very well done as well.

Her answers to my interview questions are truly revelatory, in my opinion. I mean it quite sincerely and honestly when I say that my jaw was almost on the ground as I read her wonderfully detailed, thorough, straight-forward but incredibly informative explanations that are unlike anything I’ve encountered thus far in showing not only how someone learns about perfume creation, but how the process works. She also, and very generously, shares an astonishing amount of information on such rarely discussed technical matters as: “Mods” (basically, the industry term for the modification stages a perfume undergoes in the development process); the impact of aromachemicals in the balance of notes; EU compliance procedures, MSDS sheets, and the unexpected obstacles that EU regulations sometimes create; how a perfumer who is just starting out obtains supplies for large-scale production; and the logistics of how a small perfume house functions.

I was utterly riveted, and I think you will be, too. So here is Part I of what will be a two-part interview. Part II will focus on the more logistical side of producing and releasing a new fragrance, as well as further discussing the impact of EU regulations. I’ll update this post with the relevant link at that time.

Photo: Liz Moores & Papillon Perfumery.

Photo: Liz Moores & Papillon Perfumery.

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Papillon Perfumery Angélique: Chameleon In the Woods

Catherine Jeltes Painting, "Modern Brown Abstract Painting WinterScape." Etsy Store, GalleryZooArt, linked within. (Click on photo.)

Catherine Jeltes Painting, “Modern Brown Abstract Painting WinterScape.” Etsy Store, GalleryZooArt, linked within. (Click on photo.)

An ethereal spring bouquet of silvery iris and white flowers dusted with mimosa’s golden sweetness. Then, a lush, orchid-like, champaca vanilla infused with boozy, fruited liqueur and smoky guaiac. Finally, an extremely woody fragrance with masculine elements of burnt leaves, smokiness, and musk. That was the very surprising progression of Angélique, a chameleon scent that first filled me with visions of bridal white (and thoughts of how well it was named) before it astounded me by rapidly morphing into a completely different fragrance, one that was quite a pleasant surprise. In fact, at times, I was sniffing my wrist with much appreciation. Although the drydown changed things for me, there are parts of Angélique that can well be called “exquisite” or “beautifully lush.”This is a fragrance that is so evocative at times that I’ve just barely managed to stop myself from explaining its development solely in terms of a series of images. That said, please pay close attention to the photos in this review, particularly to the sharp changes in colour, style, mood, and background, as they reflect changes within the perfume itself.

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