In my last column I reviewed some exciting new introductions from several American perfumers based in the West – their businesses may be small, but their accomplishments are very substantial. I am pleased to preview some more of these fragrances from our rich pool of olfactory talent.
Jeffrey Dame of Dame Perfumery Scottsdale has been in the business for many years as the proprietor and perfumer of Long Lost Perfumes/Irma Shorell and the Madeleine Mono brand. He has recently stepped into the limelight under his eponymous brand and the results have been warmly received. His new Soliflore Gardenia perfume oil is a welcome addition to the white floral genre with its perfectly balanced blend of heavy, indolic sensuality and sheer floral beauty. The waxy-white, exotic gardenia is a familiar ingredient in fragrances but it is not always done right; some gardenia scents are filled out with cheap synthetics or are actually mainly comprised of tuberose, which is wonderful in its own right, but one does expect a gardenia perfume to smell like the actual flower. No worries here, and floral lovers will appreciate this sultry scent for its fresh, uplifting realism and heady intensity. After testing this, I want a gallon of the stuff. Its launch date is October 1, 2015. (Also in the works from this house are Soliflore Tuberose and Soliflore Rose de Mai, which can be pre-ordered from the Dame Perfumery Web site – be still, oh my heart! )
San Francisco perfumer Ineke Ruhland has been capturing our imaginations for a long time with her INeKE line of highly original fragrances. The upcoming Hello Stranger is no exception, and if this does not turn heads nothing will. I suspect that wearing this would result in strangers asking what you are wearing and then asking if they can nuzzle your neck. It is a delightfully sexy gourmand confection that took me by surprise; I did not expect a perfume like this from the house but it’s really wonderful. Looking at the list of notes, it would seem like almost too much and might smell like a candy store or a too-sweet celebrity scent – Espresso, rum, candied rose petals, almond, coconut and vanilla? That could be a recipe for sugary disaster in the wrong hands but fear not, these are tempered by cedar, suede, a subtle smoke note and a very soft musk. If I could compare it to any other perfume, it would be to L’Artisan’s boozy Vanille Absolument, formerly known as Havana Vanille (which I love) but instead of being heavy and dark, it’s happier and sunnier, more open and friendly. I would defy anyone not to smile when smelling it, and it’s nothing short of addictive. It is very bright and forward, and when I first put it on I was afraid it would get too strong since my own skin tends to amplify sweet perfume notes, but it did not become overwhelming, just more delicious.
Another product of the fertile San Francisco indie perfume scene is Yosh Han‘s wildANIMAL, which was conceived from a collaboration with filmmaker Marco Castro and the perfumer’s Yosh brand for the upcoming Animal film. I have no idea what the plot of the movie is, but if it’s half as good as the perfume it will be a hit. It is a genre-defying creation that is sure to create excitement among critics and customers alike; I am not even sure how to describe it, but I love it! The opening focuses on basil, one of my favorite things, and the heart notes feature an exquisite blend of tea rose, palmarosa (which has a pungent scent like rose geranium) and rosewood. This is anything but a straight-up rose perfume, however; lurking in the shadows are cedar, oud and musk to give it a primal growl with heft and depth. There is a fruitiness to the composition from the rosy ingredients, but it’s fresh, outdoorsy and tangy, not sweet, and it marries well with the deeper base notes. This is one of those perfumes that can only be appreciated on the skin as it unfolds over time; it just gets better and better and after wearing it for several hours I could not keep my nose off my own arm.
These perfumes will all be available from Tigerlily Perfumery in San Francisco when they are launched – don’t miss out! I will be reviewing more indie scents next time, as we leave the West Coast and travel to Brooklyn NYC and Europe in search of more new and original perfumes.