Happy Friday, everybody! I have been AWOL from the land of nail polish for many months, and my renewed obsession with perfume has taken over.
I had been on a bit of a perfume hiatus for about three years, from 2014 to late last year, mainly because I was having kids and wasn’t fussed with scented things at all for that period. Now that the kids are both bigger tots, I’ve revived my interest in perfume.
The kids are loving it, as well. They enjoy testing a scent on their shirtsleeves while I’m browsing the testers in-store; Peanut (who’s now 4 and in kindergarten!) always picks an interesting-looking bottle and claims that it smells the way it looks. So something like Versace Dylan Blue “smells like blueberries!” (No, it doesn’t!) But, by default, everything smells like “Strawberries!” or “Potato juice!” I don’t understand that last one, either. Olive, who is now 2, does a little dab to mimic me sniffing my wrists, even though she’s not wearing any scent.
So, I’ve spent the last nine months or so catching up on all the new department store releases I’ve been able to get my hands on.
I found many new loves in both the designer realm (Love by Chloé, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Essence de Parfum, Lanvin Me), among the drugstore offerings (Elizabeth Arden Untold Absolu, Jessica Simpson Fancy, Britney Spears Private Show), and in that space between (MAC Créme d’Nude and Velvet Teddy, Aramis Calligraphy Rose). I’ve even discovered a few beauties from decades past (Chanel Cristalle EDP, Chloé Narcisse, Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds & Rubies).
Niche-land, however, is where I’ve yet to explore further. I’ve dabbled a bit (Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu, Berdoues Assam of India), but there’s a massive world of niche out there that seems exponentially larger now than it was when I last visited it.
Enter Lucky Scent! Ever since some of the smaller US-based perfume sampling operations had to increase shipping costs to Canada, I’ve restricted myself to sampling niche scents from Los Angeles-based Lucky Scent (not affiliated). Their samples shipping to Canada has remained at US$8 for a maximum of 15 (1 mL) samples per shipment, which is very reasonable. Shipping is also very quick and I’ve never had an issue with them (apart from one time last month when they sent me Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger instead of Five O’Clock Gingembre; I already had a sample of FdO, but it’s a good ‘un so I don’t really mind having another!).
The samples work out so nicely that even for Zoologist, a Toronto-based perfumery from whom I simply have to get something (my degree is in zoology, after all), it is cheaper for me to order samples from LuckyScent than from the official site.
My most recent order was for a full nineteen samples. (I’m not sure why but I was allowed nineteen, four over the stated limit, and the shipping remained at $8; it may be worth sticking a few extra samples in to see if you can squeeze a couple more in before the shopping cart adjusts to $20 shipping plus duties!)
Listed notes are via Lucky Scent.
- Amouage – Fate Woman (LS)
Amouage is a rather pricy house; I’m mainly trying their scents just to see what all the fuss is about, as I’m not inclined to blow that much money on a single perfume. I think I’ve checked out one or two in the past, but I forget which ones. Fate is one of their most highly rated scents. Bergamot, cinnamon, chilli, pepper, rose, narcissus, jasmine, frankincense, labdanum, vanilla bean, benzoin, castoreum, patchouli, oakmoss, leather.
- Amouage – Imitation Woman (LS)
I love rose and ylang-ylang. And jasmine and orange blossom. How wrong can this go? Rose, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, jasmine, blackcurrant buds, aldehydes, liquorice, orris, papyrus, patchouli, incense.
- Byredo – Bal d’Afrique (LS)
I tried my first Byredo recently—La Tulipe, and it is magnificent!—so I’ve ordered samples of a couple more. Bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu, violet, jasmine petals, cyclamen, black amber, musk, vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood.
- Byredo – Rose Noir (LS)
Grapefruit! Rose! Noir! I’m just iffy on the freesia. Grapefruit, freesia, rosa damascena, cistus, moss, musk.
- Caron – Pour un Homme (LS)
Caron is one of those houses with very old school fragrances. They’re mostly not to my taste, but they’re always interesting to experience. Many of the feminine scents have been reformulated or are just hard to come by (discontinued, even?), but the masculines seem like they’re still going strong. I enjoy the lavender-vanilla combo, so this intrigued me. Lavender, vanilla, musk, amber.
- Eau d’Italie – Au Lac (LS)
I’ve only tried Paestum Rose from this house, and it was quite lovely. I’m forever searching for my ideal lotus fragrance after L’Occitane callously discontinued my favorite (Fleur de Lotus), so I thought I’d give this a shot. Water lily, bitter orange, Panarea fig leaves, osmanthus, Italic rose bud, Sambac jasmine petals, papyrus, amber.
- 4160 Tuesdays – Centrepiece (LS)
Sarah McCartney’s London-based indie perfumery releases some delightfully named and delightful-sounding fragrances. Many, like Centrepiece, have gourmand touches. Honey, green tea, vanilla, frangipani, cedar, musk.
- Indult – Tihota (LS)
“Due to excessive demands during and after the Christmas period we no longer hold any stock of TIHOTA,” proclaims Indult’s official website. This is a popular one, and I had put myself on the email list for Lucky Scent’s sample. Curious about the name, by the way? The French brand seems to have named themselves with this word from Catholic canon law. Guess my Catholic middle school religion class didn’t get that far. The fragrance name, however, means sugar in Polynesian. Vanilla bean, musks.
- Lubin – Kismet (LS)
Rose, rose, lemon, bergamot, vanilla! I can’t get enough of vanilla these days. I’m a long way from my “I hate vanilla perfume” youth. Bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, rosa centifolia, Bulgarian rose, patchouli, labdanum cistus, opoponax, vanilla.
- Serge Lutens – Datura Noir (LS)
I’d tested this once, ages ago, but I wanted to be sure I still love it enough to get a full bottle next month. Plus, reformulations. I have to add, however, that I am not keen on the Serge Lutens new logo and packaging. I think the new font is kind of ugly, particularly the italicized fragrance name at the bottom. Myrrh, bitter almond, tonka bean, musk, osmanthus, heliotrope, mandarin, lemon blossom, tuberose, vanilla, coconut oil, apricot.
- Serge Lutens – Five O’Clock au Gingembre (LS)
It arrived this time! Bergamot, candied ginger, honey, patchouli, pepper, dark cocoa.
- Serge Lutens – Le Participe Passé (LS)
I don’t know if I’ve ever disliked a Lutens I’ve tried, but this one seems a bit adventurous for me! Cumin!!! I’m not sure what possessed me to try it. Egyptian balsam, resins, caramel, cumin, leather, patchouli.
- Shay & Blue – Blood Oranges (LS)
I first tried Shay & Blue’s Salt Caramel earlier this month, and fell in love. I may need a full bottle…damn shipping and duties! Anyway, I’ve gone ahead and picked up three other Shay & Blue scents for sampling. Blood orange, leather, musk, woody notes, amber.
- Shay & Blue – Blueberry Musk (LS)
Blueberry, orange, orange blossom, magnolia, musk, cashmere wood.
- Shay & Blue – Framboise Noire (LS)
I don’t get why the previous two are named in English and this one isn’t called Black Raspberry. Black raspberry, mixed berries, iris pallida, white oud, black woods.
- Tauer – Noontide Petals (No 14) (LS)
Another rose/ylang-ylang floral, of course! This is no longer on the Tauer website, which makes me wonder if it’s discontinued… Bergamot, aldehydes, geranium, rose, ylang-ylang, tuberose, jasmine, patchouli, frankincense, vanilla, sandalwood, iris, styrax, vetiver.
- Zoologist – Elephant (LS)
Tree leaves, Darjeeling tea, magnolia, cocoa, coconut milk, incense, jasmine, woody notes, amber, musks, patchouli, sandalwood.
- Zoologist – Hyrax (LS)
“We are honored to present a Zoologist scent available exclusively at Luckyscent in honor of our 15th Anniversary.” Blackberry, elemi, pink pepper, saffron, Turkish rose, African stone, hyacinth, styrax, whiskey, amber, benzoin, musks, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka.
- Zoologist – Moth (LS)
I hate moths, but the illustration of the elegant moth on the bottle just cracks me up. Black pepper, cinnamon, clove, cumin, lemon, nutmeg, saffron, heliotrope, iris, jasmine, mimosa, muguet, rose, ambergris, honey, resins, gaiac, musk, nagarmotha, oud, patchouli, smoke, vetiver.
I am testing Serge Lutens Datura Noir today, and it is every bit as stunning as I remember it from probably ten years ago, when I went a bit nuts at a duty-free in Heathrow. It will definitely be a fragrance I purchase next month.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on getting quick thoughts down on the perfumes I test, and I’ll post them up here as I get them organized. A slew of samples I have from Deconstructing Eden, purchased eons ago, should be among the first to be reviewed! And, of course, all my Luckyscent samples, too!