Tag Archives: Histoires de Parfums

My top 5 perfume houses

Well, Birgit beat me to it. 😦 Even so, I’ll go with the one I had planned several weeks ago and never published (now wonder people beat me to different things). 😉

So, as there are posts like these all the time (your favorite perfumes, notes, brands, perfumes from a brand, etc.), I wanted to share my preferences on the subject.

I have a hard time naming favorite perfumes as that changes all the time. Plus, there are so many good perfumes out there, I hate having to choose among them. I have enough love for all of them. 😉DSC00761

That is why I decided to tell you about my favorite perfume houses because even though I don’t like everything they do, I like/love most of their perfumes and look benevolently on others even when I don’t like them. They are also better represented in my collection. 🙂

In no particular order:

Serge Lutens – I’m guessing most perfumistas have Serge Lutens on their list of perfume houses they enjoy. I don’t think a special explanation is needed but to explain my reasoning – they are like a wonderfully intelligent conversation you might lead at the most unexpected places but one you really need to be alert for, otherwise you will lose your strain of thought.

Guerlain – again, some of the ingeniously great perfumes came from this house and they still come up with some great perfumes.

Ramon Monegal – now, I only recently discovered this gem of a perfume house and the more I smell their perfumes, the more I fall in love. Which isn’t surprising considering Mr. Monegal’s love for books which in my mind only means he knows what he’s doing when it comes to perfume as well. And the inkwell! I was sold at that. 😉

Histoires des Parfums – I always think they don’t get enough love and raving reviews because honestly, those perfumes are great, and very wearable. And not expensive either (considering what else is out there and how much it costs).

The last but not the least, the house that started my perfume journey – L’Artisan Parfumeur. They are also the house I would recommend every perfume newbie to start with as they make you fall in love with some amazingly down-to-earth notes.

 

I noticed in this list that my European heritage is rather obvious. 🙂

And of course I have special additions. 😉

Special mention goes to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (being both an American perfume house and indie as well) whose perfumes I keep enjoying since the first time I smelled them. I’m amazed at the work Dawn does, both in its expanse and quality and look forward to smelling many more perfumes her artisan hands make.

And Frederic Malle which would have made the list if I were to mention 6 perfume houses. They’ve been steadily climbing my list of favorite houses for some time now…

P.S. Special thanks to Asali for the absolutely wonderful photos I could use for this post and my blog header.

Veni, Vidi, Vici – and I’m conquered

If it’s going to take me this long to write future reviews, I’ll be posting one every quartal. 🙂

It took me a long time to decide to finally post my thoughts on these three as I like them a lot but didn’t feel I could describe them fairly enough.  Soon there won’t be anything left to test so I better tell you now what I think of them:

Here is the quote from Histoires de Parfums site:

Veni represents the earth, which in many ways still remains a mystery to us. It is nurturing as much as it is wild, forcing us to keep our senses sharp, all the while pushing our limits.
Vidi, the wind, carries us over seas and oceans, allowing us to rise above mountains and to take our gaze and spirit beyond the horizon.
Vici, embodies fire, which translates into passion and power. It encourages mankind to create as well as to destroy and our mastery of it requires wisdom as much as well as strength.

 

Veni

in my mind, Veni comes very close to the description above. It is very reminiscent of dry, summer land and I can imagine an army crossing it during early summer while the smells of green hasn’t yet been burned out by the sun, accompanied by lavender and other herbs wafting on a warm, green breeze. And there must be an orchard nearby, as there is definitely a fruity, lightly citrusy tinge to it.

When I say herbal, it is to signify the spicy notes that work so well with the green notes in this perfume, I can smell the cardamom but the idea is what I described.

And even though I am the first one to forgo depicting a perfume as masculine or feminine, in today’s tuscan2sense, there is a definite masculine tone to it. Which makes it perfect for me.

The warmth of the earth and the sweetness of the plants growing on it, making this smell lightly fougerish and then woody, I am definitely conquered by the approaching perfumed army.

 

Top Note: absolu cardamom, cinnamom, galbanum, lavander
Heart Note: carnation, saffron, guaiac wood
Base Note: vanilla, toffee, patchouli oil, musk, ambergris, oakmoss

 

Vidi

The notes, the description, my first smell of this – all these made my think there was no way I would like this one. Water and ozone effects?! Please.

Well, I admit I was wrong. Not in so much that I would wear it, but I would certainly enjoy it on a man. as again this one has a definitely masculine tinge to it. And even though I know when I say that smelling the ozone/metallic and watery flower notes, that are also lightly sweet would make one run the other way thinking Cool Water is about to appear, that would be wrong. It somehow works and I’m blaming it all on cardamom. 🙂

It is generally a note I like a lot and is a common note going through all three.

This is the one I have the most problems wrapping my mind around. I mean, aquatic notes aren’t supposed to smell good. Never mind how you spice them up and give them a light saltiness. Right?

 

Top Note: cardamom, ozone effects
Heart Note: plastic rose, cyclamen, water effects, saffron
Base Note: immortal absolu, musk, ambergris, vanilla, white wood

 

Vici

Honestly, I don’t see much fire in this perfume (except the one burning in my soul to own it). It is a bit reminiscent of Veni with its soil-like angelique note (and iris root) in combination with cardamom and the green notes. There is still a summery feel to this one as well. So the army I keep imagining with the names of these perfumes must be riding through some wonderfully smelling countryside.

But this one is also the most serious one with the bittery nose-pinching in the beginning and no underlying sweetness, reminiscent of battle fields before the battle with its green and hay like hues.

Eventually the serious beginning mellows to more meadow-like feel of rest, with galbanum mellowing summer meadowdown and incense letting the flowers out to play in the meadow. Not that there seem to be many flowery notes in this perfume, but that is what it smells like to me, more floral in the drydown than before.
Top Note: angelical roots, cardamom, pink peppercorns, basil, galbanum, aldehyde
Heart Note: rustic lavender effects, céleri graine, iris concrete, osmanthus absolu, essence incense
Base Note: patchouli oil, musk, vanilla, cedar, raspberry

 

Samples were provided by HdP.

Sample of the day: Ambrarem by Histoires de Parfums

I’ve been smelling this sample for over a week now and each time I smell it, I have something else to say about it. I find it extremely strange and I don’t think I could wear it but I am strangely attracted first to its brooding peculiar smell and then to its ambiental nature. It would be the perfume for a strange, dark sexy, ambivalently good hero of the Northern sea-dwelling people. 🙂 I have no idea where that came from but that’s how it made me feel this time around.

Top Note: Pink Peppercorn, Elemi
Heart Note: Iris Absolute, Oud, Saffron
Base Note: Castoreum Absolute, Bourbon Vanilla, Sandalwood, Amber

In the beginning, I thought of it as an herbal amber, leathery, slightly green (as in shrubbery green) and lightly smoky. Now I smell the light pepperiness, leatheriness and smokiness rising from my arm and feel the connection to the rest of the Histoires de Parfums collection (there is something in there that makes you connect the dots to the rest of the collection).

But after I got the impression of my dark hero, later on, I smell the place he lives. It smells like dark, weedy sea at the beginning of a stormy night and the oud definitely adds to that idea. Really ambiental. And the image makes me go weak at the knees.

I sincerely appreciate the strangeness that is this perfume.

The notes work in synergy to bring to life this transporting perfume – those that I can smell not being the whole of what I smell (peppercorn, elemi, oud, hints of sandalwood and ambery saltiness in the drydown).

 

My sample was made by the lovely people at Jovoy while in Paris.

P.S. Aragorn was the closest to my sexy imagined dark lord I could find.

Time flies by when the sun is shining

I think I’m suffering from spring laziness. I’m not really tired as that is what everyone keeps talking about these days when the sun keeps shining all day long and everyone is smiling because of it. I’m actually running around, trying to do all sorts of things and I’m managing but the writing sort of got lost in the middle of all that.

During last week’s fumechat, I got some wonderful recommendations for spring scents from Persolaise, only to manage to locate one of those samples and basically just try that one. One would think if I’m looking for new perfume loves, I’d put more effort into it…

So, the one I tried was Vert Pivoine by Histoires de Parfums, and while I was already amid those samples, I tested Blanc Violette too.

Vert Pivoine

Notes (in French):
Top note : Pivoine, Feuille de Lierre, Eau de Rose.

Heart note : Pivoine, Rose, Mimosa, Gardénia, Fruits Rouges, Baies Roses.
Base note : Pivoine, Santal, Cèdre, Musc, Vanille.

One of the good things about perfumes is that I learn many new words through them. Especially for flowers. 🙂 So now I know the name for peony in both French and Croatian and thanks to google, I even know what it looks like. Before, peony was just another name of a flower.
So, what does it smell like? For me, it starts with the smell of flowers stalks that give off a slightly peppery twist. It’s not sweet at all, more like spring flowers after rain when you can’t smell the sweet grass and pollen residue in the air but just clear scent.
It smells serious and elegant to me with the smell of real rose (at least that’s how I think of that particular smell, the one where you actually have your nose in the rose and can smell the surrounding air and leaves) complementing the elegancy.
These are soliflores by Histoires de Parfums site so it’s no surprise when I say that this one smells pretty much linear with some detours – a bit greener in the drydown.
Very easily wearable if not a great love for me. It’s more like a nice blouse you know fits well, even though  not the most spectacular you own.

Blanc Violette

Notes (also in French)
Top note : Violette, Bergamote, Iris.

Heart note : Violette, Ylang-Ylang, Anis Badiane.
Base note : Violette, Santal, Vanille, Musc, Poudre de Riz.

I’m not the one to fall for violets in my perfumes, but I actually liked this one better than Vert Pivoine (and I liked that one).
The interesting thing happened right at the beginning – I couldn’t say what I was smelling. I was smelling it but my mind refused to put any name to it so I wrote down – white and sligthly bitter. 🙂 I’m just so good with words. 😉
After that, it got slightly powdery and lightly irisy but I can’t say I could recognize violets in there.
Then another interesting thing happened – it started smelling like it was being suffused with light. I don’t know where that came from and I was very surprised to get that idea in my head. I wonder if someone else has tried this and had the same revelation?
I like it when I smell something that strongly questions my perfume knowledge as it was very hard for me to put into words what I was smelling and still can’t really describe it well enough – I guess my flower notes knowledge is seriously lacking. 🙂
To me it basically smells good, easy, light, elegant and smoothly powdery in occasional whiffs.
Notes by: http://www.histoiresdeparfums.com/
 
Pic is mine of trees blooming in Zagreb.

Surprising myself

I love surprises. So I don’t mind when I manage to surprise myself. 🙂

I know I love white flowers, especially tuberose and orange blossoms. What I wasn’t aware of is that I obviously adore tuberose as it seems I have quite many perfumes featuring that note. I wouldn’t even be aware of that if I weren’t preparing a tuberose package for a fellow blogger and stuff seemed to pop out of everywhere. Which also means I’m walking around in a tuberose cloud (making me feel happy and smiling) and as some of the tuberoses I handled are only in sample sizes, I’m considering which one I need in a bigger size (probably bottle). 🙂

And I have it! I knew the instant I smelled it, it was the first tuberose I plan on buying once I recover from my recent splurge. *

Histoires de Parfums – Tubereuse Animale! When I received their sample package some months ago, the 3 tuberoses were in it but at that time I didn’t talk about them because they were discussed on many blogs previous to that. I do plan on doing reviews on them, esepcially because I think all 3 are really good but Animale is in my opinion perfect for me.

So, basic line is, I’m a tuberose freak and I’m proud of it. Not to mention I’ll be smelling it all day long as decanting can be a messy business and I have some all over my clothes. 😀

* I have the best of friends. 🙂 My friend Branka was in Paris for only a few days and I’m incredibly grateful that she found the time to look for the bottles I wanted and now am the proud owner of – SL Boxeuses and Shalimar Ode a la Vanille.

Pic by: http://www.easytogrowbulbs.com

A stroll down history lane

It’s been a while now that I received a package from Histoires de Parfums (thank you Maxime) but it took some time to get here and write about some of them . As you can see it was more of a leisurely stroll than a walk. And their perfumes tell a historical story which made me realize that even though I knew about this company for quite some time, and even though I know some French, I only realized yeseterday that “histoire” means at the same time a story and history. Which is very true in this case – most of the perfumes are related to a historically significant year and tell a story.

I’m not going to tell you what person is related to which year (ok, maybe just one masculine which I loved and I still don’t know whose story that is), I’ll let you discover that for yourself.
Here we go.

1828
Top note : grapefruit, citrus, mandarin, eucalyptus
Heart Note : pepper, nutmeg
Base Note : cedar, incense, vetiver, pine cone.

This is the one. The one I needed to know who it belongs to. Turns out it’s Jules Verne. Not what I would have guessed but very appropriate for me. 🙂
It smells dark, male, citrusy and seductive to me (I already gave my sample to my boyfriend and can’t wait for him to wear it).
I get the piney incense vibe and I enjoy it very much, it smells dark and refreshing at the same time, like it’s made for a seductive type of guy, one you can’t resist (how appropriate then it’s related to a writer in my case). 😉 It also has an underlying nutty-sweet aspect, I just love the combination of everything in this.

 
 
1725
Top note : bergamot, citrus grapefruit, liquorice;
Heart Note : lavender, star anise,
Base Note : vanilla almond, sandalwood, cedar, amber.

This one starts citrusy and bitter-clean like, the smell of nettle shampoo from my childhood (hence the clean aspect).
It has a green and slightly earthy/rooty vibe and then it gets into a cedrish-sweet stage (my guess is that sweetness is coming from the vanilla almonds, it’s not too almondy for me). For me it smells slightly spicy, but not in an oriental way, more like an alcoholic aromatic-fruity drink. And also less openly masculine than 1828 (which is really strange because this one is related to Casanova).

1826
Top note : Bergamot, Tangerine;
Heart Note : White flowers, Violet, Ginger, Cinnamon;
Base Note : Patchouli, Amber, Incense from Jakarta, Vanilla

Oops. I thought it smelled masculine but a masculine for me. 🙂 Turns out it’s feminine. Even better. I like this woman. Sweet and spicy and sligthly boozy – turns out I love ambery scents (wasn’t really aware of that before HdP sample set arrived, there are several ambery scents in it which made me realize this).
Anyway, it’s more dry than my opening statement might suggest.
It was really problematic for me getting to the notes in all these perfumes, they just seem so well blended, even though when they might not be something I’d like to wear.
And almost all of them have this wet and deep aspect to them. I don’t know how to describe it better. Most of the perfumes I tried smelled like what I applied was actually splashed on me with water. It’s not aquatic, it just smells wet, soaked in water with some serious depth going on in the perfume itself.

Moulin Rouge – 1889
Top note : Mandarine, Prune, Cannelle (cinammon)
Heart : Absinthe, Rose de Damas
Base : Cœur d’Iris, Patchouli, Musc, Fourrure (fur)

I didn’t have the notes for this one when smelling it, but my thought went like this. Sweet, dry and slightly musky (guess that’s the fur). I’m so proud for getting the musk because it usually flies right  by me and I’m left wondering why is everyone smelling musky stuff when I can’t. It has a fruity liquor feel and I like it a lot.

1876
Top note : Bergamot, orange, Litchi;
Heart Note : rose , iris , violet, Cumin, Cinnamon, Carnation;
Base Note : Vetiver, Guaiacum, Sandalwood

Boozy, woody in a labdanum kind of way (with vanillic hints). I found it smelling slightly herbal/medicinal and somewhat strange. Rose is in there but very well hidden (ok, blended in).
What I found interesting with this one (and some others) is that I realized how some notes work with each other. For example, here I realized that the sweaty part of cumin is held under check by cinammon so it never gets where it shouldn’t in polite company. 🙂 The cinammon gives cumin a sharp austerity that makes them work really well together. 

 
 
1804 
Top note : Tahitian gardenia, Corsica peach, Hawaiian Pineapple,
Heart Note : clove, Indian jasmine, lily of the valley, rose of Morocco,
Base Note : Sandalwood, patchouli, Benzoin, vanilla, white musk

Well, I didn’t get it wrong with this one, it is so strongly a feminine, you really can’t mistake it for anything eolse. It’s sweet and fruity, slightly flowery  and very cool (not in smelling refreshing, but as in what a cool perfume to wear). I kept thinking what was that familiar flowery smell until I read the notes and realized it’s pineapple (yes, I’m aware that’s not a flower but a fruit).
After the initial fruity-tropic burts, I got a slight sea freshness that I belive was coming from muguet (it sometimes does that to me). And the muguet works great aside pineapple. Really nice.

1969
Top note : Fruits du Soleil, Pêche Veloutée.
Heart note : Rose, Fleurs Blanches, Cardamone, Girofle.
Base note : Patchouli, Chocolat, Café, Muscs Blancs.

Honestly, to me this smells a lot like Noir Patchouli (which will be discussed sometime in the future). Sweet, very fruity and joyful and slightly ambery-musky.  Can’t say I got the peach, more like juicy type of fruit mixed with rose. Very exuberant. It recalls summer through the summer fruit juiciness and fun in the sun. Well, I guess they did have fun in the sun in 1969. And, if you pay attention to this perfume, it just might evoke those type of associations.

1740
Top note : bergamot, davana sensualis (orange flower native to India);
Heart Note : patchouli coriander, cardamom;
Base Note : cedar, elemi, leather, labdanum.

The last one for today. Boozy (again – I think there is sth wrong with me that so many scents evoke that association). 🙂 Slighty medicinal and woody (guess that’s the start of labdanum/patchouli combo). It smells leathery – juicy, and I love it. Because then it gets completely into labdanum territory where well-balanced wood dances with bare oriental hints and I’m in heaven. It seems Marquis de Sade was a much better seductor than Casanova.

 
Notes and pic by: http://www.histoiresdeparfums.com

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