Even though there are lots of perfumes to love from all the perfumers who participated in this series, I want to give readers the condensed version, so here’s a list of the perfumes that I think give you an idea of each perfumer, and I’ll keep this to liquid perfumes. Where perfume oils are concerned I recommend Sage Machado’s Onyx and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Pamplemousse, with the understanding that generally, I’m not an oil wearer.
What did I find that was really up to the very best standards? Which perfumes from these US artisanal perfumers should anyone who knows perfume try? OK, here goes:
1) Olympic Orchids’ Ballet Rouges: This was the most beautiful rose perfume I tried out of the entire sampling. Delicate, feminine, and particularly successful on skin with no trace of sourness that bete noire of rose perfumes. This is lovely.
2) Soivohle’s Rosa sur Reuse: Tuberose- rose dialogue with oriental spicy touches that remind me faintly of cola. Charming, well made, and never overstated. This is perfectly thought out perfume and is only rivaled by Centennial Liz Zorn’s wonderful classic chypre.
3) Mandy Aftel’s Secret Garden: This selection was painful because I had to shout down my id which kept on chanting Honey Blossom-Honey Blossom! But Secret Garden is a fully assembled perfume, complex, with a long articulated dry down. A winner, something of a masterpiece.
4) As is Neil Morris’ Afire: This beautiful perfume is a study of frankincense and vanilla, everything inside its intricate evaporation is perfectly balanced like a Calder mobile. Why more people don’t know about Mr. Morris and his marvelous scents beats the heck out of me.
5) Providence Perfume’s Samarinda: This is a new one so its not surprising that people haven’t heard that much of Samarinda but this is another very well made oriental, that might appeal to Opium lovers though it’s a bit more nuanced than old Opium. Samarinda is like a modern Bal a Versailles re-orchestrated with that animalic subtext expanded. Perfectly wearable by men I’d say.
6) En Voyage Perfumes Zelda: You may have read about Zelda, a magnolia floral-oriental that is almost a green oriental and has a smoldering long evaporation as languorous as an afternoon in Mobile in 1922 . Something different and not to be missed.
7) En Voyage Go Ask Alice: I had to do it. This is flat out the best patchouli perfume I’ve ever come across, I don’t wear patchouli perfumes and this one has made me cross the line. Once you go Alice, you never go back.
8) Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Pandora: The chypre that makes you say, “Oh, why don’t they make them like this anymore?” and then go and buy a bottle. A wonderful green chypre with a geranium heart.
9) Dawn again: Mata Hari A fruity chypre that is so glamorous and has a distinctly Rochas Femme- ish vibe. Sexy and intricate, wonderful, another chypre winner from DSH.
10) Neil Morris’ Rose of Kali: I’m not sure I’d call the complex accord involving rose, chocolate, musk, patchouli and myrrh along with heaven knows what else here, uh… rosy. This is almost a menacing perfume, which has a slightly tingling quality in the nose and then is a reminder of the inside of every shrine/temple/holy place you may ever have visited. Transporting is the word for this one, but curiously, Kali’s also wearable by ordinary humans.
Happy Memorial Day!